China Pharma News: AstraZeneca/CanSino mRNA Deal; Tigermed Hong Kong HQ; Biotech-Friendly Tax Breaks


A roundup of some of the latest healthcare and pharma news from China including a crackdown on healthcare corruption; AstraZeneca’s cardiovascular mortality drug approval and mRNA manufacturing deal with CanSino; Tigermed’s new Hong Kong HQ; GenScript Biotech/T-Maximum Biotech CAR-T agreement, and the Chinese cabinet’s renewed efforts to encourage foreign biotech investments through tax breaks.


China renews crackdown on corruption in healthcare (The Guardian)

China’s graft-busters have set their sights on the country’s healthcare sector, in what has been described as the biggest crackdown on corruption in the history of the industry.

At least 177 hospital bosses and Chinese Communist party (CCP) secretaries have been placed under investigation this year according to local media reports – more than double the number last year. In a press conference on Tuesday, the National Health Commission (NHC) said the campaign would focus on people who had used their position to procure kickbacks and corruption in the pharmaceutical sector, the state tabloid the Global Times reported.


AstraZeneca receives China’s NMPA approval for Forxiga (Pharmaceutical Technology)

AstraZeneca has received approval from China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) for Forxiga (dapagliflozin) to reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality, hospital admission for heart failure (HF), or urgent HF visits. The treatment is indicated for usage in adult patients with symptomatic chronic HF.


Novo Holdings participates in $290 M strategic financing of China’s Sangon Biotech (BioSpectrum Asia)

Novo Holdings, a leading international life science investor, has participated in a USD 290 million strategic financing round of Sangon Biotech, a leading provider of life science tools and services, enabling scientists across China to perform state-of-the-art research in hospitals, universities and commercial settings.

Based in China, and with close to 30 years in operation, Sangon Biotech is a leading provider of life science tools in China. The company offers products and services within four main categories: 1) DNA synthesis, 2) R&D reagents and consumables, 3) genetic sequencing and 4) protein- and antibodies-related products, making the company a one-stop provider of life science tools.


Global CRO Tigermed opens international headquarters in Hong Kong (BioSpectrum Asia)

Tigermed, a leading global Contract Research Organisation (CRO) providing integrated research and development solutions for the biopharmaceutical and medical device industry, has officially announced the opening of its International Headquarters in Hong Kong, marking an important step forward on the path of global operation and corporate development.

The International Headquarters will enable Tigermed to coordinate and manage global projects more efficiently, drive business expansion, and empower customers on a global scale. Besides, it will bring new energy to the company’s service platform, global talent, supporting functions, corporate culture, and beyond.


China’s T-Maximum Biotech selects GenScript CRISPR reagents to target high-grade gliomas (BioSpectrum Asia)

US-based GenScript Biotech, and China-based startup T-Maximum Biotech, a biotechnology company pioneering universal cell therapies, have formed a strategic collaboration agreement to enable the development of T-Maximum’s development CAR-T cell therapy using GenScript’s CRISPR nucleic acid reagents.

GenScript will provide T-Maximum Biotech with various CRISPR reagents to support the development of its universal CAR-T products from discovery to commercialisation. The partnership with GenScript will support T-Maximum Biotech’s strategic development plan to progress multiple products to the Phase II clinical research stage and deliver products to market within the next five years.


Hong Kong-based startup Immuno Cure BioTech raises $12M in series A round (BioSpectrum Asia)

Immuno Cure BioTech, a biotechnology group based in the Hong Kong Science Park, has closed the USD 12 million tranche in the USD 27 million Series A fundraising round. Led by the AEF Greater Bay Area Fund that Gobi Partners GBA manages, this round will be used to accelerate the development of DNA vaccines and antibodies, as well as to prepare for an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong.

Immuno Cure focuses on research and development of immunotherapies for cancers, inflammatory and infectious diseases based on its patented “PD-1-enhanced DNA Vaccine Platform” and “Anti-Δ42PD1 Antibody Platform” with two DNA vaccine candidates, ICVAX and ICCOV, currently in clinical trials.


China investment: Beijing hones in on biotech in fresh pitch to woo foreign business (South China Morning Post)

China has introduced fresh efforts to woo foreign investors, with assurances of bolstering R&D in the biotech industry and “fast-tracking” cross-border data flows.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, has renewed policies to facilitate investments, issuing business visas and offering tax incentives for foreign businesses with an aim to “improve the business environment for foreign investors and boost foreign direct investment” (FDI).

ABVC BioPharma to break ground in China, advances 20% stake in Zhonghui real estate (Endpoints)

California-headquartered ABVC BioPharma is to expand its geographic reach through an acquisition agreement with Zhonghui United, with the biotech moving ahead with a 20 percent ownership stake in Zhonghui’s real estate in Chengdu, China.

The deal is worth approximately $7.4 million, which is in the ballpark of 370,000 shares of ABVC stock at USD 20 per share, as per ABVC’s Thursday press release.


AstraZeneca pursues mRNA, signs vaccine manufacturing deal with China’s CanSino (Fierce Pharma)

Despite a Moderna partnership that turned sour, AstraZeneca still wants a piece of the mRNA game. The British pharma company has signed a new mRNA manufacturing deal with China’s CanSino Biologics, CanSino said in a securities filing (PDF) Tuesday.

The supply agreement will last at least 10 years. Under the deal, CanSino will use its mRNA manufacturing platform to support AZ on the R&D of certain vaccines, the filing shows. The pair may further collaborate on R&D and commercialization in the future.

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