Week In Review: CanSino Publishes Positive Data From Trial Of COVID-19 Vaccine

Coronavirus Pandemic

  • Tianjin CanSinoBIO published positive results from a China Phase I trial of its COVID-19 vaccine in the prestigious British journal, The Lancet. In the study, the Ad5 vectored COVID-19 vaccine was immunogenic at 28 days post-vaccination with only mild or moderate side effects. The vaccine, which was based on CanSino's approved Ebola vaccine, has already started a Phase II trial.
  • Moderna (MRNA), a Boston-area mRNA company, reported positive early data from a Phase I trial of its coronavirus vaccine. After two doses, the first four patients in each of two mRNA-1273 arms showed blood levels of binding antibodies at levels similar to patients who have recovered from COVID-19. Moderna said it expects to start a Phase III trial as soon as July.
  • Sinovac Biotech (SVA) of Beijing raised $15 million to conduct Phase II trials of its COVID-19 vaccine. Sinovac began a Phase I trial of CoronaVac in April, followed by a larger Phase II immunogenicity and safety trial in May. The company has started building a vaccine production facility capable of producing 100 million doses of CoronaVac annually.
  • CanSino Biologics of Tianjin and Canada's Precision NanoSystems announced a partnership to develop a mRNA lipid nanoparticle (mRNA-LNP) vaccine against COVID-19. The molecule will be the second vaccine CanSino is developing for COVID-19: its adenovirus vector COVID-19 vaccine has already started China Phase II trials.

Deals and Financings

  • Peijia Medical of Suzhou completed a $302 million Hong Kong IPO for its medical device business. The company sold 25% of its expanded share base in the offering at a market capitalization of $1.2 billion. The shares available for public investors were 1,183 times oversubscribed, showing strong interest. The stock is trading about 8% higher above the offering price.
  • Zentalis Pharma (ZNTL) of the US formed a Shanghai subsidiary, Zentera Therapeutics, with $20 million of capital to develop three Zentalis oncology candidates in China. Zentalis, which recently raised $165 million in a NASDAQ IPO, develops small molecule candidates that target cancer pathways. The Zentera funding was led by Tybourne Capital Management and joined by OrbiMed Asia.
  • Qingdao Primedicine Pharma in-licensed greater China rights to a novel drug that lowers damage following a heart attack from Primary Peptides of Vancouver, Canada. Previously, it has out-licensed China rights for other candidates to Simcere and Yabao Pharma. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
  • Innovent, a Suzhou biotech, announced a strategic collaboration with the MD Anderson Cancer Center of Houston to conduct US trials of its approved anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor, Tyvyt in patients with very rare cancers. Innovent and MD Anderson will co-fund the trials, which will be conducted by MD Anderson. Upon commercialization for the rare forms of cancer, Innovent will make royalty payments to MD Anderson, which will use the proceeds to fund care for uninsured patients.
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