Week In Review: Agilent Pays $250 Million To Acquire ACEA And Its Cell Therapy Analyzer

ACEA Biosciences, a San Diego company with R&D and manufacturing facilities in Hangzhzou, will be acquired by Agilent (NYSE: A) for $250 million in cash (see story). ACEA has developed the xCELLigence® cell therapy analysis device intended for academic and biopharma researchers. The device is used in immuno-oncology, pre-clinical drug discovery and basic academic research. In 2015, ACEA raised $30 million from China investors Qiming and Lilly Asia Ventures. Agilent develops and sells laboratory equipment.  

Zhejiang Anglikang Pharmaceutical, headquartered in Shengzhou, has been approved to stage an $87 million IPO on the Shenzhen SME (small- and medium-sized enterprise) Exchange (see story). The company is mainly known as a cephalosporin manufacturer with an annual capacity of 1500 tons. It also makes angiography and gastrointestinal drugs. Founded in 1994, Anglikang produces finished drugs, APIs and empty gelatin capsules and has annual revenues of over $150 million.  

CSPC Pharmaceutical (HK: 1093) in-licensed China rights to an approved cancer treatment, Copitra™, from Verastem (Nasdaq: VSTM), a Boston area biotech (see story). Copitra (duvelisib) is an oral inhibitor of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), and the first approved dual inhibitor of PI3K-delta and PI3K-gamma. In the US, Copitra has been approved as a third-line treatment for several leukemia/lymphoma indications. CSPC will make a $15 million upfront payment and pay an additional $30 million in development milestones, plus sales milestones and royalties.  

Cellular Biomedicine (Nasdaq: CBMG) will provide China manufacturing services for a Novartis (NYSE: NVS) CAR-T cell therapy, Kymriah® (see story). Novartis will buy $40 million of CBMG stock, while CBMG will manufacture the individual doses of the therapy at a profit and be paid royalties. Novartis will retain China marketing rights and also receive rights to some CBMG technologies for CAR-T manufacturing. Kymriah, which was approved in the US one year ago to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia, is not yet approved for use in China.  

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