Deals and Financings

Ocumension [HK:1477], a Shanghai ophthalmic pharma, completed a $184 million Hong Kong IPO and climbed 152% in its first trading session, giving the company a valuation of about $2.5 billion (see story). Founded in 2017, Ocumension was incubated by 6 Dimensions Capital and now has built a portfolio of 16 ophthalmology drugs for China development, mainly through in-licensings. The portfolio includes three assets at or near clinical stage, and five candidates in preclinical development. The company has raised $200 million in venture capital, including a $180 million B round one year ago.

Zai Lab (NASDAQ:ZLAB), a Shanghai biopharma, signed a $178 million deal to acquire Greater China rights to a novel cancer drug developed by San Diego’s Turning Point Therapeutics (NASDAQ:TPTX) (see story). Zai will pay $25 million upfront and up to $151 million in milestones. Currently ready to start Phase II trials, repotrectinib is a next-gen TKI that targets ROS1 and TRK A/B/C. ROS1 rearrangement is thought to be an oncogenic driver in 2%-3% of China patients with advanced NSCLC. Zai will add China sites to the Phase II global trial of repotrectinib.

OBiO Technology, a Shanghai viral vector CRO/CDMO aimed at gene and cell therapies, completed a $28 million Pre-C Round led by Efung Capital, a China biomedical-focused investor. Established in 2013, OBiO offers R&D and pilot production services and has also added CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing services. It plans to use the proceeds to build a large-scale precision medical industrial park in the Shanghai International Medical Zone.

Livzon Pharma (OTCPK:LVZPF) [SHZ:000513] [HK:1513] of Zhuhai formed a collaboration with Germany’s LTS Lohmann Therapie to jointly develop LTS’s asenapine patch product for schizophrenia in Greater China (see story). Livzon will have an exclusive royalty-bearing, sublicensable right to the product and will be responsible for China development and commercialization. Asenapine, originally developed as an injected drug, is an atypical antipsychotic that has been approved in the US since 2009 for schizophrenia and bipolar disease.

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COVID-19 Pandemic

Harbour BioMed (HBM) closed a $103 million Series C financing to develop its portfolio of cancer, immunologic disease and COVID-19 biologics. Founded in 2016, HBM is headquartered in Boston, with discovery operations in Rotterdam and R&D in Suzhou. In 2018, the company completed an $85 million B round, followed by a $75 million B+ raise earlier this year. The company has five biologic candidates in clinical trials and three COVID-19 projects in discovery.

Sichuan Clover Bio received a $66 million upfront payment from Oslo’s CEPI (the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) to speed up development of Clover’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The protein-based vaccine is based on Clover’s proprietary Trimer-Tag© vaccine technology platform. Clover will use the funds for Phase I clinical trials, preparation for a global efficacy trial and building manufacturing capacity to produce up to one billion doses per year. In April, CEPI made an initial $3.5 million investment in Clover.

Trials and Approvals

Evive Biotech, a Shanghai-based biotech formerly known as Generon, announced positive results from a pivotal Phase III study of its treatment for chemotherapy-induced neutropenia (CIN). F-627 (efbemalenograstim alpha) produced results that were comparable to the current standard of care, Neulasta®, but Evive believes its candidate will provide a better alternative for patients who are allergic to Neulasta. Generon describes itself as a global biotech, with offices in Shanghai, Singapore and the US.

Asieris Pharma, a Taizhou biotech, received China approval to start a Phase III trial of Cevira®, a photodynamic drug-device combination that offers a non-surgical treatment for cervical lesions. The company is starting a multi-centered global Phase III trial of the product with trials in the US and EU in addition to China. One year ago, Asieris in-licensed global rights to Cevira® from Photocure of Oslo in an agreement worth up to $73 million. Asieris focuses on novel treatments for genitourinary tumors.

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