China Biotech In Review: WuXi Receives Award For cGMP Cell-Culture-Based Biologics Production Facility

 |  Includes: KANG, NVS, WX
by: ChinaBio Today

Deals and Financings

BVCF, a China private equity growth investor specializing in healthcare and life sciences, has closed its third fund, BVCF III, L.P, with capital of $188 million (previously, BVCF was known as BioVeda). With the new fund, BVCF has over $360 million of assets under management. Headquartered in Shanghai, BVCF has been making private equity investments in China healthcare life science companies since its founding in 2005.

Novartis (NYSE: NVS) and a unit of the World Bank both invested in BVCF's third China life science fund. The official closing of BCVF III raised $188 million (see story). Additional details such as the complete list of international blue-chip investors and some of the fund's initial investments have now become available.

iKang Guobin Healthcare (NSDQ: KANG) completed its IPO on the NASDAQ exchange, pricing 10.9 million shares at $14, the high side of its $12-$14 range (see story). The offering raised $153 million and values the company at $903 million. Selling shareholders offered 31% of the shares, rendering iKang's share of the proceeds $95 million after commissions. iKang's 42 company-owned diagnostic/preventative clinics are located in China's 13 largest cities.

Zhejiang Conba Pharma [SHA: 600572] will pay $160.5 million to acquire a 51% stake in Guizhou Baite Pharma. Both companies are involved in TCM products, though Conba also makes chemical drugs. The deal is, as Conba points out, its largest M&A transaction since it was listed. Baite's major product is Danshen Chuanxiongqin injection, a blood thinner used to dissipate clots and treat strokes.

Royal DSM, a Dutch science company with interests in health, nutrition and materials, has entered an exclusive discussion to acquire Aland Nutraceutical of China. Aland is known mainly for its vitamin C business, although it also produces other nutritional supplements. Because Aland's revenues were only $90 million last year, DSM characterized the potential takeover as a "relatively small acquisition."

Company News

UCLA's Department of Pathology will set up a clinical lab in Shanghai with Centre Testing International, a Chinese company that offers product testing. The new lab, CTI-Pathology/UCLA Health, will operate a 25,000-square-foot facility that offers genetic and molecular diagnostics along with other sophisticated tests. It will support clinical trials and enhance medical care for Chinese patients with cancer and other diseases.

WuXi PharmaTech (NYSE: WX) received an international innovation award for its recently completed cGMP cell-culture-based biologics production facility, which is located in Wuxi City (see story). The company built the new facility around an end-to-end single-use technology. The International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) gave the company an Honorable Mention Award in its 2014 review of innovative facilities. WuXi is the first China company to receive the honor.

Government and Regulatory

The United States FDA still has only two drug inspectors in China, according to testimony last week. The US has budgeted $10 million to add 10 inspectors to the original two positions, but for years, China did not approve visas for the additional inspectors. In December 2013, Vice-President Biden persuaded China officials to speed up the visa process. However, in the four months since then, there hasn't been any change. US officials did not blame China for refusing to approve visas, nor did they explain why no additional inspectors have been sent to China so far.

Trials and Approvals

TWi Pharma [TWO: 4180] of Taiwan was granted US approval to market a generic version of Procardia XL® (nifedipine) Extended Release Tablets. Procardia XL is member of the calcium-channel blocker class of drugs, administered to treat high blood pressure and chest pain. TWi Pharma makes generics that are difficult to produce or have novel delivery systems, all of which are intended only for the US market. The nifedipine product is the company's first to be approved.

Disclosure: none.