China Biotech In Review: WuXi AppTec And MedImmune Start Joint Venture

by: ChinaBio Today

Deals and Financings

WuXi AppTec (NYSE: WX) has formed a drug development JV with MedImmune, the biologics subsidiary of AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) (see story). The JV will own China rights to MEDI5117, a novel monoclonal antibody that is being developed to treat rheumatoid arthritis along with other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. WuXi will be paid for its development services, while MedImmune will receive payments when the drug achieves milestones. AstraZeneca has the right to buy back China commercialization rights for the drug. If it chooses not to do so, the JV will commercialize the drug in China.

3SBio (NSDQ: SSRX), a China biotech, received an offer to take the company private at a price of $15 per share, a transaction that values the company at $337 million (see story). The offer was made by Dr. Jing Lou, 3SBio's Chairman and CEO, along with CPEChina Fund LP, a Cayman Island entity associated with CITIC Private Equity Fund. The offer was priced at a 32% premium to yesterday's closing price of $11.39. In today's trading, 3SBio rose $1.84 to $13.43, a 16% increase. Even at the buyout price, 3SBio has a lot of value.

Two high-visibility generic drug JVs between east and west pharmas have commenced operations in China. Hisun Pharma (SHE: 600267) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) have established their $295 million JV to produce branded generic drugs. At the same time, Merck (NYSE: MRK) and Simcere (NYSE SCR) teamed up to concentrate on generic drugs for chronic ailments, especially cardiovascular and metabolic disease (see story). Both were announced as letters of intent just over a year ago, and now they have become operational.

Qiagen (NSDQ: QGEN), the Dutch medical device company, has teamed up with Lepu Medical Technology (Beijing) (SHE: 300003). The two companies will combine their diagnostic devices, which Lepu will then market in China (see story). The two devices are Qiagen's ESEQuant Lateral Flow System, a test reader, and Lepu's cardiac marker tests that diagnose acute myocardial infarction. Lepu will market the combination under the name Lepu Quant-Gold.

Trials and Approvals

Generon (Shanghai) Corporation has started a clinical trial for the second of its biologic drugs to begin human testing. The anti-inflammatory drug, known as F-652, will enter a Phase I trial in Australia. F-652 is a recombinant protein containing a human interleukin-22 (IL-22) dimer. According to Generon, F-652 is a first-in-class drug candidate, while the company's other three molecules under development aim for best-in-class status. Generon believes that F-652 will ultimately address unmet medical needs in several inflammatory diseases.

Disclosure: none.