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IMS Health has upped its count of “pharmerging” countries to 17 high-growth pharmaceutical markets (see story). Previously, only seven markets qualified. According to IMS Health, these 17 countries represent $90 billion of increased pharmaceutical spending during 2009-13, collectively offering 48% of the growth in the worldwide market in 2013. China is the most significant opportunity of the 17, a market that is “in a league of its own” in the words of the healthcare consultancy company.

Shanghai Zhangjiang Biotech & Pharmaceutical Base Development Company (ZJBPB) has signed a cooperation agreement with Sweden’s Uppsala BIO and Uppsala Innovation Center (UIC) that will help European biopharmas establish entities in China and vice-versa (see story). A biopharma incubator, Uppsala BIO has backed about half of the high-tech companies that operate in the Uppsala Innovation Center.

MicuRx Pharmaceuticals filed an Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the SFDA for MRX-I, its most-advanced antibiotic drug candidate (see story). MRX-I, an orally-administered oxazolidinone, targets drug resistant infections. MicuRx is headquarterd in the San Francisco area, but it has a 10,000 square foot laboratory in Shanghai’s Zhangjiang High-Tech Park.

Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS), the Swiss multinational pharma, said revenues in China grew 36% last year, far better than the company’s overall 11% rise in sales (see story). In 2009, Novartis China was helped by supplying 100 million doses of the company’s A(H1N1) pandemic vaccine to China. Novartis China markets pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and diagnostics.

China Sky One Medical (NSDQ: CSKI) expects 2010 revenues to grow by 20% to $156 million. Net income, however, will increase by a more modest 13% to $39 million, as the company ups its R&D to 15% of revenue (see story). At the same time, the company said it will shift its corporate focus to cardiovascular medicine and antibiotic drugs.

Vycor Medical, Inc. [OTCBB: VYCO] will seek SFDA approval for its VBAS (ViewSite™ Brain Access System), an innovative retraction system for use during brain surgery (see story). Once the medical device is approved, Vycor will co-market the product in China with its partner, Devon Medical, Inc, which is also helping with the registration process.

Lee's Pharmaceutical Holdings (GEM: 8221), which is headquartered in Hong Kong, signed an exclusive license for China distribution of a Recordati S.p.A. [MI: RECI] antihypertensive drug, Zanidip® (lercanidipine) (see story). Zanidip is a calcium channel blocker (CCB). Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The FDA has told XiAn Libang Pharmaceuticals to improve its quality control procedures, if it wants to continue importing products to the US (see story). The US agency told the company to hire an outside auditor to develop a Corrective Action Plan and respond to the warning letter within 15 days. According to the FDA, XiAn Libang did not conduct a thorough investigation after quality control problems were discovered last summer.

Disclosure: none.

Source: China Biotech Week in Review: China Offers Lion's Share of Emerging Market Growth