publication date: Oct 9, 2021
author/source: Richard Daverman, PhD
Deals and Financings
MicroTech Medical (HK: 2235), a Hangzhou company that offers diabetes monitoring and treatment devices, is conducting a Hong Kong IPO that would raise $254 million at the top of the pricing range (see story). MicroTech is the only China company with an approved patch insulin pump, which was launched in 2018. The company also offers a traditional blood glucose monitoring device and is developing a continuous blood glucose monitoring device. It has an additional six diabetes products in early development. MicroTech would have a market capitalization of $1.3 billion at the top of the range.
LianBio, a Princeton, NJ-Shanghai biopharma, has filed for a $100 million IPO on the NASDAQ exchange (see story). LianBio currently has a pipeline of nine in-licensed candidates in five therapeutic areas including oncology. The company was formed by US-based Perceptive Investors to bring promising products from its large portfolio of life science companies to China's market, while LianBio also in-licenses candidates from other companies.
AffyImmune Therapeutics of Massachusetts closed a $30 million Series A+ round from a single firm, ORI Capital, a Hong Kong healthcare investor (see story). AffyImmune is a clinical stage CAR T developer focused on developing CAR T therapies for solid tumors. The company uses its proprietary tracking platform to tune the affinity of CAR T cells. The goal is reduce toxicity and increase CAR T cell longevity while allowing in vivo monitoring. The capital will be used to advance the Phase 1 study of AffyImmune's lead asset to treat specific types of thyroid cancer.
According to a Bloomberg article, I-Mab (NSDQ: IMAB) is in wide-ranging discussions with US and EU biopharmas for a deal that could out-license an I-Mab asset or involve a direct investment in the Shanghai biopharma (see story). The potential investors were not named. One year ago, I-Mab announced a blockbuster $2 billion deal with AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) for global ex-China rights to I-Mab's anti-CD47 mAb. The agreement included options on two other anti-CD47 molecules for another billion dollars. Simultaneously, I-Mab is planning a second IPO on Shanghai's STAR board.
Trials and Approvals
Shanghai's Zai Lab (NSDQ: ZLAB; HKEX: 9688) reported its in-licensed HER2 drug met its endpoints in patients with previously treated HER2+ breast cancer (see story). Zai acquired China rights to margetuximab as part of a $165 million, three-drug deal from MacroGenics (NSDQ: MGNX) in 2018. MacroGenics was approved to launch margetuximab in the US last year in combination with chemotherapy as a third-line treatment for HER2 positive breast cancer. Zai plans to file a BFA in China before the end of the year.
Himalaya Therapeutics of Shanghai has submitted four INDs in China for two Conditionally Active Biologics, each one aimed at two solid tumor cancer indications (see story). The company describes itself as a global clinical-stage biotech developing drugs that have more selective targeting for greater safety and efficacy. It also works to be more cost-efficient with highly predictable manufacturing compared to traditional antibodies. Himalaya, a majority owned subsidiary of San Diego's BioAtla, develops BioAtla's products in China.
Shanghai NovoCodex Pharma reported positive interim data from a China trial of its lead drug in patients with HER2+ metastatic gastric / gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer (see story). ARX788 is an antibody-drug conjugate composed of an EGFR antibody targeting EGFR2 and HER2, joined to a apoptosis molecule. The candidate showed a tolerable safety profile and promising efficacy data. NovoCodex acquired China rights to ARX788 from Ambrx (NYSE: AMAM), a San Diego biotech. NovoCodex is a majority owned subsidiary of Zhejiang Medicine.
Beijing's Brii Bio (HK: 2137) reported data from a global Phase III trial that showed its combination mAb COVID-19 therapy was equally effective in patients who received the therapy in days 1-5 after onset of symptoms as those in days 6-10 (see story). The company said the data suggest the combination therapy will be effective among patients in later stages of their disease. Overall, Brii reported the candidate, which consists of two non-competing SARS-CoV-2 mAbs derived from convalesced COVID-19 patients, reduced hospitalizations and death by 78% among high-risk patients.
Kintor Pharma (HK: 9939) of Suzhou started a global Phase III trial of proxalutamide in hospitalized COVID-19 patients (see story). Kintor said its candidate is the only small-molecule oral drug that has started a Phase III MRCT trial for hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The primary endpoint for the trial is the time to sustained recovery evaluated by Day 30, with a secondary endpoint of 30-day mortality. The pivotal study has been approved by the US, China, Philippines and ANVISA, and it is seeking for approval by more regulatory agencies in Europe and Asia.