China Biotech Week in Review: China Pharma Investment, Company Progress

by: ChinaBio Today

There were three stories last week about new investments in China life science. Meanwhile, other news items chronicled the progress made by individual companies, companies that are advancing their portfolio of products, presumably the results of investments made in the past, which brings the theme full circle.

To increase dealmaking in China, Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) has built a Shanghai-based business development team (see story). The mega-pharma is looking forward to revenue growth in the China pharma market, while at the same time it expects China’s famously fragmented pharmaceutical industry to begin a long-awaited process of consolidation. For both reasons, China figures large in the company’s development plans for the next three to five years.

A new life science incubator is making its appearance as the Changzhou Biopharmaceutical Incubator Project held the ceremonial laying of a foundation stone to commemorate the beginning of construction on January 16 (see story). The project will be built in two phases and receive an investment of 520 million RMB ($76 million). Changzhou is in Jiangsu province.

Morningside Asia Venture, the Hong Kong venture capital firm, signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a China joint venture with Can-Fite BioPharma (TASE: CFBI), an Israeli company (see story). Morningside will pay $7.5 million to Can-Fite for the China rights to CF102, a drug being developed to fight liver cancer. The money will underwrite all expenses of the JV through Phase II clinical trials.

China Pharma Holdings (NYSE: CPHI) reported that its clinical trials for a generic version of Candesartan, an anti-hypertension drug, have been completed successfully, and China Pharma has submitted a generic drug production application for Candesartan to the SFDA (see story). Candesartan Cilexetil is a prodrug of Candesartan, which allows the product to be administered orally and also means that it remains effective for a full day.

China Sky One Medical (NSDQ: CSKI) has announced a shift in corporate direction. The company said one of its subsidiaries, Heilongjiang Tianlong Pharmaceutical Company, will change its R&D focus from its traditional emphasis on external use medicines to concentrate instead on injected generic western pharmaceuticals, developing antibiotics and cardiac drugs (see story).

Sinovac Biotech (NSDQ: SVA) released full-year guidance for 2009 and also announced it would issue 8.65 million shares to raise about $62 million in new capital (see story). The company said it expects revenues for 2009 to be between $81 and $85 million, while gross profits will total somewhere in a $61 to $65 million range.

Sinobiopharma (OTC:SNBP) reported greatly improved financial results for its Q2 (ended November 30, 2009) (see story). The company said revenues jumped 120% to $2.1 million and net income was $1.1 million, a $2.1 million increase from the year-earlier quarter. Sinobiopharma attributed the rise in revenue to continuing marketing of its major revenue driver, the muscle relaxant KuTai (cisatracurium besylate).

Shandong Luoxin Pharmacy Stock Co. (HKEX: 8058; OTCQX: SLUXY) has listed its ADRs on the QX tier of the OTC Exchange, the highest level of the OTC (see story). Luoxin’s ordinary shares have been listed on the GEM Board of the Hong Kong Exchange for the past four years. Each US-listed ADR is equivalent to 10 ordinary shares.

Burdica Biomed of Scotland has reached an agreement with Sinopharm under which Sinopharm will be responsible for registering Burdica’s products with the SFDA and then distributing them post-approval (see story). Burdica will retain responsibility for marketing. Burdica estimates it will take between 12 and 18 months to complete the registration process.

Disclosure: none.