The deals in China life science last week weren’t game-changers – there wasn’t any development that even remotely approached the $100 million mark or significantly altered the business landscape. Instead, what we saw was incremental advances, the slow accumulation of change in search of growth as the life science sector matures.
Excel PharmaStudies of Beijing announced it would join in an alliance with GVK Biosciences, a CRO based in Hyderabad, to create an organization capable of conducting clinical trials in both China and India (see story). It is the first alliance between an Indian and a China CRO, according to the two companies. To increase speed and efficiency, the GVK BIO-Excel alliance will be able to choose between India and/or China for Phase II-IV trials.
NeoStem (AMEX: NBS) raised $11 million from a private placement with Asian investors (see story). Much of the money will be spent to increase the company’s China operations. In November 2008, NeoStem gained control over a China regenerative medical therapy company, Shandong New Medicine Research Institute of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine LLC. NeoStem says it will expand its medical tourism business, offering regenerative therapies that are not available in the West.
Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) reiterated that will not seek a multi-billion dollar merger similar to the ones currently in the big pharma news; instead, the company says it will continue to implement its diversified drug development model (see story). The model is essentially a series of smaller partnership deals, which add expertise and diversity to Lilly’s in-house R&D. At the same time, the company said it has the goal of becoming the fastest growing pharmaceutical company operating in China.
China Biologic Products (NASDAQ:CBPO) obtained control of fellow China plasma products company Qianfeng Biological Products Co., Ltd (see story). The closing makes China Biologic the country’s largest non-state owned enterprise in the plasma products sector. In 2008 Qianfeng had a 7.4% share of China’s plasma products market, while China Biologic held a 6.9% share. Together, they represent 14.3% of the market.
China Medicine Corporation (OTCPK:CHME) signed a two-year renewable agreement with Heilongjiang Liao Yuan Technology, Inc. for exclusive rights to distribute Nianlianping, an anti-adhesive, in Guangdong province (see story). Nianlianping is a medical macrogol berberine solution used to prevent adherence of tissue to the lesion site after surgical operation. China Medicine estimates that sales of Nianlianping will reach approximately 30 million RMB ($4.4 million) annually over the next three years.
Moving on from deals to the theme of innovation, a team of China scientists, led by Professor Ji Wu of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, has challenged a basic biological tenet: the widely held notion that female mammals are born with their lifetime supply of eggs (see story). The thought was that once the supply of eggs is expended, a female becomes infertile because she cannot create replacements. The Jiao Tong University team showed that the ovaries of female mice contain cells having the characteristics of female germline stem cells, which have the ability to become eggs.
Bridge Laboratories has a new General Manager for its Beijing facility. Haijun (Lou) Dong, PhD and MBA, was named to the post this past week (see story). Dr. Dong comes to Bridge from Roche’s R&D operation in Shanghai, where he was part of the senior management team and head of DMPK and Drug Safety at the Shanghai R&D Center for three years. Bridge Labs has been without a GM/CEO in Beijing since founder Glenn Rice left the company two years ago.
Lotus Pharmaceuticals (OTCPK:LTUS) filed its 2008 financial report showing the company’s revenues, which totaled $73.8 million, were up 30% while net income rose 14% to $12.8 million or 27 cents per fully diluted share (see story). The company said it expected to see “steady” growth in 2009. Unfortunately, Lotus ended 2008 with just $1.3 million in cash and working capital of $4.4 million. The company has two big-dollar projects in the works.
And finally, China Sky One Medical (OTCPK:CSKI) announced 2008 financial results that were a significant advance over 2007 and also slightly ahead of forecasts (see story). In 2008, the company’s revenues increased 86% to $91.8 million, while net income rose 88% to $35.7 million or $1.87 per share, fully diluted. China Sky One expects its business will continue to grow: it issued 2009 guidance for revenues in a $128-$130 million range, a 40% jump, and net income of $38-39 million, which is higher by 30%. The company ran 38% higher in two days’ trading after releasing the announcement.