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Michael Yu, Innovent CEO (Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

As US re­view of Eli Lil­ly-part­nered PD-1 gets un­der­way, In­novent touts an­oth­er front­line win in Chi­na

When Eli Lilly inked a $1 billion-plus deal to grab ex-China commercialization rights for Innovent’s PD-1 Tyvyt (sintilimab), the partners hailed the “clinical profile” of the drug they co-developed and vowed to keep exploring its potential across tumor types.

One year later, Tyvyt has notched another big win on its home turf.

Suzhou-based Innovent says at the interim analysis, the drug hit the primary endpoint of overall survival in ORIENT-16, a Phase III clinical trial for unresectable, locally advanced, recurrent or metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma. Specifically, it pits a combination of the PD-1 inhibitor and chemotherapy (oxaliplatin and capecitabine) against chemo alone.

Jianmin Fang, RemeGen CEO (RemeGen)

ADC ex­perts at Seagen find a $2.6B HER2 gem in Chi­na that they think can go where En­her­tu, Kad­cy­la can't

If a record IPO wasn’t enough to put RemeGen on the map, perhaps a deal with Seagen — sporting $200 million in cash — might.

At the center of the licensing pact is disitamab vedotin, an anti-HER2 antibody-drug conjugate that will slide directly into Seagen’s pipeline, except in certain Asian countries where China-based RemeGen will be keeping development and commercialization rights.

The fellow ADC specialists have been following each other for quite a while, RemeGen CEO Jianmin Fang tells me, as his trans-Pacific team leveraged Seagen’s linker technology and kept it posted on clinical data. It just happens to be the right time to pull the trigger.

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Robert Bazemore (Epizyme)

UP­DAT­ED: Robert Baze­more inks one last deal for Epizyme — adding Chi­na to Tazverik's glob­al blue­print — be­fore head­ing out from CEO of­fice

Among the early pioneers of China biotech, Hutchmed (then Chi-Med) stood out for a reason: It largely stayed out of in-licensing drugs from Western drugmakers, choosing instead to hunker down on developing its own compounds — notching big partners in AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly for savolitinib and fruquintinib, both on the market now, along the way.

As its peers begin heralding in-house discovery to complement the externally-sourced parts of the pipeline, though, Hutchmed is once again going in the opposite direction.

Chi­nese start­up with Mer­ck vet at the helm ac­quires rights to Oys­ter Point's eye dis­ease nasal spray

With the Chinese drug market starting to bear fruit, Western drugmakers have looked to wiggle their way in, often leaning on local partners to do the grunt work on the ground. With so many Chinese companies playing the willing host, a fledgling startup with a Merck veteran leading the way will now take on another Western partner of its own.

Ji Xing Pharmaceuticals has acquired the Greater Chinese rights to Oyster Point Pharma’s nasal spray for dry eye disease candidates OC-01 and OC-02 in exchange for $17.5 million in upfront cash and 0.75% equity in the emerging Chinese biotech, the partners said Thursday.

Samantha Du, Zai Lab CEO (Zai Lab)

Saman­tha Du's Zai Lab inks sur­pris­ing re­search col­lab with Schrödinger for DNA dam­age drug

Headed by Samantha Du, Chinese oncology specialist Zai Lab has made no qualms about its aggressive in-licensing strategy to drive Western drugs into regional markets. That strategy has been profitable so far, but that doesn’t mean Du’s team isn’t willing to try something new.

In a surprising volte-face, Zai Lab has signed its name to a research collaboration with physics-based discovery outfit Schrödinger looking for an oncology candidate targeting the DNA damage repair pathway, the partners said Wednesday.

Anthony Sun, Zentalis and Zentera CEO (Zentalis)

With clin­i­cal tri­als lined up for Zen­tal­is drugs, Chi­na's Zen­tera sets its sights on more deal­mak­ing and an IPO

As Zentalis geared up for an AACR presentation of early data on its WEE1 inhibitor earlier this year, its Chinese joint venture Zentera wasn’t idle, either.

Zentera, which has headquarters in Shanghai, had already nabbed clearance to start clinical trials in China for three of the parent company’s drugs. In May — just a month after Zentalis touted three “exceptional responses” out of 55 patients for their shared lead drug, ZN-c3 — it got a fourth CTA approval.

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

BeiGene looks to carve out more space in the US mar­ket, set­ting up BTK drug for 2nd blood can­cer nod

BeiGene blazed the trail for a growing wave of Chinese oncology drugs breaking through in the US with an initial approval for BTK inhibitor Brukinsa back in 2019, and now the US/Chinese drugmaker has set the stage for its lead drug’s next big act.

Brukinsa beat out a combination of chemotherapy bendamustine and Roche’s Rituxan in terms of extending the lives or halting the progression of disease in first-line patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic leukemia (SLL), according to topline results from the Phase III SEQUOIA study unveiled Friday.

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Shoot­ing straight for Ven­clex­ta, a sea­soned Chi­nese CEO has glob­al dreams for his start­up

As one of the founding execs and longtime chief medical officer at Betta Pharma, Fenlai Tan isn’t just well aware of the allure of a me-better strategy in China. He helped create it.

Over the past 11 years, the biotech — which took its name for the vocal resemblance to “better” — had accrued a whopping $9.2 billion valuation (RMB$60 billion) thanks to a single drug: icotinib, a first-generation EGFR inhibitor that became China’s first approved targeted therapy after proving just as effective as AstraZeneca’s Iressa in a head-to-head trial, and safer for Chinese patients.

Chi­nese re­searcher — and for­mer 'fugi­tive' — re­turns home af­ter DOJ moves to drop a spate of cas­es

A year ago, the Trump administration’s crackdown on academic and espionage reached a fever pitch as the US abruptly ordered China to shut down its Houston consulate and, on the same day, announced it had charged four visiting Chinese researchers for concealing their ties to the Chinese military in visa applications.

Over the past few days, though, the Department of Justice has moved to drop those cases.

As health­care heats up on HKEX, Qim­ing sets up $500M fund ded­i­cat­ed to pub­lic com­pa­nies

Since its founding in 2006, the partners at Qiming have built a rep for themselves as prescient venture investors, offering capital to startups like Zai Lab at a time when it was far from certain whether China’s nascent biopharma industry would ever take off.

But it did, and now Qiming has gathered $500 million to branch out.

The VC firm is now launching a public equities unit dubbed Springhill Fund, which will invest in listed companies in a variety of healthcare subsectors with an initial regional focus in Greater China and Asia, Endpoints News has learned.