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Week in Review: Week's China Life Science Investments Total $800 Million

publication date: Dec 19, 2020
 | 
author/source: Richard Daverman, PhD

Deals and Financings 

Harbour BioMed (HK: 02142) completed a $221 million Hong Kong IPO to continue its novel drug development (see story). Headquartered in Cambridge, MA, HBM has a drug discovery CRO in Rotterdam and its own drug development operations in Suzhou. The company has built a portfolio of in-licensed late stage projects and internally developed early-stage assets in immunology and oncology. Yesterday, HBM announced it out-licensed rights for a SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody to its partner AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV). In its first trading day, HBM's shares closed 11% lower.  

Singlera Genomics, a San Diego-Shanghai genomics testing company, closed a $150 million Series B financing from China investors (see story). Founded in 2014, Singlera is developing genetic tests and molecular diagnostics for early screening of cancer. Earlier this year, Singlera announced its PanSeer assay used a single blood draw to detect five types of cancer up to four years before conventional diagnosis. The tests uses the company's patented methylation detection platform. The B round was led by the CICC Kai Tak Innovative Biomedicine Fund, and co-led by Detong Capital and Furong Investment.

SciClone Pharma, a US company that in-licenses novel antibody therapies for use in China, acquired rights for two neuroblastoma drugs from Y-mAbs of New York in a $120 million agreement (see story). SciClone will pay $20 million upfront and as much as $100 million in milestones, plus royalties.  Danyelza® (naxitamab-gqgk) is a US-approved treatment for relapsed/refractory high-risk neuroblastoma. Omburtamab is being developed for pediatric patients with CNS/leptomeningeal metastasis from neuroblastoma.  

Overland Pharmaceuticals, a new Shanghai in-licensing company, announced its second drug partnership in two days: Overland will form a $117 million China JV with Allogene Therapeutics (NSDQ: ALLO) of South San Francisco to bring allogenic CAR-T drugs to China (see story). The JV, Allogene Overland, will have greater China rights to four off-the-shelf CAR-T candidates targeting BCMA, CD70, FLT3 and DLL3. Yesterday, Overland announced a $50 million JV with Switzerland's ADC Therapeutics to develop four antibody drug conjugate drugs in China

Overland Pharmaceuticals, a China in-licensing newco backed by Hillhouse Capital, will form a JV with Switzerland's ADC Therapeutics (NYSE: ADCT) to develop four ADC Therapeutics antibody drug conjugate drugs in China and Singapore (see story). Overland will own 51% of the JV, which will be called Overland ADCT Biopharma, in exchange for a $50 million investment. A Shanghai, Beijing, Boston biopharma, Overland broke out of stealth mode last week with a plan to develop advanced technologies drugs in China, including ADCs, cell therapies and RNAi candidates.  

dMed, a Shanghai-headquartered clinical CRO, completed a $100 million C round led by Fidelity Management & Research Company (see story). dMed claims a strong presence in clinical and regulatory services especially in China and the US. The company said the financing would lead to an IPO in the future. dMed calls itself a "next-gen" clinical CRO with efficient operations, IT services and expertise in cross-border global trials. The company was founded in 2016 by Lingshi Tan, who was previously general manager of China R&D for Pfizer.

Vivace Therapeutics, a San Francisco area biotech, closed a $30 million Series C financing to develop novel oncology therapies that target the Hippo pathway (see story). Vivace is led by Sofie Qiao, PhD, who previously served as managing director at WuXi Ventures, which supported the company in earlier rounds along with other China investors. The company expects to start clinical trials of its lead candidate in early 2021, targeting tumors dependent on activated YAP. The Series C round was led by Boxer Capital and joined by new investor RA Capital Management alongside existing investor Canaan Partners.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Harbour BioMed (HBM), a US-China-Netherlands biopharma, has out-licensed its fully human SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody, 47D11, to AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) (see story). The candidate is expected to prevent and treat the disease. HBM developed 47D11 together with Utrecht University in the Netherlands. AbbVie has started a Phase I clinical trial of the antibody in the US among patients with COVID-19, which it will expand into Europe. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.  

Shanghai Fosun Pharma (SHA: 600196; HK: 02196) announced its German partner, BioNTech (NSDQ: BNTX), will supply 100 million doses of their partnered COVID-19 vaccine for China use (see story). In March, Fosun in-licensed China rights to the vaccine in a $135 million deal that included a $50 million Fosun investment in BioNTech. The two companies started a China Phase II bridging study of the vaccine one month ago that enrolled 960 healthy volunteers. The BioNTech-discovered mRNA vaccine is already launched in the US (partnered with Pfizer) and Britain.  

Trials and Approvals

Shanghai Junshi Bio (HK: 1877; SHA: 688180) reported its lead anti-PD-1 drug met the primary endpoint in an interim analysis as a first-line treatment in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) (see story). Toripalimab (JS001), which was administered in combination with chemotherapy in a China trial among patients with advanced disease, showed improvement in progression-free survival, though specific results were not disclosed. In 2018, toripalimab was first approved in China as a second-line treatment for unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

Nanjing Legend Biotech (NSDQ: LEGN) was cleared to start a US Phase I trial of LB1901, a CAR-T  therapy targeting CD4 (see story). The trial will enroll patients with relapsed-refractory T-Cell lymphoma, Legend explained that CD4 is expressed in a majority of TCL subtypes, though TCL, a heterogeneous group of disorders, occurs in less than 15% of US non-Hodgkin lymphoma cases. The endpoints of the LB1901 trial will be safety and tolerability, along with a recommended dose for the Phase II trial.

Beijing CANbridge Pharma, a rare disease company, announced approval to start Singapore clinical trials of its monoclonal antibody targeting complement C5 of the complement system (see story). The first trial for CAN106 will be in patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), a fatal disease in which the complement system destroys red blood cells. As part of an immune response, the complement system helps antibodies and phagocytic cells clear microbes and damaged cells. Dysregulation of the system leads to several rare diseases, including PNH.

Disclosure: none.

 

 

 


 

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