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The Week in Review: Shanghai Pharma Looking For Western Acquisitions

publication date: Aug 20, 2011
author/source: Richard Daverman, PhD
Deals and Transactions

Shanghai Pharma (SHA: 601607; HK: 2607) is seeking to acquire a mid-sized US or European drugmaker, according to the company’s Chairman, Mingfang Lu (see story). Shanghai Pharma wants to enlarge its supply of innovative drugs, he said, because the company sees patented products as a hedge against the price pressures affecting generic drugs in China.

Shanghai Pharma also announced it will pay $53.8 million to buy an 80% stake in Shanhe Pharmaceutical, a drug distributor in Jiangsu Province (see story). The company is headquartered in Wuxi, and it has operations in the major cities of Suzhou, Changzhou and Wuxi.

Epitomics, the San Francisco-area biopharma with two major facilities in China, intends to IPO on the Taiwan Stock Exchange before the end of the year (see story). Epitomics’ business model is based on the company’s proprietary RabMAb® monoclonal antibody technology, which the company says provides better antigen recognition than the more common mouse models.

Asymchem Laboratories (Tianjin) raised $39 million in a funding led by Tianyi Medical Private Equity Fund (see story). Asymchem, headquartered in the Research Triangle, North Carolina, has five CMO facilities in China, of which the Tianjin site is one. The investment will be used to increase production capacity at the site.

Sinopharm, the Beijing state-owned pharmaceutical giant, has apparently won the bidding for another state-owned company, the troubled Wuhan Zhongliang Pharmaceutical Group (see story). Although the price isn’t known, another contender is said to have offered $78 million for the company. Sinopharm apparently prevailed because of its previous commitment to invest $780 million in Hubei Province (Wuhan is the capital of Hubei) over the next few years.

3SBio (NSDQ: SSRX) announced a new investment partnership, called 3SBio Ventures, which it has formed with the investment arm of Taizhou China Medical City Company (see story). 3SBio hopes to fund projects with the potential of extending its own drug portfolio of biosimilars. 3SBio has committed $31.3 million to the project, and the CMC subsidiary will add $7.8 million.

Beijing SL Pharmaceutical (SHE: 002038) will invest $20 million in a Canadian JV, which it will form with PnuVax, an Ontario startup (see story). Beijing SL Pharma will own 85% of the new entity. The JV’s initial focus will be on 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines (PPSVs) that are intended for the China market.

Company News

WuXi PharmaTech (NYSE: WX) will begin offering clinical trial CRO services to its clients, an addition to the company’s R&D and manufacturing offerings (see story). The initiative comes at the request of its international clients, according to Dr. Ge Li, CEO of WuXi. The company’s clients have asked for help conducting trials in China and then obtaining SFDA approval.

Disclosure: none.

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