Deals and Financings
Shandong Sinobioway Biomedicine (SZE: 002581) topped management's $402 million bid to privatize China vaccine maker Sinovac (NASDAQ:SVA) with a $459 million offer of its own. Sinobioway also criticized Sinovac's board for its lack of transparency. Eighteen months ago, when the Sinovac privatization saga started, Sinobioway offered $7 per share for Sinovac, improving on management's earlier $6.18 offer. Sinovac's board responded by instituting a poison pill and going silent on the proceedings. This week, Sinovac announced it had accepted management's newly raised $7 bid - a bid that had never been publicly announced. Now, Sinobioway is offering $8 per share, or $459 million. Sinovac is a Beijing vaccine company with legacy vaccines for hepatitis A and B.
Hong Kong's AGIC Capital will acquire Ritedose Corporation of South Carolina for somewhere between $600 million and $800 million, according to media reports. Ritedose offers blow-fill-seal services for liquid pharmaceuticals along with formulation services. China pharmaceutical company Humanwell Health will take a minority position in Ritedose. AGIC Capital, a $1 billion fund co-founded in 2015 by well-known banker Henry Cai, said it will help Ritedose expand to China and Asian markets.
Last week, Guangzhou broke ground on a major new $800 million biopharma park (see story). General Electric (NYSE:GE) is partnering with the Guangzhou Development District in the southern China city to build the park, whose first stage will comprise at least 350,000 square meters. GE supplies prefabricated bioprocessing facilities (KUBio) that manufacture biologic drugs, and the company's China headquarters, for all of its various divisions, are in Guangzhou. It is the first time GE has built a biopharma park in Asia.
CSPC Pharmaceutical (OTCPK:CHPTY) (HK: 1093) of Hong Kong acquired global rights to two pre-clinical drug candidates developed by researchers at University of Texas institutions (see story). The company paid $4.5 million upfront and could pay as much as $114 million in milestones for the rights. A CSPC subsidiary, AlaMab Therapeutics, will be responsible for developing the mAb candidates, which are derived from proteins called connexins and play a role in neuronal and skeletal tissue disease. AlaMab will work to gain approvals of the molecules in the US and China.
Vivace Therapeutics, a Bay-area oncology company, raised a total of $40 million in venture capital from China-US investors. The Series B, which brought in $25 million, was led by new investor Cenova Capital of Shanghai and included Sequoia Capital China and existing investors Canaan Partners, WuXi Healthcare Ventures and Mission Bay Capital. The previously unannounced $15 Million A round was completed in 2015. Sofie Qiao, PhD, president and CEO of Vivace, was head of WuXi Healthcare Ventures before heading up Vivace. Vivace does some of its development work in China, most likely with WuXi AppTech. Until now, Vivace has been in stealth mode.
Zai Lab, a Shanghai novel drug development/in-licensing company, raised $30 million in a Series C round. In early 2016, Zai Lab closed a much larger $100 million B financing. In less than four years, Zai Lab has in-licensed eight products, plus signed a deal to build a joint biological drug manufacturing facility in Suzhou with General Electric, started its own drug development program, and filed to raise $150 million for a venture fund. OrbiMed led the C round and was joined by new investors Vivo Capital, Cormorant and Rock Springs Capital.
iCarbonX, a China big data/AI startup, participated in an $8.4 million series B funding of HealthLoop, a California company that facilitates contact between patients and doctors. iCarbonX said it would integrate HealthLoop's patient data into its own. HealthLoop communicates with patients online before and after major events such as surgeries. It tells patients what to expect and probes for warning signs of problems. Started in 2015, iCarbonX soon achieved a $1 billion valuation, based largely on the credibility of its founder, Dr. Jun Wang, who was previously CEO of Shenzhen genomics company BGI.
India's Biological E Limited in-licensed rights to two Takeda (OTCPK:TKPYY) (TSE: 4502) vaccines for India, China and low/middle income countries. Biological E intends to combine the vaccines, which protect against measles and pertussis, with other vaccines. Takeda positioned the licensing as a community health initiative for low/middle income countries. It said the agreements would expedite the development and delivery of affordable combination vaccines that address unmet needs, a goal that BE shares with Takeda. Terms of the licensings were not disclosed.
Trials and Approvals
Hutchison China MediTech (Chi-Med) (NASDAQ:HCM) and AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) announced the start of a global Phase III trial of their partnered drug, the c-MET inhibitor savolitinib (see story). Savolitinib will be tested in c-MET driven papillary renal cell carcinoma. The trial's start triggers a $5 million milestone payment to Hutchison MediPharma, Chi-Med's novel drug company, according to the terms of the $140 million licensing agreement signed in 2011. The trial will be aimed at approval of savolitinib in the US and Europe.
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