Deals and Financings
WuXi NextCODE Genomics, the newly formed genomic analysis division of China CRO/CMO WuXi PharmaTech (NYSE:WX), led a $15 million Series B financing in Claritas Genomics (see story). Claritas is a Boston-based lab that develops and provides next-gen sequence-based tests for pediatric genomic disorders. The company was spun out of Boston Children’s Hospital two years ago with assistance from Life Technologies (NASDAQ:LIFE). WuXi NextCODE was formed earlier this year when WuXi PharmaTech paid $65 million to acquire NextCODE Health, a genomics sequencing company.
Armetheon, a San Francisco area specialty biopharma, raised $24.3 million in a Series B funding that will be used to underwrite a Phase III trial of its oral anticoagulant, tecarfarin (see story). Participants in the financing had Taiwan/China connections. The B round was co-led by Hercules Bioventure Partners and Capital TEN II, which are affiliated with Larry Hsu, Ph.D., a co-founder of Idenix Labs (NASDAQ:IDIX) who was born in Taiwan. Other investors included China Development Industrial Bank Healthcare, CDIB & Partners, iD SoftCapital Group of Taiwan and AmKey Ventures.
The Merck-Simcere (NYSE:MRK) China drug JV is dissolving (see story). In 2011, the two companies announced that each one would contribute some of their own pharmaceutical assets to the JV, which would develop, make and market branded generic drugs. Merck owned a majority 51% stake in the JV, with Simcere claiming the rest. But now Simcere will be in charge of the JV, which is known as SMSD. At the moment, neither company has released details about the JV’s future, saying only that changing circumstances forced the parties to rethink the JV’s strategy.
Harbin Gloria Pharma (SHE: 002437) will pay $380 million to acquire an 85% stake in Shanxi Powerdone, which makes chemical drugs and compound preparations. To pay for the transaction, Gloria will raise $960 million in a private placement. In addition, Gloria will allocate another $183 million in capex to several company infrastructure improvements. And, two months ago, Gloria spent $24 million to acquire the remaining 30% stake in Guangzhou Xinhuacheng Biotech, gaining a production base for ginkgolide B injections.
Hainan Shuangcheng Pharma (SHE: 002693) will acquire a 56% stake in Hangzhou Ausia BioTech at a price of $154 million. Shuangcheng will raise $144 million in a private placement to pay for the acquisition. Hangzhou Ausia is a contract manufacturer specializing in aseptic manufacturing of lyophilized (freeze-dried) vials. In 2014, Ausia recorded operating income of $36.7 million and $15 million of net profit.
BBI Life Sciences (HK: 1035), a Shanghai-based lab services company, completed a US$37.4 million IPO in Hong Kong. BBI provides DNA synthesis products, genetic engineering services, life sciences research consumables and protein/antibody services to researchers in China, the US and Europe. BBI claims a 17.4% share of China’s DNA synthesis market, making it the largest company in that field. Qiming Ventures was an early investor in BBI.
Trials and Approvals
UCB (OTCPK:UCBJF) of Belgium reported positive results from two China Phase III trials of Neupro, a dopamine agonist patch product, for early and advanced-stage Parkinson’s disease (see story). The company said it would complete a CFDA filing this year for China approval of the Parkinson’s treatment. Neupro, which was first approved in Europe in 2006, is currently sold in 46 countries. UCB focuses on itreatments for mmune system and CNS disorders.
ChemPartner, the preclinical CRO/CMO division of China’s ShangPharma, opened a 24,000 square foot lab in South San Francisco. It is the first time ChemPartner has established a lab outside of China, but the company said it has plans to build a research presence in innovation hubs around the world. In 2013, ShangPharma was taken private by its CEO/Founder, Michael Hui, and TPG, a private equity company.