China Biotech Week in Review: Major Cross-Border Initiatives

Includes: BMY, FCSC, LLY, SCR, TCM
by: ChinaBio Today

The BioBay Investor Forum selected two early stage life science companies based in China as the “Most Promising Companies” among 18 presenters at the conference (see story). BeiGene LLC was named most promising of the drug companies, and Suzhou KeyBay Biotechnology Inc. won the diagnostics and services category. The 18 early stage life science companies presented their business plans at the 3rd BioBay Investor Forum, held at BioBay life science park in Suzhou on November 3-4, 2010.

Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) will build a bricks and mortar in-house R&D center in Shanghai dedicated to diabetes drugs (see story). The center represents a major strategic departure for Lilly, which has previously touted its partnership approach with China’s innovative life science community. Lilly says diabetes in China has a different molecular structure than diabetes elsewhere in the world. The company hopes to discover innovative solutions to the disease.

Swiss biopharma Nycomed bought a majority 51.3% of Guangdong Techpool Bio-Pharma, saying the acquisition will increase its activity in China (see story). Although the price was not announced officially, a Nycomed spokesperson said the company paid $210 million, according to Reuters. Both companies are privately owned, but Nycomed has stated its intention of staging an IPO sometime soon.

Simcere Pharma (NYSE: SCR) has partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) to co-develop a cancer molecule (see story). In return for exclusive China rights to BMS-817378, a small molecule MET/VEGFR-2 inhibitor, Simcere will conduct a first-in-human clinical trial of the drug candidate as an initial step toward SFDA approval. Financial details of the partnership were not disclosed.

Fibrocell Science (NASDAQ:FCSC) will set up a joint venture with Hefei Meifu Bio-Tech Limited, centered on developing its autologous fibroblast therapies for aesthetic use in Asia, excluding Japan (see story). Fibrocell will contribute its fibroblast IP, clinical data and manufacturing processes. Meifu will build a manufacturing facility in Hefei and be responsible for commercialization and marketing. Further financial details were not disclosed.

Swedish Orphan Biovitrum [STO: SOBI] has in-licensed European marketing rights to Iron Sucrose Rechon, an anemia drug, from Dongbao Group’s (SHEX: 600867) subsidiary, Rechon Life Science Group (see story). Sobi will pay a $1.7 million regulatory milestone to Rechon, plus a transfer price and a royalty on net sales.

D-Pharm [TASE: DPRM] of Israel will entrust Hangzhou Tigermed Consulting Co. with a Phase III China clinical trial of its stroke treatment (see story). Tigermed will also be in charge of China regulatory filings for DP-b99, a neuroprotective drug. Wanbang Biopharma, which will market the drug in China for D-Pharm, also signed the contract.

NeoStem (NYSE Amex: NBS) announced its arthroscopic orthopedic treatment, which uses autologous adult stem cells, was approved by Weihai Municipal Price Bureau at Wendeng Orthopedic Hospital (see story). At the same time, reimbursement for the procedure was approved by Weihai Municipal Labor Bureau Medical Insurance Office. Patients are eligible to receive reimbursement for up to 80% of the procedure’s cost,

Tongjitang Chinese Medicines (NYSE: TCM) will be taken private by group comprised of its Chairman and Fosun Industrial at a price of $4.50 per ADS (see story). The offer was originally made in April of this year. The result was never really in doubt, as Xiaochun Wang, Chairman and CEO of Tongjitang, owns 51% of the company, and Fosun controls 32%, giving them a combined 83% stake in the company.

Disclosure: none.