- Seattle-based Juno Therapeutics and WuXi AppTec have teamed up to form a new company in China, aiming to leverage Juno's CAR-T platform with WuXi's local large-scale CRO capabilities. The new company, JW Biotechnology will be based in Shanghai.
- Juno has been at the front lines of developing CAR-T immuno-oncology therapies, racing against Kite and Novartis to bring its technology to market. With WuXi, it hopes to build China's leading cell therapy company.
- The companies have tapped James Li, a former general manager of Amgen China and partner at Kleiner Perkins, as CEO of JW Biotechnology.
Both Juno and WuXi have equal ownership in JW Biotechnology. The new company will license product candidates from Juno's pipeline for development and commercialization in China while, in return, Juno will receive an upfront payment in equity, with milestone payments and royalties coming later.
"Juno's goal is to create novel immuno-oncology therapies to treat cancer patients around the world across a range of cancer types. Over 2.5 million people in China die annually from cancer, making it imperative for us to find an effective structure to reach these patients," said Hans Bishop, CEO of Juno.
WuXi has deals in place with other big pharmas as well. AstraZeneca recently expanded its partnership with WuXi, investing $50 million to build a new R&D facility in Wuxi City. The Chinese CRO could offer a valuable inroad into China's large market.
"WuXi AppTec's track record of leadership and excellence in the Chinese pharmaceutical R&D sector will be key to develop and commercialize Juno's transformational technologies for patients in this important market," Bishop added.