China Biotech Week in Review: China Track at J.P. Morgan Conference

Includes: LGND, MKGAY
by: ChinaBio Today

For the first time in its 29 years, the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, which will take place in San Francisco next week, will include a track focused specifically on China (see story). On Wednesday, January 12, fourteen China-based life science companies will present their plans to interested investors. The special track gives implicit recognition by this important US conference that China has become a critical part of international biopharma.

Shanxi Zhendong Pharma (SZ: 300158) completed its IPO on the ChiNext Exchange on Friday, issuing 36 million shares at 38.8 RMB per share ($5.85) (see story). The company raised 1.4 billion RMB ($211 million) in the offering at a price/earnings ratio of 82.6. In its first day of trading, the stock moved only modestly higher, closing at 39.03 RMB.

Merck KGaA (OTCPK:MKGAY) of Germany acquired Beijing Skywing Technology, paying 120 million RMB ($18.2 million). Skywing makes cell culture media products and bioreactors, along with providing related services. Merck touted Skywing’s close relationships with China vaccine makers as part of its rationale for the purchase.

Golden Meditech Holdings (HKEX: 0801) will list Depository Receipts on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, the first Mainland China healthcare company to do so (see story). The offering is made possible by the Cross-Straits Trade Agreement between Taiwan and the PRC, signed in June 2010, which eliminated trade and investment barriers between the two countries. The company’s primary listing is on the Hong Kong Exchange.

Facilities Investment

Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group (HK: 0460) reached an agreement with Tonghua City, Jilin Province to invest 1.375 billion RMB ($208 million) in the area over the next few years (see story). The company will locate its northern headquarters in Tonghua, plus build an R&D facility and a manufacturing plant in the city’s life science park. Sihuan staged a $751 million Hong Kong IPO in October 2010.

Product Development

United Laboratories International (HK: 3933) received SFDA approval for three additional insulin products, bringing its total number of offerings in this sector to five (see story). The company will price its insulin products at a 10-15% discount to similar drugs already on the market. United Labs said it plans to invest up to 500 million RMB ($75.5 million) in its insulin business over the next few years.

Chiva Pharmaceuticals in-licensed China rights for two clinical-stage liver drugs from Ligand Pharma (NSDQ: LGND) (see story). It also will receive non-exclusive rights to Ligand’s HepDirect technology to discover and develop new molecules for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and hepatocellular carcinoma. Chiva, which is headquartered in California, is an affiliate of Hainan Kaihua Pharma.

Mingyuan Medicare Development Co. Ltd. (HK: 0233) will begin a clinical validation study of its C12A protein microarray, a quantitative test for twelve tumor markers (see story). The C12A protein microarray is an updated version of Mingyuan’s flagship C-12 test. The new version replaces four markers to increase sensitivity and specificity.

Disclosure: none.