UK medical research charity MRC Technology has licensed an antibody to Newsummit Biopharma, a leading China-based drug development process solutions provider, for development of a novel therapeutic for treatment of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

The antibody was humanised using MRCT’s proprietary antibody humanisation technique and expertise which, it notes, has helped bring several other humanised antibody drugs to the market, including MSD’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) and Roche’s Actemra/RoActemra (tocilizumab).

It is estimated that around 200 million people globally are infected with HCV, a major cause of chronic liver disease, of which 25 percent live in China. Current projections estimate that the condition will be a major source of morbidity and mortality before the end of this decade.

While new promising treatments are now becoming available, there is as yet no vaccine and there is an unmet need to develop new targets for a broad and more effective therapy, MRCT noted.

“We have been working successfully with MRC Technology since 2009 to attract innovative therapies and diagnostics from the UK and Europe onto the Chinese market,” said Jun Ren, Newsummit Biopharma’s chief executive.

“With this license agreement, and through our unique collaborative innovation ecosystem, we aim to quickly tackle one of China’s major public health issues, as well as provide patients from Asia and the West with a valuable therapeutic option against HCV.”

Further terms of the deal were not disclosed at this time.