Deals and Financings
Athenex, a US-China oncology company, announced that New York State will invest $225 million to build a large manufacturing facility for the company in the western part of the state. Athenex agreed to contribute $1.6 billion over ten years in wages, materials and supplies. In October, Athenex and Chongqing, China struck a similar deal in which the municipal government will build two factories for the company. Athenex will make APIs for global markets and oncology drugs for China in the plants, and it will be responsible for equipping them. Also in 2015, Athenex acquired Comprehensive Drug Enterprises, which included a Hong Kong R&D operation and a manufacturing facility in the Fengdu district of Chongqing.
Genexine (KOSDAQ: 095700) of Korea out-licensed China rights for a novel long-acting EPO drug to a subsidiary of Shanghai Fosun Pharma (SHA: 600196; HK: 02196) in a $44.5 million deal. GX-E2 is a Fc-engineered (hyFc) long-acting EPO aimed at anemia caused by chronic kidney disease or chemotherapy. Genexine, which is currently conducting a Phase II trial of the candidate in Korea, will also receive royalties on any China sales of GX-E2.
Wanbang Biopharma, a subsidiary of Shanghai Fosun Pharma (SHA: 600196; HK: 02196), obtained China rights for two End-Stage-Renal-Disease treatments from Rockwell Medical (NASDAQ:RMTI) of the US. Wanbang agreed to pay Rockwell $39 million in upfront plus regulatory and revenue milestone payments. Rockwell will supply the products. The two drugs are Triferic and Calcitriol. Triferic is Rockwell's proprietary iron replacement and hemoglobin maintenance drug for treating anemia. Calcitriol, a generic product, is an active vitamin D injection for treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism in dialysis patients.
Government and Regulatory
To speed up innovation in China, the State Council announced new rules to promote technology transfer from research institutes to small businesses. Researchers will receive 50% of the profits from any sales, according to a statement issued by the State Council. Previously, government regulators had to approve the transfers, which was time-consuming. Now, special organizations will supervise these transactions more efficiently, facilitating the transformation from research into commercialization.
News and Analysis
In a pilot program, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) showed off its vision of the future of mobile healthcare. A villager, who lives in a remote fishing village of Hubei province, called a hospital several hundred kilometers away, and spoke to a doctor. The doctor wrote an online prescription, which the villager had filled at an Alibaba-affiliated pharmacy. The drugs arrived the next day and the villager paid the delivery person. There was no long bus ride, no standing in lines to make an appointment, no waiting for the doctor. Simplicity itself.