China Biotech In Review: Medtronic Buys China Kanghui For $816 Million

Includes: CUR, MDT, NKBP, NVO
by: ChinaBio Today

Deals and Transactions

China Kanghui Holdings (NYSE: KH), the Changzhou medical device maker, announced it will be acquired Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) for $816 million or $30.75 per ADS (see story). The transaction increases Medtronic's presence in China for its large portfolio of medical devices, which includes everything from pacemakers and stents to spinal implants and surgical instruments. Founded in 1997, Kanghui staged its New York Stock Exchange IPO in August 2010 at a price of $10.25.

China Nuokang Bio-Pharma (NSDQ: NKBP) has accepted a go-private offer of $5.80 per ADS that values the company at $114 million (see story). The offer comes from Yuhuan Zhu, the wife of the company's chairman/CEO, along with Grand Enterprises Group Co., Ltd., which will own 55% of the company post-transaction. Grand Enterprise is a China investment company. Nuokang's Board has recommended that shareholders vote in favor of accepting the offer.

Medicago [MDCGF.PK], a Canadian vaccines company, has out-licensed China rights to its pandemic and seasonal flu vaccines to Philip Morris Products, the cigarette maker, in a $12 million deal (see story). PMP has owned a 40% stake in Medicago since 2008. In addition, Medicago signed an exclusive license for a portfolio of plant-based protein development technologies from PMP. The technology will allow Medicago to grow its vaccines on tobacco plants, a faster, less-expensive production method than currently used methods.

BGI, the genomics powerhouse headquartered in Shenzhen, will build a next generation sequencing facility in Singapore as part of a partnership with INEX Innovations Exchange, a Singapore-based women's health diagnostics company. BGI has developed a non-invasive test that uses a blood sample from a pregnant mother to screen for three chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus. One of the abnormalities results in Down Syndrome. The test replaces an amniocentesis procedure, which has a 1% chance of causing a miscarriage.

Big Pharma in China

Novo Nordisk (NYSE: NVO), the Danish drug company known for its diabetes focus, officially opened a new $100 million R&D center in Beijing's Zhongguancun Life Science Park, near the company's existing facility (see story). The new center will allow the company to increase R&D staffing in China from 130 to 200 in the immediate future. With the increased capacity, the center is now able to conduct the full range of protein research in China, according to Novo Nordisk.

Trials and Approvals

Neuralstem (NYSE: CUR) was granted SFDA approval to begin a clinical trial in China of its spinal cord stem cell product (see story). The product, NSI-566, will be used as a treatment for paralysis caused by ischemic stroke. Neuralstem is a US company; its China subsidiary, Suzhou Sun-Now Biopharmaceutical Co. Ltd., will carry out the trial at BaYi Brain Hospital in Beijing.

News and Analysis

To honor innovative drug development in China, the BayHelix Group and Elsevier Business Intelligence selected four companies and individuals for the 2012 BayHelix-Elsevier Awards, recognizing significant achievements in four different areas of pharmaceutical development. The winners were: Professor Ningshao Xia and his team at Xiamen University for the first Hepatitis E vaccine; the Hutchison MediPharma/Astra Zeneca cancer drug partnership; ZheJiang BetaPharma's launch of its cancer drug and its innovative pricing plan; and Steve Yang of Lilly (NYSE: LLY) for his international leadership.

Disclosure: none.

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