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"Pharma in China Being Held to Higher Standard, Says Greg Scott, ChinaBio"
The Week in Review: China Pledges $18 Billion for Biopharma 2011-2020
Government and Regulatory
China plans to spend $11.8 billion to increase biopharma innovation in its 13th Five-Year Plan, which covers the period 2016-2020 (see story). That is almost double the $6.3 billion it will spend in the current period, the 12th Five-Year Plan for 2011-2015, bringing its ten-year total to over $18 billion. The news was delivered by Chen Zhu, China’s Minister of Health, who was speaking recently at the BioChina Convention.
China Pharmaceutical Group (HK: 1093) will pay $1.2 billion to acquire Robust Sun Holdings Ltd., a company that makes drugs for CNS diseases (see story). The transaction will add to China Pharma’s presence in finished drugs and reduce its focus on intermediates and APIs. China Pharma will purchase Robust Sun from Joyful Horizon Ltd. All three entities are affiliated with Hony Capital, the Hong Kong-headquartered PE firm that is the largest in Asia.
A group of China’s biggest pharma companies have banded together to form a Private Equity Fund that will total $157 million (see story). Sinopharm Capital, a subsidiary of the drug distributing giant Sinopharm (HK: 1099), is the General Partner. Limited Partners include Sinopharm’s parent CNPGC, Fosun Pharma (SHA: 600196) and China Meheco (SHA: 600056). The fund can invest in several sectors of the healthcare industry, including medical treatment, service, manufacturing, distribution, and R&D.
Cardinal Health (NYSE: CAH), the second largest drug distributor in the US, has added coverage in China by acquiring Zhejiang Dasheng Medic Co. (see story). In its home city of Ningbo, Dasheng is the second largest company in terms of hospital sales, distributing drugs to 58 hospitals and 975 medical institutions, including rural clinics. The company produces $157 million of revenue each year.
Zhejiang Medicine Company (SHA: 600216) has in-licensed China rights to manufacture and commercialize a broad-spectrum antibiotic from TaiGen Biotechnology of Taiwan (see story). ZMC will pay $8 million upfront for the license. Nemonoxacin is a novel non-fluorinated quinolone antibiotic, currently completing a Phase III clinical trial for community acquired pneumonia in China and Taiwan. TaiGen expects to file for SFDA approval of the antibiotic in early 2013.
Trials and Approvals
3SBio (NSDQ: SSRX) received permission from the SFDA to conduct the China arm of the multi-national Phase III trial of voclosporin, a new generation calcineurin inhibitor (see story). 3SBio in-licensed the drug from Isotechnika Pharma (TSX: ISA) of Canada in 2010. The drug suppresses immune system activity and will be tested in patients undergoing renal transplants.
PharmaNet/i3, the clinical-stage CRO division of inVentiv Health, received the Distinguished Partner Award from the US Chinese Anti-Cancer Association (USCACA) for its support of oncology clinical trials and cancer research in China (see story). PharmNet/i3 has conducted 250 clinical trials in Asia and the Pacific Rim. The company has offices in Japan, Korea and China.