Deals and Financings
Dehaier Medical Systems (DHRM) of Beijing raised $20 million from Hangzhou Liaison Interactive Information Technology to support its wearable medical device and mobile medical businesses. In 2015, Dehaier had a difficult year as it restructured away from manufacturing and distributing in-licensed medical devices. The company reported a loss of $36 million on $6.6 million of revenues. In the future, Dehaier will focus on its wearable treatments for sleep apnea. For its part, Liaison will expand its internet products and services business to include smart medical devices and apnea products.
Ascentage Pharma of Shanghai will collaborate with San Francisco's UNITY Biotechnology using Ascentage's apoptosis molecules to develop anti-senescence treatments for age-related disease. A clinical-stage biopharma, Ascentage has developed a library of small-molecule apoptosis molecules for oncology indications. UNITY is focused on developing drugs that clear senescent cells as treatments for age-related disease. Each company will make an investment in the other, though details were not disclosed. They will also form a JV to market senescence treatments in China. Ascentage will be attending the ChinaBio® Partnering Forum, May 18-19 in Suzhou.
Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine (SHA: 600276) announced a research agreement with Albert Einstein College of Medicine of New York City to advance cancer treatment. The multi-year cancer research effort brings together the scientific insights of Einstein with the clinical ability of Hengrui. The relationship was first revealed by Dr. Lianshan Zhang, Head of R&D for Hengrui in a ChinaBio® Today interview earlier this year. Professor XingXing Zang of Einstein, who conducts research into cancer immunotherapies, also said he has struck a deal with Hengrui.
Collagen Solutions of Glasgow, Scotland, which produces medical grade collagen, signed an agreement to form a China joint venture in Beijing with Cre8ive, a China investment firm. Cre8ive will be in charge of China commercialization of Collagen Solutions' products. Collagen Solutions will invest initial capital in the JV, while Cre8ive will contribute local knowledge, support services, administrative and regulatory support. Collagen Solutions will own 60% of the JV.
A Japanese public-private group plans to build a chain of ten China hospitals/clinics to treat kidney disease. The initial facility, which will have 200 hospital beds and 50 to 100 dialysis beds, will be built in Beijing, with completion expected next year. The hospitals will be owned by a joint venture formed between Nihon Trim, an Osaka maker of medical equipment and water filters, and an unidentified China consulting firm. Because Japan's government wants to promote medical exports, it is supporting the effort.
Beike Biotechnology, a Shenzhen company usually known for its stem cell products, declared that it has built a "strategic position" in cancer immunotherapy. In 2014, Beike acquired China rights to an immunotherapy from Altor Biosciences of Florida. One year later, the company acquired Nanjing Abingen Biotech, also an immunotherapy company. By adding its own R&D to its acquired technologies, Beike believes it can build a portfolio of cancer immunotherapies for China in the next few years.
Trials and Approvals
In a bid to speed approval of improved treatments for hepatitis C, China's FDA has granted priority review to HCV drug candidates from seven pharmas. Four of these companies are international big pharmas. The other three consist of Ascletis Pharma from Hangzhou, Beijing Kawin Technology and Taiwan's TaiGen Biopharma. Previously, the CFDA has not accepted foreign drugs into the Green Channel, the unofficial name of the accelerated process. It is also the first time a group of drugs targeting the same condition have been simultaneously accepted for a prioritized review.
Merck KgaA (OTCPK:MKGAY) of Germany said Erbitux met its primary endpoint in a China Phase III trial among patients with RAS wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). According to the company, Erbitux increased progression-free survival (PFS) significantly. Erbitux was added to FOLFOX chemotherapy and compared to FOLFOX alone. Specific data from the trial were not included in the company's release, but will be made public at an upcoming scientific meeting.
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