Sinovac gets CFDA nod for varicella vaccine trials; Strides buys 7 J&J brands in India;

> U.S.-listed and Beijing-based vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech ($SVA) received China FDA approval to start in vivo clinical trials of its varicella vaccine to prevent chickenpox, a process that started in 2010 with the application accepted for review in January 2013. Trials are expected to end in 2017 and a vaccine could be on the market by 2019. Sinovac is currently finalizing the trial protocol and renovating an existing building as the commercial production plant with a planned capacity of 5 million doses. Release

> Bengaluru-based Strides Arcolab said it will acquire seven brands from Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) in the dermatology, antiemetic and pain management segments. The company also said separately it will acquire a majority stake of the domestic branded businesses of Medispan--including Lactovit and Lactogut. Financial details were not disclosed. Report

> China FDA has issued the guidelines for its supervision of medical device quality and management that will take effect on Feb. 1, 2016. The CFDA, in a Chinese-language release, said the measures are aimed at ensuring quality and safety. Release (Chinese language)

> The University of Warwick in the U.K. and China's Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center have signed an MOU to train oncology nurses and for oncology imaging. Release

> A cancer-causing parasitic worm in Australia has been found by researchers there to provide accelerated healing for people who suffer from chronic wounds or to create a vaccine for bile duct cancer, according to a report in the International Business Times. Report

> Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) and Aliyun, the cloud-based services unit of China's Alibaba ($BABA), agreed to collaborate on developing precision medical systems that can be used by third parties such as drug firms and hospitals to access BGI's genomic database, Shanghai Daily said. Report

> Shanghai-based investment firm WuXi Healthcare Ventures has joined a Series E round of $115 million in U.S.-based 23andMe, which offers a $199 saliva DNA test that is also used to build a genomic data base. Other investors included Google Ventures, Casdin Capital, Illumina ($ILMN), New Enterprise Associates and MPM Capital. WuXi Healthcare seeks opportunities as the investment arm of WuXi PharmaTech ($WX) which also has plans to expand genomic offerings. Report

> Tibet-based Xizang Haisco Pharmaceutical placed a $10 million investment bet in Israel's Endospan, a device company that makes aortic stents, gaining China rights to its Nexus and Horizon products. Report

> Taiwan-listed PharmaEngine received domestic approval for irinotecan liposome injection drug Onivyde in combination with fluorouracil and leucovorin to treat metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas after disease progression following gemcitabine-based therapy. The nod from the Taiwan FDA also benefits license partner, U.S.-based Merrimack Pharmaceuticals ($MACK). Release

> Osaka-based Takeda Pharmaceutical has made an €3 million ($3.3 million) equity investment in Spain-based Univercells SA, a bio manufacturing firm, through its strategic venture arm, Takeda Ventures. The investment is aimed at development of integrated manufacturing methods for use in Takeda's production of vaccines. Release

> Seoul-based CJ Healthcare has licensed China rights for its gastritis anti-ulcer drug CJ-12420 now in a Phase III trial in South Korea to China's Shandong Luoxin Pharma for the equivalent of nearly $11 million upfront and potential royalties that could reach more than $91 million. Report

> China FDA has issued a circular on anti-psychotic drugs such as clozapine, risperidone and olanzapine warning of possible adverse effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, insomnia and epilepsy, the Shanghai Daily said. The website also said that CFDA also warned the drugs may cause "reduced immune function, rising blood lipids, weight gain, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and diabetes." Report

> An Indian clinical trial has suggested that Everolimus eluting stents may be equally or more useful in treating coronary blockages in diabetic patients than bypass surgery, according to a report in Business Standard. The newspaper said the trial by the Academics and Research department of Fortis Escorts Heart Institute which included 1,830 patients in 46 Indian hospitals demonstrated superiority of Everolimus eluting stents in the treatment of diabetic patients with coronary blocks. Report

> Indian drug makers may team up to brainstorm on ways to address the shortfalls in their manufacturing processes that have led to dozens of plants being banned from providing drugs to the United States, which is the country's largest export market for its $15 billion pharmaceutical industry. Report

> A study recently published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine shows that the dengue fever virus may survive year-round in southern China, putting the region at risk for more severe and more frequent epidemics similar to the 2014 outbreak that affected more than 40,000 people, Eureka Alert reported. Report

> Sinophi Healthcare said it has signed 7 hospital deals worth $1.2 billion that will focus on proton therapy to treat cancer. The deals were signed during the visit to the U.K. by China's President Xi Jinping. Release

> African heads of state plan to pressure Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stand up to U.S. pharmaceutical companies by maintaining exports of inexpensive generic drugs to the African continent. The leaders are meeting for a super summit in India. Report

> India's Lupin said it has launched its Calcium Acetate capsules in the U.S. after getting FDA approval. The treatment is a generic version of the PhosLo Gelcaps manufactured by Fresenius Medical Care North America. Report

> Shanxi Zhendong Pharmaceutical said it will acquire Kangyuan Pharmaceutical for 2.65 billion yuan ($416 million). Report

> Excipient consumption in Southeast Asia is expected to grow at an annual rate of 13.4% to 2020 with the region considered the fastest-growing pharmaceutical market in the world, according to a new report from research firm Kline. Growing populations, higher government spending on health care, developing health insurance markets, and an increase in chronic diseases are fueling the growth of the pharma industry in the region, Kline said. Release