Deals and Financings
Hua Medicine, a Beijing biopharma, announced its IPO application was accepted by the Hong Kong exchange. According to rumors, the company hopes to raise $200 million in the offering. Hua, a company testing a treatment for type 2 diabetes, is the second pre-revenue China biopharma accepted to IPO in Hong Kong under new exchange rules. In fact, Hua's prospectus revealed it lost $50 million in Q1 of 2018, more than the $44 million it lost in all of 2017.
China Resources Pharma (HK: 3320) will pay $667 million to acquire all the outstanding shares of Jiangzhong Pharma (SHA: 600750), a listed company. Three weeks ago, CR Pharma announced plans to acquire a stake in the parent company, Jiangzhong Group, for $613 million, which will, when added to its current holdings, give CR Pharma majority control of Jiangzhong Group. Jiangzhong Group, the parent, owns a 43% stake in Jiangzhong Pharma. All together, CR Pharma will pay nearly $1.3 billion for a controlling stake in the parent and about 80% ownership of the listed subsidiary.
CStone Pharma of Suzhou signed a $386 million agreement for rights to three drug candidates discovered by Blueprint Medicines (NASDAQ:BPMC) of Cambridge, Mass. CStone will have exclusive Greater China rights to the three Blueprint clinical-stage oral oncology medicines, each targeting genomically defined conditions. CStone paid $40 million upfront for the candidates, and it will make payments totaling up to $118.5 million for clinical milestones and $227.5 million for sales levels, plus royalties. Last month, the company raised $260 million in a B round to support its 13 immunocology candidates.
Quantum Surgical, a French company building new minimally invasive surgical tools for cancer, completed an initial investment from Ally Bridge Group, a China-centered healthcare investor. Quantum said the investment is the first part of a $50 million Series A round. The company is developing a robotic platform to improve physicians' ability to assess, plan and treat a broad spectrum of medical conditions, especially early-stage cancer. Lifetech Scientific (HK: 1302), a China medical device company, also participated in the investment through its JV with ABG and will collaborate with Quantum Surgical in the China market.
Hangzhou Just Biotherapeutics completed a $35 million Series B+ round to develop its global antibody and recombinant protein biologic drug portfolio. The funding is in addition to the $57 million B round announced last year. Formed as a JV with Just Bio of Seattle, Hangzhou Just is led by industry veterans who want to optimize development and manufacturing of biologic drugs, making the products more affordable. Hillhouse Capital of Beijing led the B+ round. The company plans to form partnerships to speed its growth.
Oncologie, a Boston-Shanghai startup, launched operations with $16.5 million in a seed financing led by Pivotal bioVenture Partners China. Oncologie plans to improve cancer care by licensing and partnering innovative combination drugs that improve the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors. It has already made deals for two clinical-stage drug candidates. Oncologie will take advantage of China's recent regulatory changes by conducting parallel clinical development in China and the US, bringing its IO products to the world's two largest markets simultaneously.
Denovo, a San Diego-Beijing precision medicine company, announced an unusual global license with the Stanford University School of Medicine to develop Denovo's own lead oncology drug for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and emphysema. Denovo is already testing enzastaurin (DB102) in a Phase III trial for lymphoma. Stanford researchers discovered that enzastaurin is effective against pulmonary hypertension in preclinical models, operating on a different (and previously unknown) target than it does for cancer. Details of the agreement were not disclosed.
Harbour BioMed formed a strategic collaboration with Philadelphia's Wistar Institute to co-discover novel antibodies for cancer and infectious disease indications. The agreement combines Harbour BioMed's drug discovery platform with Wistar's research in cancer and infectious disease biology, aiming to generate fully human monoclonal antibodies for novel targets. Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., Harbour has an R&D operation in Shanghai and a drug discovery platform in Rotterdam. Financial details of the multi-year, multifaceted research program were not disclosed.
Xiangxue Pharma (XPH) (SHE: 300147) announced plans to build a cell-therapy production facility in Guangzhou using GE Healthcare's prefabricated FlexFactory technology. The company will offer CDMO manufacturing services to other pharmas. Although known mainly for its TCM products, XPH has a subsidiary, Xiangxue Life Sciences (XLifeSc), that provides technology to develop T cell receptor products. GE said the XPH factory, which will be operational in March 2019, is the first use of its prefab factory for T Cell products.
Trials and Approvals
Nanjing Frontier Biotech received CFDA approval for China use of albuvirtide, its novel long-acting treatment for HIV. Albuvirtide, a once-weekly injectable product, is the first China-developed HIV treatment to be approved for commercialization and also the first long-acting HIV treatment approved anywhere in the world. According to Frontier, albuvirtide has a novel mechanism of action that makes the molecule effective against common strains of HIV-1, including drug-resistant varieties. It believes the drug offers low frequency of dosing, high barriers to resistance and fewer side effects.
- China Resources Pharma will pay $667 million to acquire all the outstanding shares of Jiangzhong Pharma, which will follow its $613 million acquisition of a majority share of Jiangzhong Group, the parent company.