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Four China API companies have been charged with price fixing in a U.S. antitrust case (see here). According to the plaintiffs, the four companies, representing about 60% of the world’s vitamin C production, signed a document in 2001 limiting the amount of vitamin C each one could export. The defendants are not contesting the facts, choosing instead to raise an unusual defense: The government of China mandated the collusion.

China credited increased surveillance for rapid identification of a new pathogen that caused death in 30% of all diagnosed cases (see here). In 2009 and 2010, at least 240 cases of severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) occurred in rural sections of eastern China. China scientists, working with a grant from the China Mega-Project for Infectious Diseases, identified a tick as the carrier. The researchers did not find evidence of human-to-human transmission.

Transactions

Jilin Jian Yisheng Pharma, a TCM drugmaker, completed its IPO on the Shenzhen Small and Medium Exchange (see here). The company raised 1.1 billion RMB ($176.6 million) by placing 27.6 million shares at a price of 39.9 RMB each. The offering priced the company at a P/E ratio of 52.5.

First China Pharmaceutical (OTCPK:FCPG) has signed a Letter of Intent to acquire Shenzhen Ming He Tang Pharmaceutical Co., a drug distributor located in Shenzhen City (see here). First China said the purchase would give it a foothold in the prosperous south China drug marketplace.

CMO/CRO Agreements

Pharmaron, a Beijing-based CRO/CMO, will manufacture up to 100 kg. of nucleoside phosphoramidites for Isis Pharma (ISIS) (see here). Isis is developing antisense drugs, which use nucleoside phosphoramidites as their building blocks. The agreement is a two-year contract.

Shenogen Pharma, a company developing mAbs that target the ER-alpha 36 receptor to treat cancer, has signed a contract with ShangPharma (SHP) for development work (see here). Shenogen Pharma’s science was so impressive it won a “Most Promising Company” award at the ChinaBio® Investor Forum held in Shanghai in 2008.

Multinationals in China

Novo Nordisk (NVO) received SFDA approval for its latest diabetes drug, Victoza®, an injected treatment for type 2 diabetes (see here). Victoza is the first once-daily human Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogue approved in China. Novo Nordisk said it will launch the drug in the second half of 2011.

Pfizer (PFE) will close its R&D facility in Groton, Connecticut and move its antibacterials research operations to Shanghai (see here). Although all major multinationals are doing research in China, it is highly unusual for a big pharma to move an entire lab there.

Distribution

SuperNova Diagnostics®, a diagnostics company based in the Washington, D.C. area, has found a China distribution partner in Shenzhen Kang Sheng Bao Bio-Technology (see here). SuperNova’s AmpCrystal® diagnostics platform combines liquid crystal displays and a proprietary technology.

Disclosure: None.

Source: China Biotech in Review: U.S. Charges 4 China API Makers With Price-Fixing