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Week in Review: Shanghai Hansoh Enters $68 Million Deal for Leukemia Candidate
Deals and Financings
Shanghai Hansoh Pharma (HK: 3692) obtained Greater China rights to a BCR-ABL inhibitor discovered by Terns Pharma of California (see story). Hansoh will make an upfront payment plus milestones of up to $68 million. It will also pay royalties on sales. TRN-000632 is an investigational small molecule allosteric inhibitor of BCR-ABL aimed at treating chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Hansoh already has an approved second-generation BCR-ABL inhibitor for CML, flumatinib, with a different target.
Qilu Pharma of Jinan in-licensed Greater China rights to a treatment for bladder cancer from Seseen Bio of the US in a $35 million agreement (see story). Qilu will also have global manufacturing rights to Vicineum, a proposed treatment for BCG-unresponsive non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Qilu will make an upfront payment of $12 million and be responsible for up to $23 million in technology transfer and milestone payments, plus royalties. Vicineum is a locally administered fusion protein that has completed a Phase III trial for NMIBC.
YoFo Medical raised $7 million in a Pre-A round to support development of its innovative CT imaging technology (see story). The company, based in Hefei, Anhui Province, is developing a flexible imaging algorithm that works with several CT machines to optimize data collection, improving performance while reducing cost. Its dental cone-beam CT system speeds up response time while reducing the radiation dose by up to 75%. The financing was led by Huaying Venture Capital, with participation from Huami Technology and Anhui Guoyuan Fund.
BrosMed Medical, a Dongguan maker of interventional medical devices, raised "hundred of millions of RMB" in a C Round led by Hillhouse Capital (see story). BrosMed makes high quality devices for cardiovascular, endovascular and neurovascular indications that it markets in China and western countries, including the US and EU. Its goal is to make medical devices that are simpler, better and more cost efficient. The company will use the proceeds to promote product development, expand its market and increase production.
Harbour BioMed (HBM), a US-China-Netherlands biopharma, formed a strategic partnership with Viva Biotech (Shanghai) (HK: 1873) to incubate innovative biotech startups (see story). The partnership combines HBM's Harbour Mice® platform for drug discovery with Viva Biotech's structure-based early stage drug discovery services. The companies, which believe the partnership will accelerate the path between idea and product, will provide services on an equity for service (EFS) model.
Viva Biotech (HK: 1873), a Shanghai discovery CRO, and Schrödinger (NSDQ: SDGR) of New York City will collaborate to expand structure-based drug discovery by generating de novo crystal structures of targets (see story). Schrödinger will identify high-value drug discovery targets for which there aren't any crystal structures in the public domain. Viva will use its X-ray crystallography technology to generate high-resolution structures with bound ligands. Schrödinger will then apply its AI computational platform to design novel therapeutic candidates for the targets.
Lynk Pharma (Hangzhou) in-licensed rights to develop inhibitors to RAS targets with novel mechanisms discovered by Japan's Kobe University and RIKEN Research Institute (see story). The Japanese institutions, which did early structural biology and screening on the targets. will continue to work with Lynk in a JV, providing screening and structural support. Lynk will apply its medicinal chemistry and drug design expertise to develop RAS inhibitors that target the currently undruggable RAS onco-drivers. Lynk is a clinical stage company that develops small molecule drugs for oncology and autoimmune indications.
Tianjin CanSino Bio (HK: 6185) enlisted Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) to promote CanSino's as-yet unapproved meningitis vaccine candidate in China (see story). No financial details of the agreement were released. Menhycia, the vaccine candidate, is intended for children between the ages of six months and five years of age. The agreement was widely seen as proof of international confidence in CanSino. It is the first time a multinational company has formed a partnership with a China vaccine maker since China's vaccine scandal of a few years ago.
Trials and Approvals
Ascletis Pharma (HK: 1672) of Hangzhou has been approved to market its dual-drug, all-oral HCV treatment in China for hepatitis C (see story). The approval adds Ravidasvir (Asclevir®) to Danoprevir (Ganovo®), the first direct-acting anti-viral agent (DAA) developed by a China company for HCV, which was approved in China two years ago. Together, the RDV/DNV regimen demonstrated a cure rate of 99 % after a 12-week treatment in genotype 1 patients. Since its inception, Ascletis has been working toward an all-oral, interferon-free treatment for HCV with near 100% efficacy.
Shanghai Henlius Biotech (HK: 2696) was approved to market its Herceptin biosimilar to patients with HER2-positive cancers in Europe (see story). Zercepac® is the first Henlius biosimilar to be approved for use in Europe. One year ago, the company was approved to market its Rituxan biosimilar in China to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the first biosimilar approved in China. Henlius, a subsidiary of Fosun Pharma (SHA: 600196; HK: 2196), partnered the biosimilar with Accord Pharma of the UK for European distribution. It is Accord's third approved biosimilar.
NeuPharma, a Suzhou biopharma, dosed the first patient in a Phase II trial of RX108 in patients of recurrent/metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (see story). RX108 is a novel small-molecule inhibitor that targets sodium-potassium adenosine triphosphatase (Na + /K + -ATPase), an important signal transducer and ion transporter. Currently, RX108 is in multiple clinical trials in China and the US for several different types of tumors. Neupharma is developing four molecules for oncology and one for neurodegeneration.