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Credit: Celltrion

Ko­re­a's Cell­tri­on blue­prints $514M bi­o­log­ics plant in Chi­na, beef­ing up biosim­i­lar, con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ing

The Chinese city of Wuhan might have sprung to worldwide infamy for the coronavirus outbreak originating from one of its seafood markets, but if Celltrion has its way, it will become known as a center of biologics manufacturing.

The Korean biosimilars maker has budgeted $514 million (₩600 billion) over five years for a new plant in Wuhan, which it says will be China’s biggest biologics facility at a capacity of 120,000 liters. A groundbreaking ceremony is slated for April.

David Simmons. PPD via YouTube

What are bio­phar­ma com­pa­nies hir­ing CROs for these days? PPD spells it out in bid for $100M IPO

More than eight years after PPD was taken private in a $3.9 billion deal, the 35-years-old contract research organization is bracing for the public market again with a $100 million ask.

Having served all of the top 50 biopharma companies in the world by R&D spending and over 300 biotech fledglings, PPD’s filings highlighted the entrenched role CROs play in an industry chasing an ever dwindling return on investment by pushing for faster timelines and tackling payer resistance to pricey therapies.

Prepar­ing for new wave of treat­ments, Fu­ji­film drops $55 mil­lion for gene ther­a­py cen­ter

The preparations to serve biopharma’s explosion of gene therapy pipeline candidates continues.

Seven months ago Thermo Fisher put down $1.7 billion for a rising gene therapy contract manufacturer. Catalent quickly followed up with a $1.2 billion deal for gene therapy play of its own, acquiring the Maryland-based Paragon Bioservices.  And now, Fujifilm is expanding its own capabilities in the field — with the Japanese conglomerate investing $120 million into the field and building a “Gene Therapy Innovation Center” beside its recently completed base in College Station, Texas.

Chi­na's Foun­tain Med­ical scores $62M as de­mand for CRO ser­vices surges

Circa 2016, China secured its status as the second-biggest market for prescription drugs. The soaring demand for medicines has fueled the return of key scientific talent, the appetite for spending on drug research and development, while China’s cost advantage has lured multinational pharmaceutical makers to set up R&D shops in the region and stimulated the domestic CRO industry. In 2007, a former Quintiles (now IQVIA) executive set up his own CRO in China — Fountain Medical Development Limited (FMD) — and on Friday, the company unveiled a $62 million Series D round of financing.

Parex­el em­braces re­al world ev­i­dence, en­list­ing Data­vant to drill it in­to CRO work­flow

With the emergence of real-world evidence as a promising way to capture data points outside of clinical trials and speed up drug development, contract research organizations — the stalwarts of traditional trial execution — are often leading the charge in adopting new technology. Parexel, a leading player in the field, is stepping up that commitment through a deal with Datavant.

Spawned by Vivek Ramaswamy’s startup factory Roivant and led by Travis May, Datavant has positioned itself as a key aggregator linking up the disparate datasets that exist in healthcare, often in silos. In the new partnership, its software will be integrated into Parexel’s workflow such that all the data from their studies will be connected to real-world data such as electronic health records, claims and diagnostics, as well as information relating to genomics, wearable devices, socioeconomic and behavioral data and others.

Per­mi­ra pro­pos­es to take Cam­brex pri­vate in $2.4B deal, stir­ring up CD­MO M&A

Cambrex is at the M&A game again, but this time it’s switching roles. After buying out Halo Pharma and Avista Pharma Solutions in the past couple of years, the contract developer and manufacturer is getting acquired.

Private equity firm Permira Funds has put a $2.4 billion offer on the table for the NYSE-listed company, which translates to $60 per share for Cambrex $CBM stockholders or a 47.1% premium to the closing price the day before. Its stock has surged on roughly the same scale.

Novavax site in Gaithersburg, MD. Novavax

Beef­ing up its new gene ther­a­py unit, Catal­ent inks $18M deal to snap up No­vavax fa­cil­i­ties

Catalent’s hunt for rapid growth on the gene therapy front — cemented with a $1.2 billion acquisition of Paragon Biosciences two months ago — has led them to the vaccine makers at Novavax.

With an $18 million payment, Paragon is taking over two Novavax sites in Gaithersburg, MD, including more than 100 of the employees already working there. That’s in addition to a significant reduction in operating costs, says the company, as Novavax shifts to rely on Paragon for GMP materials in clinical trials and, eventually, commercial supply of their products.

John Chiminski, Catalent CEO - File Photo

'It's a growth play': Catal­ent ac­quires Bris­tol-My­er­s' Eu­ro­pean launch pad, ex­pand­ing glob­al CD­MO ops

Catalent is staying on the growth track.

Just two months after committing $1.2 billion to pick up Paragon and take a deep dive into the sizzling hot gene therapy manufacturing sector, the CDMO is bouncing right back with a deal to buy out Bristol-Myers’ central launchpad for new therapies in Europe, acquiring a complex in Anagni, Italy, southwest of Rome, that will significantly expand its capacity on the continent.

There are no terms being offered, but this is no small deal. The Anagni campus employs some 700 staffers, and Catalent is planning to go right in — once the deal closes late this year — with a blueprint to build up the operations further as they expand on oral solid, biologics, and sterile product manufacturing and packaging.

This is an uncommon deal, Catalent CEO John Chiminski tells me. But it offers a shortcut for rapid growth that cuts years out of developing a green fields project. That’s time Catalent doesn’t have as the industry undergoes unprecedented expansion around the world.

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'So­phis­ti­cat­ed' cy­berthieves hacked in­to Charles Riv­er Labs and made off with clients’ drug da­ta

Some “highly sophisticated, well-resourced” hackers managed to break into the data vaults at Charles River Labs and make off with some of their clients’ drug data, the latest incident to underscore the threat of cyber thieves and viral attacks in the industry.

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Nine list­ings and $3.8B lat­er, HKEX cel­e­brates one-year biotech an­niver­sary with $194M CRO IPO

So how is Hong Kong stock exchange’s biotech board doing one year after regulators opened up the listing regime to pre-revenue companies in the field?

Depends on how you look at it.

While only nine biotech companies — including one CRO giant — have joined the HKEX this way in the past year, collectively they have raised $3.8 billion. By IPO proceeds, that makes Hong Kong the second largest public biotech hub worldwide after the leader Nasdaq, according to Refinitiv data cited by the local South China Morning Post.