Week In Review: China's Luxin Invests In $215 Million Funding For Intarcia's Long-Term Diabetes Device

Deals and Financings

Luxin Venture Capital (SHA: 600783) of Shandong Province participated in the first closing of the latest funding round for Boston's Intarcia Therapeutics (see story). Intarcia is developing a novel delivery device for type 2 diabetes, the Medici Drug Delivery System™. The initial close raised $215 million. Intarcia anticipates a much larger close in Q4. Intarcia has completed three Phase III trials of its matchstick-sized implantable device that metes out a year-long supply of exenatide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. 

Aspen Pharmacare, a South African generic drugmaker, paid GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) $60 million for rights to sell two thrombosis drugs in China, India and Pakistan (see story). Aspen originally acquired rights in most countries to the drugs -- Fraxiparine and Arixtra -- three years ago. The latest rights deal came in addition to Aspen's larger $370 million agreement to acquire a portfolio of GSK's anesthesia drugs (ex-US and Canada). Aspen's CEO, Stephen Saad, said the acquisitions would strengthen Aspen's position in China: "This has taken years to come to fruition," he declared. 

Tianjin Pharmaceutical Holding Group will $20 million in Neuralstem (NSDQ: CUR), a Maryland company using small molecules and stem cells to treat CNS disorders (see story). Neuralstem plans to use the capital for clinical trials. After the investment, Tianjin will control the equivalent of 40% of Neuralstem's outstanding shares. Neuralstem, which currently has a market capitalization of $38.5 million, is focused on novel CNS treatments.

iCarbonX, China's artificial intelligence, big-data health company, acquired an Israeli image recognition firm, Imagu Vision Technologies (see story). Founded in 2005, Imagu Vision has developed image recognition applications for healthcare, medical imaging and non-health fields. In addition, iCarbonX and Imagu have established an iCarbonX-Israel Artificial Intelligence R&D Center, which will develop data analysis and machine learning technologies specifically aimed at healthcare.

LIH Investment & Management, a Beijing company specializing in rehabilitation hospitals and clinics, received an investment of unspecified size from Qiming Venture Partners (see story). A three-year old company, LIH Investment both invests in and manages the rehab facilities. So far, the company has established children's specialized hospitals and clinics in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, and a senior rehabilitation hospital in Kunming, Yunnan province. As part of the investment, Qiming's managing partner Nisa Leung will join the company's board. 

SciClone Pharma (NSDQ: SCLN), a US company that in-licenses drugs for the China market, struck a deal for rights to a novel treatment for oral mucositis from Soligenix (OTC: SNGX) of New Jersey (seestory). In return for a $3 million investment into Soligenix, SciClone will have rights to SGX942 in China including Hong Kong and Macau, plus Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam. The two companies have been collaborating for three years. In 2013, SciClone gave Soligenix access to trial data from its failed oral mucositis treatment in return for China rights. At the end of 2015, SciClone started developing SGX942 in China. The $3 million investment and the expanded list of countries is new information. 

Zhejiang Hisun Pharma (SHA: 600267) engaged GeneriCo, a specialty generic drug company based in Saint Louis, to be its sales and marketing partner in the US (see story). Hisun has 20 generic drug applications pending with the US FDA. GeneriCo, a three-year old company, is developing several difficult-to-make generic drugs for US approval, but does not seem to be marketing any drugs at the moment. However, Tom Brya, President and CEO of GeneriCo, said the Hisun deal will allow GeneriCo to "extend and enhance" its commercialization programs. 

Trials and Approvals

Innovent Biologics of Suzhou announced clinical trial news for two of its biologic drugs: the company has started a pivotal China Phase III clinical trial of its Humira biosimilar, and it received CFDA approval to begin trials of its PD-1 candidate, which Innovent hopes will prove to be a best-in-class candidate (see story). In the last twelve months, Innovent has been approved to start trials of four biologic drugs, a major achievement for the five-year old company. All together, Innovent is working on twelve biologics, a combination of biosimilar and novel molecules. 

BeiGene (NSDQ: BGNE), a Beijing novel cancer drug biopharma, received approval to begin China clinical trials of a PD-1 immuno-oncology drug, BGB-A317, to treat advanced solid tumors (see story). All four of BeiGene's clinical stage drugs have now been granted approval to conduct China trials. For A317, it is the fifth site for clinical testing (joining Australia, New Zealand, the US and Taiwan). BeiGene believes its PD-1 candidate has high affinity and specificity. Because A317 does not bind the Fc gamma receptor I, BeiGene expects it will engender a stronger immune system response. 

Company News

China's Vcanbio Cell & Gene Engineering Corporation (SHA: 600645), a Tianjin stem cell and cord banking company, opened two subsidiary companies in the Boston area (see story).Vcanbio USA will be the company's North America investment arm, specializing in novel cell therapy and immunotherapy products. Vcanbio CTB will offer CRO-type translation services for novel therapies, which will operate through partnerships and co-development. 

Disclosure: None

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