China Biotech Week in Review: Eddingpharm Raises $24 Million to Buy Western Drugs

by: ChinaBio Today

Eddingpharm (Cayman) Inc., a Shanghai firm that seeks to in-license and then market Western drugs to hospitals in China, has closed a $24 million Series B financing (see story). The company said it would use the new capital to in-license additional drugs, co-develop prescription drugs for sale in China, and seek M&A opportunities.

NeoStem (NBS) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Progenitor Cell Therapy, LLC, a US cell therapy service company (see story). NeoStem, which left open the question of whether it would offer Progenitor's services in China, said the transaction will be immediately accretive to earnings. NeoStem will issue 11.2 million shares and warrants to purchase between 1 million to 3 million additional shares to the current owners of Progenitor, giving the deal a value of about $20 million.

Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) has partnered with Parexel (NSDQ: PRXL), a global CRO based in the US, to support its clinical trials in the Asia-Pacific region (see story). Parexel will be given the job of assisting Lilly in Asia and Australia with clinical trial start-up and site monitoring. Lilly has followed a partnership approach on its R&D work in China, and now it has implemented a similar model for conducting clinical trials.

Royal DSM NV [XAMS: DSM], a Dutch life sciences and materials sciences company, is seeking a China or India partner for its penicillin operation (see story). The goal of the transaction is an increase in Asian revenues and a simultaneous reduction in costs, according to CEO Feike Sijbesma. “Both consumption and production are moving to India and China, so it would not make sense for us to do it on our own,” said Sijbesma. “That’s why we’re seeking partnerships.”

China Pharma Holdings (NYSEMKT:CPHI) announced it has completed Phase I trials of its novel cephalosporin antibiotic (see story). The drug candidate combines a third generation cephalosporin with a bacterial-enzyme inhibitor to increase its effectiveness against resistant strains of bacteria, including hospital-acquired and respiratory infections, bacterial meningitis, and pneumonia.

The China R&D center for Novartis (NYSE: NVS) plans to put its first novel cancer treatment into Phase I testing in 2013 (see story). Although details of the new drug candidates were not released, Novartis said the new molecules are aimed specifically at treating cancers that are most prevalent in China, which include gastric, liver, nasopharyngeal and esophageal cancer. The China trial would be the first-in-human test of the drug candidate.

FibroGen, Inc. of San Francisco has received SFDA approval to begin China clinical trials of FG-4592, a novel investigational oral therapy for anemia patients with chronic kidney disease (see story). The SFDA approved protocols for Phase I and II tests of the drug through the Green Channel process. The SFDA accepted the filing in November 2009, and the Phase I trial will begin before the end of 2010.

WuXi PharmaTech (NYSE: WX) announced its new Suzhou toxicology facility was awarded a Certificate of Good Laboratory Practice (NYSE:GLP) compliance by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (see story). Both the US and the EEC are part of the OECD, which represents a total of 29 industrialized countries in North America, Europe and the Pacific.

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