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The Week in Review: New China Biopharma Investments
Last week witnessed continuing investment in the world of China biopharma, much of which came from the West. In one initiative, QIAGEN (NSDQ: QGEN), the Dutch company that makes lab equipment to test and purify nucleic acids and proteins, has established an Asia-Pacific Service Solutions Center (see story). The latest center, located in Singapore, is the seventh Service Solutions Center worldwide. By the end of 2008, all the centers will be open 24 hours per day, seven days per week, making QIAGEN’s products always available. In December 2007, QIAGEN also opened a molecular diagnostics R&D center in Singapore, a joint venture with Bio*One Capital.
NovaSecta, a UK company that advises smaller and mid-sized European biopharmas on R&D matters, has formed an alliance with a China CRO consortium – the coalition formed by Sundia MediTech and HD BioSciences last year (see story). The business plan for NovaSecta is to provide its mid-sized clients with R&D alternatives, which can include managing their R&D efforts or establishing strategic outsourcing partnerships. NovaSecta makes the point that the growth in China CROs has, to date, been fueled largely by the big biopharmas headquartered in the US. Now, NovaSecta will make the same high quality-low cost services more easily accessible to mid-sized European biopharmas.
However, one East-West deal fell apart last week. Shanghai Century Acquisition (AMEX: SHA) , a special purpose acquisition corporation, ended its attempt to buy Sichuan Kelun Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (see story). Shanghai Century said regulators were moving too slowly, preventing it from securing government approval of the $231 million purchase in a timely fashion. By charter, Shanghai Acquisition had to close an acquisition by a certain date or return the money raised in the IPO. Shanghai Acquisition found a non-biopharma company to buy. Because the target is listed on the Hong Kong exchange, the company will not require regulatory approval.
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