Fast-grow­ing Shang­hai Phar­ma to plant foot in San Diego, hunt­ing deals in US and Eu­rope

A mul­ti-bil­lion dol­lar Chi­nese phar­ma con­glom­er­ate, blessed with mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment back­ing, is spread­ing its wings to the US and Eu­rope with eyes on R&D, man­u­fac­tur­ing and dis­tri­b­u­tion.

The com­pa­ny, called Shang­hai Phar­ma, is hunt­ing for Amer­i­can cor­po­ra­tions and re­search in­sti­tutes it can part­ner with and ac­quire Chi­na rights from to bol­ster its dis­tri­b­u­tion busi­ness (which re­cent­ly got a boost with the $557 mil­lion ac­qui­si­tion of Car­di­nal Health’s Chi­na unit).

“We do not nec­es­sar­i­ly have to buy out US firms, we can first be­come their share­hold­er and busi­ness part­ner to ex­plore syn­er­gies in mar­ket and prod­uct de­vel­op­ment… and we in­tend to keep the tar­gets’ man­age­ment team and op­er­at­ing sys­tems af­ter such po­ten­tial ac­qui­si­tions,” chair­per­son Zhou Jun told South Chi­na Morn­ing Post.

As part of the com­pa­ny’s ex­pan­sion plan, Shang­hai Phar­ma plans to open a R&D cen­ter in San Diego as ear­ly as this year. The com­pa­ny has yet to re­spond to End­points re­quest for more in­for­ma­tion about the site, but the new lo­ca­tion is the lat­est in a string of Chi­nese in­vest­ments in­to San Diego’s biotech hub. Shang­hai Phar­ma joins Chi­nese CRO WuXi AppTec, which saw one of its de­vel­op­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing sub­sidiaries start op­er­a­tions in the city in 2016.  

Shang­hai Phar­ma, whose re­search spans five ar­eas in­clud­ing on­col­o­gy and meta­bol­ic dis­ease, has brought at least a dozen do­mes­tic firms un­der its um­brel­la over its 20-year his­to­ry. Cur­rent­ly part­nered with Roche and Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb in Chi­na, the firm first got its hands on over­seas ac­qui­si­tion in late 2016, when it spent around $147 mil­lion for 60% of Aus­tralia’s Vi­ta­co.

Now, it’s al­so scout­ing part­ners and tar­gets in Is­rael and Eu­rope (main­ly Ger­many and France), SCMP re­ports, for off-patent drugs man­u­fac­tur­ing and new drugs de­vel­op­ment.

And it’s been ramp­ing up its man­u­fac­tur­ing and dis­tri­b­u­tion busi­ness­es, hav­ing com­plet­ed a $400 mil­lion stock of­fer­ing in Hong Kong for that pur­pose just days ago.       

There’s more. Shang­hai In­dus­tri­al In­vest­ment, which owns about a third of Shang­hai Phar­ma, plans to set up a “very big” biotech fund with fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and in­dus­try in­vestors. The tar­get would be mid- to ad­vanced-stage drug de­vel­op­ment projects, which Shang­hai Phar­ma is open to ac­quir­ing or spin­ning off.

Brit­tany Meil­ing con­tributed to this re­port. Im­age: Coro­n­a­do Bridge, San Diego Shut­ter­stock

Biotech Half­time Re­port: Af­ter a bumpy year, is biotech ready to re­bound?

The biotech sector has come down firmly from the highs of February as negative sentiment takes hold. The sector had a major boost of optimism from the success of the COVID-19 vaccines, making investors keenly aware of the potential of biopharma R&D engines. But from early this year, clinical trial, regulatory and access setbacks have reminded investors of the sector’s inherent risks.

RBC Capital Markets recently surveyed investors to take the temperature of the market, a mix of specialists/generalists and long-only/ long-short investment strategies. Heading into the second half of the year, investors mostly see the sector as undervalued (49%), a large change from the first half of the year when only 20% rated it as undervalued. Around 41% of investors now believe that biotech will underperform the S&P500 in the second half of 2021. Despite that view, 54% plan to maintain their position in the market and 41% still plan to increase their holdings.

Covid-19 vac­cine boost­ers earn big thumbs up, but Mod­er­na draws ire over world sup­ply; What's next for Mer­ck’s Covid pill?; The C-suite view on biotech; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

You may remember that at the beginning of this year, Endpoints News set a goal to go broader and deeper. We are still working towards that, and are excited to share that Beth Snyder Bulik will be joining us on Monday to cover all things pharma marketing. You can sign up for her weekly Endpoints MarketingRx newsletter in your reader profile.

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No­var­tis de­vel­op­ment chief John Tsai: 'We go deep in the new plat­form­s'

During our recent European Biopharma Summit, I talked with Novartis development chief John Tsai about his experiences over the 3-plus years he’s been at the pharma giant. You can read the transcript below or listen to the exchange in the link above.

John Carroll: I followed your career for quite some time. You’ve had more than 20 years in big pharma R&D and you’ve obviously seen quite a lot. I really was curious about what it was like for you three and a half years ago when you took over as R&D chief at Novartis. Obviously a big move, a lot of changes. You went to work for the former R&D chief of Novartis, Vas Narasimhan, who had his own track record there. So what was the biggest adjustment when you went into this position?

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Amit Etkin, Alto Neuroscience CEO (Alto via Vimeo)

A star Stan­ford pro­fes­sor leaves his lab for a start­up out to re­make psy­chi­a­try

About five years ago, Amit Etkin had a breakthrough.

The Stanford neurologist, a soft-spoken demi-prodigy who became a professor while still a resident, had been obsessed for a decade with how to better define psychiatric disorders. Drugs for depression or bipolar disorder didn’t work for many patients with the conditions, and he suspected the reason was how traditional diagnoses didn’t actually get at the heart of what was going on in a patient’s brain.

Susan Galbraith, Executive VP, Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca

As­traZeneca on­col­o­gy R&D chief Su­san Gal­braith: 'Y­ou're go­ing to need or­thog­o­nal com­bi­na­tion­s'


Earlier in the week we broadcast our 4th annual European Biopharma Summit with a great lineup of top execs. One of the one-on-one conversations I set up was with Susan Galbraith, the oncology research chief at AstraZeneca. In a wide-ranging discussion, Galbraith reviewed the cancer drug pipeline and key trends influencing development work at the pharma giant. You can watch the video, above, or stick with the script below. — JC

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Roche's Tecen­triq cross­es the fin­ish line first in ad­ju­vant lung can­cer, po­ten­tial­ly kick­ing off gold rush

While falling behind the biggest PD-(L)1 drugs in terms of sales, Roche has looked to carve out a space for its Tecentriq with a growing expertise in lung cancer. The drug will now take an early lead in the sought-after adjuvant setting — but competitors are on the way.

The FDA on Friday approved Tecentriq as an adjuvant therapy for patients with Stage II-IIIA non small cell lung cancer with PD-(L)1 scores greater than or equal to 1, making it the first drug of its kind approved in an early setting that covers around 40% of all NSCLC patients.

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

Bris­tol My­ers wants to pull out of its Abrax­ane deal in Chi­na. BeiGene says no way

A year and a half after Chinese officials ordered BeiGene to stop selling Bristol Myers Squibb’s Abraxane in the wake of an alarming inspection of a US facility, the manufacturing issues at the root of the import suspension still appear unresolved.

And Bristol Myers wants to axe the Abraxane supply deal altogether.

But BeiGene, which is currently in arbitration proceedings against its Big Pharma partner, won’t let it off the hook so easily.

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FDA ad­comm votes unan­i­mous­ly in sup­port of a J&J Covid-19 boost­er two months af­ter one-dose shot

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on Friday voted 19-0 in favor of authorizing a second shot of J&J’s Covid-19 vaccine to follow at least two months after the initial dose.

Regulators don’t have to follow VRBPAC’s recommendation, but they almost always do. Considering that the CDC’s advisory committee has already been set to review the expanded EUA, VRBPAC’s recommendation is likely to be adopted.

FDA ad­comm to de­cide on mol­nupi­ravir EUA; Can­cer at­las un­veils new po­ten­tial drug tar­get

The FDA has another adcomm coming down the pipeline — this time on Covid-19 oral antiviral molnupiravir.

The federal agency’s advisory committee will meet on November 30th to go over Merck and Ridgeback’s EUA request for their investigational antiviral drug, and discuss the available data supporting its use in Covid-19 patients.

This comes two weeks after Merck claimed that their antiviral pill reduced the chance that newly diagnosed Covid-19 patients would be hospitalized or die by 50%. The pharma made the announcement after interim data on 775 patients in their clinical trial showed the antiviral’s potential.