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Government and Regulatory

To establish itself in the front rank of global biotech innovation, China has issued the National Program on Bioscience Technology Development 2010-2020. The program, which was issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology, establishes a series of ambitious, very specific goals for developing a world-class biotech industry in China. As a starter, China wants to produce three to five top biotech scientists with international reputations and Nobel Prize potential by 2020.

Deals and Transactions

Vivo Ventures, a California healthcare investment firm that invests in both US and China life science companies, closed its seventh fund, Vivo Ventures VII, at $375 million. In the US, the fund will target US companies in the later stage of development. Its China investments will seek enterprises that are producing revenues.

AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) plans to expand its branded generics business in China through M&A with China pharmas (see story). At the same time, it will also promote its patent-protected drugs in the PRC, according to the company. This week, the British drugmaker began construction on its new $230 million manufacturing facility in Taizhou’s China Medical City, a project that was announced in October 2011.

ProteoTech, a privately held Seattle-area biotech company, will collaborate with GSK China (NYSE:GSK) to develop a small molecule therapeutic aimed at Parkinson’s disease (see story). Steve Runnels, CEO of ProteoTech, told ChinaBio Today the agreement was signed with GSK’s China unit because its Shanghai research center has responsibility for development of CNS drugs in GSK’s system.

Trials and Approvals

China Kanghui Holdings (NYSE: KH), an orthopedic medical device maker based in Changzhou, said its wholly owned subsidiary, TGM Medical, received approvals from the FDA to market in the US two joint replacement systems: the Helicon Hip System and the Milestone Knee System, along with related surgical instruments (see story).

Company News

Darren Ji, MD, PhD, who has served as CEO of PharmaLegacy since its 2008 launch, announced he will step down from his CEO position and no longer be involved full-time with PharmaLegacy, a company that he helped to found. Dr. Ji will be involved in setting up and managing new ventures in China and Asia, while he remains an advisor to PharmaLegacy.

Ascletis, a US-China joint venture pharmaceutical company, received a 10 million RMB ($1.6 million) R&D grant from the Hangzhou National Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone (HHTZ), the site of its China operations. According to Ascletis, the award is the largest grant ever made to a startup company from the HHTZ "5050 Plan.” Financial backing seems to come naturally to Ascletis. In April of 2011, Ascletis was launched with an initial funding of $100 million.

Disclosure: none.

Source: China Biotech In Review: China Unveils Biotech Development Plan 2010-2020