China Biotech Week in Review: IPO, Deals and Trials

Includes: RHHBY, SVA
by: ChinaBio Today

Shenzhen Hepalink Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. staged its IPO on the Shenzhen exchange, raising 5.9 billion RMB ($868 million) (see story). The IPO price of 148 RMB ($21.62) set a record as the highest IPO price in China's A-share market. Hepalink is the world’s largest producer of heparin, a blood thinner that is harvested from pigs’ intestines.

In open market trading, Hepalink gained as much as 27% from its IPO price in its first trading session, hitting a high of 188 RMB ($27.65) (see story). The IPO was priced at an already expensive 72 times its 2009 earnings. Li Li and Li Tan, the founders of Hepalink, own 72% of the company, a stake that is now worth $7.6 billion, making them the richest couple in China.

S*BIO Pte Ltd., a clinical stage Singapore biotech, signed a new $20 million deal with Onyx Pharmaceuticals (NSDQ: ONXX) to expand the development of S*BIO's novel JAK2 inhibitors, SB1518 and SB1578 (see story). S*BIO will use the money to explore new indications for hematologic malignancies and myeloproliferative disorders. The two companies signed their original $25 million agreement in January 2009.

Kunwu Jiuding Capital Co. has invested 110 million RMB ($16.2 million) in Shanxi PowerdonePude Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd., a privately-owned enterprise (see story). PowerdonePude Pharma will use the new capital to develop its vertical integration, product portfolio and production scale.

Roche Holding AG (OTCQX:RHHBY) will continue to implement its high-end pharma strategy in emerging markets, focusing on the expensive, innovative drugs for which it is well known, rather than seeking to compete in the generic market (see story). "Our strategy, in contrast to many of our peers, is to sell differentiated products with clear clinical benefits, [because they] are cost-effective and can sustain higher prices," said Pascal Soriot, COO of Roche's Pharmaceutical Division.

Hutchison MediPharma [AIM: HCM] announced dosing of the first patients in a Phase I clinical trial of its anti-cancer drug candidate, sulfatinib (HMPL-012) (see story). The SFDA granted approval of the trial in March, following an expedited Green Channel review of MediPharma’s investigational new drug application. MediPharma will test sulfatinib against solid tumors, particularly liver, gastric and renal cancer.

Actavis, one of the world’s five largest generic pharmaceutical companies, has opened a China regional office in Beijing (see story). The office will be tasked with managing registrations for imported products, other regulatory issues and China sales. Actavis is a privately held company, based in Iceland, with 830 marketed products and an additional 350 in development. To date, its China activities have been centered in Guangzhou, Guangdong province (see story).

Sinovac Biotech (NSDQ: SVA) said its subsidiary Sinovac Dalian, a JV formed in January 2010, has applied to the SFDA to begin clinical trials of a mumps vaccine (see story). The application is the first from the JV and also the first live attenuated vaccine from Sinovac. Sinovac has vaccines for measles and rubella in the works, which it plans to combine into a measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine for government purchasing.

Evonik Industries, an API company based in Germany, has opened a new plant in Nanning, Guanxi province (see story). The facility was set up in collaboration with an unnamed European pharma under a multi-year supply contract, though Evonik said its APIs are intended for the China market. The cGMP-compliant plant has a capacity of 70 cubic meters, which can be doubled.

Disclosure: none.

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