Deals and Financings
Ambrx, a clinical-stage San Diego antibody-conjugate biotech company, will be acquired by a consortium of China companies, including Fosun Pharma (SHA: 600196; HK: 02196) and WuXi PharmaTech (NYSE: WX), plus China equity investors HOPU and Everbright (see story). The price was not disclosed. Last year, Ambrx filed for an IPO that valued the company at $223 million, but withdrew the offering. Ambrx, which has raised around $100 million of venture capital, has attracted many big names for partners, bringing in $200 million in deal payments. Its partnerships contain milestones that could total as much as $1.5 billion.
Ramsay Sime Darby Health Care (RSD), an Australia-Malaysia hospital operator, will pay $135 million to form a hospital Joint Venture with a Chengdu hospital operator (see story). The JV will own a 5-hospital package of hospitals in Chengdu. Ramsay Health Care operates 214 hospitals in Australia. In 2013, it formed a partnership with Sime Darby Berhad, a Malaysian conglomerate, to operate three hospitals in Malaysia and three more in Indonesia. RSD said it would use the Chengdu JV as a basis to acquire additional hospitals in China.
Livzon Pharma (SZE: 200513) signed a framework agreement with Cynvenio of Thousand Oaks, California to form a China JV with an initial value of $20 million (see story). In addition, Livzon bought $10 million of Cynvenio's series B preferred stock. Cynvenio offers the LiquidBiopsy® Rare Cell Isolation Platform, which isolates circulating cancer cells, allowing researchers to perform detailed molecular data analysis without a biopsy.
China Medical Systems (HK: 867), headquartered in Shenzhen, in-licensed greater China rights to Traumakine®, a treatment for moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) from Faron Pharma, a Finnish virtual biopharma (see story). At the same time, A&B Ltd., a company owned by Dr. Kong Lam, the CEO of China Medical Systems, made a $5.5 million investment in Faron. A&B will also underwrite the costs of regulatory approval in China. Details of the arrangement between A&B and China Medical Systems were not disclosed.
Shanghai's Genor Biopharma will collaborate with MabSpace Biosciences (SHZ: 200513), a Hong Kong-Suzhou antibody discovery company, which will develop novel antibodies against unnamed targets for Genor (see story). MabSpace will be responsible for discovery while GenorBio will develop the candidates further and own global rights. MabSpace will receive upfront R&D funding plus regulatory milestones and royalties. It was the second contract for MabSpace this week: earlier the company announced a similar deal with Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine.
MabSpace Biosciences (SHZ: 200513), an antibody discovery company, will co-develop novel antibody therapeutics on two targets with Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine (see story). MabSpace will discover and select humanized lead antibodies using its proprietary immune tolerance breaking technology. Hengrui will be responsible for later development and own exclusive global rights to the candidates. MabSpace is headquartered in Hong Kong with an R&D lab in Suzhou's BioBay Park.
WuXi PharmaTech (NYSE: WX) took another step toward realizing its vision of operating a global open-access CRO/CMO technology platform by announcing LabNetwork, an e-Commerce platform that connects buyers and sellers of research chemicals and reagents (see story). Building on WuXi's experience in chemistry sourcing and quality control, LabNetwork will offer vetted compounds from WuXi's global network of providers; about one-third of the products come from WuXi's own catalogue.
Government and Regulatory
China will scrap the 15% mark-up on drug sales in hospital pharmacies, a long-planned move that was announced by China's State Council this week (see story). The mark-up will initially end in 100 large-city hospitals, and then be extended throughout all of China in 2017. In addition, the Council said insurance payments will be based on the disease being treated rather than the number or type of services rendered. And provincial/local governments were asked to distribute healthcare resources "optimally," steering patients away from the overcrowded big city hospitals with the best reputations.
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