Week In Review: Nearly $2 Billion Late-December Week For China Pharma Deals

Nanjing Legend Biotech received a $350 million upfront payment from Janssen Biotech, which will form a global partnership with Legend for its highly effective CAR-T candidate (see story). In June, Legend, which was not previously well known, surprised the annual ASCO meeting with stunningly positive results from an early trial of the CAR-T molecule in patients with multiple myeloma. In addition to the $350 million initial payment, Janssen will make unspecified development and regulatory milestone payments to Legend. The two companies will split costs and profits 50-50 in global markets, except for China, where Legend will receive 70% of the profits. Legend has already submitted an NDA inChina for the candidate. The two companies plan to start US trials soon.  

Crown Bioscience (TPEX: 6554), a CRO with facilities in China, Taiwan, the US and Europe, will be acquired for $400 million by JSR Corporation of Japan (see story). The offer was a 105% premium to the previous day's CrownBio stock price. With an extensive library of patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models, CrownBio offers translational programs for drug discovery and development in oncology, inflammation, cardiovascular and metabolic disease research. JSR is known as a materials sciences company, primarily for rubber-type products. It has recently expanded into life science through acquisitions.

JHL Biotech (TPEx: 6540) is planning a voluntary delisting from theTaiwan stock exchange (see story). The biosimilar company, which has a $419 million market capitalization, operates in Taiwan and Wuhan,China. The proposed delisting allows shareholders to hold on to their shares while the company is private, if they choose to do so. Following the delisting, JHL anticipates new sources of funding, most likely including an IPO on a foreign exchange. In 2012, JHL was founded in Taiwan by veterans of Genentech and Amgen with the goal of producing affordable, effective biosimilar drugs.  

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