Deals and Financings
BioSense Global, a New Jersey-Suzhou biotech, signed a $68 million option agreement with France's Neovacs (Paris: ALNEV) for China rights to a therapeutic vaccine aimed at lupus and dermatomyositis. The IFNα Kinoid candidate is in a Phase II trial. The $68 million package consists of upfront and milestone payments, and the agreement also includes sales royalties. Neovacs retains rights to the molecule for other regions, except for a previously announced South Korea partnership. BioSense also receives first right of refusal in Greater China for any further IFNα Kinoid indications, including type 1 diabetes. Additional terms were not disclosed.
Beijing's Anxin Doctor, a mobile health app focused on pediatric and women's healthcare, raised $28 million in a Series B round. The company claims to have tens of thousands of doctors signed up in six China cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Anxin plans to use the proceeds to improve its offline medical care services, as well as allow patients to receive online medical services from doctors they meet offline. The investors were Matrix Partners China, Qiming Venture Partners and IDG Capital.
Shanghai Fudan-Zhangjiang Bio-Pharma invested $2 million into Adgero Biopharma of New Jersey. Adgero is developing a photodynamic therapy platform to treat cancer indications. PDT uses light sensitive compounds, or photosensitizers, which produce oxygen when exposed to specific wavelengths of light, inducing local cell death. According to Adgero, it hopes FDZJ will eventually license China rights to its technology, though the current agreement does not include this provision. FDZJ has already developed two approved PDT therapies in China.
Ally Bridge Group made investments in two European biopharmas: Galenica AG (SIX: GALN) of Switzerland, and Nabriva (NASDAQ:NBRV), an Austrian-US pharma. Galenica's subsidiary Vifor Pharma, makes iron supplements and other products for chronic kidney disease. Nabriva develops next-gen antibiotics for bacterial infections, especially drug-resistant bacteria. Ally has $1.5 billion under management, all in life science companies, with investments in US, Europe and China companies. It did not disclose the size of either investment.
Xynomic Pharma, a US-China oncology startup, acquired exclusive global rights to abexinostat, an HDAC inhibitor targeting hematological and solid tumor cancers with, Xynomic believes, best-in-class potential. Xynomic did not disclose the source of the candidate, though abexinostat was previously being developed by Pharmacyclics. AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) paid $21 billion to acquire Pharmacyclics in 2015. Abexinostat seems to be the first in-licensing for Xynomic, which is headquartered in Wyoming with "major operations" in Shanghai. No financial details of the agreement were released.
Lee's Pharm (HK: 0950) acquired Greater China commercialization rights to episil®, a treatment for oral mucositis, from Japan's Solasia Pharma. The agreement does not include Taiwan nor the cities of Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou, which Solasia will retain. episil®, an oral liquid that treats the pain associated with oral mucositis, was developed by Camurus of Sweden. Solasia in-licensed rights to the product for Japan and China in 2015. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
Trials and Approvals
Hutchison China MediTech (Chi-Med) (NASDAQ:HCM) and AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) have launched a Phase II study in China of savolitinib (HMPL-504/AZD6094/volitinib), an oral inhibitor targeting c-Met receptor tyrosine kinase for treatment of locally advanced or metastatic pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma (PSC). The first drug dose was administered on February 10, 2017.
Qilu Pharma of Jinan has launched its biosimilar version of AstraZeneca's Iressa in China. The biosimilar, a treatment for non-small cell lung cancer that tests positive for the EGRF-TK mutation, will reduce the cost of treating the disease from $1018 to $219 per month. The CFDA approved Qilu's biosimilar, known as Yiruike, in April 2016. Privately owned Qilu produces a portfolio of 160 generic drugs and 100 APIs in several disease areas; oncology is a major focus for the company.