In news of a major transaction, reports surfaced that China National Pharmaceutical Group Corp (Sinopharm) has scheduled its IPO with hopes of raising 7 billion RMB ($1.03 billion). The company will list on the Hong Kong exchange as H-shares in October, according to the Wen Wei Po newspaper. The company is one of the largest distributors of pharmaceutical products in China, and it also develops and produces its own pharmaceuticals.
Bayer Schering Pharma obtained the rights to distribute insulin in China from Polish biotech Bioton (see story). Bayer paid 31 million euros ($43.5 million) upfront for 15-year rights to Biotonâ€™s insulin, in a deal expected to generate between $1.5 billion and $2 billion of sales over the length of the contract. Analysts opined that Biotonâ€™s margins would be between 20% and 30% on the product.
Shanghai ChemPartner announced an expansion of its drug discovery research collaboration with Agios, a Cambridge, Massachusetts biopharma seeking to develop novel drugs by targeting the metabolism of cancer. Agios is striving to develop drugs that inhibit the growth of tumors by starving them. The company is based on its foundersâ€™ discovery that a change in metabolism drives tumor growth, rather than the change of metabolism occurring as a consequence of the cancer.
Sundia MediTech, a Shanghai based CRO company, acquired a Protein Folding Shape Code (PFSC) technology that facilitates probe binding site work for drug discovery. The technology was developed by Microtech Nano LLC, an Indianapolis, Indiana R&D company. As part of the deal, Dr. Jiaan Yang, Founder and President of Microtech, will join Sundia as Vice President of Drug Discovery Technology.
Moving on to drug development news, Uni-Bio Science Group Limited (HKEX: 0690), a Hong Kong listed and headquartered company whose operations are largely in mainland China, will soon begin enrolling diabetes patients in a Phase III trial of its insulin product. Recombinant Exendin-4 (rExendin-4 also known as exenatide) is an incretin mimetic. Similar to the human incretin hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), rExendin kicks in when blood sugar levels are high, such as following meals, to bring blood glucose levels back to normal levels.
In the world of traditional Chinese medicine, a UK-based research group discovered that TCM may be the best way to relieve the symptoms of endometriosis. Their study found that TCM was just as effective as laparoscopic surgery, and it provided similar-to-improved benefits to two commonly used drugs, while reducing their side effects. The investigation was conducted by Cochrane Researchers, which oversees evidence-based medical treatment studies with an emphasis on herbal and homeopathic drugs.
China also announced plans to double its output of traditional Chinese medicine to 400 billion RMB ($58.5 billion) in the next ten years, according to a report from the China National Center for Biotechnology Development . The report was released at a recent bioeconomy forum in Tianjin. In 2008, sales of TCM products were 200 billion RMB.
The Sichuan Provincial People\'s Hospital and Harvard University have jointly built a lab at the hospital in the southwestern China province to study xenotransplatation â€“ the transfer of tissue or organs from one species to another. The hospital and Harvard signed an agreement last week which will send four pigs to China, with the goal of transplanting organs from the donor animals into monkeys.
Chinaâ€™s central government continued to announce plans last week that implement its nationwide healthcare report (see story). The country will spend 100 billion RMB ($14.7 billion) on new healthcare facilities and equipment in rural parts of the country by 2011, according to the Ministry of Health. The money will be spread over almost 10,000 medical institutions. As a first step, 20 billion RMB ($3 billion) has been allocated to build 961 county-level hospitals, 3,556 township health centers and 1,153 community health centers.
China Ministry of Finance announced a 10.4 billion RMB ($1.5 billion) subsidy for nationwide public health care service in 2009. The funds will go towards establishing a â€śstable health service mechanism and medical insurance.â€ť The new money is part of China\'s master plan to allocate 850 billion RMB ($123 billion) to provide universal health care to its entire population of 1.3 billion by 2011.