Eluminex Biosciences Exclusively Licenses FibroGen's Biosynthetic Cornea Technology and Recombinant Collagen III Platform
SUZHOU, China and SAN FRANCISCO, July 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Eluminex Biosciences (Suzhou) Limited (Eluminex), an ophthalmology-focused biotechnology company headquartered in Suzhou, China with a US-subsidiary office in San Francisco Bay Area, California, announced today that it has exclusively licensed global rights for the development and commercialization of an investigational biosynthetic cornea derived from recombinant human collagen Type III intended to treat patients with corneal blindness, from FibroGen, Inc. (FibroGen; NASDAQ: FGEN).
“We are extremely excited to bring this novel technology initially to the China market to help meet a large unmet medical need for an alternative to human donor cornea tissue,” commented Dr. Jinzhong (“JZ”) Zhang, Chairman and CEO of Eluminex. “Over 100,000 cases of corneal blindness occur each year in China due to scarring from traumatic injury or infection that could be treated with a surgically implanted bioengineered cornea. Typical treatments in China include human donor corneal transplantation or use of corneal tissue harvested from genetically modified pigs. There is a significant shortage of human donor tissue and porcine corneas have issues with a lack of optical clarity and durability, however, and both methods require the need for additional immunosuppressive medications to prevent graft rejection. The biosynthetic cornea, that is optically clear, offers an alternative using human Type III collagen, a key structural protein that is found in normal human corneas and therefore does not require immunosuppressive medications.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Eluminex will make an $8 million upfront payment to FibroGen. In addition, FibroGen may receive up to a total of $64 million in future manufacturing, clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments for the biosynthetic cornea program, as well as $36 million in commercial milestones for the first recombinant collagen III product that is not the biosynthetic cornea. FibroGen will also be eligible to receive royalties based upon worldwide net sales.
Eluminex also announced that Edward Holland, M.D., has joined the company’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Charles Semba, M.D. and Chief Medical Officer of Eluminex commented, “We are excited to introduce Dr. Edward Holland, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Cincinnati and Director of the Cornea Service at the Cincinnati Eye Institute and past Chairman of the Eye Bank Association of America, as the newest member of our SAB. He is an internationally recognized expert in corneal allograft surgery and ocular surface disease. Additionally, over the past three decades, he has taught and lectured in China regarding corneal transplant techniques and will provide us critical insights into our biosynthetic cornea program.”
“The possibility for an abundant global supply of a biosynthetic human corneal tissue substitute has real potential to transform the lives of the hundreds of thousands of patients around the world in regions where corneal donations are scarce and who otherwise are unlikely to receive a sight-saving corneal transplant,” said Dr. Holland.
“We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Elminex and license this technology to a seasoned ophthalmology team,” said Enrique Conterno, CEO of FibroGen. “This transaction enables FibroGen to focus on development of next generation biopharmaceutical therapies in our core areas of cancer, autoimmune and fibrotic diseases, and anemia.”
About the Eluminex Biosynthetic Cornea Program
About Corneal Blindness in China
About Eluminex Biosciences
Forward-Looking Statements of FibroGen