The latest news from Chinese pharma and biotech, including news that state-owned Sinopharm is now developing its own mRNA vaccine; an update on Hong Kong’s biotech investment ecosystem three year on from allowing pre-revenue biotechs to list on HKEX; and another big global investment from Swiss CDMO Lonza, this time in Guangzhou.
China’s Sinopharm seeks to develop its own mRNA Covid vaccine (FT)
Sinopharm is developing a homegrown messenger RNA inoculation for Covid-19, becoming one of the first big Chinese pharmaceutical groups to pursue the technology to combat the disease.
The state-owned pharma group’s move comes as concerns grow over the efficacy of conventional inactivated virus vaccines, which have dominated the rollout in China. Certain studies have shown the jabs produce fewer antibodies compared with mRNA shots.
Three years on from listing reforms, Hong Kong’s biotech investment ecosystem is booming (SCMP)
HKEX’s listing reforms launched in 2018 opened a new pathway for pre-revenue biotech companies to raise funds, fuelling an era of growth. Hong Kong has become Asia’s largest biotech fundraising hub, and the second-largest globally.
Lonza Expands Operations in China (Contract Pharma)
Lonza, a global manufacturing partner to the pharma, biotech and nutrition industries, is expanding its drug product manufacturing capabilities at its site in Guangzhou, China.
The new investment will fund the installation of an aseptic drug product fill and finish production line at the 17,000 square meter state-of-the-art cGMP mammalian facility. The Guangzhou facility began operations in the second quarter of 2021 and expects to deliver its first cGMP batch later this year.
China’s biotech sector comes of age with big licensing deals, global ambitions (Business Times of Singapore)
IF investors in China’s biotech industry needed one more sign that the sector is coming of age, then a major licensing deal RemeGen struck in August with Seattle-based Seagen fits the bill.
The agreement to co-develop cancer treatments using a RemeGen antibody drug conjugate is regarded as one of the biggest of its kind between a Chinese biotech and a Western firm.
It provides for up to US$2.4 billion in milestone payments, in addition to US$200 million upfront as well as royalties if approved.
Harnessing China’s Global Opportunity (PharmExec)
Pharma companies in China are increasingly looking further afield, especially when it comes to biotech. Major changes to China’s domestic market policy and changing practices in manufacturing, accountability, quality management and regulation, etc., are now leading Chinese pharmaceutical firms to look at opportunities in Europe and the US, especially as the Chinese Government offers substantial support to businesses that invest in external markets.
The local market is also burgeoning. China is now the world’s second-largest pharma market after the US, with a projected value of $300.9 billion by 2025, and a compound annual rate (CAGR) of just over 12%. As the domestic market moves from traditional generics to more innovative therapies, it will be crucial for firms to capitalize on the global opportunities for these more targeted offerings.
Backed by Eli Lilly, a little-known and secretive Chinese biotech fills the tank as it heads to the clinic (Endpoints News)
A Chinese biotech backed by Lilly Asia Ventures just got some new cash to throw around.
Lynk Pharmaceuticals pulled in $50 million in a recently completed Series B, the biotech announced Friday, a little over three years after launch. The company plans to use the funds to support Phase I and Phase II studies for multiple pipeline programs, though it didn’t specify for which.