China Pharma News: CanSino Gates Foundation Grant; Merck/Jiangsu Hengrui Deal


A roundup of some of the latest news from Chinese pharma including CanSino’s Gates Foundation grant for polio vaccine R&D; Merck’s deal with Jiangsu Hengrui; the license agreement between GSK and Hansoh Pharma, and the China-based starteup Biotheus’ oncology partnership with BioNTech.


Chinese and Foreign Pharmaceutical, Medical Device Firms Discuss Cooperation at CIIE (YiCai Global)

The China International Import Expo is becoming a platform for Chinese and overseas pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers to discuss cooperation and join hands to build a digital and smart industry innovation ecosystem while jointly developing and producing new products.

The Chinese arm of German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim reached an agreement with China’s biotechnology startup Guangzhou Nmi Pharmaceutical at the CIIE for the former to provide process development and manufacturing services for the latter’s innovative inflammatory disease drugs to help them rapidly advance in the early clinical development stage.


China’s CanSino to Get USD2 Million From Gates Foundation for Polio Vaccine R&D (YiCai Global)

Chinese vaccine maker CanSino Biologics will receive a USD2 million sponsorship from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to research and develop its recombinant poliomyelitis vaccine.

CS-2036 is a polio vaccine candidate based on virus-like particles expected to contribute substantially to global polio control, including post-eradication, the Tianjin-based firm announced yesterday.


Merck KGaA widens work on ‘DNA damage’ drugs in deal with China’s Hengrui (Reuters)

Germany’s Merck KGaA said it struck a collaboration deal with Chinese drugmaker Jiangsu Hengrui Pharmaceuticals to widen Merck’s work in an area known as “DNA damage response” drugs.

In a statement on Monday, diversified group Merck said it agreed to pay Hengrui 160 million euros ($169 million) upfront. The deal could be worth up to 1.4 billion euros when including payments contingent on development and commercial achievement as well as royalties on sales.

Merck & Co. discontinues some cancer drug development with China’s Sichuan Kelun (Reuters)

Chinese drugmaker Sichuan Kelun Pharmaceutical Co said that Merck & Co Inc was abandoning the joint development of two candidate cancer drugs which have yet to start clinical trials.

Shares of Shenzhen-listed Kelun closed down 7%, the lowest level since December 2022.


GSK inks $85 M deal with China’s Hansoh Pharma (BioSpectrum Asia)

British pharma firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Chinese biopharmaceutical company Hansoh Pharma have entered into an exclusive license agreement for HS-20089, a B7-H4 targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) currently in phase I (NCT05263479) clinical trials in China. Under the agreement, GSK will obtain exclusive worldwide rights (excluding China’s mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan) to progress development and commercialisation of HS-20089.

In addition to targeting the B7-H4 surface antigen, which is overexpressed in ovarian and endometrial cancers and is often associated with poor prognosis, HS-20089 utilises clinically validated ADC technologies such as a topoisomerase inhibitor (TOPOi) payload.1 TOPOi is a validated mechanism of action in approved anti-cancer medicines and a proven standard of care in the treatment of breast and ovarian cancers.


LianBio inks $350 M deal with Bristol Myers Squibb to provide cardiac drug in China & other Asian markets (BioSpectrum Asia)

LianBio, a biotechnology startup dedicated to bringing innovative medicines to patients in China and other major Asian markets, has entered into an agreement with US-based Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), whereby BMS has obtained LianBio’s exclusive rights to develop and commercialise mavacamten in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand, in conjunction with termination of the exclusive license agreement LianBio previously entered into with MyoKardia, Inc., now a wholly owned subsidiary of BMS, in August 2020 to acquire such rights.

Under the terms of the agreement, LianBio will receive a one-time payment of $350 million. In addition, LianBio will be released from payment obligations of up to $127.5 million in remaining milestone payments under the MyoKardia license agreement.

BioNTech inks $1 B oncology deal with Chinese startup Biotheus (BioSpectrum Asia)

China-based startup Biotheus Inc., a clinical-stage biotech company dedicated to the discovery and development of biologics for oncology and inflammatory diseases, has entered into an exclusive global license and collaboration agreement under which German biotechnology company BioNTech will be developing, manufacturing and commercialising PM8002 globally for ex-Greater China, whereas Biotheus retains the rights to exploit PM8002 in Greater China.

PM8002 is currently being tested in Phase 2 studies in China to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the candidate as a monotherapy or in combination with chemotherapy in patients with advanced solid tumours.


Resolian, the CRO formerly known as Alliance, makes move into China with Denali acquisition (Fierce Pharma)

Resolian, which changed its name from Alliance Pharma earlier this year, has expanded its services with the acquisition of China-based bioanalytical CRO Denali Medpharma for an undisclosed price.

With the deal, Pennsylvania-based Resolian can claim bioanalysis labs in the U.S., U.K., Australia and China. Denali, which has 70 employees, is known for its work in the bioanalysis of oligonucleotide drugs and mRNA vaccines as well as liposomal drugs, ultra-sensitive assays for inhalation drugs and biomarker assays, Resolian said in a Nov. 1 press release.

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