Week In Review: South Korea's Celltrion Plans $513 Million Biologics Facility In Wuhan

Celltrion (KRX: 068270), a South Korea biopharma, plans to build a $513 million China biologics manufacturing facility in Wuhan (see story). The company said the plant's 120,000 liter capacity will make it the largest facility in China. Last summer, Celltrion announced it would form a China JV with Nan Fung Group of Hong Kong to develop three Celltrion biosimilars in China and build a manufacturing facility. That partnership fell apart. Now, Celltrion has signed a contract with Wuhan's government to help finance its China operations. Celltrion Chairman Jung-jin Seo said the company plans to launch 18 biologic products in China by 2030.

Zai Lab (Nasdaq: ZLAB), a Shanghai novel commercial stage biopharma, raised $261 million in a secondary offering (see story). The company reported it held $68.7 million of cash on September 30, 2019 and spent $110 million on R&D in the first nine months of last year, a near-doubling from 2018 due to new projects and ongoing clinical trials. Zai also announced it expects to submit a China NDA for ripretinib by mid-2020 to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors. In late December, Zai reported China approval for Zezula, a PARP inhibitor and Zai's first drug to launch in China.

Beijing Hengsheng Medical, a coronary medical device company, completed a $6 million Pre-A financing for its portfolio of drug-eluting stents, balloon catheters and accessories (see story). The company has developed a drug-eluting balloon catheter with a proprietary "self-perfusion" technology that has begun late stage trials. HS Medical expects it will complete the clinical trial and apply for registration of the product in the first half of 2020, with a 2021 launch. The company says most balloon catheters in this class that are available in China come from foreign manufacturers.

China Medical System (HK: 0867) in-licensed China rights to a novel treatment for anemia from India's Zydus Cadila (BSE: 532321) (see story). Desidustat is an inhibitor of hypoxia-inducible factor-prolyl hydroxylase (HIF-PH) that is aimed at treating anemia in patients with chronic kidney disease, including both dialysis and non-dialysis patients. CMS will be responsible for development and commercialization, plus registration and manufacturing of the drug in China. Desidustat is currently in Phase III trials. Zydus will receive an upfront payment, regulatory and sales milestones, plus royalties, though specific amounts were not disclosed.

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