Deals and Financings
The historic $2 billion Hong Kong IPO for China Resources Pharma Group will start taking orders on October 13, price on October 20 and begin trading on October 28. CR Pharma, a subsidiary of state-owned China Resources Holdings, will set a record for the largest-ever Hong Kong IPO of a pharmaceutical company. It is the second largest China pharma in terms of revenues, behind only Sinopharm, another state-owned company.
Two Asian biologic contract manufacturing organizations, Samsung Biologics and WuXi Biologics, have IPOs in the works. Samsung announced a $2 billion Korean IPO in September, while WuXi plans a $500 million Hong Kong initial offering early next year. The Samsung transaction has been officially announced; a Bloomberg article predicted the WuXi IPO, based on a report from an unidentified insider. The two companies are vying to become leaders in biologics, a sector of the greater pharma market that will be just as important as small molecule drugs in less than ten years.
3SBio (HK: 01530) paid $100 million for exclusive rights to market two AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) diabetes products in China. The two products, Byetta and Bydureon, are injectable Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 antagonists intended for type 2 diabetes patients. Byetta is dosed twice-daily while Bydureon is administered once per week. 3SBio will pay $50 million upfront and $25 million when China issues import licenses for the Bydureon single dose tray and again for the Bydureon dual chamber pen. Previously, 3SBio was not involved in the diabetes market.
TransThera Biosciences, a Nanjing biotech startup, raised $10 million in an A Round financing that was led by Morningside Ventures of Hong Kong. TransThera is built on an open innovation model that seeks to develop novel NCE drugs. Its current portfolio addresses oncology, cardiovascular diseases and other therapeutic areas. The company was founded (and is led) by Dr. Frank Wu, who was previously CEO of XuanZhu Pharma, a drug discovery subsidiary of Sihuan Pharma.
EpimAb Biotherapeutics, a Shanghai startup, announced a cross-licensing and development deal with Kymab of the UK to develop bispecific therapeutic antibodies against several immuno-oncology targets. The partnership will use EpimAb's Fabs-In-Tandem Immunoglobulin (FIT-Ig) platform, which can generate multiple bispecific antibodies, and combine it with antibodies from Kymab's Kymouse platform. EpimAb will own rights to the bispecifics in China; Kymab will have rights for the rest of the world. Each company will receive milestones and royalties for the other's programs. Further financial details were not disclosed.
ASLAN Pharma, a Singapore oncology biotech, will collaborate with Nanyang Technological University of Singapore to develop Modybodies, a novel type of stabilized heavy chain monoclonal antibody fragments. NTU will develop Modybodies for three targets specified by ASLAN, and ASLAN has an option to acquire global rights for the Modybodies under agreed-upon terms. ASLAN says Modybodies can penetrate tissues better than monoclonal antibodies because of their small size.
The Jackson Laboratory, a large, unaffiliated US medical research group, expects to form a significant genomics collaboration with three groups in Wenzhou, a prefecture-level city in China's southeastern Zhejiang province. In its first phase, the new collaboration will hire 75 to 100 employees and start genomics research collaborations with other organizations. In its second phase, the group would build labs in Wenzhou and hire an additional 300 to 500 employees. The Wenzhou collaboration will focus on genomic propensities for disease and will work to discover individualized therapies for cancer, heart disease and other afflictions.
GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) plans to strengthen its China R&D efforts, using collaborations to develop new neurological treatments. The research update came from GSK's Min Li, PhD, who holds the dual titles of Global Head of Neurosciences and General Manager of R&D China. Established in 2007, GSK's Shanghai R&D Center focuses on neurology. "In the field of neurological diseases, we are very much committed to neurodegeneration and neuroexcitation," said Dr. Li. So far, GSK has established partnerships with scientists at four China universities.