Deals and Financings
bioMérieux (OTC:BMXXY) (Paris:BIM), a French in vitro diagnostics company, acquired a majority stake in Suzhou Hybiome Biomedical Engineering for $114 million. Hybiome specializes in automated immunoassay tests (see story). Its installed base includes about 1,000 active instruments, which are used primarily in tier 2 China hospitals (100 to 500 beds). Based on a $187 million valuation for Hybiome, bioMérieux paid $101 million for its 54% stake, plus $13.5 million for additional assets such as distribution rights and existing installed base.
Ascendis Pharma (NASDAQ:ASND) of Denmark formed a China JV with Vivo Capital to develop its endocrinology rare disease therapies in Greater China (see story). An investor syndicate, led by Vivo Capital, will own a 50% stake in Visen Pharma, the JV, in return for a $40 million investment. Sofinnova also participated in the funding. Ascendis will transfer China rights to three of its rare disease drugs into Visen and own the remaining 50%. The three Ascendis products - TransCon hGH, TransCon PTH and TransCon CNP - are in late-stage clinical trials outside of China.
Ocumension Therapeutics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Shanghai's 6 Dimensions Capital, entered a $11.75 million deal for greater China rights to EyePoint Medical's (NASDAQ:EYPT) medical device that treats uveitis (see story). The Durasert™ device, which is aimed specifically at chronic, non-infectious uveitis is effective for three years. Ocumension will pay $1.75 million upfront and up to $10 million in milestones. In 2017, 6 Dimensions was formed by the merger of Frontline BioVentures and WuXi Healthcare Ventures.
Zhejiang Jingxin Pharma invested $10 million in Mapi Pharma of Israel, its second $10 million investment in Mapi. Jingxin already has China rights to an unspecified Mapi product. As part of the new agreement, Mapi will develop another product exclusively for Jingxin. It will also provide Jingxin with support for registration, manufacturing and marketing of the product in China. Earlier this year, Mapi said it was developing two new products: one for schizophrenia and the other for pain, though these are not necessarily intended for Jingxin.
Berry Genomics (SHZ:000710), a Beijing clinical genomics testing company, will form a JV with Prenetics Limited to market direct-to-consumer genetic tests in China. Prenetics offers consumer digital health and genetics testing in Southeast Asia and Europe. By connecting to the JV's website, consumers will be able to purchase a suite of genetics enabled health services directly. The JV, which plans to launch in Q1 of 2019, will also seek to collaborate with insurers, governments and other stakeholders.
Huiyi Huiying (HY), a Beijing AI medical imaging company, has closed a funding round that was led by Intel Capital and included Beijing Singularity Power Investment Fund. The size of the funding was not disclosed. Previously, HY had established a joint AI lab with Intel. In September, HY and Intel announced a collaboration to develop an AI full-cycle breast health management cloud platform, which will support breast cancer screening and diagnosis.
Trials and Approvals
Suzhou's Innovent Biologics (HKEX:1801) has dosed the first patient in a China Phase III trial of sintilimab, its anti-PD-1 mAb, in patients with advanced or recurrent squamous non-small cell lung cancer. The Phase III trial follows positive results from a small Phase I trial of sintilimab in the same population. Previously, Innovent started a Phase III trial of the candidate in patients with non-squamous cell NSCLC. In April, China's NMPA accepted Innovent's NDA for sintilimab as a treatment for Hodgkin's Lymphoma under priority rules.
Ping An Good Doctor (HK:01833) has installed the first of its One-Minute Clinics, a freestanding AI-based booth that dispenses a healthcare diagnosis and medicine without any employees on site. To get a diagnosis, a person enters a booth and interacts with a screen, which follows an AI-directed script to build a medical history and produce a diagnosis. A doctor, located offsite, reviews the transcript and certifies the result. An adjoining booth contains about 100 commonly prescribed medicines, which can be delivered upon payment.
Government and Regulatory
The Shanghai Stock Exchange will set up a New Board for innovative science and technology companies, according to a statement made by China's President Xi Jinping over the weekend. With its home in Shanghai, the New Board will support the city's development as a center of international finance. The initiative seems at least partially aimed at the market served by Hong Kong's new IPO track for pre-revenue biotechs, though the announcements did not address the critical China rule that requires IPO companies to have two years of profitability. Hong Kong does not require revenues, only late-stage development.
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