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Week in Review: ChinaBio? at China Showcase: The Golden Age for China Life Science Investing

publication date: Jan 15, 2022
 | 
author/source: Richard Daverman, PhD

ChinaBio®: Record Investing Levels Again in 2021; How Do Investors Adjust for 2022?

In 2021, China set impressively higher records in Life Science investing, despite the COVID-19 pandemic (see story). Most categories followed by ChinaBio® hit new all-time highs, signaling high levels of investments in several areas important to China life science companies. According to Greg Scott, Founder and CEO of ChinaBio®, the total value of China life science transactions climbed 55% from 2020's levels, a significant advance under any circumstances, but especially strong given the restrictions of COVID. He delivered the 2021 Report on China Life Science Investment as the Keynote Address at the virtual China Showcase, part of Biotech Showcase™.  

It is the Golden Age for Investing in China Life Science with activity levels rising steadily for six years in a row (see story). Greg Scott, Founder and CEO of ChinaBio®, talked with a panel of China investment fund managers about their plans for 2022. What adjustments do you make when the level of China life science activity is already high? The panel, whose comments are summarized in the article, is a featured event in the virtual China Showcase, part of Biotech Showcase™, co-sponsored by Demy Colton and EBD Group. The Showcase took place January 10-12.  

Deals and Financings 

Shanghai Junshi Bio (HK: 1877; SHA: 688180) reported Coherus BioSciences, its US partner, will exercise an option to in-license US-Canada rights for Junshi’s TIGIT antibody in an $290 million deal (see story). Coherus will pay Junshi $35 million upfront, up to $255 million in milestones, and an 18% royalty on revenues. In early 2021, Coherus acquired US-Canada rights to Tuoyi (toripalimab), Junshi's PD-1 drug, in a $1.1 billion deal that included the option. Junshi's Tuoyi was the first China-developed anti-PD-1 antibody approved in China 

Thousand Oaks Biopharma, headquartered in Nantong, completed a $235 million Series D financing to support its biologic CDMO operations (see story). In 2017, TOBio was founded when it decided to integrate its core cell culture medium business, which was founded in 2011 as JSBio, with CDMO services, offering a one-stop solution from raw materials to complete CMC services. The company has global operations with production bases and R&D laboratories in Nantong, Shanghai, Lnzhou, Gansu and Los Angeles. The D round was completed last month.  

Sana Biotech (NSDQ: SANA), a Seattle company that creates engineered cells as medicines, acquired non-exclusive rights to a BCMA CAR construct from IASO Bio (HK: 01801) and Innovent in a $204 million agreement (see story). Sana will have rights to use the construct in certain in vivo gene therapy and ex vivo hypoimmune cell therapy applications. IASO Bio and Innovent will receive an unspecified upfront payment and up to $204 million in milestone payments for up to six products, plus royalties. Sana will develop gene and/or cell therapies for multiple myeloma, which is also the target for the IASO/Innovent CAR-T candidate.  

Shanghai ZhenGe Biotech completed a $100 million C Round to strengthen its biologic drug CDMO services (see story). The company offers end-to-end services from concept to commercialization to help customers discover, develop and manufacture biologics. Founded in 2017, ZhenGe has worked with more than 100 biopharma and biotech customers, completing over 150 projects that range from cell line development projects to IND applications and clinical trial production. ZhenGe has expertise with monoclonal and bispecific antibodies, ADCs, fusion proteins and vaccines. The C Round was led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Sofina.  

Shanghai Fosun Pharma (SHA: 600196; HK: 02196) will collaborate with Insilico Medicine, a Hong Kong AI drug discovery company, to discover candidates for four targets (see story). Fosun will make a $13 million upfront payment, plus potential milestones and a share of revenues from any products. It will also make an investment of unspecified size in Insilico. In addition, the two companies will co-develop Insilico's QPCTL program. QPCTL is thought to silence the “do not eat me” signal. Insilico will develop the QPCTL candidate to IND stage; Fosun will be responsible for global development.  

Accuredit Therapeutics (Suzhou) formed a JV with N1 Life of San Jose, CA to develop gene editing therapies (see story). The JV, Napoltec Life Sciences (Suzhou), will develop novel therapeutic drug delivery systems to advance drug candidates toward clinical translation. Founded in 2021, Accuredit focuses its novel gene editing delivery technologies on intracellular targets. N1 Life, another new company, also develops cutting edge drug delivery technologies. Its technology comes from the innovative drug delivery research lab of Professor Paul A. Wender, Francis W. Bergstrom Professor of Chemistry & Chemical & System Biology at Stanford.  

Trials and Approvals 

CARsgen Therapeutics (HK: 2171), a Shanghai CAR-T-company, was granted Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT) designation in the US for CT041, an autologous CAR T-cell product (see story). CT041 is being developed for advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma (GC/GEJ) with a Claudin18.2-positive tumor. The RMAT designation means CT041 has the benefits of Fast Track and Breakthrough Therapy designations. CT041 is the only CLDN18.2-targeted CAR T-cell candidate currently with IND approvals in the USChina and Canada.  

Disclosure: none.


 

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