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Zhong Nanshan, CGTN via YouTube

Har­vard joins coro­n­avirus fight with $115M and a high-pro­file Chi­nese part­ner

For two months, as the novel coronavirus swelled from a few early cases tied to a Wuhan market to a global epidemic, most of the world’s focus and dollars have flowed toward emergency initiatives: building vaccines at a record pace, plucking experimental antivirals out of freezers to see what sticks and immunizing mice for new antibodies.

Now a new and well-funded collaboration between Harvard and a top Chinese research institute will play the long game. In a 5-year, $115 million initiative backed by China Evergrande Group, researchers from the Harvard Medical School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Guangzhou Institute for Respiratory Health will study the virus in an effort to develop therapies against infections by the novel coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, and to prevent new ones.

Sanofi out­lines big API plans as coro­n­avirus out­break re­port­ed­ly threat­ens short­age of 150 drugs

As the world becomes increasingly dependant on Asia for the ingredients of its medicines, Sanofi sees business to be done in Europe.

The French drugmaker said it’s creating the world’s second largest active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) manufacturer by spinning out its six current sites into a standalone company: Brindisi (Italy), Frankfurt Chemistry (Germany), Haverhill (UK), St Aubin les Elbeuf (France), Újpest (Hungary) and Vertolaye (France). They have mapped out €1 billion in expected sales by 2022 and 3,100 employees for the new operations headquartered in France.

As coro­n­avirus out­break reach­es 'tip­ping point,' GSK lends ad­ju­vant tech to Chi­nese part­ner armed with pre­clin­i­cal vac­cine

As the coronavirus originating out of Wuhan spreads to South Korea, Italy and Iran, stoking already intense fears of a pandemic, GlaxoSmithKline has found another pair of trusted hands to place its adjuvant system. China’s Clover Biopharmaceuticals will add the adjuvant to its preclinical, protein-based vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2.

Clover, which is based in the inland city of Chengdu, boasts of a platform dubbed Trimer-Tag that produces covalently-trimerized fusion proteins. Its candidate, COVID-19 S-Trimer, resembles the viral spike (S)-protein found in the virus.

Kerry Blanchard (Everest)

Eli Lil­ly vet Ker­ry Blan­chard takes the helm at one of Chi­na's top deal­mak­ers, steer­ing to­ward first ap­provals

As Big Pharma operations in China continue to bleed talent to local biotech startups, an Eli Lilly vet is taking on his first CEO role at one of the companies honing the model of in-licensing late-stage Western drugs and tailor-making development programs for the Chinese market.

Everest Medicines has kept a relatively low profile, but in its two-plus years of existence it’s earned a spot as one of the top dealmakers, making a splash last April by paying a record $60 million upfront for Immunomedics’ breast cancer drug. Kerry Blanchard is now tasked with steering its eight assets to China approvals, with four registration trials underway and two more planned later this year.

RA joins glob­al syn­di­cate to back a $98M round for CAN­bridge

A Beijing-based rare disease and oncology player has raised $98 million to help fund the expansion of its pipeline as well as a commercial portfolio.

CANbridge put out word Tuesday that the global private equity player General Atlantic joined forces with Chinese CRO Wuxi AppTec to lead the Series D, with both ready to chip in an extra $10 million each under the right conditions. The syndicate includes RA Capital Management, Hudson Bay Capital Management, YuanMing Prudence Fund and Tigermed.

Chi­na ap­proves flu drug be­ing tout­ed as a po­ten­tial coro­n­avirus treat­ment amid a rush of clin­i­cal stud­ies

One of the three drugs that China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has tapped as potential COVID-19 treatments to watch has notched its first Chinese OK — for the flu.

While there’s no proof yet that fapilavir, or favipiravir, is the cure that patients and physicians are yearning for, it stands out for a unique constellation of qualities. It’s been commercially available in Japan for several years (unlike Gilead’s experimental remdesivir) yet it’s new to China (unlike the malaria drug chloroquine phosphate). Perhaps more importantly, a domestic biotech — Zhejiang Hisun Pharma — owns the rights to manufacture and market the drug, preempting any concerns about patents.

Roche scores its first PD-L1 win in Chi­na, go­ing straight for SCLC niche

Just weeks after AstraZeneca’s Imfinzi became the first and only approved PD-L1 drug in China, regulators have ushered in Roche’s Tecentriq to the checkpoint frenzy.

The Swiss pharma giant is going straight for a niche that it knows well: extensive-stage small cell lung cancer. Per its estimates, two thirds of SCLC patients have reached this phase by the time they are diagnosed, leading to a poor prognosis and an average 5-year survival rate of 2% despite the use of chemo.

A Chi­nese com­pa­ny is al­ready mass pro­duc­ing Gilead­'s ex­per­i­men­tal coro­n­avirus drug

In a highly unusual step, a Chinese company said it has begun mass producing an experimental Gilead drug that US doctors used to treat patients infected with the novel coronavirus.

BrightGene Bio-Medical Technology Co said in a filing to the Shanghai stock exchange that it developed technology to manufacture remdesivir and began mass producing the active pharmaceutical ingredient for the event the drug is approved by Chinese authorities while the outbreak is ongoing. They said they are in the process of making the full drug.

Chi­na re­searchers tout in vit­ro da­ta for Gilead­'s an­tivi­ral against Wuhan virus — which they are try­ing to patent

There’s no definitive proof yet that Gilead’s remdesivir works as a treatment for 2019-nCov, but researchers in China clearly consider it promising enough to have applied for a patent on its use to combat the coronavirus virus outbreak stemming from Wuhan.

Amid worldwide vigilance over what many fear is becoming a pandemic, scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and National Engineering Research Center for the Emergency Drug said they have tested a total of seven drugs in vitro — and found remdesivir and the malaria treatment chloroquine most effective against the novel coronavirus.

Pan­dem­ic fears force Chi­nese biotech to post­pone Hong Kong IPO meet­ings — Bloomberg

At the same time the coronavirus outbreak originating from Wuhan is boosting shares prices of a raft of (mostly overseas) drugmakers, it appears to have also forced at least one domestic biotech to slow down its IPO plans in Hong Kong.

InnoCare Pharma — a Beijing-based company focused on cancer and autoimmune diseases with a lead drug now lined up at China’s regulator — has decided to postpone investor meetings intended to gauge demand for the HKEX listing, Bloomberg reported. According to anonymous insiders, InnoCare had planned to raise about $200 million.