Week In Review: BeiGene Signs $2.2 Billion Deal With Novartis For PD-1

Laboratory Test Tubes

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Deals and Financings

  • Beijing's BeiGene (BGNE) out-licensed ex-China rights for tislelizumab, its China-approved anti-PD-1 antibody, to Novartis (NVS) in a $2.2 billion agreement (see story). The blockbuster deal includes a $650 million upfront payment to BeiGene, plus up to $1.3 billion in regulatory milestones and $250 million in sales milestones. Novartis will also make royalty payments. Novartis is developing its own PD-1 candidate, spartalizumab, but will reportedly test it as a companion drug, while BeiGene's tislelizumab will be aimed at indications that don’t compete with Novartis's own candidate.
  • Shanghai's Inmagene in-licensed global rights to four novel pre-clinical immunological candidates from Hutchison China MediTech (Chi-Med) (HCM) in a deal that has a potential value of $920 million (see story). With funding from Inmagene, the two companies will work together to advance the molecules through IND submissions. Inmagene will be in charge of global clinical development. For each candidate, Inmagene will be responsible for up to $95 million in development milestones and $135 million in commercial payments, plus up to double-digit royalties. Founded in 2019, Inmagene has raised over $40 million.
  • CICC Capital announced its RMB biomedical private equity fund, called CICC Qide, has raised $648 million as of the second closing (see story). In February of 2020, CICC announced the first close with $247 million. The fund has already invested in over 20 companies, with several portfolio companies now starting the IPO process. CICC Capital, a platform for Beijing's China International Capital Corporation (CNICF), manages RMB and USD funds that are aimed at venture capital, growth, buyout, fund of funds, and distressed opportunities. 
  • EQRx, a Cambridge, MA biopharma that aims to lower US drug prices for expensive medications by 50%-70%, completed a $500 million Series B funding (see story). Three of EQRx's four drug candidates are from China pharmas: CStone Pharma out-licensed rights for its anti-PD1 and anti-PD-L1 inhibitors to EQRx for $150 million upfront and up to $1.2 million in milestones. Hansoh Pharma out-licensed its EGFR inhibitor to EQRx for $100 million upfront plus unspecified milestone and royalty payments. The Series B included the same investors as the $250 million EQRx Series A round.
  • Beijing's BeiGene announced a $310 million agreement for China/Asia rights to an mRNA treatment developed by Strand Therapeutics for solid tumor cancers (see story). Strand, a Cambridge, MA biotech, focuses on programmable mRNA therapies for cancer and other diseases. BeiGene made a $5 million upfront equity investment in Strand for an option to two Strand immuno-oncology programs using Strand’s intratumoral or systemic delivery mechanism, saying Strand's candidates are "cutting-edge novel programs." Strand also received an additional $10 million equity investment from an unnamed party.
  • EOC Pharma, the Shanghai oncology arm of China company Eddingpharm, acquired greater China rights to an mTOR inhibitor from Los Angeles-based Aadi Bioscience (see story). EOC signed a $271 million agreement consisting of upfront and milestone payments, plus royalties, for the rights. Aadi has submitted a US NDA for the candidate (ABI-009) to treat advanced malignant PEComa, a rare type of sarcoma. EOC Pharma combines independent R&D with in-licensings to build a portfolio of first- and best-in-class oncology drugs.
  • Shanghai's Visen Pharma closed a $150 million Series B financing to develop novel endocrine drugs in a round led by Sequoia China (see story). In 2018, Visen was formed by Ascendis Pharma A/S (ASND) of Denmark and an investor syndicate led by Vivo Capital and Sofinnova that contributed $40 million in capital for a 50% stake.
  • Shanghai Henlius Biotech (HK: 2696) announced a $122.5 million agreement to acquire greater China rights for two anti-TPOR-2 antibodies from Chiome Bioscience of Japan (see story). As part of the package, Henlius has an option for global rights to the antibodies. LIV-2008/2008b are pre-clinical mAbs that target cell surface antigen TROP-2 (Trophoblast cell-surface antigen 2), which is over-expressed in breast, colon, lung, and other types of solid cancers. Henlius is the main biotech subsidiary of Fosun Pharma (SFOSF).
  • Shenzhen Raysight Medical completed a $46 million Series B funding for its smart systems that offer real-time monitoring to provide early warnings of heart disease (see story). Raysight said it would use the proceeds to perfect its cardiovascular and cerebrovascular closed-loop platform that includes large-scale screening, precision diagnosis, preoperative and intraoperative guidance, and postoperative chronic disease management. The company's first product is a novel wearable non-invasive coronary blood supply evaluation system -- Ruixin-FFR. The B round was led by Tencent (TCEHY) with participation from Matrix Partners China.
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