A roundup of some of the biggest news stories from the pharma industry in China including Aspen’s purchase of Sandoz’s Chinese business; Moderna’s first mRNA facility in China; WuXi Biologics’ stock plunge, and BeiGene’s USD 1.33 billion CDK2 inhibitor deal with Ensem Therapeutics.


Bristol Myers to pay $800 million to Chinese drugmaker to develop cancer drug (Reuters)

Bristol Myers Squibb said it will pay $800 million up front and up to $8.4 billion to Sichuan Biokin Pharmaceutical to develop and commercialize one of the Chinese drugmaker’s cancer treatments outside China.

Bristol Myers said it will pay Sichuan unit SystImmune up to $500 million in contingent near-term payments to co-develop an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) that it said has shown promise against a range of solid tumors, including non-small cell lung cancer and breast cancer. The treatment is currently in early stage clinical trials.


South Africa’s Aspen expands further into Asia with Sandoz China deal (Reuters)

Aspen Pharmacare is expanding further into China through a deal to buy the Chinese business of Swiss group Sandoz for up to 92.6 million euros ($100.6 million), the South African company said on Monday.

As part of the deal, Aspen Global Incorporated, a subsidiary of Aspen, will also buy the selling and intellectual property rights of a portfolio of established products that include Sandostatin, Aclasta and Voriconazole.

Moderna begins work on China mRNA manufacturing site (Reuters)

U.S. vaccine maker Moderna began construction of its first facility in China this month to manufacture mRNA medicines, the company said on Tuesday.

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has yet to be approved in China, but the company said in July it had signed a deal with the city government of China’s financial hub Shanghai to work towards opportunities for it to research, develop and manufacture mRNA medicines in the country.

Akeso invests RMB 850 M to establish Shanghai Global R&D Centre (BioSpectrum Asia)

Akeso, a China-based biopharmaceutical company, has announced the establishment of the Akeso Global R&D Centre. It signifies a step in Akeso’s innovative globalisation strategy, as it plays a crucial role in driving the company’s sustained and high-speed innovative development, enabling the company to enhance its global competitive edge in the field of new drug development.

The Akeso Global R&D Centre project is situated in Shanghai’s Zhangjiang headquarters park (Youchuang Park), spanning an area of 14,454.90 m2, with a total construction area of 66,568.86 m2. The planned investment for the project is estimated to be RMB 850 million.


Novartis invests $84.6 M in new radiopharmaceutical production base in China (BioSpectrum Asia)

Swiss firm Novartis has announced that it will invest in setting up a new radiopharmaceutical production base in China to accelerate the introduction of innovative radioligand therapies into China and benefit domestic cancer patients with clinical needs.

This production base will be located in the Nuclear Technology Application (Isotope) Industrial Park in Haiyan County, Zhejiang Province, and the total investment is expected to exceed RMB 600 million ($84.6 million).


Singapore-China collaboration to explore allogeneic gamma delta T cell technology for cancer treatment (BioSpectrum Asia)

CytoMed Therapeutics, a Singapore-based biopharmaceutical company focused on harnessing its proprietary technologies to develop novel donor-derived cell-based allogeneic immunotherapies for the treatment of various cancers, has entered into a Heads of Agreement (HoA) with CytoMed Therapeutics China, a company incorporated in Hong Kong, and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BioNex Solutions Inc.

The HOA forms a collaborative effort between CytoMed and CytoMed China to explore and investigate the safety, tolerability, potency, and efficacy of CytoMed’s proprietary allogeneic gamma delta T cells for the treatment of various cancers (including solid tumours) in human subjects through an investigator-initiated trial (IIT) in the People’s Republic of China.


WuXi Biologics Plunges 24% as Covid Boost, Biotech Boom Fade (Bloomberg)

WuXi Biologics Cayman Inc., one of China’s leading drug contract research and manufacturing companies, plunged before it was halted in Hong Kong trading after saying it expects conditions to remain “most challenging” through June.

The stock was down 24% when the bourse suspended trading in late morning “pending the release of an announcement which may constitute inside information of the company.” WuXi Bio’s stock has slid 45% this year amid declines in sales and profit growth.


BeiGene stakes out space in hot cancer niche, offering up $1.3B in biobucks for preclinical prospect (Fierce Biotech)

BeiGene is buying its way into a cancer niche targeted by Bayer, Blueprint Medicines, Incyte and Pfizer, striking a backloaded, $1.33 billion deal for a global license to Ensem Therapeutics’ CDK2 inhibitor.

CDK2, a kinase, is implicated in cancers of the breast, ovaries, uterus, stomach and esophagus. Notably, research suggests the cell cycle regulator is involved in the changes that render breast cancers resistant to CDK4/6 inhibitors such as Pfizer’s Ibrance, Novartis’ Kisqali and Eli Lilly’s Verzenio. Inhibiting the target may therefore unlock a range of opportunities in solid tumors, although toxicity is a challenge.