After a steep drop in biopharmaceutical IPOs in the first half of 2023, investors have come to expect that the slowdown in new listings of Chinese companies will continue for some time. Without the key influx of cash that equity financing can generate, biopharma companies are ramping up other activities to generate cash, particularly by out-licensing drugs with the potential for global expansion. Driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s biopharma industry grew rapidly, but the growth slowed down in 2022, when the number of IPOs fell significantly. Throughout 2021, 81 Chinese biopharma companies went public, including 57 in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing, and 24 in Hong Kong, according to the China Pharmaceutical Innovation and Research Development Association. In 2022, the total dropped to 57, with just eight in Hong Kong.
Newco news: Incannex is changing treatment paradigms with pipeline of psychedelics and cannabinoids
Incannex Healthcare Ltd. had quietly been developing its commercialization plans for psychedelic clinics well before Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced it would allow psilocybin and MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) to be prescribed by authorized psychiatrists for treatment-resistant depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Because the plans were already in the works, the company was in the perfect position to move quickly to capitalize on those regulatory changes in Australia, Incannex CEO Joel Latham told BioWorld. “We applaud the decision by the TGA to down schedule the regulation of psychedelics and that Australia is leading the way with MDMA and psilocybin,” he said, noting that Australia is the only place in the world that has regulatory approval for psychedelics.
Selection waits on efficacy data from trial of Kv1.3 ion channel blocker in atopic dermatitis
The coming months represent a crucial phase in the development of Selection Inc., a U.S.-German firm that is tackling a target in autoimmune disease that has evaded the best efforts of many other drug developers. A recent interim readout from a phase Ib trial of si544, a selective peptide-based blocker of the voltage-gated potassium ion channel Kv1.3, provided preliminary evidence that its drug candidate is safe and well-tolerated in patients with atopic dermatitis. It plans to evaluate its efficacy after three months’ follow-up. “In a couple of months, we will have data from what we believe is the complete treatment cycle,” Antonius Schuh, CEO Selection (pronounced “Select-ion”) told BioWorld. If it can replicate in patients its preclinical findings in animal models, it could have a very valuable asset on its hands.
Maintenance phase II data offer boost to Connect’s partnering plans for UC drug
Additional data from a phase II trial of S1P modulator icanbelimod (CBP-307) reinforced earlier positive results in ulcerative colitis, potentially putting Connect Biopharma Holding Ltd. in a better negotiating position as it seeks a partner to take forward a program set to compete with S1P drugs from Bristol Myers Squibb Co. and Pfizer Inc. Connect, meanwhile, is looking ahead to regulatory filings in China early in 2024 for its lead candidate, CBP-201, an antibody targeting interleukin-4 receptor alpha, in moderate to severe atopic dermatitis.
Upward swing continues for biopharma financings with $25.82B raised through May
Biopharma financings are continuing at a faster pace than last year, with $25.82 billion raised in the first five months of 2023, up 20.46% from $21.44 billion raised during the same time period last year. Value is down compared to 2021’s $59.29 billion and 2020’s $48.03 billion, but it is more than 2019’s $23.21 billion raised from January to May.
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