Car­lyle Group in­jects $260M in­to a lead­ing car­dio play­er in Chi­na, grab­bing a seat at the deals ta­ble

The Car­lyle Group is in­vest­ing $260 mil­lion to grab a mi­nor­i­ty stake in Shen­zhen Salu­bris Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, a sto­ried gener­ic mak­er that’s in­creas­ing­ly in­vest­ing in new drug R&D.

The cash is good for a 5% stake in Shen­zhen-list­ed Salu­bris, giv­ing the pri­vate eq­ui­ty play­er ac­cess to a port­fo­lio of treat­ments and de­vices in the car­dio­vas­cu­lar, on­col­o­gy and an­ti-in­fec­tive ar­eas. As the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s re­im­burse­ment re­forms spur con­sol­i­da­tion in the gener­ic drug mar­ket, some play­ers are poised to gain mar­ket share, Car­lyle not­ed in a state­ment.

While Salu­bris’ rev­enues have his­tor­i­cal­ly been dri­ven by sales of main­stays like the blood thin­ners clopi­do­grel and bi­valirudin, the com­pa­ny’s been up­ping its bet on ear­ly-stage drug de­vel­op­ment.

That means in-li­cens­ing enar­o­du­s­tat, a hy­pox­ia-in­ducible fac­tor pro­lyl hy­drox­y­lase (HIF-PH) in­hibitor, from Japan’s JT; tak­ing the lead on back­ing Virac­ta, a biotech work­ing on vi­ral-as­so­ci­at­ed can­cers; as well as push­ing through in­ter­nal­ly dis­cov­ered can­di­dates, in­clud­ing an an­giotensin re­cep­tor-NEP in­hibitor and a re­com­bi­nant fu­sion pro­tein for heart fail­ure.

Lever­ag­ing Car­lyle’s ex­per­tise, net­work and re­sources, Salu­bris says it is look­ing to ex­pand both do­mes­ti­cal­ly and glob­al­ly — with plans to do more tri­als over­seas. M&A is al­so on the ta­ble.

For Car­lyle, it’s a chance to tap in­to “one of the strongest fran­chis­es” in the car­dio- and cere­brovas­cu­lar (CCV) seg­ment in Chi­na, said Ling Yang, a man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the Car­lyle Asia Buy­out ad­vi­so­ry team. Salu­bris is now the sec­ond largest do­mes­tic com­pa­ny in the space, ac­cord­ing to Car­lyle.

The firm boasts of long-stand­ing op­er­a­tions in Chi­na built over 20 years, in­vest­ing more than $9.5 bil­lion worth of eq­ui­ty as it en­tered the sec­ond half of 2020.

More promi­nent in its Chi­na deal streak are the in­vest­ments in the pep­tide API man­u­fac­tur­er Am­bio and the clin­i­cal lab­o­ra­to­ry Adi­con, among oth­er moves in medtech and health­care.

Glob­al­ly, Car­lyle — which has re­cruit­ed re­tired Pfiz­er chief Ian Read to be a deal scout — has been known for its role as a ma­jor in­vestor in con­tract re­search or de­vel­op­ment/man­u­fac­tur­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing PPD and AM­RI. Most re­cent­ly it struck a deal with In­dia’s Pi­ra­mal Phar­ma to pur­chase around 20% of its shares for $490 mil­lion.

Biotech Half­time Re­port: Af­ter a bumpy year, is biotech ready to re­bound?

The biotech sector has come down firmly from the highs of February as negative sentiment takes hold. The sector had a major boost of optimism from the success of the COVID-19 vaccines, making investors keenly aware of the potential of biopharma R&D engines. But from early this year, clinical trial, regulatory and access setbacks have reminded investors of the sector’s inherent risks.

RBC Capital Markets recently surveyed investors to take the temperature of the market, a mix of specialists/generalists and long-only/ long-short investment strategies. Heading into the second half of the year, investors mostly see the sector as undervalued (49%), a large change from the first half of the year when only 20% rated it as undervalued. Around 41% of investors now believe that biotech will underperform the S&P500 in the second half of 2021. Despite that view, 54% plan to maintain their position in the market and 41% still plan to increase their holdings.

Covid-19 vac­cine boost­ers earn big thumbs up, but Mod­er­na draws ire over world sup­ply; What's next for Mer­ck’s Covid pill?; The C-suite view on biotech; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

You may remember that at the beginning of this year, Endpoints News set a goal to go broader and deeper. We are still working towards that, and are excited to share that Beth Snyder Bulik will be joining us on Monday to cover all things pharma marketing. You can sign up for her weekly Endpoints MarketingRx newsletter in your reader profile.

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No­var­tis de­vel­op­ment chief John Tsai: 'We go deep in the new plat­form­s'

During our recent European Biopharma Summit, I talked with Novartis development chief John Tsai about his experiences over the 3-plus years he’s been at the pharma giant. You can read the transcript below or listen to the exchange in the link above.

John Carroll: I followed your career for quite some time. You’ve had more than 20 years in big pharma R&D and you’ve obviously seen quite a lot. I really was curious about what it was like for you three and a half years ago when you took over as R&D chief at Novartis. Obviously a big move, a lot of changes. You went to work for the former R&D chief of Novartis, Vas Narasimhan, who had his own track record there. So what was the biggest adjustment when you went into this position?

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Roche's Tecen­triq cross­es the fin­ish line first in ad­ju­vant lung can­cer, po­ten­tial­ly kick­ing off gold rush

While falling behind the biggest PD-(L)1 drugs in terms of sales, Roche has looked to carve out a space for its Tecentriq with a growing expertise in lung cancer. The drug will now take an early lead in the sought-after adjuvant setting — but competitors are on the way.

The FDA on Friday approved Tecentriq as an adjuvant therapy for patients with Stage II-IIIA non small cell lung cancer with PD-(L)1 scores greater than or equal to 1, making it the first drug of its kind approved in an early setting that covers around 40% of all NSCLC patients.

Amit Etkin, Alto Neuroscience CEO (Alto via Vimeo)

A star Stan­ford pro­fes­sor leaves his lab for a start­up out to re­make psy­chi­a­try

About five years ago, Amit Etkin had a breakthrough.

The Stanford neurologist, a soft-spoken demi-prodigy who became a professor while still a resident, had been obsessed for a decade with how to better define psychiatric disorders. Drugs for depression or bipolar disorder didn’t work for many patients with the conditions, and he suspected the reason was how traditional diagnoses didn’t actually get at the heart of what was going on in a patient’s brain.

Susan Galbraith, Executive VP, Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca

As­traZeneca on­col­o­gy R&D chief Su­san Gal­braith: 'Y­ou're go­ing to need or­thog­o­nal com­bi­na­tion­s'

 

Earlier in the week we broadcast our 4th annual European Biopharma Summit with a great lineup of top execs. One of the one-on-one conversations I set up was with Susan Galbraith, the oncology research chief at AstraZeneca. In a wide-ranging discussion, Galbraith reviewed the cancer drug pipeline and key trends influencing development work at the pharma giant. You can watch the video, above, or stick with the script below. — JC

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John Oyler, BeiGene CEO (Paul Yeung/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Bris­tol My­ers wants to pull out of its Abrax­ane deal in Chi­na. BeiGene says no way

A year and a half after Chinese officials ordered BeiGene to stop selling Bristol Myers Squibb’s Abraxane in the wake of an alarming inspection of a US facility, the manufacturing issues at the root of the import suspension still appear unresolved.

And Bristol Myers wants to axe the Abraxane supply deal altogether.

But BeiGene, which is currently in arbitration proceedings against its Big Pharma partner, won’t let it off the hook so easily.

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Rahul Singhvi, Resilience CEO

A Bob Nelsen start­up turns to Har­vard to help sharp­en its tech, in­spir­ing first spin­out

One of Bob Nelsen’s latest projects is headed to Harvard.

Resilience, a company started with the goal of establishing itself as a “one-stop-shop” for companies looking to scale manufacturing, including for hard-to-develop cell and gene therapies, is less than a year old. Friday, it announced a five-year R&D deal with Harvard University that includes $30 million to develop biologics, including vaccines, nucleic acids and cell and gene therapies.

Tillman Gerngross, Adagio CEO

Q&A: Till­man Gern­gross ex­plains why his Covid mAb will have an edge over an al­ready crowd­ed field

If anyone knows about monoclonal antibodies, it’s serial entrepreneur, Adimab CEO, and Dartmouth professor of bioengineering Tillman Gerngross.

Even the name of Gerngross’ new antibody startup Adagio Therapeutics is meant to reflect his vision behind the development of his Covid-19 mAb: slowly, he said, explaining that “everyone else, whether it’s Regeneron, Lilly, or AstraZeneca, Vir, they all valued speed over everything.”

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