China saw $28.5 billion invested in its life sciences sector in 2020, which was double the previous year’s amount and sets a five-year high. Partnering activities and IPOs also grew exponentially over the last five years to set records. “After a somewhat down year in 2019 in terms of investment activity in China’s life sciences, 2020 is completely back on track. Venture capital investment, partnering activity and IPOs are literally exploding,” said Greg Scott, founder and chairman of Chinabio Group, at the Chinabio Partnering Forum that opened May 10.
HONG KONG – Olix Pharmaceuticals Inc. has entered an extensive research collaboration to test its RNAi therapeutic, OLX-104C, with Fimanac, PCI Biotech Holding ASA’s delivery technology for nucleic acid-based therapies, with the aim of reducing off-target effects while treating androgenic alopecia, or hair loss.
Shenzhen Pregene Biopharma Co. Ltd. has outlicensed its internally developed anti-BCMA CAR T-cell therapy candidate, PRG-1801, to Indian pharma giant Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd. in a $162.5 million deal to develop and commercialize it in India. The candidate, which is being developed by Pregene to treat relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma, is now in a phase I trial in China after anIND approval in March 2020.
HONG KONG – Canbridge Pharmaceuticals Inc. signed a collaboration and licensing agreement that could be worth $591 million, gaining global rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize gene therapy candidates from Logicbio Therapeutics Inc. for the treatment of Fabry and Pompe diseases. The candidates are based on Logicbio’s adeno-associated virus (AAV) sL65, the first produced from its Saavy capsid development platform.
HONG KONG – Qilu Pharmaceutical Ltd. has inked a deal for the global rights to Peptron Inc.’s antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) candidate PAb-001-ADC for the treatment of various cancers. Seoul, South Korea-based Peptron stands to receive an up-front payment of $3 million and $539 million in milestone payments, as well as royalties.
While biopharma deals are not showing any drastic changes over last year, three areas that continue to dominate the landscape include the pandemic, oncology and cell and gene therapies. The lack of mega-mergers so far this year, specifically those above $10 billion, is also holding M&A values down by about 61% compared to this point in 2020, even though the number of mergers has climbed.
Cross-border startup Scineuro Pharmaceuticals Ltd., which focuses on central nervous system (CNS) diseases, inked a deal with Eli Lilly and Co. to license in the greater China rights of alpha-synuclein-targeted antibody therapies to follow the global drug development trend in this space.
With less uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, the biopharma industry appears on track to shift efforts back to its internal programs and possibly meet, if not exceed, the record-breaking deal level of 2020. Strong financial markets, however, may continue to hold M&As down.
Lianbio Co. Ltd. has inked a $200 million deal with Tarsus Pharmaceuticals Inc. for greater China rights to the phase IIb/III-stage candidate, TP-03 (lotilaner ophthalmic solution, 0.25%), designed to treat Demodex blepharitis and Meibomian gland disease (MGD). Lianbio will pay $15 million up front and up to $185 million in development and commercialization milestones.