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HKSTP biotech firms to accelerate cancer treatment development

Image Credits: HKSTP, Press Release

Two biomedical technology companies based at the Hong Kong Science Park have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a strategic collaboration to accelerate cancer treatment development. The two will work together to improve treatment options for patients with gastrointestinal (GI) cancers.

The partnership will see the two Hong Kong companies join forces to develop companion diagnostic tests to readily identify CDH17-positive patients for ARB202 treatment. The goal is to deliver tests that will be available for clinical studies and commercial use, and ultimately covered by regulatory approvals in Hong Kong and the Mainland, to offer a new treatment option for GI cancers.

One firm, Sanomics, develops and deploys innovative genetic and genomic technologies. It aims to provide safe and reliable liquid/ tissue-based genomic diagnostic tests for personalised cancer treatment solutions for patients across Asia. The company has extensive expertise and capability in researching, developing, manufacturing, and marketing companion diagnostics. Companion diagnostics are tests co-developed with drugs to aid in selecting or excluding patient groups for treatment for that drug, based on their biological characteristics to determine their responsiveness to therapy.

The second firm, Arbele, is a biotech and biopharmaceutical company focused on inventing proprietary immunotherapeutic platforms to accelerate the development of antibody-based biologics to treat GI cancers and solid tumours. Arbele’s lead antibody, ARB202, binds to the CDH17 gene and the T-cell receptor antigen CD3, to effect cancer immunotherapy at tumour sites.

Through Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) manufacturing and Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) pre-clinical safety trials, ARB202 is an investigational new drug (IND) ready asset, promising to be a “first-in-class” innovative medicine for clinical trials to treat GI cancer patients in Hong Kong, China, and beyond.

The Head of the Biomedical Technology Cluster at Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), said that the two local pioneers joining forces to create a new paradigm in cancer treatment are encouraging. HKSTP aims to accelerate the translation of promising biomedical research into revolutionary treatment that makes a real impact on healthcare, he said.

The partnership is a great example to demonstrate the synergy created within the Park’s ecosystem. Moreover, the Park will be launching a new open innovation platform MedICon to facilitate even more collaborations.

The CEO at Sanomics stated that in collaborating with Arbele, they will be putting their expertise and resources together, to advance a new drug which can provide healthcare professionals with new treatment options, and hope to millions of people around the world.

The Founder and President at Arbele noted that using the expertise and resources from Sanomics, this partnership established on the Science Park campus will certainly advance the company’s CDH17 companion diagnostics regulatory approval and commercialisation from Hong Kong to Greater China markets.

HKSTP is host to a dynamic innovation and technology ecosystem with a thriving cluster of biomedical technology companies. It offers world-class shared facilities across the city as well as initiatives to support the R&D of biotech startups and companies. Biomedical technology is one of the strategic focuses of HKSTP. There are approximately 150 biotech companies at the Park, which have grown significantly over the past few years.

Sanomics is a member of HKSTP’s ELITE programme, an initiative which offers to fund high-potential tech companies with strong R&D capabilities from local and around the world, to set up operations at Hong Kong Science Park.

Meanwhile, Arbele is a graduate from HKSTP’s Incu-Bio, a four-year incubation programme which provides comprehensive support, from connecting stakeholders in investment and regulatory processes to developing a business plan as well as financial support and equipment to help biomedical startups develop and commercialise their innovations.

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