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Deals and Transactions

Charles River Labs (NYSE: CRL), the global CRO, will pay $27 million to acquire a 75% stake in Vital River, the largest supplier of laboratory animals in China (see story). Charles River has the right to acquire the remaining 25% at a future date. As its name implies, Vital River has had a very close relationship with Charles River. For the past 10 years, it has been a licensee for production and distribution of Charles River's disease models in China.

Fosun Pharma (SHA: 600196; HK: 2196) posted a loss in its first day of trading in Hong Kong, falling 8% from its IPO price to close at HK$10.84. It hit an intraday low of HK$10.38. The IPO was priced HK$11.80, the low end of the range, which put the H-shares at a 13% discount from the Shanghai-listed price. The company's stock may do better in the rest of the week. After the markets closed, Fosun reported its Q3 net income rose 95% on a 27% increase in revenues.

DelMar Pharma of Canada and Guangxi Wuzhou Pharma will expand their collaboration by developing new indications for VAL-083 in China. Wuzhou Pharmaceuticals will be the exclusive supplier of VAL-083, which it calls DAG for Injection. It sells the drug in China as an approved treatment for leukemia and lung cancer. DelMar will be responsible for developing new indications for the drug. In the US, DelMar is conducting a clinical trial of DAG in patients with the most aggressive form of brain cancer, refractory glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

Trials and Approvals

Hutchison MediPharma, the drug discovery arm of China MediTech [AIM: HCM], began a Phase I clinical trial of Theliatinib (HMPL-309) in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. The drug is a small molecule inhibitor of the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase. Unlike most EGFR inhibitors, Theliatinib has shown efficacy against NSCLC that does not display EGFR-enabling mutations in pre-clinical testing, according to Chi-Med.

A new generic gastrointestinal drug from Sihuan Pharma (HK: 0460, Roxatidine Acetate Hydrochloride for Injection, received SFDA approval. As a first-to-market generic, it will enjoy four years of exclusivity in China. The drug, which was approved in both oral and injectible forms, is a treatment for ulcers and GI bleeding.

SLG-Giant Pharm Service Group, a China physician-owned clinical-stage CRO, was granted a full-service contract to conduct the China arm of the ATACH-II trial by the US National Institute of Health. According to SLG-Giant, this is the first NIH supported clinical trial with sites outside the US. Around the globe, ATACH-II will enroll 1200 patients.

Company News

Innovent Biologics, a Suzhou company formed last year, is building a biotech plant in BioBay. The company has two aims: it intends to in-license biotech drugs for the China market, and it also wants to provide contract manufacturing services to other companies. The company is led by an international management team of experienced biotech executives. With $30 million in startup capital from Fidelity, Lilly Ventures and Suzhou BioBay, Innovent has instant credibility.

Xiamen Innovax Biotech confirmed it has launched Hecolin, the world's first hepatitis E vaccine, in the China market. The SFDA approved the vaccine in January of this year. According to Innovax, the government is cooperating in an effort to offer the vaccine to high-risk individuals in China.

Disclosure: none.

Source: China Biotech In Review: Charles River Labs Buys China's Vital River