With a big cash as­sist from lo­cal of­fi­cials, BeiGene is build­ing a $330M bi­o­log­ics fa­cil­i­ty in Chi­na

Xi­aodong Wang, BeiGene

In the lat­est sign that Chi­na’s biotech in­dus­try is de­vel­op­ing at high speed, one of its most promi­nent biotechs is prepar­ing to break dirt on a $330 mil­lion bi­o­log­ics man­u­fac­tur­ing cen­ter in Guangzhou which will al­so pro­vide some di­rect sup­port for R&D ac­tiv­i­ties.

BeiGene struck a deal to build the fa­cil­i­ty in part­ner­ship with lo­cal de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cials who are kick­ing in close to half of the mon­ey. The biotech will part­ner with Guangzhou GET Tech­nol­o­gy De­vel­op­ment Co., which is con­tribut­ing $150 mil­lion in cash and con­vert­ible loans for the joint ven­ture. BeiGene will pro­vide $30 mil­lion of the cost and the rest will be cov­ered by loans.

Ac­cord­ing to the an­nounce­ment, the JV plans to fi­nance clin­i­cal-stage drug R&D as well.

“This joint ven­ture will en­able BeiGene to keep pace with a grow­ing de­mand for the de­vel­op­ment and use of bi­o­log­ics in Chi­na and glob­al mar­kets,” com­ment­ed Xi­aodong Wang, the co-founder and chair­man of the sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board of BeiGene.

BeiGene, trad­ing on Nas­daq as {BGNE}, has been grow­ing fast, with a spe­cial fo­cus on on­col­o­gy, a big field in Chi­na. The biotech has built a staff of more than 200 work­ing on four can­cer ther­a­pies. The lead drug is a BTK in­hibitor now in the clin­ic, with a PD-1 drug com­ing up be­hind, along with a PARP in­hibitor. And it’s work­ing in part­ner­ship with Mer­ck KGaA.

The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment is play­ing a big role in fos­ter­ing its biotechs. Chi-Med, which has a re­search staff based in Shang­hai, has been get­ting a gov­ern­ment sub­sidy to help pay for the work it’s do­ing on new can­cer drugs, ac­cord­ing to CEO Chris­t­ian Hogg. And Chi-Med is now prep­ping its first new drug ap­pli­ca­tion to Chi­na’s FDA, test­ing the coun­try’s com­mit­ment to fos­ter­ing more home-grown ther­a­pies.

Guangzhou of­fi­cials sound like they’re all in, hop­ing to see their biotech hub near Hong Kong grow around this new project.

“We at­tach great im­por­tance to this project and be­lieve that the suc­cess­ful in­tro­duc­tion of BeiGene Bi­o­log­ics will trans­form Guangzhou De­vel­op­ment Dis­trict in­to a cen­ter for the in­no­v­a­tive bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try, pro­mote the de­vel­op­ment of the biotech­nol­o­gy in­dus­try in the re­gion, and pro­vide a pow­er­ful dri­ving force for eco­nom­ic trans­for­ma­tion and up­grade. The gov­ern­ment will pro­vide strong sup­port in fund­ing, man­age­ment ser­vice, and cre­at­ing a good busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment,” com­ment­ed the ad­min­is­tra­tive com­mit­tee of Guangzhou Mu­nic­i­pal Gov­ern­ment and Guangzhou De­vel­op­ment Dis­trict.

Brent Saunders [Getty Photos]

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Today, fully 5 years later, she and Ramamoorthi are taking the wraps off of a $104 million mega-round designed to take the cumulative work of their preclinical formative stage for Encoded Therapeutics into human studies. They’ve now raised $158 million since starting out in Illumina’s incubator in the Bay Area, and they believe they are firmly on track to do something unique in gene therapy.

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Novotech CEO Dr. John Moller

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Re­flect­ing this Asia-Pa­cif­ic growth, Novotech staff num­bers are up 20% since De­cem­ber 2018 to 600 in-house clin­i­cal re­search peo­ple across a full range of ser­vices, across the re­gion.

Novotech’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties have been rec­og­nized by an­a­lysts like Frost & Sul­li­van, most re­cent­ly with the pres­ti­gious Asia-Pa­cif­ic CRO Biotech of the year award for best prac­tices in clin­i­cal re­search for biotechs for the fifth year. See oth­er awards here.

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Ini­tial­ly pen­ciled in at a uni­corn-sized $225 mil­lion, the KKR-backed biotech has spiked that to the neigh­bor­hood of $300 mil­lion, look­ing to sell 20 mil­lion shares at $14 to $16 each. That’s an added 5 mil­lion shares, re­ports Re­nais­sance Cap­i­tal, which fig­ures the pro­posed mar­ket val­u­a­tion for Neil Ku­mar’s com­pa­ny at $1.8 bil­lion.

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But it’s go­ing to take some en­cour­age­ment if Ab­b­Vie ex­ecs want it to last.

Ab­b­Vie’s mar­ket cap de­clined $20 bil­lion on Tues­day as the stock took a 17% hit dur­ing the day. And SVB Leerink’s Ge­of­frey Porges can see a dis­tinct out­line of an up­side af­ter re­view­ing the fun­da­men­tals of the deal.

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While Ako­rn works to re­vive its for­tunes, the FDA hits it with an­oth­er warn­ing let­ter

Ako­rn just can’t dig it­self out of its hole.

The spe­cial­ty gener­ic drug­mak­er has re­ceived yet an­oth­er warn­ing let­ter from the FDA this year. With­out dis­clos­ing any specifics, the Lake For­est, Illi­nois-based drug­mak­er on Wednes­day said the US reg­u­la­tor had is­sued the let­ter, cit­ing an in­spec­tion of its Som­er­set, New Jer­sey man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ty in Ju­ly and Au­gust of 2018. The com­pa­ny’s shares $AKRX dipped about 1.7% to $4.65 be­fore the bell.

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