Press release

Agreement on Joint Development of a New Anti-cancer Drug between National OncoVenture (NOV) Program and ABL Bio


Agreement on Joint Development of a New Anti-Cancer Drug between National OncoVenture (NOV) Program and ABL Bio

– Carry out the Joint Development of a New Anti-Cancer Drug Candidate based on Bispecific Antibody Technology –


The National OncoVenture (NOV), a Bridging & Development program for Anti-cancer Therapeutics with System Integration Program (CEO: Dr. In Chull Kim) led by the National Cancer Center and designated by the Ministry of Health and Welfare signed the agreement with ABL Bio (CEO/Founder: Ph. D. Sang Hoon Lee) for the joint development of NOV1501 (ABL001), a new anti-cancer drug candidate, on August 5, 2016.


According to the agreement, NOV and ABL Bio will perform Pre-clinical, Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical developments for the bispecific antibody and carry out the global technology licensing based on the results obtained from the clinical trials. NOV makes a commitment to lead successful development of NOV1501 based on accumulated experience from a number of clinical studies, particularly the development of new anti-cancer drug candidates during the first operation period in the last five years. Compared to chemical drugs, the development of antibody drug is not easy to overcome many challenges only with competence of individual companies. Because the development cost is relatively large and the environment of domestic pharmaceutical industry is not mature for development yet. Thus, it is promising if NOV and ABL Bio can collaborate together to overcome these challenges to achieve success in developing anti-cancer drug that meets global level.


NOV1501 (ABL001) is a bispecific antibody developed based on a unique bispecific antibody technology of ABL Bio. NOV1501 targets the VEGF and DLL4 involved in the angiogenesis of cancer tissue. It reduces blood vessel formation and blood flow in cancer cells and it blocks the growth of cancer tissues simultaneously. Because one antibody can bind to two targets at the same time, it is expected to have excellent anti-cancer efficacy than individual antibody binding to each target alone. Moreover, there is an advantage of reducing the burden of prescription for each of the two different antibodies, consequently reducing the burden of drug costs and dosage. As a result, it gives convenience to cancer patients and it is also easy to apply to additional anti-cancer cocktail therapy and immunotherapy.


Competing materials of NOV1501 bispecific antibody that also target VEGF/ Dll4 are being evaluated in Phase I clinical trial by OncoMed and Abbvie in United States. In particular, OMP-305B83, a bispecific antibody of OncoMed, is also being evaluated in Phase 1b clinical trial as a combination therapy with PD-1 antibody, a representative anti-cancer immunotherapy agent.


NOV and ABL Bio plans to start P1 clinical trial in 2nd half of 2017. ABL Bio and NOV plan to conduct translational biomarker studies to support ongoing and future clinical trials.


National OncoVenture (NOV) has founded in 2011 to support Korean new drug R&D researchers for their cancer drug development. NOV’s cancer drug development experts lead the R&D program of selected pre-clinical candidates from the Korean drug R&D institutions and develop through human phase 2 clinical trials in global standards. During the first period (2011–2016) of this program, government has supported more than $40 million for 15 anti-cancer drug development programs. After completion of the first period, NOV will start the second period, 4-year program from 2017 with more than $60 million of government support.



ABL Bio is a new bio-venture company. It consists of a total 18 experts, including 9 PhDs and it was established in February, 2016. Especially, the CEO of ABL Bio, Dr. Sang Hoon Lee, built his career from Chiron (currently Novartis), Genentech, AstraZeneca, and Exelixis as a core research staff of global leading pharmaceutical companies. Then he became the Senior Executive Director of Bio Division in Hanwha Chemical. He is a well-known expert in the field of new antibody drug development. ABL Bio is a start-up company, which has completed its initial investment (Series A) within two months of its founding. It is giving an impetus to research development aiming to be listed on KOSDAQ in 2018. Besides flagship pipeline NOV1501, ABL Bio is developing new antibody drugs as anticancer immunotherapy based on the bispecific antibody technology. It is also developing therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease by using bispecific antibody that is able to cross blood brain barrier. In addition, ABL Bio is also developing targeted anti-cancer agents called antibody drug conjugate (ADC), which has been recognized as a promising technology by being selected as the project of Osong New Drug Development Support Center (KBIO).