Hope Medicine announced global license agreement with Bayer AG to advance the development and commercialization of the monoclonal antibody directed against prolactin (PRL) receptor

License agreement is the result of long-term collaboration between Bayer and Peking University

BEIJING, China I April 7, 2019 I Hope Medicine Inc. announced today that they have signed a world-wide exclusive license agreement with Bayer AG on the development and commercialization of a human antibody targeting the PRL receptor for the treatment of male and female pattern hair loss, endometriosis and other chronic diseases with dysregulated PRL signaling. The inauguration of Hope Medicine Inc. ("HopeMed"), a new biopharmaceutical company focused on advancing novel therapies to improve people's quality of life is built upon an in-depth understanding of human biology and translational research of Professor Rui-Ping Xiao and her team at the Institute of Molecular Medicine ("IMM"), at Peking University.

Under the terms of the license agreement, Hope Medicine will develop and globally commercialize the novel PRL receptor antibody based on intellectual property from Bayer. Bayer will receive an upfront payment, development and commercialization milestones as well as tiered royalties.  

In connection with this global license agreement, Hope Medicine also announced its completion of Series A financing. Trustbridge Partners (TBP), a leading global private equity firm with a focus on China has provided initial investment in US dollar to start development activities. A Chinese PE firm, Qi Rui You Kang based in the Nanjing Jiangbei New Area, Jiangsu Province of China, also committed investment in RMB to support the global development of the antibody. Mr. Feng Ge, Managing Partner of TBP, will join the board of directors of HopeMed.

"We are delighted to partner with Bayer to materialize the potential of the PRL receptor antibody based on a long-standing research collaboration and the scientific insights of scientists at IMM and at Bayer in this important pathway towards promising therapies. And I also want to thank our investors for their generous financial support to make our vision possible in advancing research and development of human biology into medicines to benefit men and women around the world", commented, Professor Rui-Ping Xiao, MD, PhD, Co-founder, Chairwoman and founding CEO of HopeMed. Professor Xiao is Chair Professor at Peking University, Director of IMM, Associate Editor of NEJM, and formal tenure investigator at Institute of Aging, NIH.

"Having witnessed the significant growth in healthcare needs and scientific and medical research advancement in China in recent years, we are very excited by the growth of China's healthcare sector and its long-term prospect. TBP is delighted to be the founding investor and partner of HopeMed, and this investment is well in-lined with our vision to develop and provide international-standard healthcare products for China and for the global market", added Mr. Feng Ge, Managing Partner of TBP.

Sam Lou, MBA, co-founder, President and COO of HopeMed, described the development strategy as follows, "As a development scientist by training, I am honored to be a founding member of HopeMed to develop first-in-class therapies for China and the global market. Supported by visionary investors, HopeMed is born with leading scientific teams of human biology, strong global IP, and global quality and development partnerships aiming to the best medicines for the market. HopeMed is assembling first class talents in the area of biological sciences, CMC and clinical research and operations to unleash the therapeutic potential of the in-licensed antibody, which has demonstrated excellent efficacy in animal models, including non-human primate model, and excellent safety in humans. We look forward to globally launching integrated Ph II clinical program in Europe, US and China".  

About male and female pattern hair loss

Male and female pattern hair loss, partly also described as "Androgenetic Alopecia", is the most common type of hair loss and affects up to 70% of men and 40% of women. While male and female pattern hair loss is commonly believed to be due to a combination of genetics and the male hormone dihydrotestosterone, the detailed mechanism remains unclear. Data published by a Bayer team as well as data generated jointly point to a yet hardly recognized role of prolactin/prolactin-receptors signaling in the disorder.  

Management of the male and female pattern hair loss may include minoxidil, finasteride (for men only) or hair transplant surgery. However, a considerable number of patients do not respond to the available treatments or simply accept the condition due to the limitations of the treatment options. Moreover, side effects such as orthostatic hypotension, edema and sexual dysfunction may occur.

About Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a chronic estrogen-dependent gynecological disease defined by the presence of endometrium-like tissue outside the uterus, which induces a chronic inflammatory reaction. The endometrium is a layer of mucous tissue, which lines the uterus cavity and undergoes hormone-dependent changes during the menstrual cycle. Endometriosis is a common disease among women of reproductive age. The prevalence is estimated to be up to 10% in women of childbearing age worldwide. Lower abdominal and pelvic pain, cramping menstrual pains (dysmenorrhea), painful sexual intercourse (dyspareunia) and infertility are well recognized symptoms of endometriosis. It has been reported that Asian women have a higher endometriosis prevalence in comparison to Caucasians and African Americans. A recent study found the prevalence to be higher among Filipino, Indian, Japanese and Korean women (15.7%) when comparing to Caucasian women (5.8%).  Endometriosis is typically associated with a lower quality of life and significant physical, sexual, psychological and social impact. The cause of endometriosis is not entirely clear, and there is no cure for endometriosis. Typically, there are two types of interventions; treatment of pain and treatment of endometriosis-associated infertility. While the current standard therapy in terms of efficacy (GnRH analogues) relieves the pain, it can also lead to severe side-effects, such as decreased bone mineral density and hot flushes. For these reasons, it is not suitable as a long-term therapy.

About PRL receptor antibody

The PRL receptor antibody is a potent monoclonal antibody, blocking the PRL receptor-mediated pathway in a non-competitive manner. The drug product can be administrated subcutaneously. The antibody was well tolerated in a clinical Ph I study (combined single and multiple dosing).

The antibody was effective in stimulating hair growth in aged stump-tailed macaques, nearly doubling the number of terminal hairs after 6 months even in previously fully bald areas and showing a sustainable impact even after 2 years post treatment. Notably, the stump-tail macaque model is considered one of the rare predictive animal models for male and female pattern hair loss in humans. The study is a result of a close collaboration between Bayer scientists and researchers at IMM.

About Hope Medicine

Hope Medicine is a science driven clinical stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to research, develop and commercialize first-in-class innovative medicines improving quality of life for prevalent conditions affecting men and women. Hope Medicine has offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing, China. Contact: Ms. Amber Chen, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or Mr. Sam Lou, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

About Institute of Molecular Medicine, Peking University

The Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) is an autonomous research and educational institute at Peking University (PKU), focusing on basic and translational study of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Inaugurated in 2005, IMM has now blossomed into an international and leading research institute in cardiovascular science, demonstrated by its excellent track record of scientific discoveries, public service, and training of future leaders in biomedicine and biotechnology. For more information, go to http://www.imm.pku.edu.cn/

About Trustbridge Partners (TBP)

Trustbridge Partners is a leading growth equity investor with offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Boston, focusing on high-quality growth opportunities in China.

Founded in 2006, TBP currently manage approximately $8 billion in assets from an investor base that includes leading university endowments, pension funds and strategic industry partners. Our investment philosophy is driven by a fundamental understanding of long-term trends in society, consumer behavior, and technology. We concentrate on the TMT, consumer, and healthcare sectors, where we believe our deep experience and strong industry relationships generate unique insights and give our portfolio companies a competitive edge. For more information, go to http://www.trustbridgepartners.com/

SOURCE: Hope Medicine

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