Deals and Financings
Vivo Ventures, the California-China healthcare venture capital company, is the lead investor in a $30 million funding round for Shanghai Jingfeng Pharmaceutical Co., according to Venture Wire. In January, Vivo closed Vivo Ventures VII, a $375 million fund. It pledged to allocate 45% of that to China life science companies. Founded in 2003, Shanghai Jingfeng Pharma is GMP-certified by the SFDA to make sodium hyaluronate API.
China National Pharmaceutical Group Corp., the giant state-owned drugmaker that is known as Sinopharm, said it is actively seeking to make foreign acquisitions. Although it is not excluding any possibilities, companies in Europe are the most likely because of Europe's economic environment, according to the company's Chairman, Zhiping Song, who was quoted in the Wall Street Journal. Sinopharm is China's largest drugmaker by revenue.
Zhongyuan Union Stem Cell Bioengineering (SHA: 600645) has signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a stem cell JV with Cell Therapy Ltd. of Wales. The JV, which will have $8 million in startup capital, will use stromal (connective tissue) cells from the germinal layer to treat heart failure. Cell Therapy Ltd. was founded by the 2007 Nobel laureate for Medicine, Sir Martin Evans.
Pioneer Pharma, a Singapore company that is affiliated with Naqu Area Pioneer Pharma of Shanghai, completed a $2.5 million investment into California-based NovaBay Pharma (NYSE: NBY) (see story). The investment was part of deal that gives Pioneer the right to market NovaBay's anti-infective wound-cleaning product, NeutroPhase, in China and Southeast Asia. The investment purchased two million units at a price of $1.25 each. Each unit consists of one share of NovaBay and a warrant to buy an additional share at a price of $1.50. NovaBay is currently trading at $1.31.
Akeso Biopharma, a new China antibody drug discovery company, has begun operations in Zhongshan, located in the scientifically active Pearl River Delta region of Guangdong province. The company was formed by returnees from US pharmas, who were drawn to the area by aggressive incentives offered by Zhongshan, according to China Daily. Akeso will seek to discover mAbs for cancer, immune disorders and infectious diseases.
Lundbeck A/S (CPH: LUN), the Danish company that specializes in CNS drugs, opened a $7.6 million production plant in Tianjin, its first manufacturing facility in China. Lundbeck has been marketing its products in China for sixteen years. In 2010, Lundbeck opened an R&D center in Shanghai. The new Tianjin facility will initially manufacture the company's treatment for Alzheimer's disease, Ebixa.
Mindray Medical (NYSE: MR) reported that its Q2 revenues rose 18% to $257 million, with non-GAAP net income up an equal 18% at $50 million (see story). Unfortunately, those results were below analysts' estimates. Also, a $10 million charge took EBITDA and net income lower than the prior year's similar period. The charge derives from a pricing dispute with a supplier over costs for components of patient monitors sold in the US.