China Biotech Week in Review: China Life Science Convergence

Includes: CSKI, JGBO, MR, SVA, WX
by: ChinaBio Today

The world of China life science is “ascendant,” according to Greg B. Scott, Executive Editor of ChinaBio® Today (see story). Scott based his assessment on the convergence of global forces that makes China the hotspot for life science companies in 2010. He presented his remarks at the second annual ChinaBio® Executive Workshop held in conjunction with this past week’s JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. Scott assessed the opportunities currently available in China for life science companies – which are tremendous – and also presented statistics showing the growth in China’s life science sector – also huge – over the past few years.

ChinaBio® LLC has formed a China domestic company, ChinaBio Accelerator (Shanghai) Company Ltd., to help US life science companies establish operations in China (see story). With ChinaBio Accelerator’s help, companies will be able to enter the China market more quickly and with less risk than they could on their own. The ChinaBio initiative mirrors a concept that has been used successfully in the web industry by Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) primary China competitor. ChinaBio believes its Accelerator is the first time the concept has been applied to the life science industry.

Pharmaron Holdings Limited has completed its acquisition of Bridge Laboratories China (see story). Both Pharmaron, which is headquartered in California, and Bridge have laboratory facilities in Beijing. Pharmaron said the acquisition would “extend” the range of services it offers. Bridge provided the first western standard GLP-compliant preclinical toxicology services in China. In August 2008, data from Bridge’s animal studies was accepted by the FDA as part of an IND filing. Terms of the Pharmaron-Bridge transaction were not disclosed.

bioMerieux [Euronext: BIM], the French maker of in vitro diagnostics, has acquired Meikang Biotech, a China company also involved in rapid test manufacturing, together with Meikang’s two hectare production site in Shanghai (see story). bioMerieux will locate its previously announced Asia-Pacific headquarters and China R&D facility on the site. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

WuXi AppTec (NYSE: WX) and QIAGEN formed a partnership focused on molecular biomarker development (see story). QIAGEN will contribute a portfolio of instruments, training, and consumables which WuXi AppTec will use in its Shanghai laboratory, expanding its service offerings to its clients. WuXi will also help QIAGEN to develop biomarkers, assay panels, personalized healthcare diagnostics, and other products that QIAGEN will market.

Shenzhen Beike Biotechnology Co. has received a $1.8 million grant to conduct a clinical trial of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MSC) as a treatment for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Multiple Sclerosis (NYSE:MS) and other degenerative diseases (see story). The grant was awarded by Jiangsu’s Department of Science and Technology. Beike Biotech’s partners in the project are Jiangsu University and Nanjing University’s Drug Tower Hospital.

Mindray Medical (NYSE: MR), the Shenzhen medical device company, said it expects 2009 revenues will total between $624 million and $633 million, representing a 15% improvement over year-earlier results (see story). Earnings per share (non-GAAP) will be not less than $1.29. Those results were well ahead of analysts’ estimates, which called for $621 million in revenue and eps of $1.21.

Sinovac Biotech (NSDQ: SVA) has received the fifth order for its H1N1 vaccine, Panflu.1™, from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (see story). The latest order is for 8.57 million doses of the vaccine, bringing total Sinovac sales to 20 million doses. Sinovac must deliver 2.3 million doses by March 15, 2010, and the balance will be stockpiled in Sinovac’s warehouse.

Jiangbo Pharmaceuticals (OTCPK:JGBO) reported its oral Osteomyelitis treatment, Kang Gu Sui Yan Pian, has been included in the 2009 Edition of the National Basic Medical Insurance, Industrial Injury Insurance and Maternity Insurance Medicine Directory (see story). The product is not a significant revenue-producer for Jiangbo, but we look at the four pharmaceuticals that generate 96% of the company's revenues.

Invida Group of Singapore announced plans to launch three dermatological brands in China: Dermatix®, Zalain® and Kinerase® (see story). Invida, though mainly a commercialization company, also has proprietary products. With 13 subsidiaries and more than 3,700 employees, Invida was established as a Joint Venture in 2005 by Temasek Holdings, Quintiles Transnational and the Zuellig Group. Earlier entities have been providing commercialization services in Asia Pacific for more than 50 years.

China Sky One Medical (NSDQ: CSKI) reported its AMI Diagnostic Kit for early detection of heart disease was designated a National Innovation Project (see story). The award carries with it a 6 million RMB ($.9 million) stipend for 2010. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) bestows the award to companies involved in high-tech industries that have developed innovative projects.

Suven Life Sciences Ltd., a Hyderabad, India company that has made its name in bulk actives, drug and fine chemicals, was granted two patents in China for new chemical entities (see story). The two molecules, which belong to the class of 5-HT compounds, are aimed at treating disorders associated with neurodegenerative diseases. The two patents are valid until 2023 and 2024 respectively.

Disclosure: none.