China Biotech In Review: WuXi PharmaTech, PRA Form Clinical CRO JV

Includes: AZN, RHHBY, SHP, WX
by: ChinaBio Today

Deals and Financings

WuXi PharmaTech (NYSE: WX), a CRO known mostly for its pre-clinical services is forming a JV with PRA, a US-based clinical-stage CRO (see story). The JV will offer Phase I-IV clinical trial management and related services in China, Hong Kong and Macau. WuXi entered the clinical sphere in a small way one year ago by buying MedKey Med-Tech Development, a CRO located in China. But the company seems to have wanted a bigger presence on the clinical side, a presence that would be closer to its eminent stature in the pre-clinical market.

ShangPharma (NYSE: SHP), a pre-clinical CRO headquartered in Shanghai's Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, has agreed to a go-private offer of $9.00 per ADS (see story). The offer was made by a group comprised of Michael Xin Hui, the company's Chairman/CEO/Founder, and TPG, a US private equity group that has long been an investor in ShangPharma. Mr. Hui currently controls 54% of the company's shares, while TPG owns 11%. TPG will presumably fund at least some of the purchase of the remaining 35% of outstanding shares. The deal values ShangPharma at $173 million.

Guangzhou Techpool Bio-Pharma in-licensed the China rights to Bondronat, an oncology drug from Roche (OTCQX:RHHBY). Bondronat is a treatment for metastatic bone cancer (see story). It treats pain along with fractures, spine compression and hypercalcaemia. Techpool believes the contract, which runs for five years, will not yield a profit during the first two years, during which time the company will focus primarily on education.

AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) will collaborate with Fudan University to discover the mechanism behind leonurine, a TCM product derived from Herba Leonuri that is used to treat heart disease, ischemic stroke and atherosclerosis (see story). AstraZeneca will underwrite the cost of two years of research with the hope of discovering a new treatment for the diseases.

Trials and Approvals

Omega Diagnostics, a Scottish test-maker, won approval from the SFDA to market its food allergy test in China. The Food Detective is a self-administered ELISA (enzyme-linked-immunosorbent assay) kit, based on a pin-prick sample, which tests for 14 common food allergies. It will be distributed in China by HOB Biotech, under an existing agreement that runs for five years.

Disclosure: none.