China Biotech In Review: Roche Opens Sales HQ In Surprising Location

Includes: CVD, EW, RHHBY
by: ChinaBio Today

Deals and Transactions

Grupo Insud, an Argentinian conglomerate with two pharmaceutical subsidiaries, will spend $55 million to build an animal health manufacturing plant in China. The new facility, which will produce a vaccine to prevent foot-and-mouth disease, represents only the first phase of the company's China construction plans, though more details were not provided. In addition, Grupo Insud wants to bring human diabetes and cancer treatments to China.

In a reshuffling of corporate assets, Guangzhou Pharma Holding is combining two of its companies. Guangzhou Pharma Co. (NYSE:GPC) (SHA: 600332) will acquire the assets of Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharma (SHE: 000522). The surviving company, GPC, currently has a market capitalization of $2.2 billion. It is known mainly for its TCM products. Baiyunshan makes APIs for chemical drugs, especially antibiotics, and also produces TCM materials and finished TCM products. Its market capitalization is $1.2 billion. The share prices of both companies dropped 10% after the purchase was given regulatory approval.

Company News

Roche (OTCQX:RHHBY) opened a sales headquarters in Chengdu, far away from Eastern provinces where multinational pharmas find their most lucrative markets (see story). The company's West China Management Center is part of Roche's "West Plus" Initiative. Its goal is to double revenues from west China in three years. It is also a bid to expand its R&D in Chengdu and collaborate more closely with the local government.

Essex Woodlands, a US-based growth capital firm that invests only in healthcare companies, announced it now has an office in Shanghai. The Shanghai office will lead the company's China practice, focusing on pharmaceuticals, medical technology, services, and IT. Essex invests at all stages of development: venture capital, growth equity, PIPEs. In 27 years of health care investing, it has been involved with 120 companies.

Covance (NYSE: CVD), the international CRO, said its Shanghai early development facility was granted a Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) Certificate from the SFDA (see story). Opened in 2010, Covance's Shanghai facility offers nonclinical safety assessment, bioanalytical, in vivo pharmacology, and DMPK services. According to Covance, their Shanghai lab is the only global CRO facility with an SFDA GLP certification.

Trials and Approvals

Neusoft Medical Systems, a medical imaging company headquartered in China, has been granted approval by the FDA for US use of its NeuViz 64 multi-slice CT scanner. The approval should come as no surprise: Newsoft was given an OK by the FDA for its previous 16-slice CT scanner in 2009. Newsoft said its newest machine seeks to combine high-quality imaging with affordability.

Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE: EW), a US company that makes artificial heart valves and hemodynamic monitors, has been given SFDA approval for the Carpentier-Edwards PERIMOUNT Mitral Heart Valve, a replacement heart valve made of bovine pericardial tissue (see story). Edwards maintains sales offices in Shanghai and Beijing, and it markets a broad range of its heart valves, minimally invasive surgical products and hemodynamic monitors in China.

Disclosure: none.