publication date: Oct 10, 2020
author/source: Richard Daverman, PhD
Deals and Financings
Everest Medicines (HK:1952) of Shanghai completed a $451 million IPO in Hong Kong to develop its portfolio of eight assets in-licensed for China development (see story). The company's stock climbed 32% in its first trading session. Founded in 2017, Everest was incubated by CBC Group (formerly C-Bridge Capital) to be its China in-licensing company. The company's eight products address needs in oncology, immunology, cardio-renal and infectious diseases, several of which are in late-stage development or have filed for approval.
Genor Biopharma (HK: 6998) of Shanghai raised $371 million in its Hong Kong IPO, pricing the offering at the top of the range (see story). In early trading, Genor rose 22%, giving the company a market capitalization of $1.8 billion. Founded in 2007, Genor has a portfolio of 15 mAbs and recombinant fusion proteins, comprising novel drugs and biosimilars that target indications in cancer, metabolic and autoimmune diseases. Hillhouse, which led a $160 million Series B financing in Genor earlier this year, owns 30% of the company's shares post-IPO.
10x Genomics (NSDQ: TXG) acquired ReadCoor, a Boston developer of In Situ technologies, for $350 million (see story). ReadCoor's technology measures large numbers of molecules directly in tissue while preserving the precise location of the molecules in the tissue, the growing field of spatial-omics. 10x provides scientific researchers with products to analyze biologic systems at a single cell level. Decheng Capital of Shanghai and Silicon Valley led ReadCoor's $23 million Series A financing and $27 million Series B round.
Hinova Pharmaceuticals, a Chengdu innovative drug company, closed a $147 million Series C round (see story). The company said it would use the proceeds to conduct multi-center clinical trials and commercialize its drug candidates in China and internationally. Founded in 2013, Hinova has built a portfolio of nine drug candidates including HC-1119, a novel androgen receptor antagonist in Phase III trials for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). Its other lead drug targets gout.
Corvus Pharma (NSDQ: CRVS) formed a China subsidiary, Angel Pharma, to develop its three clinical stage assets and one preclinical platform in China (see story). Angel will have a post-money value of $106 million. Corus will own 49.7% of Angel, while three China biopharma investors will invest $41 million for the rest. The investors are Tigermed-Betta Pharma, Hisun Pharma and Zhejiang Puissance Capital. Angel will have China rights to three Corvus clinical-stage candidates – ciforadenant, CPI-006 and CPI-818 – and global rights to Corvus’ BTK inhibitor preclinical programs.
Creative Biosciences, a Guangzhou oncology testing company, raised $90 million in a Series C funding led by Tsing Song Capital (see story). In 2018, Creative Bio was approved by China's NMPA to market Colosafe, a stool-based diagnostic test for colon cancer. The company says Colosafe costs less than half the US competition but has a higher detection specificity. Creative was founded by the research team led by Professor Hongzhi Zou at Sun Yat-sen University. It will use the proceeds to develop early screening and point-of-care testing products for lung, bladder, liver and cervical cancers.
Guangzhou Link Health Pharma and Shenzhen Pregene Biopharma announced a $65 million deal to acquire China/Asia rights to a cell therapy for bone fractures developed by Bone Therapeutics (Euronext: BOTHE) of Brussels (see story). ALLOB is an allogeneic, off-the-shelf product manufactured by a proprietary process using cultured bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells from healthy adult donors. ALLOB has completed two European Phase IIa tests showing safety and efficacy. ChinaBio®, in partnership with Agile Capital, represented Bone Therapeutics in the transaction.
Junshi Bio (HK: 1877; SHA: 688180) of Shanghai and Lilly (NYSE: LLY) released positive interim data on their paired antibody treatment for COVID-19 (see story). In early results from a Phase II trial, the combination reduced viral load, symptoms and COVID-related hospitalization and ER visits. Detailed data will be released later in a journal article. Lilly plans to file for Emergency Use Authorization of the combination therapy for patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in November 2020, followed by a BLA filing as early as Q2 2021.
Fosun Pharma (SHA: 600196; HK: 02196) was granted US FDA approval to begin clinical tests of an investigational COVID-19 antibody treatment, HLX70 (see story). The trial will be conducted by Hengenix Biotech, the California arm of Fosun's biologics subsidiary, Henlius (HK: 2696). Hengenix co-developed the molecule with Sanyou Biopharma, a CRO, and Shanghai ZJ Bio-Tech. It is aimed at treating the acute respiratory distress syndrome and multiple organ failure that is associated with COVID-19.
Trials and Approvals
Harbour BioMed, a China-US biopharma, has begun a China Phase II trial of HL161 (batoclimab) to treat two autoimmune diseases: myasthenia gravis and adult immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) (see story). HL161 is a novel mAb that inhibits FcRn to increase the half-life of immunoglobulin G antibodies. In 2017, Harbour in-licensed China rights to the candidate from HanAll Biopharma of Korea in a two-drug deal worth up to $81 million.
Zai Lab (NSDQ: ZLAB; HK: 9688) of Shanghai has dosed the first patient in a China Phase III trial of retifanlimab, an anti-PD-1 antibody, as a first line treatment for metastatic non-small-cell-lung cancer (NSCLC) (see story). In 2019, Zai in-licensed China rights to the candidate from Incyte in a $77.5 million agreement. Zai will be in charge of the China arm of Incyte's global Phase III trial of retifanlimab, which will be administered in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy.
Shanghai's CARsgen Therapeutics was granted orphan drug designation in the US for its anti-claudin18.2 autologous CAR-T candidate in patients with gastric and gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma (see story). Previously, CARsgen was awarded orphan drug status in China. CT041 is the first claudin18.2-targeted CAR T-cell approved to start trials in the US and the first in China as well. A Phase Ib trial of the candidatel is underway for patients with advanced gastric, gastroesophageal or pancreatic adenocarcinoma.