Downturn in share prices don't hinder US/China Bio progress
With the first quarter of 2008 officially history, the news for US-listed China biomedical companies was not good: a loss of 27% in the ChinaBio Index . That put the CBI in between the benign loss (relatively speaking) of 14% for Nasdaq-listed stocks and a more major decline of 34% for the Shanghai Composite. As one of old stock market bromides says, stocks will do what they will do. But the downturn in stock prices hasnâ€™t seemed to have much effect on Chinaâ€™s biomedical enterprises, which produced a heavier than usual news flow during the last week.
CROs in particular were making deals. Commonwealth Biotechnologies, Inc. formed a China-based joint venture with Venturepharm Laboratories Ltd. [HKEX: 8225] . CBI, with headquarters in San Diego and facilities in Richmond, Melbourne and the UK, will use the JV to extend its service offerings to include contract manufacturing and clinical trials. Venturepharm, based in Beijing, will buy a block of stock in Commonwealth that comprises 39% of CBIâ€™s outstanding shares, worth almost $6 million.
Two other CROs, both based in the US but with labs in Asia, also formed a strategic alliance. Chemizon, a division of Optomagic, participated in Crown Bioscienceâ€™s Series B round of financing, as part of the alliance . Chemizon, headquartered in Longmont, CO, has labs in South Korea and Beijing. Chemizon is publicly traded in Korea, following a reverse merger with Optomagic. Crown Bioscience is based in Santa Clara, CA. It has labs in Beijing and Carmel, IN. Crown also has established a strategic alliance with Shanghai Tigermed Consulting, Inc., a clinical trial CRO dedicated to oncology