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Week in Review: China Life Science Announces $5 Billion in Deals, a Weekly Record

publication date: Jul 18, 2020
author/source: Richard Daverman, PhD

Deals and Financings

BeiGene (NSDQ: BGNE; HK: 06160), a Beijing oncology drug biopharma, announced a $2.1 billion private placement that will bring its cash holdings to almost $5.5 billion (see story). The company is developing a portfolio of 25 candidates, with several of them in (or soon-to-start) Phase III tests. Last year, Amgen (NSDQ: AMGN) paid BeiGene $2.7 billion for a 20% stake in the company, and it contributed $421 million to the private placement, keeping its stake at 20.3%. BeiGene will develop a portfolio of Amgen cancer drugs in China.

Hangzhou Tigermed (SHZ: 300347), a clinical CRO, has been approved to stage an IPO on the Hong Kong exchange that could raise up to $1 billion (see story). This will be a dual listing for Tigermed, which listed on the Shenzhen exchange in 2012 and has a market capitalization of $11.5 billion. It also listed its US unit, Frontage Labs (HK: 1512), in Hong Kong last year in a $200 million offering. At $1 billion, the Tigermed IPO would be the largest initial biopharma offering in Asia so far this year.

Shanghai Junshi Biosciences (SHA: 688180; HK: 1877) completed a $692 million IPO on the Shanghai STAR Board, becoming the first biopharma to have a dual listing on the Hong Kong and STAR Exchanges (see story). Junshi staged a $394 million Hong Kong IPO in late 2018, about the same time the company's Tuoyi became the first China-developed anti-PD-1 approved for China use. Benefiting from strong demand, Junshi significantly increased the size of its STAR debut offering from an original $400 million.

Gland Pharma, an Indian generic drug maker majority owned by Shanghai Fosun Pharma (SHA: 600196; HK: 2196), has filed to raise at least $650 million in an IPO on the Bombay and India National Stock Exchanges (see story). In 2017, Fosun acquired a 74% stake in Gland for $1.1 billion. Gland makes complex generic injectible drugs that are sold largely in the US and EU. For India, Gland will be the first China controlled company listed on their domestic markets.

Ji Xing Pharma of Shanghai in-licensed China rights to a cardiac myosin inhibitor from South San Francisco-based Cytokinetics in a deal worth up to $425 million (see story). CK-274 is a potential treatment for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Ji Xing will make an unspecified upfront payment and pay up to $200 million in milestones plus royalties on sales. RTW Investments, a New York backer of Ji Xing, will purchase $50 million in Cytokinetics' equity and provide up to $90 million to develop CK-274. Also, RTW has agreed to buy royalty rights to CK-274 for $85 million.

Sunshine Guojian Pharma (Shanghai), a 3SBio (HK: 1530) subsidiary that develops antibody drugs, is planning a $248 million IPO on the Shanghai STAR Market (see story). Founded in 2002, Sunshine Guojian has two marketed antibody products and is developing 15 more, several of which have completed Phase III trials. The company develops novel and biosimilar products. It claims to have the largest antibody production base of of any China biopharma with total capacity of more than 38,000 liters.

BioAtla, a San Diego-Beijing biotech, closed a $72.5 million Series D Funding to support development of its portfolio of Conditionally Active Biologic (CAB) programs (see story). The company's candidates include monoclonal antibodies, enzymes and other proteins designed to become active in specific micro physiological conditions, both inside and outside cells. BioAtla said it would use the proceeds for Phase II trials of its leading candidates. The financing was led by Soleus Capital and HBM Healthcare Investments.

Arctic Vision, a Shanghai clinical-stage biotech incubated by Nan Fung Life Sciences and Pivotal BioVenture Partners China last year, announced a $32 million Series A financing led by Morningside Ventures, together with its existing investors (see story). Arctic Vision develops novel ophthalmology therapies for China and Asia. Its first therapy is ARVN001, which is intended to treat macular edema associated with uveitis. The drug is delivered to the suprachoroidal space via a proprietary SCS microinjector.

Venus Medtech (Hangzhou) (HK: 2500), a transcatheter heart valve medical device maker, will develop and commercialize Pi-Cardia's Leaflex™ catheter in China (see story). Leaflex, a non-implant device that treats heart valve calcification, mechanically scores valve calcification, restoring the valve's mobility and improving valve hemodynamics. The device is designed to be a cost-effective standalone treatment. Pi-Cardia is an Israeli medical device company.

Coronavirus Pandemic

CNBG, the biologics arm of Sinopharm, has started a 15,000 person Phase III trial of its inactivated COVID-19 vaccine in Abu Dhabi (see story). The trial is supported by a partnership between Abu Dhabi-based G42 Healthcare and Sinopharm CNBG, the world’s sixth largest vaccine manufacturer. G42 is an Abu Dhabi-based AI company that previously partnered with China's BGI to build a COVID-19 testing laboratory. In its China Phase I and II trials, the CNBG vaccine produced antibodies in 100% of trial volunteers.

CanSino Biologics (HK: 6185) of Tianjin is negotiating to start Phase III trials of its COVID-19 vaccine in Russia, Brazil, Chile and/or Saudi Arabia (see story). The trial will enroll up to 40,000 volunteers, according to Dongxu Qiu, PhD, executive director and co-founder of the company at a weekend conference in Suzhou. Dr. Qiu also said the company's vaccine produced "much higher" efficacy in its 508-person China Phase II trial than in the Phase I test, though he didn't provide specific data.

Shanghai Fosun Pharma (SHA: 600196; HK: 2196) was approved to start a Phase I trial of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in China (see story). The vaccine, which was developed by Germany's BioNTech (NSDQ: BNTX), has completed Phase I/IIa trials in the US and EU, and it is poised to start a 30,000-subject Phase III trial before the end of July. In March, Fosun signed a $135 million agreement to acquire China rights to the candidate from BioNTech.

Disclosure: none.




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