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Week In Review: Tasly Biopharma Completes Pre-IPO Round At $1.9 Billion Valuation

by: ChinaBio Today
ChinaBio Today
Biotech, foreign companies, China

Deals and Financings

Tasly Biopharma (SHA:600535) of Shanghai raised $84.5 million in new capital from a group of investors that included Ally Bridge. The funding is a pre-IPO round as Tasly is planning to list on the Hong Kong Exchange. The investors received a 4.5% stake in Tasly Biopharma, implying a $1.9 billion pre-IPO valuation. Tasly Biopharma is the novel drug development arm of Tasly Pharma. As a separate part of the transaction, Transgene (OTCPK:TRGNF) (P:TNG) transferred its half of a China drug JV to Tasly in exchange for $48 million of stock, raising the deal's value to $132.5 million.

Tasly Biopharma paid $48 million in stock to buy out its China JV partner Transgene, which holds China rights to two Transgene products: T601, an oncolytic virus, and T101, a therapeutic vaccine. The stock represents 2.53% of Tasly Biopharma's capital after a pre-IPO investment round, which priced at the same time as the Transgene transaction. Tasly Biopharma, the novel drug subsidiary of Tasly Pharma, has announced plans to conduct a Hong Kong IPO. The Transgene deal values the Tasly Biopharma at $1.9 billion.

GT Healthcare Capital, a China healthcare focused fund, and Sonder Capital of Silicon Valley closed a $26.6 million round in Potero Medical of San Francisco. Potero is developing the Accuryn® Monitoring System, a urinary catheter that includes a smart sensor to monitor patients' vital signs in real-time. Intended for ICU patients, the device provides readings for intra-abdominal pressure, urine output and core body temperature. Potero says Accuryn offers early detection of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI), a serious condition that afflicts about half of all ICU patients.

Beijing's Hillhouse Capital and Sirona Capital of Australia co-led a $15 million Series C-1 funding for Antiva Bioscience, a South San Francisco biopharma developing topical treatments for pre-cancerous lesions caused by HPV infection. Currently, Antiva is testing its lead compound, ABI-1958, for safety and efficacy in two Phase Ib clinical trials. Antiva said Hillhouse would be helpful in forming partnerships to develop its products in China, an area of high incidence for HPV and cervical cancer.

CC-Pharming of Beijing paid $4.7 million to form a joint commercial relationship with Texas' iBio (NYSEMKT:IBIO) using iBio's plant-based technology to develop and manufacture antibodies (see story). The first product will be a bio-better biosimilar to rituximab, a Roche (OTCQX:RHHBY) drug that is used to treat autoimmune diseases and certain cancers. iBio says its plant-based technology cuts costs and reduces time-to-validation compared to the usual animal cell methods. CC-Pharming could add other antibodies at a later date, which would trigger additional payments.

Haitong International of Hong Kong led the first close of a Series B round in Orig3n, a Boston genetics and regenerative medicine company. The size of the round was not disclosed, but Orig3n has raised $50 million since it was founded in 2014. Orig3n offers personalized genetics tests, and it is developing an allogenic cell bank, mostly from crowdsourced samples, that it will use to advance regenerative treatments for disease. The company expects its partner to discover regenerative treatments for cystic fibrosis, Parkinson's disease, and frontotemporal dementia.

Adlai Nortye Biopharma, a Hangzhou oncology in-licensing company, acquired global rights to a clinical-stage Novartis (NYSE:NVS) cancer drug, buparlisib (see story). Buparlisib is an oral pan-PI3K inhibitor that targets all class 1 PI3K isoforms. Novartis has conducted successful Phase II tests of the drug in various hematologic malignancies and also believes it will show efficacy when paired with paclitaxel in solid tumors. One week ago, Adlai Nortye completed a $53 million Series B financing to develop its portfolio of in-licensed immuno-oncology and oncology candidates.

Germany's Merck KGaA (OTCPK:MKGAY) will market Xian Janssen's Inovokana® in China (see story). Inovokana, a novel treatment for type 2 diabetes, is a member of the relatively new sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT-2) class of oral diabetes treatments. In China, Merck already distributes Glucophage® (metformin hydrochloride) and other diabetes products, while Janssen has no presence in the sector. Approved almost one year ago for China use, Inovokana is the market leader globally among SGLT-2 offerings, though it will be third to market in China.

Zhejiang Dian Diagnostics formed a commercial partnership with San Diego's Agena Biosciences to promote Agena's MassARRAY® System and DNA testing applications in China. Using its large independent network of medical labs, Dian will offer the MassARRAY system to partner-hospitals/labs that are looking for a cost-effective device to provide their own in-house molecular genetic testing. Dian's MassARRAY marketing will operate alongside Agena's existing commercial operations in China.

IDS Medical Systems (HK:0700) of Hong Kong formed a China JV with WeDoctor, the Tencent online healthcare portal, to provide an online supply chain that centralizes supply of medical devices and consumables. idsMED distributes medical devices in Southeast Asian countries: the JV will expand the company's operation to include mainland China. In addition, the new JV, idsMED WeDoctor China, teamed up with Changting County in Fujian Province to build a medical device platform in Ting Zhou, China, which expects to attract domestic and foreign medical device companies to Changting.

Trials and Approvals

Suzhou CStone Pharma reported the China National Drug Administration (CNDA) has approved the first clinical trial application in China for CStone's PD-1 mAb, CS1003. CStone said the CNDA reviewed its filing under new rules, issuing a decision in just four months, dramatic proof of the agency's modernization of clinical trial approvals. CStone plans to start a multi-center China Phase I trial in patients with advanced cancers. CStone positioned CS1003 as a key part of the company's plan to develop combination immuno-therapy regimes for cancer. It is also developing a PD-L1 candidate.

Adagene of Suzhou was approved to begin US trials of its lead product, ADG-106, in patients with advanced solid tumors and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the first trial of any Adagene candidate. ADG-106 is a fully human mAb that targets a novel epitope of CD137, a member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor superfamily. The company said ADG-106 is the only mAb against this target to show potent single agent efficacy in multiple tumor models. It plans to begin the trial in the second half of the year.

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