Deals and Financings
China Bridge Capital, a Beijing financial services firm, invested $45 million in iCarbonX, the big data/AI healthcare start-up that raised $155 million in a Series A at a $1 billion valuation earlier this year (see story). iCarbonX was founded by Jun Wang, formerly CEO of BGI, China's giant gene sequencing company. China Bridge also plans to raise $1.5 billion for an investment fund that acquires precision healthcare assets, a focus area for iCarbonX.
Concord Medical Services (NYSE: CCM), a company that operates radiotherapy and diagnostic centers in China and is now developing private China cancer hospitals, received a management-led privatization offer at a price of $5.19 per ADS (see story). The bid is a 34% premium to the previous closing price and values Concord at $228 million. In 2009, Concord staged a New York Stock Exchange IPO at $11 per ADS, but fell 12% in the first day of trading.
Huapont Life Sciences (SHZ: 002004) of Chongqing will make a $3 million investment into San Diego's Angionetics (NSDQ: CRXM) (see story). In return, Huapont will gain China rights to Angionetics' Generx® (Ad5FGF-4), which is designed to increase microvasculature as a treatment for ischemic heart disease and refractory angina. Angionetics will use the investment for a US Phase III trial of Generx, while Huapont will be responsible for its China registration. After the investment, Huapont will own 15% of Angionetics. Angionetics is a subsidiary of Taxus Cardium Pharmaceuticals.
Uni-Bio Science (HK: 690), a Hong Kong biopharma, signed an agreement that gives China Resources Zizhu Pharma China rights to market GeneSoft, an ophthalmic wound healing product (see story). GeneSoft is a derivative of recombinant human epidermal growth factor (rhEGF), which improves healing of the cornea by regenerating the corneal epithelium. CR Zizhu, a wholly owned subsidiary of China Resource Pharma, focuses on the China hospital market for ophthalmology and reproductive health drugs. The initial term of the agreement is five years, with an option for an additional five years.
Trials and Approvals
Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine (SHA: 600276) was granted CFDA approval to start clinical trials of SHR-1314, an injected drug aimed at treating autoimmune diseases (see story). Hengrui will initially test the drug in psoriasis patients. The drug is an independently developed humanized mAb that targets IL-17A and hinders signal transduction, reducing the inflammatory response. Hengrui filed for the approval two years ago with the Jiangsu Province FDA.
Jilin Jian Yisheng Biopharma (SHZ: 2566) and the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases reported positive animal results for an Ebola vaccine (see story). The vaccine combines a virus-like particle-based vaccine developed by the USMRIID with Yisheng's PIKA adjuvant, a Toll-Like Receptor 3 agonist. By itself, the vaccine provided protection for 40% of the animals. With Yisheng's adjuvant, 100% of the animals survived an Ebola infection. Yisheng, which makes vaccines and pharma products, announced the collaboration with USAMRI in late 2015.
Changzhou Fangyuan Pharma of Jiangsu Province has completed pre-clinical development work on a difficult-to-produce antibiotic that is effective against methicillin-resistant and gram-negative infections (see story). Arbekacin sulfite was first approved in Japan in 1990, but has now become a generic. Fangyuan plans to file to start clinical trials of arbekacin sulfite in China. Fangyuan said it was helped by the Chinese Academy of Engineering Wang Guangji Academic Workstation, which was set up on Fungyuan's premises.
South Korea's Hanmi Pharma (KS: 128940), which is working diligently to transform itself from a generic drugmaker into a company known for novel products, is making China as a centerpiece of its plans -- both as a market and a source of innovation (see story). The company already has well-established R&D and manufacturing facilities in Beijing. Earlier this year, Hanmi announced a $200 million project in Yantai that will include manufacturing and R&D facilities. It also launched Hanmi Ventures with $9 million to form partnerships that further its open innovation R&D model.
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