Ab­bas Hus­sain swings from top GSK phar­ma post to pow­er­house Chi­nese pri­vate eq­ui­ty play­er C-Bridge

Near the be­gin­ning of this year Ab­bas Hus­sain an­nounced plans to leave his role as Glax­o­SmithK­line’s phar­ma chief, hand­ing over the job to Luke Miels as new CEO Em­ma Walm­s­ley be­gan to as­sem­ble her own top team. And now Hus­sain has land­ed at C-Bridge Cap­i­tal, a pow­er­house Chi­nese pri­vate eq­ui­ty group which has in­vest­ed heav­i­ly in some promi­nent Asian biotechs.

Hus­sain spent eight years at GSK, build­ing the phar­ma gi­ant in­to the lead vol­ume op­er­a­tion in the drug in­dus­try and rolling out a quo­ta-free sales mod­el in dozens of coun­tries around the world. He start­ed as emerg­ing mar­kets chief, with a big role in clean­ing up a bribery scan­dal in Chi­na capped with a $500 mil­lion fine.

His shift to se­nior part­ner at C-Bridge — af­ter be­ing tapped as a pos­si­ble re­place­ment for GSK CEO An­drew Wit­ty — says a lot about the fast-chang­ing bio­phar­ma world we live in now and Chi­na’s grow­ing role in the in­dus­try.

C-Bridge has gath­ered $700 mil­lion so far to back com­pa­nies which are aimed at bring­ing a wide range of life sci­ences prod­ucts in­to the boom­ing Chi­nese mar­ket. Around the same time Hus­sain was prep­ping his de­par­ture at GSK, C-Bridge was lead­ing a $100 mil­lion mega round for Jinzi Wu’s As­cle­tis, which is in­tro­duc­ing a new hep C com­bo in Chi­na. Two months lat­er the group was tak­ing a lead­ing role in a $150 mil­lion fi­nanc­ing used to merge Tian­jing Bio­phar­ma Tech­nol­o­gy with Tian­jin-based Tianzhen­shi Biotech­nol­o­gy Com­pa­ny, cre­at­ing a biotech with 12 an­ti­bod­ies in the pipeline.

Tian­jing Bio­phar­ma was found­ed by Zang Jing­wu, GSK’s for­mer head of R&D in Chi­na.

Just three months ago C-Bridge closed a $400 mil­lion bio­phar­ma fund, its sec­ond. That was twice the amount the group had to start with in its first fund, high­light­ing the kind of bio­phar­ma cap­i­tal now cours­ing through Asia and Chi­na in par­tic­u­lar.

Hus­sain is com­ing in as C-Bridge builds out its US team, with of­fices in New York, San Diego and Boston. That in­cludes:

→ Sean Cao, ex-Sim­cere busi­ness de­vel­op­ment chief, who will run the Boston of­fice.

→ For­mer Thomas, Mc­N­er­ney & Part­ners part­ner Ja­son Brown, who heads the San Diego of­fice.

→ Michael Key­oung, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for the US based in New York. He is the for­mer CEO of a com­pa­ny called Genex­ine.

→ And Zhang Tong, a for­mer WuXi AppTec BD ex­ec in Shang­hai now join­ing as a man­ag­ing di­rec­tor in New York.

They’ll be scout­ing the US for new life sci­ences tech­nolo­gies — drugs, de­vices and di­ag­nos­tics, that can be fun­neled through port­fo­lio com­pa­nies in­to Chi­na.

That ba­sic strat­e­gy has helped ad­vance a line­up of Chi­nese biotechs, which have been in-li­cens­ing drugs from key US and Eu­ro­pean com­pa­nies. The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, though, just sig­naled that it’s will­ing to use da­ta from over­seas drug stud­ies, giv­ing the big for­eign play­ers a di­rect open­ing if they choose to forego a lo­cal part­ner­ship.

“We are thrilled to have Ab­bas join our glob­al team at C-Bridge Cap­i­tal, as he brings an im­pres­sive track record of prof­itable growth across unique and di­verse mar­kets,” said Fu Wei, CEO of C- Bridge Cap­i­tal. “Ab­bas is a valu­able ad­di­tion to our team, which is fo­cused on iden­ti­fy­ing emerg­ing in­dus­try lead­ers across biotech­nol­o­gy, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, med­ical de­vices, and in vit­ro di­ag­nos­tics to bring glob­al in­no­va­tion in­to Chi­na.”

 


Im­age: Bloomberg, Get­ty

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After months of buzz from both sides of the aisle, Speaker Nancy Pelosi will today introduce her plan to allow the federal government to negotiate prices for 250 prescription drugs, setting up a showdown with a pharmaceutical industry working overtime to prevent it.

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