business financeApogenix, a biopharmaceutical company developing next generation immuno-oncology therapeutics, has announced that the first milestone of its licensing agreement with CANbridge Life Sciences for the development and commercialization of lead immuno-oncology candidate APG101 in China, Macao, and Hong Kong has been reached, triggering a milestone payment.

In addition, Apogenix and CANbridge have signed an amendment to expand the licensed territories to include Taiwan. Apogenix will continue to develop APG101 in all other territories.

An initial biomarker study conducted by CANbridge in Chinese glioblastoma patients revealed a high degree of CD95 ligand expression and confirmed the expression pattern seen in Apogenix’ Phase II proof of concept trial in patients with recurrent glioblastoma.

APG101 is a CD95 ligand inhibitor that restores the immune response against tumours and inhibits invasive tumour cell growth. In Apogenix’ Phase II trial, glioblastoma patients expressing a certain biomarker associated with the CD95 ligand experienced the greatest benefit from treatment with APG101. The median overall survival rate in biomarker-positive patients treated with APG101 more than doubled to 16 months compared with patients treated with radiotherapy alone.

“We are very pleased with CANbridge’s progress and the achievement of the first milestone ahead of schedule,” said Thomas Hoeger, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Apogenix. “Based on the commitment demonstrated by CANbridge and the excellent collaboration throughout our partnership, we have expanded the licensed territories to include Taiwan. We look forward to CANbridge initiating a Phase I/II trial with APG101 in newly-diagnosed glioblastoma patients in Taiwan in the second half of this year.”