Week In Review: China's Neusoft Raises $610 Million For Life Science Subsidiaries

Deals and Financings

Neusoft (SHA: 600718), a China software, medical device and internet healthcare company, raised $610 million from investors, which it will spend to increase its healthcare offerings (see story). Of the total, $440 million will be put into Neusoft Medical, a company that makes imaging equipment such as CT, MRI, X-Ray, ultrasound and PET machines. The remaining $170 million will be used to increase the internet/mobile offerings of Neusoft Xikang, Neusoft's open-source, cloud-based medical and healthcare management subsidiary.

SciClone Pharma (NSDQ: SCLN) in-licensed China marketing rights to two cardiovascular drugs from The Medicines Company (NSDQ: MDCO), a deal that includes up to $50.5 million in upfront and milestone payments (see story). SciClone is based in California, though it focuses on the China market. Over the past two years, SciClone has been actively developing its cardiovascular portfolio: in 2013, the company acquired China rights for two other CV drugs, both of which await CFDA approval.  

China's Weijian Pharma Group obtained China marketing rights to an infertility treatment produced by LG Lifesciences (068870.KS) of Korea (see story). The treatment is Follitrope, an ovulation induction product, which increases follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). LG Lifesciences  developed Follitrope using its own recombinant DNA methods. Headquartered in Hong Kong, Weijian offers a large portfolio of products to China's market. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. 

Industry Insights

China has made the most patent filings in the world in each of the past few years. Last year was no exception, according to a recent report from Thomson Reuters (see story). In 2013, China's patent filings rose 16.3% to more than 600,000 novel inventions. The U.S. and Japan came in second and third, closely matched with each other (though considerably behind China) at 350,000 and 320,000. Although all three countries were strong in IT sectors, China's dominance in pharmaceutical areas made the difference.  

Trials and Approvals

A China-discovered Ebola vaccine, developed jointly by the Bioengineering Institute of China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences (AMMS) and Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology, has been approved to begin clinical trials (see story). The Bioengineering Institute has been at work on an Ebola vaccine since 2006. After the 2014 outbreak, the research team updated the virus strain to the Zaire-Guinea type currently prevalent in West Africa. To accelerate development of the vaccine, the Institute collaborated with CanSino and the National Institutes for Food and Drug Control. 

Hutchison MediPharma, a division of Chi-Med (AIM:HCM), dosed the first patient in a China Phase III clinical trial of fruquintinib (HMPL-013), a treatment for solid tumor cancers (see story). The trial will enroll more than 400 patients with advanced colo-rectal cancer who have already failed two previous anti-neoplastic therapies. In 2013, Hutchison MediPharma out-licensed China rights for fruquintinib to Lilly (NYSE: LLY) in a deal worth up to $86.5 million in upfront and milestone payments.

Company News

Ypsomed (YPSN.SW), a Swiss medical device maker that provides self-medication equipment, has opened a China subsidiary with a Beijing office (see story). In addition, Ypsomed has contracted with a Suzhou contract manufacturer to make injection pens for China diabetes patients. 

China Pioneer Pharma (CRPNF) will offer NeutroPhase, a topical skin and wound antimicrobial product, in China free of charge to patients with flesh-eating disease (necrotizing fasciitis) (see story). The offer is underwritten by the U.S.-based National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation. China Pioneer distributes NeutroPhase in China for NovaBay Pharma (NBY) of the U.S., and last year, it made a $5.7 million investment in NovaBay to secure China rights to its products. 


Disclosure: None

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