Carlsbad drugmaker Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc. has inked a deal with a Chinese biotech that will help Ionis develop and sell its medicines in China.

The partner company, Sozhou Ribo Life Science Co. or Ribo, will get rights to commercialize two antisense drugs in metabolic disease and cancer, and an option to license a third antisense drug for an undisclosed indication.

As part of the deal, Ribo will be responsible for doing R&D work to identify drugs that can use Ionis’ technology.

Ionis will receive an undisclosed upfront payment, along with equity in Ribo. The local drugmaker also gets to hang on to rights to develop and sell the drugs outside of China.

"The need for new medicines in China is growing rapidly, especially for metabolic diseases and certain genetically defined cancers," said Brett Monia, senior vice president of drug discovery and franchise leader for oncology and rare diseases at Ionis Pharmaceuticals. "Ribo is the ideal partner for us in China. Ribo has made excellent progress in its RNAi therapeutic programs and we believe we will benefit from their drug development and regulatory expertise in China. We believe that our partnership with Ribo maximizes the value of our drugs in this collaboration by leveraging the clinical data generated in China to support the overall global development plan for each drug."