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Yuhan And Sorrento Therapeutics Form JV

March 4, 2016

ImmuneOnica Therapeutics strengthens both companies in immuno-oncology

Sorrento Therapeutics, an antibody-centric, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, and Yuhan Corporation, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in South Korea, entered into an agreement to form a joint venture company—ImmuneOncia Therapeutics—to develop and commercialize a number of immune checkpoint antibodies against undisclosed targets for both hematological malignancies and solid tumors. The creation of ImmuneOncia strengthens the presence of both companies in the field of immuno-oncology.

ImmuneOncia will benefit from Sorrento's immunotherapy product portfolio as well as its manufacturing capabilities. The joint venture will also take advantage of Yuhan's experience in research and development. ImmuneOncia will focus on advancing novel immunotherapies.

"The formation of ImmuneOncia represents a significant milestone for Yuhan as this is our first research and development-based joint venture company,” said Jung Hee Lee, president and chief executive officer, Yuhan. “Reflecting this importance, we are committing significant resources to ImmuneOncia for the development of novel cancer immunotherapies, an area of significant unmet need not just in Korea but also globally. Our JV will benefit immensely from Korea's world-renowned excellence and efficiency in drug development. We have strong interest in investing in Sorrento and its innovative immuno-oncology mAb portfolio, and look forward to working closely with Sorrento's outstanding team as well as further expanding our strategic relationship together.”

"We are excited to partner with Yuhan in jointly establishing ImmuneOncia," said Henry Ji, president and chief executive officer, Sorrento. "This global joint venture enables Sorrento and Yuhan to combine our complementary strengths with the ultimate goal of developing and commercializing Sorrento's innovative immune checkpoint mAbs. Through joint ventures and strategic alliances, we continue to accelerate the resource-efficient development of Sorrento's diverse portfolio of immunotherapies into the clinic. We share Yuhan's enthusiasm for the potential of ImmuneOncia to develop a deep pipeline of immuno-oncology products for cancer patients worldwide."

Yuhan will contribute an initial investment of $10 million to ImmuneOncia, and Sorrento will grant the JV an exclusive license for one of their immune checkpoint antibodies for specified countries while retaining the rights for U.S., European, and Japanese markets, as well as global rights for the JV to two additional antibodies that will be selected by ImmuneOncia from a group of pre-specified antibodies from Sorrento's immuno-oncology antibody portfolio. Yuhan will own 51% of ImmuneOncia, while Sorrento will hold the remaining 49%. Yuhan's chief scientific officer, Su Youn Nam will be appointed chief executive officer of ImmuneOncia. The first of the three immune checkpoint antibodies is expected to enter clinical trials next year.