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ChinaBio Today
All content provided by: ChinaBio® Today Published on May 21, 2016

Big Deals Headline This Week's Life Science News

[Ed. Note: ChinaBio® Partnering Forum set an attendance record of 1008 this week. More coverage next week. Greg]

Deals and Financings

Shanghai Fosun Pharma (SHA: 600196; HK: 2196) has submitted a non-binding bid to acquire India's Gland Pharma, a contract manufacturer of injectible drugs (see story). Gland, which put itself up for sale, is valued somewhere in the $1-$1.5 billion range, and several pharmas/investment firms are interested. Three years ago, Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts invested $191 million for a minority stake in Gland at a $600-$650 million valuation. A prolific deal-maker, Fosun has not previously shown interest in Indian pharmas. 

Ping An Haoyisheng (Ping An My Doctor), a health and medical mobile app started by China's Ping An Insurance Company, raised a record $500 million in a Series A funding, according to news reports (see story). The funding values Ping An Haoyisheng, which has been operating for less than two years, at $3 billion. With 77 million claimed registered users, the site has been wildly successful. The app provides online consultation services, patient management, pharmaceutical O2O (online-to-offline) services and digital health profiles. 

WI Harper Group, an early investor in China and other Asian countries, closed WIH Fund VIII LP, which was over-subscribed at $175 million (see story). WI Harper describes itself as an early stage venture capital firm focused on US-Asia cross-border opportunities. Although the company specializes in TMT investments, it also has supported life science companies. In the sector, the company will emphasize healthcare services including both clinical and digital health, innovative medical devices and diagnostics, as well as therapeutic discovery and development companies. 

Eu Yan Sang International (SGX: E02), a TCM company that is headquartered and listed in Singapore, received a $196 million privatization offer (see story). The offer was made by the founding Eu family, Tower Capital and Temasek Holdings, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund. Eu Yan Sang operates over 300 retail outlets in Hong Kong, Macau, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. It also has two factories in Hong Kong and Malaysia as well as 27 TCM clinics in Malaysia and Singapore, plus two integrative medical centers in Hong Kong. 

BGI, the Shenzhen "omics" company, has partnered with Singapore's Clearbridge BioMedics to distribute and develop its liquid biopsy product in greater China (see story). CBB's ClearCell® FX1 product separates circulating tumor cells (CTC) from the blood. BGI intends to use its expertise, which stretches from genomics to trans-omics, to develop a product that provides clinical insights from a blood draw for clinical and research use, furthering personalized medicine. The machine adds to BGI's offerings in the clinical diagnostics market. 

HemaCare Corporation (OTCBB: HEMA) of Los Angeles, which specializes in cell and tissue collection for pharma research, signed up Shanghai's MT-Biological Science and Technology to aid distribution of its products in China (see story). The partnership will support use of HemaCare’s human healthy and disease state cryopreserved hematopoietic cell products by China pharma researchers. To facilitate global use of its products, HemaCare forms agreements with local companies. 

Trials and Approvals

Korea's ViroMed (KOSDAQ: 084990) was granted Fast Track designation by the US FDA for VM202, a novel gene therapy scheduled to begin a US Phase II trial (see story). VM202, ViroMed's lead drug candidate, will be tested in patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. In January, ViroMed published positive results from a US-Korea Phase II trial of VM202 in patients with critical limb ischemia. ViroMed said it would release data from a completed Phase I/II trial of VM202 in ALS patients later this year. 

Solasia Pharma, a Japanese pharma that in-licenses western oncology treatments for use in Asia, has filed a New Medical Device Application for episil® (SP-03) in China and Japan (see story). Episil is an oral treatment for pain associated with oral mucositis. One year ago, Solasia acquired rights to episil for Japan and China from Camurus, a Swedish company that uses lipid-based nanotechnology to deliver drugs. Episil forms a bioadhesive film that coats intra-oral mucosal surfaces, protecting them. 

Government and Regulatory

China's National Health and Family Planning Commission has mandated price reductions on three expensive drugs by up to two-thirds (see story). Two of the drugs are imported, which is no surprise, but one is from China, which is. The drugs are: Viread, a hepatitis B treatment from GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) that was cut from $229 per month to $75; Iressa, a lung cancer treatment from AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) that drops from $2292 to $1069 per month; and Icotinib, a similar drug to Iressa made by Zhejiang Beta Pharma, which fell from $1832 to $839. There is some good news for the three pharmas: all of the cost for the three drugs will now be fully covered by China's insurance plan, which should increase sales.

Disclosure: none.



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About ChinaBio®

ChinaBio® Today is the most widely read source for news and insights on the rapidly evolving life science industry in China. From our offices in Shanghai and California, we provide daily news, commentary and analysis on China life science companies and industry events, as well as global issues affecting the China life science market.
Our parent organization, ChinaBio LLC, provides consulting services to assist Western companies seeking partners, technology or funding in China, as well as China companies seeking products or partners in the West. We are also well known for our conferences in China, including our ChinaBio Partnering Forum, which attracts over 700 attendees annually, our ChinaBio Investor Forums, connecting investors and innovation, and our invitation-only ChinaBio Leadership Retreat.