Week In Review: Joincare Plans $300-$400 Million IPO On Swiss Exchange

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Deals and Financings

Joincare Pharmaceutical (600380.SS) of Shenzhen plans to list on the SIX Swiss stock exchange, an unusual venue for a China biopharma (see story). The company said it aims to broaden its financing sources and increase global expansion.

Unofficial sources said Joincare would seek to raise around $300 to $400 million. Over the past year, the window for pharmaceutical IPOs has been closed, and most China biopharmas have traditionally staged their foreign IPOs on US exchanges. If Joincare stages a successful debut offering in Switzerland, it would open a new path for China biopharmas that missed the opportunity to complete an IPO before last summer. 

MegaRobo Technologies of Beijing closed a $300 million C round financing to develop automated systems for drug R&D and other uses (see story). Its MegaLab offers a fully automatic lab. The company’s modular systems integrate machine vision and artificial intelligence.

Its robots include embedded connectivity capabilities, so every robot operates as a data-gathering terminal by transmitting real-time data to the MegaCloud platform, with AI-based algorithms processing the data. The system can monitor equipment, predict maintenance needs, and manage risk. The C round was led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Asia Investment Capital, and GGV Capital. 

Shanghai I-Mab (IMAB) announced that Human Immunology Bioscience (HIBio) acquired ex-China rights for two assets from Germany's MorphoSys (MOR) (see story).

In 2017 and 2018, I-Mab acquired greater China rights to the same candidates, felzartamab (TJ202/MOR202) and TJ210, in two separate deals. Because I-Mab was leading development of the drugs, it also received the right to single-digit royalties from sales outside its China territories, which will be paid by HIBio if the drugs progress to commercialization. 

Organon (OGN), a New Jersey women’s health company, in-licensed global rights (ex-Greater China) for two biosimilars developed by Shanghai Henlius Biotech (2696.HK) for $73 million upfront and $30 million in near-term milestones (see story). Under the terms of the deal, Organon will market a biosimilar referencing Perjeta® for patients with HER2+ breast cancer and a biosimilar to Prolia®/Xgeva® for osteoporosis.

Henlius will be in charge of regulatory matters and will supply the two drugs to Organon. In addition, Organon will have an option to negotiate rights to a Yervoy biosimilar. 

META Pharma of Shenzhen raised $15 million in Seed and Pre-A rounds to fund its immunometabolism-based small-molecule drug discovery operations (see story). Using AI and its knowledge of immunometabolism biology, META develops first-in-class drugs by modulating cell metabolism to regulate the immune system, a new field for immune disorders.

It expects to introduce drugs that have better potency and lower side effects than existing therapies. META developed its own AI technology for drug discovery while also using XtalPi’s AI platform. The investors include Forcefield Ventures, XtalPi, IMO Ventures and Tiantu Capital. META is incubated by Forcefield and XtalPi. 

Hong Kong WinHealth Pharma, a rare disease company, acquired Greater China rights for two topical rare skin disease medications from Quoin Pharma (QNRX) of Virginia (see story). WinHealth will have rights to Quoin’s lead candidate, QRX003, for Netherton Syndrome and QRX004 for Epidermolysis Bullosa.

Netherton Syndrome is a skin shedding disorder caused by the lack of the LEKTI protein. Epidermolysis bullosa is a group of rare inherited skin fragility disorders caused by mutations in at least 20 different genes causing blisters and wounds. Specific details of the transaction were not disclosed. 

Travels and Approvals

Shanghai Clover Biopharma (2197.HK) has started a Phase III trial of its Trimer-Tag™ COVID vaccine as a booster following two doses of commonly administered COVID-19 vaccines (see story).

The trial will determine safety and immunogenicity of Clover’s SCB-2019 (CpG 1018/Alum) compared to a third dose of CoronaVac™ (Sinovac Inactivated Vaccine), Comirnaty® (Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA Vaccine), and Vaxzevria® (AstraZeneca Viral Vector Vaccine). Clover says SCB-2019 has shown efficacy against Omicron variants, and it expects the candidate will prove to be a universal COVID-19 booster. 

Shanghai Kangpu Biopharma has dosed the first patient in a US Phase IIa clinical trial of KPG-818, an orally bioavailable NeoMIDESTM molecular glue being tested as a protein degradation therapy for systemic lupus erythematosus (see story). In a US Phase Ib trial, KPG-818 demonstrated good tolerability, a favorable pharmacokinetic profile, and substantial potency for the degradation of Ikaros and Aiolos (IKZF1 and IKZF3).

Kangpu Biopharma has built a pipeline of novel small molecular entities that modulate CRL4CRBN E3 ligase complex with potential to treat solid tumors, hematological malignancies, auto-immune diseases, and inflammatory disorders. 

Alphamab Oncology (9966.HK) has begun a China Phase I of its PD-L1/OX40 bispecific antibody in patients with advanced solid tumors (see story). The company says that PD-1/PD-L1 drugs, while important, do not always cause a sufficient response rate as a monotherapy. It combined its own approved PD-L1, which reverses tumor-induced immune inhibition, with OX40 to promote the T cell immune response.

Alphamab says KN052 is the first clinical stage PD-L1/OX40 combination in the world. In late 2021, Alphamab's PD-L1 was approved in China for MSI-H/dMMR advanced solid tumors. 

CANbridge (1228.HK), a Beijing-Cambridge MA rare disease/rare oncology company, reported promising results from a Phase I trial of its long-acting anti-C5 mAb (see story). The C5 protein is a component of the complement system. Dysregulation or over-activity of the complement pathway is implicated in diseases that include paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. In the trial, CAN106 led to rapid, dose-dependent reductions in free C5 and in CH50, a measure of serum hemolytic activity. At the two highest doses, CAN106 achieved a complete blockade of terminal complement activity. 

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