China Biotech In Review: 3 China In-Licensings and 1 Nixed Intra-China Deal

by: ChinaBio Today

Deals and Transactions

3SBio acquired the China rights to a novel kidney disease treatment from the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica. In animal models, the drug candidate slowed the progression of renal failure caused by an inherited disorder known as autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). 3SBio will seek CFDA approval of a Phase I clinical trial in China.

BioChain, a US-China clinical diagnostics company, purchased exclusive China rights to the Septin9 in vitro diagnostic test for colorectal cancer from Epigenomics AG (OTCQX:EPGNF) of Germany (see story). As part of the deal, BioChain will buy $1.3 million Epigenomics stock. It will also underwrite a China clinical trial of the device to obtain CFDA approval, for which it agreed to buy 5,000 Epi proColon® tests. In China, BioChain is located in Beijing.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) in-licensed exclusive China rights to market Coniel, a calcium channel blocker treatment for hypertension and angina pectoris, from Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co. (TYO: 4151) (see story). BMS said the transaction, its first China-specific in-licensing deal, demonstrated the company's long-term commitment to China. Previously, Kyowa Hakko Kirin handled China marketing of the product itself.

Sichuan Kelun Pharmaceutical (SHE: 002422) will not acquire a 20% stake in Lijun International Pharma (HK: 2005), a transaction that was previously announced in December of last year (see story). No reason for the reversal was given. At the time of the original announcement, Kelun said it would pay $135 million to buy the stake from two major Lijun shareholders.

Charles River Labs (NYSE: CRL), a global CRO, purchased BRASS Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based microbiology test lab (see story). Charles River, which said the acquisition would boost its presence in Asia, will offer BRASS's microbial detection and identification services throughout Asia. The two companies have been partners since 1997. CRL did not disclose financial details of the transaction.

China scientists have produced a flu vaccine for the H7N9 bird flu virus, which killed 45 people earlier this year. It was, according to Xinhua, the first time China has developed a flu vaccine on its own. The vaccine could be ready for market in as little as six months, although it will not be routinely administered unless another outbreak occurs. Two China pharmas are interested in obtaining rights to the vaccine.


One of WuXi PharmaTech's (NYSE: WX) contract manufacturing facilities, a small molecule API and advanced intermediate manufacturing plant, passed a US FDA inspection (see story). The facility is owned by a WuXi subsidiary, Shanghai SynTheAll Pharma (STA). The US FDA completed a general GMP and Pre-Approval Inspection of the facility without issuing a Form 483.

Company News

Sanofi's (NYSE: SNY) global revenues dropped 6.7% to $11.6 billion in Q3, a disappointment (see story). The company said a modest 2.8% increase in emerging markets sales was not enough to offset revenue shortfalls from drugs that have lost their patent protection. Sanofi's China revenues actually rose during the quarter: they were up 5% to $477 million, though 5% represents a smaller increase than the double-digit percentage that has been the norm.

Cellular Biomedicine (NASDAQ:CBMG), a US-China stem cell company, is launching its A-Stromal adipose stromal cell purification kit in China (see story). The kit, together with the ProCeller processing system, isolates one million vascular stromal cells (connective tissue) per 1 mL of fat tissue in as little as sixty minutes. Cellular Biomedicine is developing novel treatments for diseases such as osteoarthritis and lupus, based on dendritic cell therapy technologies.

Disclosure: none