China Biotech In Review: SciClone Pharma In-Licenses China Rights To Heart Failure Drug

Includes: AMGN, SCLN, WX
by: ChinaBio Today

Deals and Financings

RuiYi Inc., a San Diego-Shanghai biotech startup, has signed an exclusive license and collaboration with Genor BioPharma of Shanghai to develop RuiYi's lead molecule in China. The drug candidate, RYI-008, is a novel anti-IL-6 monoclonal antibody with potential to treat autoimmune diseases and cancer.

RuiYi also enlisted CMC Biologics to develop a cell line for RYI-008. CMC Biologics, which is located in Seattle and Copenhagen, will use its proprietary CHEF1® high-productivity expression plasmid for the cell line. RuiYi in-licensed global rights to RYI-008 last October from ArGEN-X, a Dutch company.

Vectura [LSE: VEC], a UK maker of inhaled therapies, established a China JV with two partners: Tianjin KingYork Group Company, a specialist in corticosteroid products, and Zendex Bio Strategy, a Hong Kong private equity investor. The JV will be named Tianjin Kinnovata Pharmaceutical Company. It will use Vectura's Clickhaler and Duohaler dry powder inhaler technology platforms to bring treatments for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to China and the larger Asian region.

SciClone Pharma (NSDQ: SCLN) in-licensed China rights to a heart failure drug from Zensun (Shanghai) Science & Technology Co. (see story). SciClone, which is headquartered in the US, usually markets western drugs in China. This time, the company has acquired a China-developed drug for China. The deal gives SciClone exclusive rights to market Neucardin™, a novel treatment for chronic heart failure, in China, Hong Kong and Macau. Zensun filed for approval of Neucardin with the CFDA last year.

Company News

WuXi PharmaTech (NYSE: WX) released positive financial results for the first quarter of 2013, as revenues increased 11.7% to $132 million (see story). All sectors of the company's CRO/CMO business contributed to the climb. In remarks to analysts, Ge Li, the company's Chairman and CEO, conducted an interesting discussion of WuXi's various business units, shedding light on each one's performance and potential for growth in the next few years.

To date, Amgen (NSDQ: AMGN), the US biotech drug company, has not had a major presence in China. In February of this year, Amgen said it would use a combination of partnerships and M&A to increase its participation in the China market. The first of these relationships is the Amgen-Zhejiang Beta JV, announced last week, which will promote and distribute Amgen's colon cancer Vectibix (see story).

BioDuro opened a new laboratory in Shanghai, complementing its existing facility in Beijing. BioDuro is a China pre-clinical CRO, established in 2005, that serves an international and domestic clientele. It was bought by PPD® in 2009 for $77 million. BioDuro said the new facility would allow the company to offer drug discovery services with greater efficiency and consistency through the stages of development.

Disclosure: none.