publication date: Oct 16, 2021
author/source: Richard Daverman, PhD
Deals and Financings
Hansoh Pharma (HK: 3692) of Shanghai announced a $456 million agreement to develop siRNA products in Greater China from South Korea's OliX Pharma (KOSDAQ: 226950) (see story). The two companies will collaborate using OliX's GalNAc-asiRNA platform for various liver-based targets that are implicated in cardiovascular, metabolic and other indications. Hansoh will make an upfront payment of $6.5 million and up to $450 million in milestones. OliX will continue to hold rights to the products in the rest of the world.
Abbisko (HK: 2256), a Shanghai biopharma, completed a $226 million IPO in Hong Kong to support its small molecule therapies for cancer (see story). At the IPO price, Abbisko has a $1.1 billion market capitalization. Formed in 2016, Abbisko has developed a portfolio of 14 drug candidates, five of them at clinical stage. Its lead program, a pan-FGFR inhibitor aimed at urothelial carcinoma, is partnered with AstraZeneca. The company plans to start Phase Ib/II China trials for the candidate soon.
Shanghai BioNova Pharma acquired an option for China rights to a CD74 antibody drug candidate for hematologic cancers from South San Francisco's Sutro Biopharma (NSDQ: STRO) in a $204 million agreement (see story). BioNova will make a $4 million payment for the option, and it will pay up to $200 million to exercise the option and make milestone payments. It will develop STRO-001 to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma and leukemia. Sutro will also receive tiered, double-digit royalties.
Sciwind Biosciences, a Hangzhou biopharma focused on metabolic disease, closed a $70 million Series C funding . Sciwind will use the proceeds to advance clinical development of its three leading GLP-1 receptor agonist candidates for NASH and other metabolic conditions. (see story). The financing round was co-led by IDG Capital, Loyal Valley Capital and LYFE Capital.
Chance Pharma of Hangzhou, an inhalation therapy company, completed a $30 million Series C financing led by new investor Lapam Capital (see story). Chance intends to use the capital to advance its R&D, start new business collaborations and accelerate the construction of a manufacturing facility. Also participating in the C round were new investors CMS Capital and HEDA BioVenture and existing investor Guozhong Capital. Earlier this year, Chance signed a deal with Aerami Therapeutics to acquire greater China rights for a drug device combination product aimed at Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.
GV20 Oncotherapy, a Cambridge, MA-Shanghai biotech, completed a Series B round of undisclosed size to advance its lead immuno-oncology antibody candidate into the clinic (see story). GV20 claims unique expertise in novel target identification and antibody drug discovery in the immuno-oncology field. The company applies its novel genomics platform and AI techniques to speed up antibody drug discovery. The B round was led by Coatue Management, and included existing investors IDG Capital, 3W Investment, Watson Capital, Linear Capital and others.
Eucure Bio, a subsidiary of Beijing's Biocytogen, will collaborate with San Diego's Tracon Pharma (NSDQ: TCON) to develop its CTLA-4 antibody for soft tissue sarcoma in North America (see story). Eucure says YH001 has enhanced ADCC and CDC efficacy that differentiate the candidate from other CTLA-4 products. Tracon will be responsible for the clinical development and markteting of YH001 in multiple oncology indications in the US while Eucure Biopharma will supply YH001. Tracon will pay escalating double digit royalties on net sales to Eucure Biopharma.
The $1.4 billion landmark deal between Beijing's BeiGene (NSDQ: BGNE; HK: 06160)) ) and Celgene (now Bristol-Myers) is falling apart (NYSE: BMY) (see story). The companies are arguing over BeiGene's China distribution rights for Abraxane, a nanoparticle albumin–bound form of paclitaxel, used to treat several forms of cancer. BeiGene acquired China distribution rights to the drug, two other Celgene drugs, and Celgene's complete China commercial team as part of the deal that also gave Celgene ex-China rights to BeiGene's PD-1 candidate. Unfortunately, a China inspection of Abraxane's US manufacturing plant found irregularities and suspended China sales. That was 18 months ago and Abraxane remains unavailable in China.
AnchorDx of Guangzhou and South San Francisco's Twist Bioscience (NSDQ: TWST) have launched their Pan-Cancer Methylation Panel in global markets (see story). The Pan-Cancer Panel was developed over a two-year period by AnchorDx in collaboration with Twist. It includes DNA methylation library preparation and targeted enrichment for next-gen sequencing (NGS). The panel covers 47 disease entities from The Cancer Genome Atlas and 31 cancer types such as lung, breast and colorectal cancers. The two companies will market the product globally for global cancer screening and scientific research.
Zai Lab (NSDQ: ZLAB; HK: 9688) of Shanghai will collaborate with Geneseeq Technology, a Toronto-China company, to integrate cutting-edge NGS services into clinical trials and advance precision care (see story). The two companies will form business relationships based on Geneseeq's clinical trial patient recruitment, central laboratory testing, companion diagnostics development and marketing services for Zai's cancer candidates. Zai has three cancer products approved in China and another 10-15 candidates in development, many of them based on companion biomarkers.
Trials and Approvals
Sirtex Medical, a division of China Grand Pharma and Healthcare, started a China trial of its selective internal radiation therapy in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) (see story). One year ago, Sirtex filed an NDA in China for its SIR-Spheres® Y-90 resin microspheres, a targeted radiation therapy, for liver metastases from colorectal cancer. The Y-90 resin microspheres are designed to accumulate in the liver, where they deliver a 40-times larger dose of radiation without affecting normal tissue. In 2018, China's CDH Holding paid $1.9 billion to acquire Sirtex.
Suzhou Kintor Pharma (HK: 9939) was approved to start a China Phase I trial of its ALK-1 antibody in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb's PD-1, nivolumab (Opdivo®), in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (see story). The ALK-1 antibody is a fully human IgG2 neutralizing mAb that inhibits ALK-1/TGF-β signal transduction, interrupting tumor angiogenesis and changing the tumor microenvironment. In 2018, Kintor acquired an exclusive global license from Pfizer for the candidate in all oncological applications.