China Biotech Week in Review: Deals Abound

Includes: GSK, SCR
by: ChinaBio Today

Sichuan Kelun Pharmaceutical [SZEX: 002422], a major manufacturer of IV solutions, announced its plans to raise 5 billion RMB ($735 million) in an IPO on the Shenzhen exchange (see story). The company will issue 60 million A-shares, about 25% of its outstanding shares, at a price of 83.36 RMB ($12.26). Founded in 1996, Kelun’s revenues topped $382 million in 2008. Taxable profit was $88 million.

GanLee Pharmaceutical Company Limited, a Beijing biopharma that produces human recombinant insulin and insulin analog products, has received a 100 million RMB ($15 million) investment from Qiming Venture Partners (see story). GanLee will use the capital to increase R&D, manufacturing and sales and marketing.

OriGene Technologies announced plans to build one of the world’s largest monoclonal antibody production facilities in Wuxi, China (see story). The center will be built “with the support” of the Wuxi Biopharmaceutical R&D Outsourcing Servicing Park, also known as BioPark. Specific details of the agreement were not disclosed. OriGene said the high-throughput production facility will eventually employ over one thousand people and have the capacity to produce more than 20,000 of the company’s TrueMAB™ antibodies per year.

BGI, formerly known as the Beijing Genomics Institute, has signed an agreement to locate its European headquarters in Copenhagen (see story). BGI will invest $10 million in the project and recruit between 20 and 50 people at the site in the first year. From there, BGI will hire an additional 50-100 people as it builds a sequencing platform in Copenhagen.

Tianjin Tasly Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., which makes TCM products, will form a JV with Transgene SA Ltd. of France to develop biological drugs (see story). The initial product is Urokinase, an enzyme-based formulation used to break up blot clots that is usually sourced from cultured human kidney cells. The JV will be owned 50-50 by the two companies, with each one contributing 1 million RMB ($146,000).

Simcere Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:SCR), a high-end generic drug company, has hired Merrill Lynch as an investment advisor to help sell its OTC drug division (see story). At the same time, the company is seeking to add to its prescription product offerings through partnerships with Western companies. Simcere said it expects to close two deals before the end of 2010 that will add $42.8 million in annual revenue.

GeneNews Limited, a Toronto-based company focused on molecular diagnostic tests, signed up GeneDiagnostics Inc. as its non-exclusive China marketing partner for ColonSentry™, a blood-based test that determines a person's current risk for colorectal cancer (see story). ColonSentry, the company’s first marketed product, is currently available in parts of Canada.

Because GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) wants to double its China and India revenues by 2015, the company will significantly reduce its prices – as much as 70% – to raise revenues (see story). “There’s absolutely a land grab [in emerging markets] going on right now because obviously there’s no growth in the US and Europe, or very little growth,” said Abbas Hussain, President of Emerging Markets for Glaxo. “There’s a real fight on for market share.”

Disclosure: none.