China's Tasly Biopharma turns a development partner into an investor as it preps Hong Kong IPO
In a major endorsement of their Chinese partner’s drug development prowess, France’s Transgene is swapping ownership of a joint venture — and control of their assets — for a stake in Tasly Biopharma, the biopharma arm of the Chinese medicine giant.
Tasly, which is prepping its pitch to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange, is paying Transgene (Euronext Paris: $TNG) $48 million in shares in exchange for 100% control of Transgene Tasly (Tianjin) BioPharmaceutical and full China research, development and commercial rights to two virus-based immunotherapy assets originating from the French biotech. That translates to 2.53% of Tasly’s capital after a pre-IPO round that has been priced but not disclosed.
That marks a new chapter for a partnership that dates back to 2010, which has allowed the duo to co-develop four drugs. The two being highlighted in the reshuffle are T601, an oncolytic immunotherapy designed to trigger the breakdown of cancer cells alongside local production of chemotherapy; and T101, a targeted treatment for chronic hepatitis B.
“As a long-standing partner of the Tasly group, Transgene will remain involved in the further development of these products in China,” said Transgene chairman and CEO Philippe Archinard. “We look forward to the first readout of the ongoing Phase 1 trial evaluating T101 against chronic hepatitis B, which is expected early 2019. In addition, a Phase 1 trial with the oncolytic virus T601 in China is actively being prepared.”
Reuters recently reported that Tasly is expecting to raise $1 billion in the IPO. They will join an application queue lined with well-known Chinese players Innovent Biologics and Hua Medicine, as well as US biotechs Stealth BioTherapeutics and AOBiome.
Founded in 2001 and led by CEO Kaijing Yan, Tasly is a core component of its parent company’s positioning as a modern pharma business comprising both refined Chinese meds and innovative drugs. It is marketing a drug dubbed Pro-UK (prourokinase) in China, which treats blood clot induced heart attacks. A dozen other drugs are in the pipeline.