Deals and Financings
BioAtla LLC, a San Diego-Beijing biotech, raised $45 million from the Global BIO Impact Fund, a US bioscience investor. BioAtla will use the capital to develop its portfolio of Conditionally Active Biologic antibody therapeutics. The capital will consist of two tranches: a $15 million equity investment available at the end of January and $30 million, available before the end of March, of non-dilutive funding to support early development of several BioAtla CAB antibody candidates. BioAtla will choose the supported programs, and Global Bio will share in the risk and/or reward of the first four BioAtla drug candidates to receive IND approval by the US FDA.
Eye Tech Care SA, a medical device maker located in Lyon, France, received a cross-border $27 million funding from China's Everpine Capital to support development of Eye Tech Care's non-invasive ultrasound treatment for glaucoma, particularly in China. EyeOP1®, an innovative medical device that uses Ultrasound Ciliary Plasty, treats uncontrolled glaucoma regardless of previous treatment. Eye Tech Care began the China registration process for EyeOPI in 2015. Everpine invests in companies that want to expand into China.
Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) acquired Treerly Health Co., a China consumer healthcare company that makes women's nutritional products. Treely is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sirio Pharma, which makes vitamins that Pfizer sells in China under its own brand name. The purchase price was not disclosed. Following its $160 billion merger with Allergan, Pfizer itself is thought to be interested in spinning off some assets, and one of those asset classes could be its consumer health business.
20/20 GeneSystems of Maryland, which has developed an early biomarker test for lung cancer, booked $4.5 million in a Series A round. The funds will be used to commercialize the test in China. The funding was led by Ping An Ventures, the venture division of China's largest insurance company, and joined by individuals and families affiliated with San Francisco's Keiretsu Forum, an Angel network.
Yabao Pharmaceutical announced a strategic partnership with Sciecure Pharma of New Jersey to develop hard-to-make, controlled-release generic drugs for the US and China. Yabao will have rights to commercialize Sciecure products in China, and it will also manufacture products at its GMP facilities for sale in the US and China. Sciecure will retain rights to the products in all other markets.
Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), a US medical device company, formed a partnership with Chengdu's municipal government to manufacture advanced diabetes devices in Chengdu. Medtronic agreed to invest in a facility that will manufacture a next-generation sensor augmented pump system for insulin delivery. Medtronic will also partner with Chengdu's government to enable diabetic citizens of Sichuan province to access this up-to-date technology, which includes software displayed in Chinese.
HitGen Ltd, a Chengdu CRO specializing in drug discovery, formed a research collaboration with Global Blood Therapeutics (NASDAQ:GBT) of the US, a clinical-stage biopharma focused on therapeutics for blood-based disorders. HitGen will provide biology, chemistry, and screening on an undisclosed novel GBT target. GBT's lead molecule is a clinical-stage drug candidate that treats the underlying mechanism of sickle cell disease, which was recently granted Orphan Drug designation in the US.
Lee's Pharma, a Hong Kong company, acquired China rights to a treatment for ear infections from Laboratorios Salvat of Barcelona. Duoxal® ear drops, a patented combination solution of Ciprofloxacin and Fluocinolone Acetonide, treats acute otitis media in patients with tympanostomy tubes and acute otitis externa (swimmer's ear) in adults and children older than 6 months of age. Salvat will supply Lee's with Duoxal.
Luqa Pharmaceuticals, a China dermatological in-licensing company, in-licensed greater China rights to a next-generation dermal filler. Luqa did not identify the product or the maker, but did say the filler would be available in a range of formats. According to Luqa, the new dermal product is a first-in-class dermal filler that works by first filling skin wrinkles, and then stimulating the production of collagen. Luqa will be responsible for development, sales, marketing and distribution in China, Hong Kong and Macau with a launch expected during the first half of 2016.
Trials and Approvals
BeiGene, a Beijing novel cancer drug company, will start a US Phase Ia/b clinical trial of BGB-A317, the company's humanized mAb that targets the immune checkpoint receptor PD-1. BeiGene expects to develop the molecule as a monotherapy and in combination with other cancer drugs to treat solid-organ and blood-borne cancers. The US tests will be part of a global trial; Australian tests are already underway, with 51 patients dosed by the end of November 2015. The trials are enrolling patients with relapsed or refractory solid tumors.
Hutchison MediPharma (Chi-Med) began a Phase I trial of HMPL-523, an immune system suppressant, in patients with hematological malignancies. HMPL-523 is a small molecule oral inhibitor of Syk, a key component in B-cell receptor signaling. In late 2015, Hutchison MediPharma successfully completed an initial Phase I trial of HMPL-523 in healthy volunteers, with the goal of testing the molecule as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Hutchison MediPharma is a subsidiary of Hutchison China MediTech Limited.
Bayer AG (OTCPK:BAYRY) completed construction of the first phase of a $213 million China consumer healthcare manufacturing facility in Yunan province. The plant will make TCM and OTC products. In 2014, Bayer paid $578 million to acquire Dihon Pharma, a TCM/OTC company that had already begun building the facility. Bayer will use the plant to expand capacity for Dihon's products initially and its own later. The plant will be Bayer's second largest production facility for consumer healthcare in Asia and will become a center for Bayer's global OTC business.
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