(Yicai Global) Nov. 17 -- China's Elpiscience Biopharmaceuticals, which has nine new immunotherapy products in the pipeline, pushes on with drug development to cure persistent cancers.
The startup has been doing world-class development and research on a new generation of immunotherapies, Darren Ji, founder and chief executive of the Shanghai-based firm said to Yicai Global during the ongoing International Biopharma Industry Week Shanghai 2022.
PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors, one type of immunotherapy that helps the immune system attack cancer cells by blocking certain proteins, is a milestone on the journey to fight cancer, Ji said. But the therapy is only effective for 20 to 30 percent of all patients so Elpiscience aims to create a new type of product to help the remaining 70 percent or those who cannot even use such checkpoint inhibitors in the first place.
Elpiscience's medicine unleashes the cells' ability to kill tumors quite uniquely, mobilizing various factors to curb tumor growth, Ji said. The startup is developing various products in Shanghai's Zhangjiang High-Tech Park, committed to advancing at least one global innovative drug candidate to the clinical phases each year.
Elpiscience's key jobs this year are focusing on its product portfolio, expanding globally, and building an international ecosystem for independent R&D, the CEO added. That involves crucial innovation moves and external cooperation. The company is dedicated to developing its own products and licensed intellectual property is mostly used to complement Elpiscience's line-up.
Shanghai and the technology park in Zhangjiang were a natural choice for Elpiscience as the eastern city's biopharmaceutical industry ecosystem is unparalleled worldwide due to its access to transportation, information, talent, and capital, per the CEO.
Zhangjiang is located in the Pudong New Area which has introduced preferable policies for biomedicine. Moreover, the National Medical Products Administration has located its drug review branch of the Yangtze River Delta in Zhangjiang, which facilitates regional drug review, according to Ji. Zhangjiang's talents and residence policies are also quite favorable for developers of biological drugs, he added.
Elpiscience has made progress in developing cancer treatments since its inception over four years ago. It has nine products in the pipeline while four of them have entered clinical research stages, and most of the total are global first-in-class drugs independently developed by Elpiscience.
Editors: Tang Shihua, Emmi Laine, Xiao Yi