GP (HK) Enters into an Investment Agreement with eTheRNA Introducing the mRNA Vaccine Platform To Enrich Product Pipeline and Extend the Reach in Multiple Therapeutic Areas
(May 31, 2020, Hong Kong) China Grand Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Holdings Limited (“GP (HK)” or the “Company”, together with its subsidiaries, the “Group”, stock code: 00512) is pleased to announce that the Group recently entered into an investment agreement with a Belgium company eTheRNA Immunotherapies NV (“eTheRNA”) (the “Investment Agreement”). The Group will invest EUR9 million in eTheRNA after relevant conditions being fulfilled as agreed in the Investment Agreement. Upon the completion of the equity investment, the Group will obtain approximately 13% Preferred Series B Shares of eTheRNA and a board seat. The Preferred Series B Shares also carry the same voting rights as other classes of shares of eTheRNA. In the event of declaration of dividend (subject to the conditions stated in the articles of eTheRNA) or liquidation, the Group will carry a dividend or entitle to the assets respectively in preference to the holders of other classes of shares.
For further strengthening the cooperation of both parties and enhancing the research and production capacity of the Group in the bio-technology field, the Group has agreed certain terms with eTheRNA for strategic cooperation and subject to further negotiation, including (but not limited to) setting up a joint venture company, introducing the production technology of eTheRNA for manufacturing messenger ribonucleic acid (“mRNA”), as well as performing independent research and development (“R&D”), production and commercialization in the fields of tumor immunity and infection disease prevention. The Group will also obtain the right of first refusal of other eTheRNA developing projects for exclusive development and commercialization rights in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
eTheRNA is a clinical-stage company applying mRNA based immunotherapies. It was established by a famous immunologist Professor Kris Thielemans of Vrije Univresiteit Brussel (“VUB”) and other partners in 2013. It obtained the worldwide exclusive license on the TriMix related technology from VUB. With the application of its mature mRNA manufacturing technology and lipid nanoparticles (“LNP”) technology, eTheRNA has set up the R&D platform with wide-spread applicability and expandability, which is designed for the R&D of products related to tumor immunotherapy and vaccines for infectious diseases. Currently the therapeutic vaccine for metastatic melanoma has commenced a phase 1b clinical study in Europe.
Compared with conventional vaccines, mRNA vaccines have advantages including short production cycles, low production costs and high safety. Upon the maturity of this technology, the flexibility and adaptability of the platform will be further enhanced, and has a broad market prospect. Furthermore, the mRNA immunotherapy has a high technical barrier of entry. Currently, the global industry is still in the early stage of development and those leading companies are mostly undertaking phase I and II clinical studies while not yet achieving distinct leading advantages. A few pharmaceutical manufacturers in China are also exploring in this field, and certain startup companies are at the pre-clinical research stage. Working with eTheRNA, the Group is optimistic about obtaining certain market shares in this field through R&D, manufacturing and commercialization by introducing its advanced mRNA vaccines production technology and LNP technology (“mRNA Vaccine Platform Technology”).
The Board of China Grand Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Holdings Limited, commented: “The Group always puts focus on the R&D of new products and is actively involved in activities such as global investment and acquisition of high-quality products and assets in core therapeutic areas, in order to enrich product lines and innovative core products reserve. The investment in eTheRNA’s mRNA Vaccine Platform Technology, with emphasis on the expansion of the platform, may further optimize the Group’s strategic planning in tumor immunotherapy and infectious diseases, and may create synergies with existing pipeline products. The cooperation is also another interpretation of the Group’s two core growth drivers, ‘self-development’ and ‘global expansion’. Furthermore, the protein replacement therapy developed by the mRNA Vaccine Platform Technology can be rapidly applied in the treatment for multiple rare diseases and thus can further enrich the Group’s product portfolio in rare diseases. In the future, the Group will continue to promote the R&D and commercialization of new products for providing better treatment options to more patients, and meanwhile enhance its comprehensive competitiveness to generate better returns to its shareholders.”