Week In Review: China Leads Global Pharma Innovation, Says Thomson Reuters

Harmony Biopharm, a Hong Kong company that in-licensed Asia rights to Dance Biopharm's inhaled insulin product, formed a JV with Dongbao Pharma to commercialize the product in China (see story). The JV will be capitalized with $11 million. Dongbao, an insulin specialist, has deep knowledge of Dance's inhaled insulin product because it manufactures the product for Dance. Dance 501 is comprised of an inhaler and a liquid insulin formulation to keep the costs about the same as an insulin pen device. 

YiChang HEC Changjiang Pharma (HK: 1558) out-licensed US rights for a generic insulin product to Lannett Company (NYSE: LCI), a Philadelphia generic drugmaker (see story). The insulin product is one of a five-drug package that Lannett has obtained. The other four were not disclosed, but according to YiChang HEC's website, it has five generic insulin products in development. Lannett will complete the US approval process for the insulin product. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed. 

Warburg Pincus, a US-based private equity firm, made an investment of undisclosed size in China's UIB, a chain of obstetrics, gynecology (OB/GYN) and pediatrics hospitals (see story). Currently, UIB owns two operating hospitals with two more expected to complete construction this year. The investment was one of the first made from Warburg Pincus XII, a $13.4 billion global fund that closed last year. Warburg Pincus is also raising $2 billion for a China-specific fund.

Trials and Approvals

Hutchison China MediTech (Chi-Med) (AIM/NSDQ: HCM) has fully enrolled a China Phase III trial of fruquintinib (HMPL-013) as a treatment for colorectal cancer (see story). The trial enrolled 416 patients with locally advanced or metastatic disease who have previously received two previous rounds of treatment. Fruquintinib, which is also in a Phase III China trial for non-small cell lung cancer, targets VEGFR 1/2/3. Lilly (NYSE: LLY) in-licensed rights to the drug in 2013 in a deal worth $86 million plus royalties. 

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