Week In Review: Mevion Medical Of Boston Closes $150 Million Financing From China Investors

Aptose Biosciences (Nasdaq: APTO; TSX: APS) of San Diego has added greater China to its in-licensing deal for a leukemia candidate discovered by Korea's CrystalGenomics (KOSDAQ: 083790) (see story). Aptose paid $3 million upfront and agreed to additional milestones along with a single-digit royalty on sales, totaling up to $125 million. CG-806 is a novel pre-clinical small molecule treatment for acute myeloid leukemia. In 2016, Aptose signed an $303 million option agreement for CG-806, excluding China and Korea. Last month, Aptose exercised that option ahead of schedule.  

WuXi AppTec's (SHA: 603259) Corporate Venture Fund led a financing in Insilico Medicine, a Baltimore artificial intelligence company specializing in target identification, drug discovery and aging research (see story). WuXi plans to integrate Insilico's AI technology into its own CRO drug discovery offerings. The investment is conditional upon experimental validation of Insilico's Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) and Reinforcement Learning (RL)-based drug discovery pipeline. The size of the financing was not disclosed.  

Trials and Approvals

Ascletis Pharma of Hangzhou reported that its lead drug, Ganovo® (danoprevir), an innovative treatment for hepatitis C, was approved by the CFDA (see story). Ganovo is the first direct-acting anti-viral agent (DAA) developed by a China company to be approved. Ganovo works by inhibiting the NS3/4A protease that is critical to HCV replication. Ascletis plans to combine Ganovo with another of its candidates, ravidasir, to offer an all-oral HCV treatment with a near-100% cure rate. One month ago, Ascletis filed to stage an IPO on the Hong Kong exchange.  

The China National Drug Administration (CNDA) has approved Opdivo, the first PD-1 drug approved in China (see story). A Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) drug, Opdivo is approved as a second-line treatment for advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer following platinum-based chemotherapy in adults. Opdivo improved survival rate over chemotherapy by 32% in a Phase III trial in which 90% of the patients were from China. The trial was stopped early because of Opdivo's efficacy.  

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