Press Release

The Chinese pharmaceutical company SciClone joins the capital of AbilityPharma with an investment commitment of three million dollars

December 28, 2020

  • The Catalan biopharmaceutical successfully closes a crowdfunding campaign with Capital Cell by raising 2 million € in one month
  • In 2020 the company has raised 12.4 million € to finance its research in pancreatic cancer

Barcelona, 28 December 2020.- The Catalan biopharmaceutical company AbilityPharma, focused on the development of innovative oral anticancer compounds, has signed an investment agreement of USD 3 million with the Chinese company SciClone Pharmaceuticals, which will become a shareholder in the biotech company based in Cerdanyola del Vallès (Barcelona). The collaboration between both companies started in 2016, with the signature of a license agreement to develop and commercialize ABTL0812 in Greater China.

AbilityPharma has also completed successfully a 2 million € crowdfunding campaign through the collective investment platform Capital Cell. The Catalan company reached the campaign goal in just 32 days with a total of 686 investors.
These investments are part of a financing round during the second half of 2020 in which AbilityPharma has raised 6.1 million € to finance its research on a treatment against pancreatic cancer.


About SciClone’s investment agreement

As part of the investment agreement, SciClone will invest USD 1 million this year and USD 2 additional millions based on future development milestones. The collaboration between AbilityPharma and SciClone started in 2016, when a license agreement was signed with the Chinese company. At that time, SciClone was based in the United States (USA) listed on the NASDAQ. In 2017, SciClone was acquired by a consortium of Chinese investors, led by GL Capital Management. The agreement granted the exclusive license to develop and commercialize AbilityPharma's innovative anticancer agent, ABTL0812, in China and some neighboring territories. During this time, AbilityPharma has received an upfront payment and development milestone payments, and will also receive future payments for additional development milestones and sales, potentially over $ 20 million.

Carles Domènech, Executive Chairman, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder of AbilityPharma, said: "We are very happy to have reached this agreement with SciClone. This investment represents a continued support to our project and our company." Domènech added that "This funding, together with the 2 million € raised in the crowdfunding campaign, gives us a very important financial support to conduct the phase 2b clinical trial in patients with pancreatic cancer".

Hong Zhao, CEO of SciClone Pharmaceuticals, commented that the investment agreement "Is a further step in the relationship of trust established with AbilityPharma since 2016." "We are very satisfied with the results obtained to date and believe in the potential of ABTL0812 for the treatment of oncological diseases with unmet medical needs," added Zhao.

Sara Secall, Partner at Inveready and member of the Board of Directors of AbilityPharma, highlighted: “The entry of SciClone in AbilityPharma as a shareholder means an evolution in the investment strategy of the company. We incorporate a strategic partner that guides the project towards the market”.


Support from the EU and the USA

Last March, the company obtained 5.2 million € from the Horizon 2020 Pilot Program, European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator (2.8 million will be a direct investment in the company's capital, managed through an EIB fund). In parallel, the US FDA awarded a 1.6 million € (USD 1.9 million) grant to AbilityPharma in October for the clinical development of the molecule ABTL0812.

During 2018 and 2019, AbilityPharma attracted 4.4 million € from investors such as Inveready, Fitalent (Everis Group), private investors through Capital Cell, the founding partners and government funds from CDTI.


Drug being developed

AbilityPharma advances in the validation of its new investigational drug, ABTL0812, capable of transforming the paradigm of the first-line treatment of pancreatic cancer. This new molecule causes selective autophagy in cancer cells without affecting healthy cells. ABTL0812 has been tested positively in phase 2 clinical trials, as first-line therapy in patients with endometrial cancer or squamous lung cancer, in Europe.

AbilityPharma's next goal is to conduct an international, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2 clinical trial in pancreatic cancer to investigate ABTL0812 in combination with FOLFIRINOX chemotherapy. The study will include reference centers in Spain, France, USA and Israel.

Upon completion of the clinical trial in 2022, AbilityPharma's goal is to establish a license agreement with a multinational pharmaceutical company to further develop ABTL0812, with the aim of making it available to pancreatic cancer patients by 2024 and further developing it for other cancer types .


An orphan disease

Pancreatic cancer is considered an "orphan disease" with an urgent clinical need for new, safe and effective therapies. Until now, chemotherapy has been the main treatment for all stages of pancreatic cancer. With ABTL0812, however, the effects of various types of chemotherapy are enhanced without increasing their toxicity.
Pancreatic cancer mostly affects people between 65 and 70 years of age and is a tumor that is difficult to diagnose and has a high mortality rate. In other words, pancreatic cancer is not the most common, but it is the one with the lowest survival rate among the main types of cancer: lung, colorectal, breast and prostate.

In recent years, its incidence has increased and, in Spain alone, it is estimated that in 2030 there will be about 9,000 new cases per year, representing an increase of 40%. In 2020, it is expected to be the second leading cause of cancer death in Europe, where an annual mortality of 128,000 people from this type of cancer is estimated. Globally, pancreatic cancer is already the seventh leading cause of cancer-related death.


About AbilityPharma

AbilityPharma is a biopharmaceutical company founded in 2009, based in Cerdanyola del Vallès (Barcelona), and focused on the development of innovative oral anticancer compounds, which produce selective autophagy-mediated cytotoxicity in cancer cells. The ABTL0812 molecule is the most advanced compound and has already been tested positively in phase 2 clinical trials, as a first-line therapy in patients with endometrial cancer or squamous lung cancer, in Europe.

Current shareholders include the venture capital funds Inveready, Fitalent (Grupo Everis) and SODENA, the CDTI, its founders and private investors, and it has the financial support of ACCIÓ (Government of Catalonia), the European Commission (EIC Accelerator) and CDTI, ENISA and MINECO (Government of Spain).


About SciClone

SciClone Pharmaceuticals (Holdings) Limited is a leading biopharmaceutical company with an integrated platform for product development and commercialization, focusing on some of the largest and fast-growing therapeutics areas with significant unmet medical needs in China, primarily including oncology and severe infection. Leveraging their integrated platform, SciClone has a proven track record in developing and commercializing a balanced portfolio of high-quality marketed products and innovative pipeline drugs in their focused therapeutic areas. For more information regarding to SciClone, go to: http://www.sciclone.com/.

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