Corvus Pharmaceuticals Announces Co-Founding of Angel Pharmaceuticals in China
Angel’s pipeline will feature Corvus’ three clinical-stage candidates – ciforadenant, CPI-006 and CPI-818 – and its preclinical BTK inhibitor program
Strategic collaboration gives Corvus 49.7% equity stake and provides an opportunity to accelerate the development of the Corvus pipeline in China and globally
Angel launches with $41 million financing backed by local investor group which includes three prominent biopharmaceutical companies
Corvus hosting conference call today at 8:30 a.m. ET / 5:30 a.m. PT
BURLINGAME, Calif., Oct. 05, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Corvus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRVS), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, today announced that it has entered into a strategic collaboration with Angel Pharmaceuticals that will enable the development and commercialization of its pipeline of precisely targeted investigational medicines in China.
Angel Pharmaceuticals is a new China-based biopharmaceutical company with a mission to bring innovative quality medicines to Chinese patients for treatment of serious diseases including cancer, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases. It was formed as a Corvus wholly-owned subsidiary and was launched with a post-money valuation of $106 million, based on a $41 million cash investment from a Chinese investor group that includes funds associated with Tigermed and Betta Pharmaceuticals, Hisun Pharmaceuticals and Zhejiang Puissance Capital, which investments are subject to the satisfaction of certain customary conditions. Contemporaneously with the financing, Angel Pharmaceuticals licensed the rights to develop and commercialize Corvus’ three clinical-stage candidates – ciforadenant, CPI-006 and CPI-818 – in greater China and obtained global rights to Corvus’ BTK inhibitor preclinical programs. Under the collaboration, Corvus will initially retain a 49.7% equity stake in Angel Pharmaceuticals and will be entitled to designate three individuals on Angel’s five-person Board of Directors.
“The formation and launch of Angel Pharmaceuticals to develop our product pipeline in greater China opens a significant new opportunity for Corvus,” said Richard A. Miller, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Corvus. “We expect Corvus shareholders will benefit from this collaboration in two main ways: our ownership position in Angel in the rapidly growing Chinese biotech market, and the acceleration of our product development capabilities through the participation of patients in China. We believe Angel is positioned for success as a science-based Chinese biopharmaceutical company backed by an impressive group of investors with financial resources, and significant regulatory, drug development and commercialization experience. Their investment is strong validation of Corvus’ pipeline and its importance in addressing unmet needs in the Chinese and global markets. We have already begun working with the Angel leadership to initiate clinical trials in China with ciforadenant, CPI-006 and CPI-818 in cancer, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases within the next 12 to 18 months. We believe that the expertise and development capabilities at Angel will accelerate and enhance Corvus’ global development capabilities.”
“Dr. Miller is a world-renowned drug developer and he has built a first class management team at Corvus. The Angel team is fortunate to partner with Dr. Miller and his team on their novel product portfolio, which has demonstrated impressive results to date in the clinic,” said Dr. Ted Wang, managing partner of Puissance Capital, co-founder and board member of Angel Pharmaceuticals. “Angel is launching at an opportune time, benefiting from China’s explosive growth in demand for innovative medicines, reform in drug regulation and approvals, and change in IPO listing requirements specifically designed to encourage drug innovation.”
“Our goal in launching Angel is to build a company that will have a long-term, positive impact on society. We have brought together a local team that is aligned with this mission and that is very experienced in the Chinese market, including expertise in research and development, clinical operations and regulatory affairs, business development, and intellectual property protection. By standing on the shoulders of Corvus, Angel can accelerate drug development and bring innovative medicines, including internally developed programs, to patients in China and globally faster.”
Strategic Rationale for Corvus
- Establishes 49.7% ownership in a uniquely positioned biopharmaceutical company in the rapidly growing Chinese market.
- Clinical study synergies and accelerated timelines, whereby data from patients enrolled in China studies could potentially be used as part of U.S. regulatory submissions as part of a global pivotal study protocol.
- Research and development synergies, whereby Corvus will benefit from Angel’s research and development efforts and China’s deep pool of talented researchers.
- Establishes collaboration with leading Chinese investors, biopharmaceutical companies and scientists with experience in regulatory affairs, clinical development, manufacturing and commercialization.
Launching with a Uniquely Positioned and Validated Oncology Pipeline
Angel Pharmaceuticals will be responsible for the clinical development and commercialization, including all related expenses, of the licensed pipeline programs in China, and for the pre-clinical BTK program globally. It plans to initiate clinical trials in China for ciforadenant, CPI-006 and CPI-818 in the next 12 to 18 months. In the United States, Corvus is planning to meet with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2020 to discuss the study design and plans for a pivotal ciforadenant study in advanced refractory renal cell cancer (RCC) using the Adenosine Gene Signature as a biomarker. Angel Pharmaceuticals’ clinical trial activity in China is expected to be part of this global pivotal study. Angel Pharmaceuticals’ cash position at launch is expected to provide runway beyond its first two years. Such cash will not be available for uses by Corvus.
Strong Leadership Team, and Board of Directors
Angel Pharmaceuticals will have well-known, experienced local pharmaceutical executives with management experience in multinational companies in clinical, regulatory and research. At launch, the senior team includes seven leaders that hold a medical degree or Ph.D., and the company plans to expand its team with leading scientific talent in China. In addition, Dr. Miller, a co-founder of Angel, will serve as Chairman of the Board and interim chief executive officer, working closely with the founding leadership team.
The Angel Pharmaceuticals Board of Directors will initially be comprised of:
- Richard Miller, chairman and chief executive officer of Corvus Pharmaceuticals
- Leiv Lea, chief financial officer of Corvus Pharmaceuticals
- Peter Thompson, Private Equity Partner with OrbiMed Advisors and co-founder and board member of Corvus Pharmaceuticals
- Ted Wang, chief investment officer of Puissance Capital
Conference Call Details
Corvus will host a conference call and webcast today, Monday, October 5, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. ET (5:30 a.m. PT), to discuss the launch of Angel Pharmaceuticals. The conference call can be accessed by dialing 1-877-407-0784 (toll-free domestic) or 1-201-689-8560 (international) and using the conference ID 13711371. The live webcast may be accessed via the investor relations section of the Corvus website. A replay of the webcast will be available on Corvus' website for 90 days.
About Angel Pharmaceuticals
Angel Pharmaceuticals is a privately held biopharmaceutical company developing a pipeline of precisely targeted investigational medicines in China. The Company was launched through a collaboration with U.S.-based Corvus Pharmaceuticals and investments from investors in China.
About Corvus Pharmaceuticals
Corvus Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. Corvus’ lead product candidates are ciforadenant (CPI-444), a small molecule inhibitor of the A2A receptor, and CPI-006, a humanized monoclonal antibody directed against CD73 that has exhibited immunomodulatory activity and activation of immune cells in preclinical studies. These product candidates are being studied in ongoing Phase 1b/2 and Phase 1/1b clinical trials in patients with a wide range of advanced solid tumors. Ciforadenant is being evaluated in a successive expansion cohort Phase 1b/2 trial examining its activity both as a single agent and in combination with an anti-PD-L1 antibody. CPI-006 is being evaluated in a multicenter Phase 1/1b clinical trial as a single agent, in combination with ciforadenant and pembrolizumab. The Company’s third cancer clinical program, CPI-818, an oral, small molecule drug that has been shown to selectively inhibit ITK, is in a multicenter Phase 1/1b clinical trial in patients with several types of T-cell lymphomas. The Company is also evaluating CPI-006 as a treatment for COVID-19 patients. For more information, visit www.corvuspharma.com.
Ciforadenant (CPI-444) is a small molecule, oral, checkpoint inhibitor designed to disable a tumor’s ability to subvert attack by the immune system by blocking the binding of adenosine in the tumor microenvironment to the A2A receptor. Adenosine, a metabolite of ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate), is produced within the tumor microenvironment where it may bind to the adenosine A2A receptor present on immune cells and block their activity. CD39 and CD73 are enzymes on the surface of tumor cells and immune cells. These enzymes work in concert to convert ATP to adenosine.
Adenosine Gene Signature
The adenosine gene signature is a biomarker that reflects adenosine induced immunosuppression in the tumor. These genes express chemokines that recruit myeloid cells including immunosuppressive tumor associated CD68+ myeloid cells, which are thought to mediate resistance to anti-PD-(L)1 treatment.
CPI-006 is a potent humanized monoclonal antibody that reacts with a specific site on CD73. It has demonstrated immunomodulatory activity resulting in activation of lymphocytes, induction of antibody production from B cells and effects on lymphocyte trafficking. While there are other anti-CD73 antibodies in development for treatment of cancer, such antibodies have been reported to react with a different region of CD73 and are designed to block production of adenosine, which is not involved in the immunomodulatory processes seen with CPI-006. CPI-006 is currently being evaluated in an ongoing Phase 1 study in patients with COVID-19 and has demonstrated enhanced antibody responses to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
CPI-818 is a small molecule drug given orally that has been shown to selectively inhibit ITK (interleukin-2-inducible T-cell kinase). It was developed to possess dual properties: to block malignant T-cell growth and modulate immune responses. ITK, an enzyme, is expressed predominantly in T-cells and plays a role in T-cell and natural killer (NK) cell lymphomas and leukemias, as well as in normal immune function. Interference with ITK signaling can modulate immune responses to various antigens. The inhibition of specific molecular targets in T-cells may be of therapeutic benefit for patients with T-cell lymphomas and in patients with autoimmune diseases. The Company is conducting a Phase 1 dose escalation trial in patients with refractory T-cell lymphomas.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements related to the potential safety and efficacy of ciforadenant, CPI-006, and CPI-818, the Company’s ability and the ability of Angel Pharmaceuticals to develop and advance product candidates into and successfully complete preclinical studies and clinical trials, including the Company’s Phase 1b/2 clinical trial of ciforadenant, the Company’s Phase 1/1b clinical trial of CPI-006, the Company’s Phase 1/1b clinical trial of CPI-818, in each case, for certain cancers, as well as the Company’s Phase 1 trial of CPI-006 for COVID-19, the timing of, certain product development milestones, and the sufficiency of Angel Pharmaceuticals’ cash resources. All statements other than statements of historical fact contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. These statements often include words such as “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “estimate,” “seek,” “will,” “may” or similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which involve factors or circumstances that are beyond the Company’s control. The Company’s actual results could differ materially from those stated or implied in forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including but not limited to, risks detailed in the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2020, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 30, 2020, as well as other documents that may be filed by the Company from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In particular, the following factors, among others, could cause results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements: the Company’s ability and the ability of Angel Pharmaceuticals to demonstrate sufficient evidence of efficacy and safety in its clinical trials of ciforadenant, CPI-006 and CPI-818; the accuracy of the Company’s estimates relating to its ability to initiate and/or complete preclinical studies and clinical trials; the results of preclinical studies may not be predictive of future results; the unpredictability of the regulatory process; regulatory developments in the United States, China and other foreign countries; whether the FDA accepts data from trials conducted in foreign locations, including China; the unpredictability of any ongoing or future trade dispute between the United States and China; the costs of clinical trials may exceed expectations; the Company’s ability and the ability of Angel Pharmaceuticals to raise additional capital; the effects of COVID-19 on the Company’s and Angel Pharmaceuticals’ respective clinical programs and business operations; the unpredictability of the regulatory approval process in China; and the satisfaction of all obligations by each of the counterparties to the agreements to be entered into in connection with the transactions discussed herein. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, it cannot guarantee that the events and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements will be achieved or occur, and the timing of events and circumstances and actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. All such statements speak only as of the date made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Chief Financial Officer
Corvus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.