Week In Review: Signs Of Life After Coronavirus -- China Biopharma Scores $721 Million In Deals

Ping An, a China insurance company, announced a $311 million agreement with Japan's Shionogi to develop new drugs for infectious diseases and CNS needs based on Ping An's lifestyle data (see story). For its $311 million, Ping An will receive a 2% stake in Shionogi shares. The two companies will form a JV (51% owned by Shionogi), headquartered in Hong Kong, to develop the drugs. Shionogi said $120 million would be allocated to in-license products, while $160 million would develop new products, which will include novel, generic and over-the-counter drugs.

Nanjing Legend Biotech, a subsidiary of GenScript (HK: 1548; OTC: GNNSF), raised $150 million in a pre-IPO round from Hudson Bay Capital, J&J Development (see story), Lilly Asia Ventures, Vivo Capital, RA Capital and others. One month ago, GenScript announced it was spinning off Legend so that it can stage an IPO on a US exchange. The $150 million can also be considered an A round, because Legend has built its business on support from GenScript and a $350 million upfront fee that J&J/Janssen paid to partner Legend's CD38 CAR-T candidate in 2017.

Ocumension, a Hong Kong ophthalmology company, partnered with Japan's SanBio (TSE: 4592) to develop novel stem cell therapies for ophthalmic diseases in an agreement worth up to $77 million (see story). The two companies will work together to develop SanBio’s proprietary modified mesenchymal stem cell candidates to treat retinitis pigmentosa, dry age-related macular degeneration and optic neuritis. Ocumension will pay $6 million upfront with the remaining development costs split evenly between the companies. Ocumension, which will also be responsible for $71 million in milestones and China clinical trials, will own China rights to the candidates for ophthalmic indications.

Genechem, a Shanghai biotech CRO/CMO, raised $56 million in a Series C financing to support its innovative services (see story). The company aims to solve R&D difficulties for innovative drugs, especially for diseases with high incidence in China. Its services include discovery and preclinical, bioanalytical, genomic and API/biologics production. Founded in 2002, Genechem is located in Shanghai's Zhengjiang Hi-Tech Park.

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