A roundup of the latest news in Chinese pharma, including a US IPO for Burning Rock Biotech, positive news on CanSino’s COVID-19 vaccine trials, and WuXi Biologics’s first US facility.


Pandemic Exposes Perils of Global Reliance on China for Drug Supplies


The spread of COVID-19 and the unprecedented pressure it has placed on the US health care system highlights America’s strategic dependence on foreign-based pharmaceutical supply manufacturers, particularly in China. China holds a key position in the global active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) industry, which produces ingredients used in the manufacturing of drugs, and in the production of protective gear such as thermometers, PPEs and masks. “We are seeing at least 10 bills that focus on ensuring the security of pharmaceutical supply chains,” said Anna Ashton, senior director of government affairs with the US-China Business Council (USCBC). “In all of our (Capitol Hill) conversations we’ve been having, we have been hearing that this is a priority.”



Chinese company Burning Rock Biotech files for US IPO


Founded in 2014, the company provides next generation sequencing-based (NGS-based) cancer therapy selection tests that are used to assist physicians in selecting the most effective therapy for cancer patients. It currently offers 13 NGS-based cancer therapy selection tests applicable to a broad range of cancer types, including lung, gastrointestinal, prostate, and breast, among others.



After red-hot IPO, Chinese biotech firm Kintor eyes blockbuster drugs for prostate cancer, sex hormone-related hair loss


Kintor Pharmaceutical, a developer of prostate cancer and hair-loss therapies that just completed one of the hottest biotech initial public offerings in Hong Kong, has lofty ambitions to take on blockbuster drugs in China and the US. The company is conducting phase three clinical trials in mainland for proxalutamide, its top candidate for late-stage prostate cancer treatment. It aims to apply for marketing approval before year-end, while doing phase two trials in the US.



CanSino Publishes Positive Data from COVID-19 Vaccine Trial in The Lancet


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.



Zentalis Raises USD 20 Million Series A financing for China Subsidiary, Zentera Therapeutics


The proceeds from the Series A financing will be used to develop and commercialize three cancer therapies discovered by Zentalis, in addition to potential future candidates, in China. Anthony Sun, MD, CEO of Zentalis, will serve as CEO of Zentera. “The launch of Zentera is a key milestone in our global clinical development strategy,” commented Dr. Anthony Sun, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Zentalis Pharmaceuticals and Chief Executive Officer at Zentera Therapeutics.



Sinovac Secures USD 15 Million in Funding to Accelerate COVID-19 Vaccine Development


Sinovac Biotech Ltd. (“Sinovac” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: SVA), a leading provider of biopharmaceutical products in China, today announced a transaction in which Advantech Capital and Vivo Capital have invested USD 15 million in Sinovac Research and Development Co., Ltd. (“Sinovac R&D”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinovac, to further the development of an inactivated vaccine against COVID-19 named CoronaVac.



WuXi Biologics clinches deal to build first US facility at Boston area hub


WuXi clinched a deal with the Worcester Business Development Corporation to build its first US biologics facility at a 46-acre master-planned manufacturing hub dubbed The Reactory, the company said Monday. The two-story, 107,000-square-foot facility will cost USD 60 million and employ 150 when it is fully operational in 2022, WuXi said in a release. WuXi targeted the greater Boston area for its “talented workforce and impressive biotech network,” WuXi Biologics CEO Chris Chen, PhD, said.