China Biotech In Review: China Featured At J.P. Morgan Confab

Includes: MR, NBY
by: ChinaBio Today

The annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare extravaganza, held last week in San Francisco, was buzzing with excitement about China. Optimism was running high and, best of all, participants were discussing real deals. It was the second year the conference included a China-specific track. The room was often filled to its 200-seat capacity, forcing some attendees to stand at the back and even more to peer in through the glass doors at the back of the room. The strong sense of positive energy evident throughout J.P. Morgan this year was even more apparent in the China Reception following the company presentations.

Deals and Transactions

Amerigen Pharma announced two new cross-border relationships in quick succession. The agreements move the company toward its goals of developing a large portfolio of differentiated generic drugs for sale in the US and China. With Shanghai Fosun Omni Pharma, Amerigen will develop controlled release oral generic products, which Amerigen will commercialize in the US. Amerigen also signed an MOU with VIWA Pharma, a China company, to set up a JV that will develop and register a number of branded generics for sale in China.

Shanghai Pharma announced its subsidiary, Shanghai Zhongxi Sunve Pharmaceutical, acquired a 51% stake in Shanghai Jinhe Biotechnology. Sunve produces APIs and intermediates for cancer drugs, and it has over half the China market for taxane APIs. Sunve is expected to report sales of 94 million RMB ($14.9 million) in 2011. The price was not disclosed.

NovaBay Pharma (AMEX: NBY) of California signed a partnership agreement with Pioneer Pharma, a Shanghai company that distributes high-end medical products in China (see story). The agreement gives Pioneer responsibility for China commercialization of NovaBay’s anti-infective wound-cleaning product, NeutroPhase. NovaBay received an upfront payment of over $300,000, and it could earn pre-launch milestones of an additional $1 million.

Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine has entered a strategic partnership with Crown Bioscience to discover and commercialize a novel monoclonal antibody, which will be developed for China and global markets. Hengrui signed the deal with Crown’s subsidiary, CrownBio Taicang Biologics Division. CrownBio, which will lead the discovery program and deliver a humanized IND candidate, will receive research support and a success-based incentive payment.

Aeras, a US-based non-profit dedicated to developing effective TB vaccines and biologics, has partnered with the China National Biotec Group (CNBG) to develop a recombinant form of Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG), the only TB vaccine currently approved. Aeras will provide financial support and technical expertise to CNBG as part of the partnership.

Company News

Mindray Medical (NYSE: MR), China’s international medical device maker, said its preliminary 2011 revenues rose 25% to $878 million (see story). The company also expects non-GAAP revenues to increase at least 10%. It predicted revenues for 2012 would climb another 18%. Investors reacted positively to the announcement, sending Mindray up more than 5%. In early going, the stock was trading at $27.90, up $1.57, on heavy volume.

Disclosure: none.