Week In Review: Beijing's Berry Genomics Valued At $619 Million In Reverse Merger

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Includes: BGNE, SVA
by: ChinaBio Today

Deals and Financings

Berry Genomics, a Beijing genetic testing company, will IPO via a reverse merger with Chengdu Tianxing Instrument & Meter (SHZ: 0710) at a valuation of $619 million on China's Shenzhen market. The transaction was announced in September, but no financial details were disclosed at that time. Tianxing will issue shares to Berry stockholders. Earlier this month, Tianxing said it would sell its assets and debts for $42 million, though it wasn't clear if that was all of the company's current operations.

Harbour BioMed, a Shanghai startup, raised an initial $50 million from two China investors, Advantech Capital and Legend Capital, and then acquired Harbour Antibodies BV, a Dutch company with two proprietary transgenic mouse platforms. Harbour BioMed's headquarters and R&D will be in Shanghai, its business operations in Cambridge, MA, and its antibody platform in Rotterdam. The company will expand its Boston presence with a drug discovery innovation center. The previous Harbour owners received cash plus equity in Harbour BioMed, though no specific details were disclosed.

TopGene, a two-year-old Guangzhou maker of DNA tests, completed a $14 million Series A funding round led by Matrix Partners China. The company offers non-invasive prenatal testing plus DNA screens for genetic predisposition towards various cancers. In addition, TopGene offers next generation sequencing and DNA/RNA extraction services to researchers, and it operates a China cancer precision medicine center for clinicians, with plans to open dozens more centers across China.

Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, a Vancouver medical device company, will be acquired by a consortium led by Vivo Capital, a US-China healthcare investor, and ZQ Capital, an investment firm focused on China. Angiotech makes branded, private label and OEM products with a focus on needles, sutures and surgical knives. The company sells globally, including China. It has more than 2,000 employees worldwide. The price of the acquisition was not disclosed.

IMAB, a Shanghai biotech, in-licensed Asian rights to an IL-6 antagonist from Ferring Pharma of Switzerland. Olamkicept (pINN), which has completed a Phase I trial, is intended for immunological indications including inflammatory bowel diseases and rheumatoid arthritis. IMAB's commitment to fund further development of olamkicept in Asia seems to be the only upfront financial consideration. IMAB has an option to acquire global rights to the candidate, though further details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Trials and Approvals

BeiGene (NASDAQ:BGNE) of Beijing has treated the first patient in a China Phase I trial of BGB-290, a PARP inhibitor. The trial will administer BGB-290 to patients with advanced solid tumors. Two and a half years ago, BeiGene started its first trial of the drug in Australia, and it has reported positive early data from the test. One of the primary targets of BGB-290 will be ovarian cancer, and BeiGene also plans to pair the PARP inhibitor with its PD-1 immuno-oncology candidate in future trials.

Company News

Sinovac Biotech (NASDAQ:SVA), a Beijing vaccine maker, said its Audit Committee will investigate claims that Weidong Yin, Sinovac's Chairman, President and CEO, bribed a CFDA official to speed regulatory approval of the company's vaccines. Mr. Yin has not, himself, made any public declarations of guilt or innocence. Sinovac's Audit Committee will work with the law firm Latham & Watkins in the investigation. The charges stem from a year-old case that resulted in the resignation and imprisonment of a CFDA official, also named Yin. Previously, the courts had not released the name(s) of companies alleged to have made the illegal payments.

Disclosure: None

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