With Covid-19 vaccine in limbo, China's Fosun inks $628M deal for a Prevnar 13 rival
Fosun Pharma, BioNTech’s partner for its Covid-19 vaccine in China, has its sights set on another enormous vaccine market.
The Shanghai-based company has bought a majority stake in Chengdu Antejin Biotech, which is developing a shot against 13 strains of pneumonia-causing bacteria, making it a subsidiary. It’s a two-part deal: On top of paying current shareholders $173.9 million (RMB 1.11 billion) in cash to grab a collective 32.52%, Fosun will merge its vaccine business, Dalian Aleph Biomedical, into the company. Aleph is valued at $454.2 million (RMB 2.9 billion).
According to a filing with the HKEX, upon completion Fosun will hold about 73% of the new Antejin.
CICC Kangrui was the biggest seller of shares, while Shanghai Heshi and seven individual investors also agreed to sell their shares.
In wrangling control of Antejin, Fosun is wading into the campaign to challenge the dominance of Pfizer’s Prevnar 13, which is approved for infants between six weeks and five months. In late 2019, Walvax became the first domestic drugmaker to steer a pneumococcal vaccine toward approval.
The multinational giants are already working with next-generation shots that can cover more strains of bacteria, with Merck’s 15-valent shot and Pfizer’s Prevnar 20 both getting the FDA nod in recent months. Antejin will be chasing those with a 24-valent pneumonia conjugate vaccine candidate.
Backed by a hefty conglomerate, Fosun Pharma has always been eager to deploy its firepower in striking big-name deals and expanding its focus. Four years ago, it teamed up with Kite to bring its CAR-T therapy to China — and landed the country’s first CAR-T approval in June.
Its Covid-19 licensing deal with BioNTech in early 2020 gave it rights to develop and commercialize the mRNA vaccine in China, although the shot has yet to be approved.