Spotlight On... China, New Zealand team up on health research program; Luye Medical pays $688M for Australia hospital chain; Mundipharma buys Merck ophthalmology portfolio; and more...

Researchers in China and New Zealand have teamed up to develop a program that will try to improve research initiatives "biomedicine, engineering sciences, and systems to support innovation and commercialization," according to a recent report. The program is a collaboration between the University of Auckland and Guangdong Provincial Science and Technology Department and is said to be a first for a New Zealand university in China. The program will cover stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine, metabolic disease, immune therapy for cancer, and drug discovery, said Rod Dunbar, director of the university's Maurice Wilkins Centre for molecular science. "A key focus under the partnership with Guangdong is innovation that will lead to new therapies for human disease," Dunbar said in a statement. The two groups plan to jointly produce therapies to accelerate the process from discovery to distribution to patients and was made possible by the 2013 Strategic Research Alliance entered into by the governments of the two countries. Report

> Hong Kong-based Luye Medical Group paid A$938 million ($688 million) to buy a chain of 17 hospitals in Australia from private equity firm Archer Capital. Luye Medical is a unit of Hong Kong-listed Luye Pharma Group. Report

> Mundipharma has bought the ophthalmology portfolio of Merck ($MRK), which does business as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, for an unspecified amount. The acquisition allows the company to enter the therapy area of increased ocular pressure caused by open angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. The transaction covers markets in Australia, Canada, Latin America, Middle East, Africa and New Zealand. Release (PDF)

> India's Hetero said the Drug Controller General of India has approved its generic version of Gilead's ($GILD) Harvoni for the treatment of hepatitis C. Report

> Recent floods in India's state of Tamil Nadu and around the city of Chennai have shut down many small drug factories that act as feeders to larger producers and some may need weeks to recover. Report

> Novogen ($NVGN) said it has named 42-year-old Dr. James Garner as the company's new chief executive. The company will be based in Sydney when he takes over the post in 2016. Release

> Australia's Benitec Biopharma ($BNTC) said Dr. Peter French has stepped down as chief executive. Greg West, the company's current chief financial officer, has been appointed as interim CEO. Release

> India's Unichem Laboratories said it has won final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market the hypertension tablets Irbesartan. Report

> The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given qualified disease product status to India's Wockhardt for its WCK 5222 antibiotic used to treat urinary tract infections and hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia. Report