Week In Review: WHO Close To Approving Global Use For Two China COVID-19 Vaccines

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COVID-19 Pandemic

The World Health Organization approved Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, which will give poorer nations access to a vaccine against the global pandemic (see story). The inactivated vaccine was developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products and licensed to Sinopharm (SHTDF).

It is approved for use in China and several other nations. In clinical trials, it was effective in 79% of the people who received it, though Sinopharm has not released a full data set from its trials. Next week, the WHO will review a second China COVID-19 vaccine, this one from Sinovac (SVA). 

Beijing Sinovac's inactivated COVID-19 (Vero Cell) vaccine has started to see a rolling review in Europe (see story). CoronaVac is the first China-developed COVID-19 vaccine under consideration in Europe, joining vaccines from CureVac (CVAC), Novavax (NVAX), and a Russian vaccine, Sputnik V.

Sinovac has conducted large-scale trials in Brazil and other countries, though the efficacy rates varied from 50% to 91%. The low number was from Brazil and may reflect the difficulty of fighting Brazil's variant of the SARS-CoV-2 infection. 

Deals and Financings

  • Shanghai Hope Medicine closed a $56 million Series B round led by Qiming Venture Partners and Grand Flight Investment (see story). HopeMed is a global novel biopharma with R&D bases in Nanjing, Shanghai, and Beijing, It plans to develop products from internal R&D and in-licensings. The company was founded by Professor Rui-Ping Xiao, the dean of the College of Future Technology of Peking University, and an associate editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. HopeMed focuses on three areas: women's health, endocrine, and cardiovascular diseases. 
  • Beijing WeMed Medical completed a $46 million Series D financing to support its digital angiography products (see story). The company makes interventional diagnosis and treatment devices. WeMed offers products that include a digital subtraction angiography (DSA) system, a mobile angiography system, surgical C-arms, and novel R&D for interventional surgical robots. The company says its DSA products are China equivalents to machines that are already available from international device makers, but its robot products offer novel technology. The Series D round was led by Lake Bleu Capital. 
  • Shineco (TYHT), a China herbal medicine company, announced plans to acquire a 51% stake in Taiwan's Mayah Biological Holdings (see story). Mayah describes itself as a biotech that focuses on novel chemical and biomedicine products in pre-clinical and clinical stages. Its lead product has completed a Phase II trial, with a second cancer therapy ready to start a Phase II trial, and three other cancer drugs about to enter clinical development. At the moment, the two companies are doing their due diligence, with no guarantee that an actual transaction will take place.  
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