Eucure Biopharma, a Subsidiary of Biocytogen, and TRACON Pharmaceuticals Announce Partnership for Development of Clinical Stage CTLA-4 Antibody YH001

Eucure Biopharma, a Subsidiary of Biocytogen, and TRACON Pharmaceuticals Announce Partnership for Development of Clinical Stage CTLA-4 Antibody YH001

  • YH001 is a potential best-in-class CTLA-4 antibody with enhanced ADCC and CDC effector functions  
  • YH001 is currently being dosed in multiple Phase 1 oncology trials sponsored by Eucure Biopharma in Australia and China 
  • TRACON intends to initiate a Phase 1 trial of YH001 in combination with envafolimab in soft tissue sarcoma as well as to study YH001 in multiple other selected tumor types 

Beijing, China – October 11, 2021 – Eucure Biopharma, a subsidiary of Biocytogen Pharmaceuticals (Beijing) Co., Ltd. (Biocytogen), and a China-based clinical stage biopharmaceutical company primarily focused on the research and development of biologics, announced today that it has entered into a collaborative partnership agreement with TRACON Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: TCON), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel targeted cancer therapeutics and utilizing a cost efficient, CRO-independent product development platform to partner with ex-U.S. companies to develop and commercialize innovative products in the U.S., for the development of YH001, a CTLA-4 antibody with enhanced ADCC and CDC effector functions, for development in multiple oncology indications, including soft tissue sarcoma, in North America.

Under the terms of the agreement, TRACON will be responsible for the clinical development and commercialization of YH001 in multiple oncology indications in North America, with the majority of the development activities expected to occur in the U.S. TRACON will bear the costs of clinical trials and Eucure Biopharma will supply YH001. TRACON will be responsible for commercializing YH001 in multiple oncology indications in North America and will owe Eucure escalating double digit royalties on net sales. 

YH001 was developed to potently inhibit CTLA-4 binding to the CD80/CD86 receptors and deplete regulatory T cells through enhanced ADCC and CDC effector functions. YH001 demonstrated superior activity in vitro and in transgenic syngeneic tumor models compared to ipilimumab (Yervoy®), both as a single agent and when combined with a PD-(L)1 antibody. 

“We believe that this collaboration with TRACON has potential to provide cancer patients in the United States with a best-in-class CTLA-4 checkpoint inhibitor. YH001 was optimized using our discovery labs and proprietary transgenic mouse models to inhibit CTLA-4 binding and to deplete regulatory cells. In our ongoing Phase 1 clinical trials, YH001 has been tolerable as a single agent and in combination with the PD-1 antibody toripalimab,” said Dr. Yuelei Shen, CEO of Eucure Biopharma and Biocytogen.

“We are focused on advancing a dual checkpoint inhibitor strategy based on the PD-(L)1 and CTLA-4 pathways, that we expect to leverage in sarcoma by combining YH001 with envafolimab, our novel, single-domain PD-L1 antibody, in sarcoma. Going forward, we intend to use YH001 rather than Yervoy in our future dual checkpoint inhibition trials in sarcoma, which we anticipate will result in meaningful cost savings from not needing to purchase Yervoy at retail prices.” said Charles Theuer, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of TRACON. “Moreover, we expect to study YH001 in other solid tumors in combination with PD-(L)1 antibodies, including in patients who have progressed on prior PD-(L)1 treatment.”  

About YH001

YH001 is an IgG1 antibody against CTLA-4 that has shown enhanced antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and complement dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) in vitro. In preclinical studies YH001 demonstrated superior T cell activation and superior tumor growth inhibition activity compared to ipilimumab. YH001 also demonstrated superior activity compared to ipilimumab in human transgenic mouse tuFmor models when combined with a PD-(L)1 antibody. In these models, single agent YH001 depleted regulatory T cells and increased CD8+ T cells in tumor tissue. YH001 is being dosed as a single agent in a Phase 1 trial in China (NCT04699929) and in combination with the PD-1 antibody toripalimab in a Phase 1 trial in Australia (NCT04357756). In July 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Investigational New Drug application to initiate multiple phase II clinical trials for YH001 in the United States.

About Eucure Biopharma

Eucure Biopharma, a subsidiary of Biocytogen, is a China based innovative biotechnology company with global vision, specializing in developing innovative antibody drugs with independent intellectual property rights. Relying on a strong clinical development team with extensive experiences, the company has established a product pipeline for more than 10 targets. At present, three products have received clinical trial approvals in the US and China including that two products have obtained the phase II clinical approval from the FDA and have initiated the global phase II clinical trials, two products have entered the phase I clinical trial in China, four products have entered Phase I clinical stages in Australia. These lay a solid foundation for the development of Eucure Biopharma. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Biocytogen, Eucure Biopharma is focused on clinical development. Biocytogen is an international biotechnology company driven by innovative technology and committed to becoming the global birthplace of new drugs, with a mission to focus on technological innovation, continuously produce new drugs, and safeguard human health. For more information, please visit

About Biocytogen

Biocytogen Pharmaceuticals (Beijing) Co., Ltd. is a global biotech company that drives the research and development of new drugs with innovative technologies. The company is committed to becoming a global headstream of new drugs and bringing the benefits to patients around the world as its mission. Based on the fully human antibody RenMabTM and RenLiteTM mice for fully human antibodies production with robust humoral responses, highly diverse antibody repertoire and superior affinity, Biocytogen has integrated its platforms in single-cell antibody discovery, gene editing, large-scale animal model supply, and screening to form a new approach to streamline the entire drug development process. Biocytogen actively promotes the independent and cooperative development of new drugs. For more, please visit

About RenMab

The RenMab™ platform is an innovation resulting from the interdisciplinary collaboration between geneticists and immunologists within Biocytogen. Our scientific teams realized the current shortcomings in antibody discovery using transgenic animals in the current market landscape. As a result, the teams came together and worked hard to craft a better solution that will push the boundary of biomedical science. For more, please visit


TRACON develops targeted therapies for cancer utilizing a capital efficient, CRO independent, product development platform. The Company’s clinical-stage pipeline includes: Envafolimab, a PD-L1 single-domain antibody given by rapid subcutaneous injection that is being studied in the pivotal ENVASARC trial for sarcoma; TRC102, a Phase 2 small molecule drug candidate for the treatment of lung cancer; and TJ004309, a CD73 antibody in Phase 1 development for the treatment of advanced solid tumors. TRACON is actively seeking additional corporate partnerships whereby it leads U.S. regulatory and clinical development and shares in the cost and risk of clinical development and leads U.S. commercialization. In these partnerships TRACON believes it can serve as a solution for companies without clinical and commercial capabilities in the U.S. To learn more about TRACON and its product pipeline, visit TRACON’s website at


Back to top