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The Week in Review: Hisun to Invest $163 Million into JV with Pfizer

publication date: May 26, 2012
author/source: Richard Daverman, PhD
Deals and Financings

More information surfaced about the financing of the high-profile JV being set up by Zhejiang Hisun Pharma (SHA: 600267) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) (see article). Hisun will contribute a total of $162.5 million for a 51% stake, implying a value of $318.6 million for the venture. The registered capital of the JV, however, is listed as $250 million.

Yantai Dongcheng Biochemicals (SHE: 002675) completed a $110 million IPO on Shenzhen’s Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Board (see article). The main products from Dongcheng Biochemicals, which makes APIs and finished products, are heparin sodium and chondroitin sulphate, a dietary supplement that treats osteoarthritis.

ASLAN Pharma, the Singapore company that in-licenses drugs for Phase I and II development, has obtained global rights to a potential rheumatoid arthritis treatment from the Spanish pharma Almirall (see article). LAS186323 is currently in Phase I development. Aslan plans to take LAS186323 through a Phase II proof-of-concept trial in the Asia-Pacific region and then license the drug to a global partner for Phase III tests and commercialization. LAS186323 is a novel inhibitor of the DHODH enzyme.

Guangzhou Xiangxue Pharmaceuticals (SHE: 300147) gained China rights to a potential oncology drug developed by Kinex Pharma of the US (see article). KX02 is an oral lipophilic dual src/pretubulin inhibitor. The molecule has shown activity against a variety of brain tumor cell lines, including cells (T98G) that are resistant to Temodar, the most widely used chemotherapy for the treatment of malignant glioma.

News and Analysis

ChinaBio® LLC and EBD Group, co-producers of the ChinaBio® Partnering Forum, held May 22-24 in Suzhou, today announced that the fourth edition of the event attracted 719 attendees from 432 companies and 23 countries who engaged in more than 1100 one-to-one meetings (see article). These results position ChinaBio® Partnering Forum as the largest and most productive life science conference in China.

A team of China researchers has developed a new DNA vaccine that simultaneously protected against tuberculosis and HIV in animal tests (see article). M. tuberculosis is the cause of death in about 25% of all AIDS deaths. The disease is latent in many people; however, it is 20-30 times more likely to become active in HIV patients. The research group, led by Sidong Xiong of Shanghai’s Fudan University, published its results in the May 2012 issue of Clinical and Vaccine Immunology.

For the first time, China now has more drug representatives than the US (see article). According to data from the Cegedim Strategic Data firm, the total pharmaceutical sales force in China rose to 80,000 in March, a 17% climb over the preceding 12 months. Of course, China has a population of 1.3 billion, while the US is closer to just the .3 billion. That means the US still leads China on a sales rep/inhabitant ratio, but will the bragging rights for that statistic also switch soon? Cegedim isn’t making any predictions.

Company News

The stock price of Shanghai Pharmaceuticals (SHA: 601607; HK: 2607) suffered large losses after media reports alleged the company had committed accounting fraud (see article). The reports, carried by the 21st Century Business Herald, said Shanghai Pharma was under investigation for fraudulent accounting of two M&A transactions. Shanghai Pharma denied that it was under investigation by either the Shanghai or the Hong Kong exchange. The company also denied that its accounting was faulty.

Trials and Approvals

Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) hopes to begin a Phase I clinical trial in China next year of a novel drug that targets liver cancer (see article). The molecule inhibits the slit-robo signaling path that controls tumor vasculature and tumor growth, a discovery made by researchers at the Shanghai Institute of Biological Sciences (SIBS). Sanofi in-licensed global rights from SIBS to the molecule in 2010 for a reported $60 million upfront payment.

Disclosure: none.


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