Deals and Financings
CBC Healthcare Infrastructure Platform (CBC HIP) announced plans to build a $137 million biopharma center in Western Shanghai (see story). The company intends to build eight manufacturing facilities and two R&D office buildings on the property with a total of 110,000 square meters of gross floor area in medium-rise buildings. Last month, CBC HIP paid $17.8 million for the site, a 56,000 square meter area in Shanghai’s Qingpu district. CBC HIP is a joint venture between Dutch pension fund manager APG and Singapore’s CBC Group, a healthcare PE firm.
Beijing Immunochina raised at least $28 million in a Series D+ round of to support the NDA filing and commercialization of its lead product, CAR-T IM19 (see story). The IM19 molecule, a CD19 CAR-T immunotherapy, was tested in patients with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Simcere partners the drug. The company’s portfolio includes ten CAR-T assets. Immunochina’s latest financing was co-invested by Beijing Zhongguancun Science City Innovation Development and BCT Capital.
Zhuhai Beihai Biotech raised $27 million in a Series B Round to develop novel oncology drugs (see story). Founded in 2013, Beihai’s lead drug, an innovative docetaxel product, has completed its clinical trials with seven IND approvals in China and the US. The company claims BH009 is the first global candidate built on its insoluble drug solubilization and delivery technology platform. A broad-spectrum antitumor drug, BH009 is indicated for solid tumors. The B round was led by Yikai Venture Capital.
Beijing CorreGene Biotechnology completed $14 million Pre-A+ financing round to develop new cancer drug using its cutting-edge T-cell receptor (TCR-T) platform (see story). The company says TCR-T can target almost all proteins expressed by tumor cells while CAR-T drugs are limited to targeting antigens expressed on the surface of tumor cells. The platform re-engineers patients’ T cells with optimized TCR. CorreGene has two candidates in early-stage clinical trials. The round was co-led by Riverhead Capital and Xinrui Investment and included Longmen Capital.
Eucure Biopharma, a Beijing antibody company, will collaborate with Korea’s ISU ABXIS (KOSDAQ: 086890) to develop tri-specific antibodies for multiple cancer indications (see story). ISU ABXIS will use Biocytogen’s humanized agonistic anti-CD40 antibody, which is currently in Phase II clinical trials, as the basis for the tri-specific drugs. Eucure will receive an upfront payment, milestone payments and royalties. Eucure is a subsidiary of Biocytogen, a company offering genetically-modified animal models.
Government and Regulatory
China has agreed to let Germany’s BioNTech (BNTX) bring its COVID mRNA vaccine to China – but only for expatriate use (see story). The agreement came during an official state meeting between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and China’s premier, Li Keqiang. China does not have an approved mRNA vaccine for its citizens, even though it has nine less effective vaccines from its domestic vaccine makers, none of which address the omicron variant. In early 2020, Fosun Pharma (OTCPK:SFOSF) acquired China rights to BioNTech’s mRNA COVID vaccine before Pfizer (PFE) bought rights for the rest of the world.
China has banned a GSK (GSK) generic drug, due to worries that a sloppy manufacturing process might cause infections (see story). Avodart (dutasteride) is a generic therapy for urinary retention associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). China banned Avodart for 18 months, until April 29, 2024, and also banned GSK from participating in volume-based procurement agreements for the same period of time. GSK said Avodart was its only drug that qualified for the hospital procurement program, implying that the ban would not materially affect the company’s China revenues.
Trials and Approvals
Hangzhou Akeso Biopharma (OTCPK:AKESF) (HK: 9926) completed patient enrollment in a China Phase III trial of ivonescimab (a PD-1/VEGF bi-specific antibody) as a second-line therapy for NSCLC (see story). The trial will administer ivonescimab along with chemotherapy. According to Akeso, ivonescimab is a first-in-class PD-1/VEGF bi-specific antibody and the first to start Phase III clinical trials. The company has already started two other Phase III trials of AK112: one as a monotherapy compared to pembrolizumab as a first-line treatment for NSCLC, and a second line therapy combined with chemotherapy in EGFR mutated NSCLC.
Kira Pharmaceuticals, a Boston-Suzhou biotech, presented positive first-in-human data from a Phase I trial of its bifunctional therapy that targets the alternative and terminal complement pathways (see story). In the trial, KP104 produced dose-dependent inhibition of the alternative pathway and terminal pathway of complement activation, according to biomarker data. One month ago, Kira was approved to start Phase II trials of KP104 in patients with lupus in the US, China and Australia. Kira focuses on complement-based therapies to treat immune-mediated disease.
Shanghai Antengene (HK: 6996) was approved to start China Phase I trials of its small molecule CD73 inhibitor in patients with locally advanced or metastatic solid tumor cancers (see story). CD73 generates adenosine, which leads to immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment. The trial will test ATG-037 as a monotherapy and in combination with the PD-1 immunotherapy Keytruda (pembrolizumab), to determine the appropriate dose for Phase II trials. According to Antengene, therapies that address the tumor microenvironment will become a very important element of a cancer care regimen.
Editor’s Note: The summary bullets for this article were chosen by Seeking Alpha editors.