publication date: Feb 20, 2021
author/source: Richard Daverman, PhD
Deals and Financings
Beijing Yuanxin Technology raised $465 million in a Series E round to support its online/offline healthcare operations, known as Miaoshou Doctor (see story). The company's latest round was led jointly by Sequoia Capital China and Tencent. Miaoshou offers online links between doctors and patients, online healthcare consultations and O2O services plus it operates a chain of over 200 offline pharmacies. Founded in 2015, the company says its focus is on "healthcare-medication-insurance."
Shanghai Microport Cardioflow Medtech (HK: 2160), a spinout from China medical device maker Microport (HK: 0853), completed a $324 million IPO in Hong Kong (see story). Cardioflow develops transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) products that replace defective heart valves through a minimally invasive procedure. Its Vitaflow product, the first China TAVI device to use bovine pericardium as valve tissue, was approved for China use in 2019. The company is working on bringing Vitaflow to global markets. Cardioflow is trading 59% above its IPO price at a market capitalization of $6 billion.
Qilu Pharma of Jinan formed a $235 million collaboration with San Diego's Cend Therapeutics to develop and commercialize Cend’s immunotherapy in China (see story). CEND-1 is an investigational drug that modifies the tumor microenvironment. It has a dual mechanism, activating a novel uptake pathway to allow therapeutic drugs into the tumor while it also depletes immunosuppressive cells. CEND-1 is in a Phase II trial to treat pancreatic cancer. Qilu will pay $10 million upfront and up to $225 million in milestones, plus royalties.
Hangzhou Zhongmei Huadong Pharma formed a $180 million collaboration with Provention Bio (NSDQ: PRVB) of New Jersey to develop a bispecific drug targeting B cell surface proteins CD32B and CD79B in China (see story). Provention's PRV-3279, a DART® (humanized diabody) bi-specific, is initially aimed at treating systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disorder. By engaging CD32B and CD79B receptors. the candidate is expected to inhibit B cell function and suppress autoantibody production.
Beijing's BeiGene (NSDQ: BGNE; HK: 06160) in-licensed greater China rights to novel tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (TNFR2) antagonist antibodies from Boston Immune Technologies and Therapeutics (BITT) in an agreement worth up to $126 million (see story). TNFR2 is selectively expressed on many tumor types and also on suppressive immune cells in the tumor microenvironment. BeiGene plans to test BITR2101, BITT’s lead TNFR2 antagonist antibody, as a single agent and in combination with tislelizumab, the company’s anti-PD-1 antibody.
Regor Therapeutics of Shanghai completed a $90 million Series B financing that was led by Lilly Asia Ventures (see story). Regor is a clinical stage biotech dedicated to developing clinically differentiated, best- and first-in-class drugs medicines to treat cancer, immune disorders and metabolic diseases. For drug discovery, the company uses its Computer Accelerated Rational Discovery (CARD) platform, which integrates structural biology, computational chemistry, therapeutic biology, medicinal chemistry and clinical development.
Hangzhou Sciwind closed a $37 Million series B financing led by LYFE Capital and joined by existing investors, Legend Capital and Haibang Venture Capital (see story). Sciwind, known for its NASH projects, has started several clinical trials of candidates for metabolic and immunological diseases. It has completed a Phase I clinical study of a GLP-1 analogue weight loss treatment in Australia, and it plans to start China Phase II trials for therapies aimed at type II diabetes, obesity and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Citrine Medicine, a Shanghai rare disease company, in-licensed China rights to a pediatric therapy for congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) developed by the UK's Diurnal Group (AIM: DNL) (see story). Alkindi® is an adrenal hormone replacement therapy, the first approved treatment for the rare genetic condition. It is a patented, oral, immediate-release hydrocortisone formulated in encapsulated granules that can be opened for age-appropriate dosing. Children with adrenal insufficiency, including the genetic condition CAH, suffer from cortisol deficiency, causing chronic fatigue and potential death.
Hansoh Pharma (HK: 3692) of Jiangsu Province acquired China rights to a late-state anti-fungal candidate for difficult-to-treat and drug-resistant infections from Synexis (NSDQ: SCYX), a New Jersey biotech (see story). Hansoh will make a $10 million upfront payment to Synexis, plus unspecified milestones and royalties. Ibrexafungerp is a first-in-class, broad-spectrum triterpenoid antifungal agent with both IV and oral formulations. It is currently under US NDA review to treat vaginal yeast infections and in late-stage development for other indications including fungal infections in hospitalized patients.
Trials and Approvals
China Oncology Focus (COF), a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Lee's Pharma (HK: 950), reported that its anti-PD-L1 antibody, socazolimab, was granted breakthrough therapy status in China (see story). Lee's said it plans to file a China NDA for socazolimab as a cervical cancer therapy in Q2 2021. In 2014, Lee's acquired China rights to the candidate from San Diego's Sorrento Therapeutics (NSDQ: SRNE) in a deal worth over $50 million. The two companies are currently in talks about partnering additional Sorrento antibodies.