China Biotech In Review: Sanofi, Sinopharm To Conduct Joint Research Into Rare Diseases

 |  Includes: MEDS, SNY
by: ChinaBio Today

Deals and Transactions

Fosun Pharma's (SHA: 600196) long-in-the-works IPO on the Hong Kong exchange is scheduled to take place this month, raising a diminished $600 million. The company received regulatory approval for the offering five months ago, but market conditions have held the transaction back until now - and caused the company to drop the projected take from $800 million. There have been no IPOs in Hong Kong for the last three months.

RuiYi, a San Diego-Shanghai drug discovery company, has obtained world-wide rights to an IL-6 mAb from ArGEN-X, a Dutch firm. The molecule is being developed as a potential treatment for cancer and inflammatory diseases. RuiYi's operations are in Shanghai's Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, while its management offices are in San Diego. RuiYi focuses its expertise on biologic drugs, using them to target G protein coupled receptors.

Vital Therapies, a San Diego company that is developing a device to treat liver failure, has closed a $16 million capital round from its existing investors, the first of a planned $76 million multi-stage commitment. Last year, Vital Therapies raised $2 million from Jilin Aodong Medicine (SHE: 000623) and was slated to receive an additional $25 million in six months if Vital Therapies was successful in obtaining SFDA approval of its device. The approval was not secured.

Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) and Sinopharm (China State Institute of Pharmaceutical Industry) signed a MOU in Shanghai to conduct joint research into rare diseases (see story). Although details haven't been released, the collaboration will apparently survey the incidence of rare diseases in China, then seek to understand causes and find treatments. In 2011, Sanofi paid $20 billion to acquire US-based Genzyme, a specialist in rare diseases.

MediStem (OTCQB:MEDS) of San Diego formed a stem cell collaboration with Superview Biotechnology Co., a subsidiary of Yinhuan Holding (see story). The two companies will use MediStem's proprietary stem cell lines to screen monoclonal antibodies. Their goal will be to assess whether antibodies can modulate the activity of stem cells that already exist in the body. The companies will evaluate various candidates jointly, as well as apply for grants and share research data.

Trials and Approvals

A China National Biotech Group (CNBG) vaccine for Japanese encephalitis is about to be the first vaccine from China approved for use by the World Health Organization (WHO). Once the vaccine is awarded "prequalification status," NGOs such as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) can purchase it for distribution in less-developed areas as the world. The Chengdu Institute, one of China Biotech's subsidiaries, developed and produces the vaccine.


QPS Holdings, an international CRO based in the US, has opened an office in Beijing from which it will offer clinical-stage services. The new office will be part of QPS Qualitix, a QPS majority-owned subsidiary that already has facilities in Taiwan and India. According to QPS Qualitix, it has been operating in China through partners. Building on that experience, it will offer customized plans to clients who seek China approval of their products.

Disclosure: none.