Focus On Asia
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Serum to hold 15% in Biocon arm Biocon Biologics as part of a broad alliance that expects to leverage the partners' strengths and resources in vaccines and biologics. Pursuing opportunities based on the hot mRNA technology platform appears firmly on the table.
While Viatris says it has sufficient capacity to meet current and future demand for tuberculosis drug pretomanid, TB Alliance has signed a non-exclusive license with Lupin. This is the second tie-up with an Indian manufacturer but the local restricted use approval means countries other than India are likely to benefit for now.
Everest Medicines’ deal with Canadian biotech Providence Therapeutics contains a full transfer of technology which may be appealing to Chinese regulators.
Ex-WHO executive and co-chair of the Asia Pacific Immunization Coalition, Tikki Pangestu, outlined at a recent briefing why he believes herd immunity for COVID-19 will not be achievable against the backdrop of the global spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. Facets of vaccine hesitancy and the complexity of vaccine manufacturing were among the other issues discussed by experts.
One initial public offering and six private funding deals add a total of $357m into the biotech funding pot in China as multiple new ventures look to progress pipeline assets and build capabilities.
Korean bioventure Genome & Co. is accelerating growth by acquiring US microbiome CDMO List Labs, following on from its purchase of US microbiome therapeutics firm Scioto last year. With its microbiome pipeline reaching milestones as planned, Genome appears on track for its goal of becoming a fully integrated global biopharma concern.
The availability later this month of Hetero's biosimilar tocilizumab, ostensibly a less pricey product, could place India in a relatively better situation to cope with any demand spurt should another wave of COVID-19 strike. Innovator product Actemra is expected to be in short supply, going by current trends, given the unprecedented worldwide demand.
The approval of China's second CAR-T therapy has come amid reimbursement challenges, despite the pricing of its direct competitor being much lower than in the US. Chinese developers are pinning their hopes on rapid domestic market expansion via commercial insurance tie-ups as other CAR-Ts move through local development.
A third death has been reported in Japan following dosing with Moderna's mRNA vaccine and while an investigation is underway, it is not seen as product-related. Takeda has also signed a production and supply deal with Japan's government for Novavax's nanoparticle vaccine.
Beneath booming healthcare financing and deal-making in Asia is a constant flow of ready capital, but there are also challenges that may present hurdles to Hong Kong overtaking Nasdaq as the premier site for listings in the sector, a recent summit heard.
Anandram Narasimhan, managing director of Merck Specialities Pvt. Ltd. in India, share insights on the uptick in the fertility business and the promise of new launches, including of the checkpoint inhibitor Bavencio, in the country. Overall, the “signs are good”, the executive tells Scrip in an interview.
Given its ever-growing role as a critical region for the global biopharma industry, you can’t afford not to be up to speed on Asia. This selection of recent insights from our experienced on-the-ground team will help.
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