China Biotech Week in Review: Investors Drawn to China Pharma

| About: Eisai Co., (ESALY)

At the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, the industry's most important annual investment conference, the China Track gave 14 China life science companies the opportunity to present their stories and plans to investors (see story). Showing that China has become a major focus for worldwide pharma, the interest in all the presenters was high, and the room overflowed for every presentation we saw. After the presentations, the China reception was filled with a who's-who of China's life science industry, from CEOs to VCs to global pharma execs.

Although the US leads the world in medical device innovation, it will watch its technological edge diminish over the next decade, according to a new report published today by PwC (see story). China, along with other emerging countries, will be in the forefront of challenging the long-held hegemony of the US in the sector, says the company.

China and the US announced a public-private partnership to improve healthcare (see story). The partnership, which involves 12 US companies and six supporting US government organizations, will cooperate with China with the goal of increasing access to healthcare services in China. The partnership was announced as part of China Premier Hu Jiantao’s official state visit to the US.


Inner Mongolia Free Han and Mongolia Pharmaceutical (SH: 300049) will acquire Echosens SA, a French medical device company that manufactures the FibroScan machine (see story). Fibroscan provides a non-invasive test for liver fibrosis. Free Han and Mongolia has been the company’s exclusive China distributor since Fibroscan was approved for use in China in 2008. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

Wolters Kluwer Health of Philadelphia will set up a China JV with fellow drug information company Medicom of China (see story). The JV will offer clinical decision support to physicians in China. Wolters Kluwer said Medicom’s products were “highly complementary” to its own. Wolters Kluwer will be the majority partner, though financial details of the partnership were not disclosed.

Harbor BioSciences ((OTCBB: HRBR)) of San Diego has out-licensed the China rights for three products to the China State Institute of Pharmaceutical Industry (CIPI) (see story). CIPI is a subsidiary of the China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation (Sinopharm). Two of the products are undergoing clinical trials, while the third is in pre-clinical development. Their targets are type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer, inflammation and infectious diseases.

Eisai Co. (OTCPK:ESALY), the multinational Japanese pharma, has begun operations of Eisai (Suzhou) Trading Co., Ltd., located in the Suzhou Industrial Park (see story). The new company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eisai China Inc. The trading company will import Eisai’s finished products into China along with products from Eisai’s partners.

Disclosure: none.