Week In Review: 3SBio Acquires Wansheng Pharma For $85 Million

Deals and Financings

3SBio (HK:1530) of Shenyang acquired Zhejiang Wansheng Pharma, a small molecule drugmaker, for $85 million (see story). Wansheng is approved to market 55 products in the areas of oncology, diabetes, cardiovascular and dermatology. It also has 13 GMP production lines. The transaction is priced at 20 times Wansheng's earnings and slightly less than two times sales. According to 3SBio, which is known mainly as a biologics company, the acquisition provides a manufacturing facility for 3SBio's 12 small-molecule pipeline drugs and adds depth to its portfolio of nephrology and oncology offerings. 

Ally Bridge Group, a Hong Kong-US investment firm, opened a new fund that invests in listed China life science companies, including those on both the mainland and the Hong Kong exchanges (see story). The fund, called the Ally Bridge LB Healthcare Fund, began operations on July 15, according to a Bloomberg report. It is described as a hedge fund, implying the fund intends to sell short overvalued companies while buying shares in attractively priced entities. Frank Yu, the founder and CEO of Ally Bridge, did not disclose how much money was raised for the fund. 

Shenzhen Hepalink Pharma (SHE: 002399) has closed its acquisition of greater China rights to a clinical stage cardiovascular drug from Resverlogix (TO: RVX) of Calgary, Canada (see story). RVX-208 is a small-molecule BET bromodomain inhibitor that reduces atherosclerotic plaque. To secure the rights, Hepalink purchased $27.4 million of Resverlogix stock and warrants, giving it a 12.6% stake in the company. Hepalink also agreed to pay Resverlogix a 6% royalty plus sales milestones. 

Phagelux, a Shanghai company that is developing phage-based anti-bacterial products, has acquired OmniLytics, Inc. of Salt Lake City, Utah (see story). OmniLytics is also focused on phages, with several products for agricultural pathogens marketed under the AgriPhage brand. Presumably, Phagelux will bring the OmniLytic products to China, while OmniLytic will market Phagelux's products in the US. Phagelux is developing phage products for human and agricultural use. 

Trials and Approvals

OrbusNeich, headquartered in Hong Kong, has enrolled the first patient in a China clinical trial of its COMBO™ Dual Therapy Stent (see story). The COMBO stent has a coating of anti-CD34 antibodies to promote endothelialization of the stent, combined with sirolimus drug elution to deter the blood vessel from re-closing over the longer term. OrbusNeich, which makes medical devices for the vascular market, has manufacturing facilities in Shenzhen and the Netherlands, plus an R&D operation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 

Eddingpharm, a China in-licensing company, plans to start a China Phase I trial of Brinavess, a drug developed by Cardiome Pharma (NSDQ: CRME) of Canada to treat atrial fibrillation (see story). Eddingpharm will conduct the Phase I trial in healthy volunteers and then proceed to a Phase III trial, which it expects will begin before year-end. Eddingpharm in-licensed the drug in late 2014, paying $1 million upfront and agreeing to an additional $3 million in milestones. 

Micell Technologies of North Carolina has started enrolling patients in a China registrational trial of its drug eluting stent, the MiStent SES® (see story). In 2013, Hefei Life Science, an arm of the Hefei Economic and Technological Development Area of Anhui Province, agreed to fund the trial; Hefei will be in charge of China distribution for the MiStent SES, once it is approved. 

CASI Pharma (NSDQ: CASI), a US biopharma focused on the China market, reported that Zevalin®, a treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, is now available in Hong Kong (see story). One year ago, CASI in-licensed three cancer drugs from Spectrum Pharma (NSDQ: SPPI), and this represents the first marketing approval for any of the three. To acquire the China rights, CASI granted Spectrum a 20% stake in CASI and a promissory note for $1.5 million. ChinaBio® Today estimated the value of the package at $11.5 million. 

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