China channel feed

Lil­ly Asia Ven­tures leads As­traZeneca spin­out's $100M push in­to Chi­na's grow­ing R&D hub in Wuxi

Three years after launching with three preclinical assets from AstraZeneca’s R&D center in Shanghai and $132.5 million in cash, Dizal Pharma has drawn marquee new investors in for a $100 million reload.

Under CEO Xiaolin Zhang, the team — most of whom transitioned from AstraZeneca’s (now-defunct) Innovation Center China — has shepherded the lead asset into the clinic for non-small cell lung cancer and an unnamed autoimmune disease. INDs for a second cancer drug are in and three others are on close on its heels, with a final chronic kidney disease drug partnered with AstraZeneca tugged at the bottom of the pipeline.

Sev­en PD-(L)1 play­ers could be vy­ing for a place on Chi­na's drug re­im­burse­ment list. How far will they go?

New updates to the process of assembling China’s latest National Drug Reimbursement List could mean that seven additional PD-(L)1 drugs will be covered by government-sponsored insurance schemes — but likely not without significant discounts.

Developers of therapies approved by the National Medical Products Administration before August 17 will be eligible to apply for inclusion on the list. The deadline also applies to any drug that scored new indications.

James Li (JW)

Teamed up with Lyell, Juno/WuXi joint ven­ture files IPO bet­ting on Chi­na's CAR-T fu­ture

JW Therapeutics got its start on the back of CAR-T tech from Juno Therapeutics, a joint venture banking on the promise of marrying cutting-edge American technology with WuXi AppTec’s state-of-the-art process development and late-stage clinical infrastructure in China. Four years later, a collaboration with a Juno co-founder’s new startup is cementing a bridge to the public market.

Lyell has granted JW exclusive China rights to two CAR-T programs targeting AFP and GPC3, antigens applicable broadly across solid tumors, the companies announced last week. JW noted in its IPO filing on the Hong Kong stock exchange that it’s also nabbed rights to the T-cell anti-exhaustion functionality.

Xuefeng Yu in Hong Kong, 2019 (Imaginechina via AP Images)

CanSi­no reaps $748M wind­fall from Shang­hai IPO — as it warns Covid-19 vac­cine won't be a huge mon­ey mak­er

CanSino began the year with a clear goal to secure a secondary listing on Shanghai’s STAR market. Then something more urgent came along: As a rising vaccine developer on a mission to bring global standard immunizations to China, it heeded the call to make a vaccine to protect against a virus that would paralyze the whole world.

Xuefeng Yu and his team managed to keep doing both.

More than a month after CanSino’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate is authorized for military use in China, the Hong Kong-listed company has made a roaring debut in Shanghai. It fetched $748 million (RMB$5.2 billion) by floating 24.8 million shares, and soared 88% on its first trading day.

No­var­tis’ CAR-T part­ner in Chi­na wraps $383M take-pri­vate deal en­gi­neered by CEO

After 13 years on Nasdaq, Cellular Biomedicine Group is returning to private hands.

CEO Tony (Bizuo) Liu is a key advocate of the deal, leading a consortium of mostly Chinese investors including other top company execs, Yunfeng Capital and TF Capital — even as the company is getting more entrenched in the US with its CAR-T and other cell therapy work.

Shareholders are receiving $19.75 per share $CBMG, which translates to a premium of 31.4% over the 30 trading-day average price as of August 11. The stock, though, has dropped significantly since the consortium first put in its proposal in November. Compared to then, the acquisition price marks only a 11.8% increase.

Bing Li, Debra Yu and Konstantin Poukalov, LianBio

Per­cep­tive births its first in-house start­up — and it's a Chi­na play

Perceptive Advisors is going to China.

The decision dates back two years, chief investment officer Adam Stone tells Endpoints News, when the firm began to figure out how it can, in hedge fund-speak, strategically increase its exposure to a growing biopharma market poised to be a key geographic area in the next several decades. It was a bit of a blindspot for Perceptive, he admits.

As “globalized scientist-investors, we just couldn’t afford to have that blindspot in place,” he says.

Frank Zhang (AP Images)

CAR-T fil­ing in sight, Frank Zhang grabs full con­trol of J&J-part­nered Leg­end Biotech, steps down from Gen­Script

Two months after Yuan Xu steered Legend Biotech to a $424 million public debut on the Nasdaq, founder and chairman Frank Zhang is grabbing the reins as CEO.

In conjunction with the move, Zhang is also stepping down from the helm of GenScript — a position he’s held for 18 years. GenScript, a Hong Kong-listed CRO, hatched Legend as a subsidiary in 2015 before spinning it out, and remains a majority shareholder.

FBI crack­down on Chi­na’s R&D es­pi­onage in­ten­si­fies with new ar­rests and one fugi­tive in San Fran­cis­co

Intensifying the crackdown on undisclosed Chinese ties within US research institutions, the Justice Department has charged four scientists — three of them studying biology or medicine — with visa fraud for allegedly lying about their work for China’s military.

The FBI has arrested three and is pointing fingers at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco for harboring the fourth, putting attention and pressure on China’s diplomatic missions just one day after the US ordered the closure of its Houston outpost.

China consulate in Houston (AP Images)

Hous­ton’s huge R&D hub takes cen­ter stage in feds’ cam­paign to clip Chi­na’s ties to re­searchers, IP theft

Houston’s prized biomedical research hub has found itself in the eye of a diplomatic storm that erupted after the US abruptly ordered China to close its consulate in the city.

In an interview with the New York Times, David Stilwell, the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, described the Houston consulate as an epicenter of research theft in the United States.

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Jus­tice De­part­ment ac­cus­es Chi­nese hack­ers of tar­get­ing US biotechs in a cy­bertheft cam­paign aimed at steal­ing Covid-19 R&D se­crets

The US government has accused a pair of Chinese hackers with a wide-ranging plot to scoop up tech IP from a range of US companies — including allegations that they targeted a variety of biotech companies working on a vaccine, drugs and tests for Covid-19.

The grand jury indictmentreported by The New York Times — accuses Li Xiaoyu and Dong Jiazhi of coordinating some of their work with Chinese spy agencies while freelancing some schemes to shake down companies by threatening to splash their trade secrets across the Internet.

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