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Week in Review: $1.2 Billion in China Life Science Deals, IPOs and Financings

publication date: Mar 20, 2021
author/source: Richard Daverman, PhD

Deals and Financings 

Beijing Tide Pharma. a subsidiary of Sino Biopharmaceutical (HK: 1177), out-licensed ex-China rights for a fibrosis therapy to Graviton Bio of New York in a deal worth up to $517.5 million (see story). TDI01 is a targeted inhibitor of Rho/Rho containing protein kinase 2 (ROCK2). In 2020, the candidate was approved to start Phase I clinical trials to treat fibrosis in China and the US. Graviton expects to expand development of TDI01 to include CNS, preclinical cancer and viral disease indications.  

Yangtze River Pharma signed a $338 million deal for China rights to a gastroesophageal reflux treatment from South Korea's Daewoong Pharma (see story). Fexuprazan is a novel potassium-competitive acid blocker (P-CAB) developed by Daewoong, which blocks the proton pump that secretes gastric acids from the stomach wall. Daewonong successfully completed a Korean Phase III clinical trial for the therapy in 2019. The agreement includes an $18 million upfront payment and $12 million in development milestones.  

Connect Biopharma (NSDQ: CNTB), a Suzhou-San Diego company, raised $191 million in a NASDAQ IPO to support its portfolio of autoimmune treatments (see story). The company's lead candidate, CBP-201, is an antibody that targets interleukin-4 receptor alpha for inflammatory diseases such as atopic dermatitis (AD) and asthma. It is being tested in Phase II trials in the US, Australia and New Zealand. In initial trading, Connect moved 22% higher, giving the company a market cap of $1.2 billion.  

Hansoh Pharma (HK: 3692) entered an $122 million agreement to acquire Greater China rights to a novel antifungal from Synexis (NSDQ: SCYX) of New Jersey (see story). The agent, ibrexafungerp, is a first-in-class, broad-spectrum triterpenoid antifungal with both intravenous and oral formulations, aimed at overcoming drug resistant fungal infections. It is currently under review for US approval to treat vaginal yeast infections. Hansoh markets a broad portfolio of drugs, including anti-infectives, in China, the US and Asia.  

Shanghai's Hanyu Medical completed a $77 million D+ funding for its minimally invasive mitral valve device, ValveClamp (see story). ValveClamp is a globally patented mitral valve repair device used to treat mitral regurgitation. Established in late 2016, Hanyu is planning an IPO on the Shanghai STAR Board. The D+ round was led by YF Capital. In mid-2020, Hanyu closed an $80 million D round.  

Shanghai WuXi Biologics (HK: 2269) will acquire a 90% interest in CMAB Biopharma, a CDMO located in Suzhou (see story). CMAB offers services that range from cell-line development, process development to clinical GMP manufacturing. It was backed by CBC Group and other investors including Ming Bioventures.  WuXi and CBC will collaborate to develop and manufacture biologic drugs for CBC portfolio companies. CBC was formerly known as C-Bridge Capital. Yesterday, WuXi Bio announced it would acquire Pfizer's biotech drug manufacturing facility in Hangzhou.  

Shanghai's WuXi Biologics (HK: 2269), a global CDMO, will acquire a biotech drug manufacturing facility in Hangzhou from Pfizer China (see story). Pfizer completed the facility in 2018 and was using it to manufacture biosimilar drugs. The deal will also include the facility's labor force. WuXi said the acquisition would boost its commercial drug substance (DS) and drug product (DP) capacity, meeting "surging" demand. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2021. Further financial details were not disclosed.  

Hangzhou Chance Pharma signed a deal with Aerami Therapeutics to acquire greater China rights for a drug device combination product aimed at Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (see story). Aerami is a North Carolina clinical stage biopharma that develops inhaled therapies for severe respiratory and chronic diseases. AER-901 combines a patented inhalation device with imatinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor specific for PDGF-Rs, c-ΚΙΤ and BCR-ABL. Chance is a clinical-stage biotech focused on inhalation therapies. Financial details were not disclosed.  

BeiGene (NSDQ: BGNE; HK:06160), a Beijing oncology company, will collaborate with Shanghai's 111 Inc. (NSDQ: YI) to develop an Internet + Medicine & Healthcare model to support distribution of BeiGene's products (see story). The companies will use 111's online platform to advertise BeiGene's drugs in China and deliver medications using its online and offline direct-to-patient (DTP) delivery service. They will also develop a patient management system to improve care, especially for patients outside of the hospital. At the moment, BeiGene has two novel approved products in China.  

Industry Insights 

Just two months into 2021 and it already looks as though the momentum from 2020's record-setting levels of China life science activity continues into the new year (see story). According to data compiled by ChinaBio® Group, most 2020 metrics for China life science doubled their 2019 results -- more partnerships, more investing, more drug development. Despite the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, more companies found a way to forge new initiatives and advance their assets. The first few months of 2021 show the sector could equal or improve on its strong 2020 results.  

Trials and Approvals 

Harbour BioMed (HK: 02142) has dosed the first patient in the China arm of a global Phase III trial of a novel treatment for moderate-to-severe dry eye disease (DED) (see story).  Tanfanercept (HBM9036) is a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor-1 fragment-based anti-inflammatory biologic. In 2017, Harbour in-licensed greater China rights to Tanfanercept from South Korea's HanAll Biopharma (KS: 009420) in a two-drug $81 million agreement. The other candidate in the HanAll agreement is an IgG-mediated molecule also aimed at autoimmune diseases. Harbour is a US-Netherlands-Shanghai biopharma.  

Adagene (NSDQ: ADAG), a Suzhou-San Francisco immunotherapy company, has begun dosing patients in a global Phase I trial of ADG126 in patients with advanced solid tumors (see story). ADG126, Adagene’s lead SAFEbody™ product candidate, is a fully-human, antagonistic mAb targeting a novel epitope of CTLA-4. The company said its SAFEbody platform is designed to limit the safety issues of anti-CTLA-4 therapies by limiting on-target off-tumor toxicities in normal tissues. Adagene developed SAFEbody using its AI-powered platform. 

Disclosure: none.


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