SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA and SUZHOU, China I February 20, 2022 I Innovent Biologics, Inc. (“Innovent”) (HKEX: 01801), a world-class biopharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures and commercializes high-quality medicines for the treatment of oncology, metabolic, autoimmune and other major diseases, today announced the first patient dosing for its first-in-class IgG-based universal “modular” Claudin 18.2-targeting chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cell product (development code: IBI345) for the treatment of advanced Claudin18.2-positive solid tumors in an investigator-initiated-trial (IIT). Since Innovent announced its strategic cooperation with Roche on June 9, 2020, this is the first disclosure of the development milestone for the cell therapy products based on Roche’s proprietary innovative technology platform.

The study (NCT05199519) is an investigator-initiated clinical trial with the primary objective of evaluating the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and preliminary efficacy of IBI345 in subjects with Claudin18.2-positive solid tumors.

CAR-T cell therapy has established a meaningful role in the treatment of hematological tumors with 5 products approved by the FDA, and 2 by the NMPA in China, respectively; however, antitumor efficacy for solid tumors remains a challenge calling for technological breakthroughs. As the world’s first universal “modular” CAR-T cell product, IBI345 has potentially differentiated advantages over conventional CAR-T cell therapy products, including: 1) leveraging antibody function to target tumor antigens and consequently amplifying the tumor antigen signal to guide CAR-T cells to enter the tumor, thus aiding in the initiation of tumor recognition and killing; 2) controlling the functional activity of the CAR-T cells via concomitantly administered antibodies which act as a bridge between the target cell and CAR-T cell, potentially providing a better safety profile; 3) allows for the sequential or simultaneous administration of more than one antibody targeting different antigen targets without changing CAR-T cells, to treat tumors with highly heterogeneous antigen expression or relapsed tumors due to antigen-loss, thereby improving the accessibility and increasing the flexibility of CAR-T cell therapy for patients.

The principal investigator of the study, Professor Weichang Chen, the Secretary of the Party Committee and Chief Physician of the Department of Gastroenterology of the First Hospital Affiliated to Soochow University, pointed out: “As gastric and pancreatic cancer are highly aggressive tumors with high incidence rates in the world, patients are in urgent need of novel treatment options to improve clinical outcomes. IBI345, with its unique design to control CAR-T functional activity through the antibody bridging, will likely provide improved safety and efficacy. We look forward to the positive results of the safety, tolerability and efficacy data of IBI345 in patients with solid tumors, which will potentially provide a new option for the treatment of patients with advanced gastric or pancreatic cancer.”

Dr. Xu Wei, VP of Innovent, R&D Head of Cell Therapy, said: “IBI345 is a highly differentiated CAR-T cell product with a new mechanism of action developed by Innovent based on Roche’s proprietary technology. As a universal “modular” CAR-T cell therapy product, equipped with a precisely targeted antibody switch, it regulates the expansion of CAR-T cells to control side effects, potentially providing an opportunity to switch to another antibody that targets different antigens to prevent recurrence and treat different tumors. Our preclinical studies have validated this “modular” CAR-T technology, which provides us with the sufficient scientific data to initiate clinical studies. In the following clinical studies, we will explore the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and preliminary efficacy of IBI345, and optimize the clinical dosage and regimen to support the subsequent IND application. We firmly believe that Innovent will be able to introduce more innovative cell therapies through platform technology innovation, product transformation and in-depth collaboration with the clinical academic community that will ultimately benefit more patients and families.”

About Claudin 18.2
Claudin protein is a critical component of tight junction complex molecules which play an important role in the life activities of the human body. On the one hand, tight junctions can function as a “barrier” to select the size and charge of substances, thereby regulating the transport of substances in the para-cellular pathway. For example, brain vascular endothelial cells can pass through this barrier, preventing blood from mixing with the extracellular fluid in the brain. On the other hand, tight junctions can also function as “fences”, maintaining cell polarity by regulating the free diffusion of lipids and proteins between the apical and the basolateral membrane.

Claudin18.2 is a member of the Claudin protein family, which is a highly tissue-specific protein expressed only in differentiated epithelial cells on the gastric mucosa under normal physiological conditions. Previous studies have revealed that Claudin18.2 is highly expressed in multiple types of cancer such as gastric cancer, pancreatic cancer, esophageal adenocarcinoma, and colorectal adenocarcinoma. The unique feature of limited expression in normal tissues and highly specific expression in cancer makes Claudin18.2 an ideal target for developing the immunotherapeutic for solid tumors.

Globally, there is currently no therapy targeting Claudin18.2 approved for marketing, but there are many candidate therapies in clinical development. The drug modalities under development include monoclonal antibodies, bispecific antibodies, antibody-conjugated drugs and CAR-T cell products.

About Gastric and Pancreatic adenocarcinoma
Gastric and pancreatic cancer are both malignant tumors of the digestive system that seriously endanger human life and health. The latest global cancer statistics show that there will be about 1.089 million new cases of gastric cancer worldwide in 2020, accounting for 5.6% of the global cancer incidence, and about 768,000 deaths, accounting for 7.7% of the global cancer deaths. There are about 495,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer, accounting for 2.6% of the global cancer incidence, and about 466,000 deaths, accounting for 4.7% of the global cancer deaths. According to the national cancer statistics released by the National Cancer Center of China in 2019, the incidence of gastric cancer in China in 2015 was about 403,000, accounting for 10.26% of the total cancer incidence, second only to lung cancer at 20.03%, with an incidence rate of 29.31/100,000 people, and about 291,000 deaths, accounting for 12.45% of the total cancer deaths, behind lung and liver cancer, with a mortality rate of 21.16/100,000 people. In 2015, the number of cases and deaths of pancreatic cancer nationwide were 95,000 and 85,000 respectively, ranking the 10th and 6th in the incidence and mortality of malignant tumors. The mortality ratio of pancreatic cancer was 0.89, making it a true “King of Cancer”. Despite the treatment progress in recent years, drug resistance, recurrence and metastasis are still inevitable. The 5-year survival rate of patients with advanced gastric cancer is about 5-20%, and the median survival rate is about 10 months. Pancreatic cancer has a worse prognosis, with a 5-year survival rate of only 6 to 8%.

About IBI345
IBI345 is the first universal “modular” CAR-T cell product developed by Innovent based on Roche’s proprietary technology. It is an internationally pioneered highly differentiated CAR-T cell product with a new mechanism of action. Different from conventional CAR-T cells that directly recognize and kill tumor cells, IBI345 comprises of two components, anti-Claudin18.2 antibodies and “modular” CAR-T cells where anti-Claudin18.2 antibody recognizes tumor antigen, thus calibrating and amplifying the antigen signal, and guides “modular” CAR-T cells to enter the tumor to initiate the cytotoxic and antitumor activity of CAR-T cells. Compared with conventional CAR-T cells, IBI345 has a variety of potential advantages, including dual effects of antibodies and CAR-T cells to increase antitumor efficacy, and flexible control of side effects by regulating CAR-T cell activity through antibodies; in addition, as having a universal CAR molecule, “modular” CAR-T cells can be easily switched to different antibodies without changing CAR-T cells, by sequentially or simultaneously administering more than one antibody targeting different antigen targets, to treat tumors with highly heterogeneous antigen expression or antigen-loss relapsed tumors, which holds a great potential to reduce the cost of CAR-T cell therapy and improve the accessibility of CAR-T cell therapy for patients.

Innovent announced that first patient dosing has been completed in February 2022 in the investigator-initiated clinical trial of IBI345 for the treatment of advanced Claudin18.2-positive solid tumors, and enrollment is currently ongoing. The safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and preliminary efficacy of IBI345 will be explored, and the clinical dosage and regimen will be explored to provide clinical data support for the subsequent IND application.

About Innovent
Inspired by the spirit of “Start with Integrity, Succeed through Action,” Innovent’s mission is to develop, manufacture and commercialize high-quality biopharmaceutical products that are affordable to ordinary people. Established in 2011, Innovent is committed to developing, manufacturing and commercializing high-quality innovative medicines for the treatment of cancer, autoimmune, metabolic and other major diseases. On October 31, 2018, Innovent was listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited with the stock code: 01801.HK.

Since its inception, Innovent has developed a fully integrated multi-functional platform which includes R&D, CMC (Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls), clinical development and commercialization capabilities. Leveraging the platform, the company has built a robust pipeline of 29 valuable assets in the fields of cancer, metabolic, autoimmune disease and other major therapeutic areas, with 6 products approved for marketing in China – TYVYT® (sintilimab injection), BYVASDA® (bevacizumab biosimilar injection), SULINNO® (adalimumab biosimilar injection), HALPRYZA® (rituximab biosimilar injection) , Pemazyre® (pemigatinib oral inhibitor) and olverembatinib (BCR-ABL TKI), 5 assets in Phase 3 or pivotal clinical trials, and an additional 18 molecules in clinical studies.

Innovent has built an international team with advanced talent in high-end biological drug development and commercialization, including many global experts. The company has also entered into strategic collaborations with Eli Lilly and Company, Adimab, Incyte, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Hanmi and other international partners. Innovent strives to work with many collaborators to help advance China’s biopharmaceutical industry, improve drug availability and enhance the quality of the patients’ lives. For more information, please visit: and

SOURCE: Innovent Biologics