China Biotech In Review: Sagent Buys Out China JV Partner For $25 Million

Includes: AMGN, SGNT, TEVA
by: ChinaBio Today

Deals and Financings

Sagent Pharmaceuticals (NSDQ: SGNT), a Chicago-area maker of generic injectible drugs, will acquire its partner's 50% interest in a China JV for $25 million (see story). Chengdu Kanghong Pharmaceuticals owned the other half of the JV, which was established in 2006 to build an FDA/GMP compliant manufacturing facility. Sagent apparently expects to use the China facility to manufacture products that supply the China and US markets.

ScinoPharm Taiwan (TSE: 1789) and Coland Holdings (TSE: 4144) formed an alliance to bring generic oncology drugs to mainland China. The alliance has selected several of ScinoPharm's APIs for development as injectible treatments. A third party will develop and manufacture the products, which will be co-marketed by Coland and ScinoPharm. Although Coland is listed in Taiwan and headquartered in Hong Kong, its operations, including a sales force, are in China.

Zhejiang Huahai Pharma (SHA: 600521) joined with Oncobiologics, a New Jersey biologics startup, to form a partnership that will develop, manufacture and promote biosimilars. Huahai will have exclusive rights to make and market four Oncobiologics-developed biosimilars in China. The two companies will also sign a co-development and commercialization agreement to bring the four products -- generic versions of Humira, Rituxan, Avastin and Herceptin -- to 30 developed countries.

Hutchison Chi-Med [AIM: HCM] expects to license global rights to fruqintinib, one of its novel small-cell cancer drugs, before year-end, according to CEO Christian Hogg. The company has been in due diligence discussions with potential partners, he added. Because the drug is a promising treatment for solid tumors, Chi-Med will conduct simultaneous clinical trials against several types of cancer, and the company wants a partner to help shoulder the financial burden.

Zhejiang Beta Pharma and Amgen (NSDQ: AMGN) will form a joint venture to commercialize Amgen's Vectibix® (panitumumab) in China (see story). Vectibix is a treatment for colorectal cancer. In addition to being experienced with targeted therapies, Zhejiang Beta also has a well-established China oncology sales network. The JV will be 51% owned by Zhejiang Beta, with Amgen holding the remainder.

Beijing Leadman Biochemistry (SHE: 300289) will be the exclusive distributor in China for Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings' [AIM: IDH] IDS-iSYS analyzer and assays. Headquartered in Great Britain, IDS considers itself a world leader in bone, cartilage and growth diagnostic tests. In addition, IDS and Leadman agreed to convert more than 50 of Leadman's proprietary immunoassays for use on the IDS-iSYS instrument.

Company News

Teva Pharmaceutical (NYSE: TEVA), the world's largest generic drug manufacturer and one of the world's fifteen largest pharmas, does not have a substantial presence in China. But the company's CEO, Jeremy Levin, believes China is a natural fit for Teva: "Our portfolio more closely matches the needs of that nation than nearly any other company in the world," he told the Reuters Health Summit in a telephone interview. The reason? Teva's focus on generic drugs and respiratory treatments (see story).

Industry Insights

With the ChinaBio® Partnering Forum 2013 less than a month away, EBD interviewed Greg Scott, president of ChinaBio about its consulting services. "In China, unless you have deep resources, it is difficult to come and do everything yourself," Scott explains. "The market is fragmented, distribution is complex, and drug approval and pricing are complicated. It may take longer than in the West to bring a product to market, and business is conducted differently." To find the best China partner, Scott says to use a consultant with extensive China experience.

Disclosure: none.