China Biotech In Review: Mindray Acquires Control Of U.S.-China IVD Company

by: ChinaBio Today

Deals and Financings

Mindray Medical (NYSE: MR) acquired a controlling stake in Shanghai Long Island Biotec through an equity transfer (see story). Long Island makes thrombotic and hemostatic reagent products. Its R&D operation is located in New York, though all manufacturing is done in Shanghai's Zhuanghang Park. Mindray's IVD division produces hematology analyzers and reagents for both human and veterinary use. Mindray said the transaction would open a new growth area. Financial details were not disclosed.

Actavis (NYSE: ACT), the global generic drug company, agreed to sell its interest in its China JV, Actavis (Foshan) Pharmaceuticals, to Zhejiang Chiral Medicine Chemicals (see story). Two weeks ago, Actavis said China was too risky and the business opportunity too uncertain. According to the company, other countries presented a better risk-reward proposition, and Actavis had decided to pull out of China. However, now Actavis says it intends to continue commercial operations in China, working with "its preferred business partners." The company did not explain the apparent contradiction.

Biogen Idec (NSDQ: BIIB) out-licensed China and Southeast Asia rights for an eight-drug portfolio to UCB (Euronext: UCB), the Belgian global pharma (see story). The portfolio consists of six treatments for multiple sclerosis and two recombinant treatments for hemophilia. UCB will conduct clinical trials of the products in China to obtain CFDA approval. Because UCB concentrates on immune and central nervous system disorders, the company is a natural fit for Biogen Idec's portfolio of MS drugs.

Wanbang Biopharma in-licensed the China rights to develop a pre-clinical diabetes drug discovered by Sirona Biochem (OTCPK:SRBCF) of Canada (see story). Wanbang will make up to $9.5 million in upfront and milestone payments plus royalties. The drug is a member of the SGLT2 class of diabetes drugs that inhibit glucose reabsorption from the kidneys. Wanbang, a division of Fosun Pharma (SHA: 600196; HK: 02196), is active in diabetes treatments.

AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) and the Shanghai Institutes of Biological Sciences (SIBS) agreed to collaborate on a basic research project in cardiovascular disease (see story). The two entities will seek to understand the development process for coronary vessels. The collaboration will focus on vessels that supply blood to the heart and will also attempt to regenerate the main branch to the heart. The ultimate goal of the project is to develop innovative treatments for cardiovascular disease.

Trials and Approvals

Sinovac Biotech (NSDQ: SVA) submitted a Clinical Trial Application with the CFDA to begin clinical trials of its avian flu A(H7N9) vaccine (see story). The CFDA accepted the filing today. An outbreak of the H7N9 virus was ended last spring by aggressive action that shut down live poultry markets, but now the virus has returned. So far this year, 96 reported cases of H7N9 flu have caused 20 deaths in China. Once again, poultry markets have been ordered to close in Hong Kong, Shanghai and many other cities.

BioTime (NYSE: BTX), a California stem cell company, began a concurrent study of its bladder cancer diagnostic test in the US and China (see story). OncoCyte, Biotime's cancer-focused subsidiary, will compare standard-of-care diagnostic technologies (cellular microscopic analysis of the urine samples) to OncoCyte's PanC-Dx™ biomarkers for relative efficacy. OncoCyte has identified the PanC-Dx biomarkers as being abnormally activated in cancer or tumor cells, many of which were not previously associated with cancer.

Disclosure: none.