3SBio pays $85M for Zhejiang Wansheng, its second deal in two months since market return

Hong Kong-listed 3SBio made its second big move in as many months since it came back onto the market, buying small molecule maker Zhejiang Wansheng Pharma for RMB528 million ($85 million).

The fit--an expensive one at 20 times Wansheng's earnings--aims to marry the China GMP-certified operations of Wansheng to the 3Sbio portfolio of nephrology and oncology products as well as its abilities in biologicals, according to a July 24 press release.

"3SBio's proven capabilities in biologicals, combined with Zhejiang Wansheng's expertise in small molecule manufacturing, will provide the enlarged group with a flexible platform for addressing the unmet medical needs of patients and their healthcare professionals," Lou Jing, CEO and chairman of 3SBio, said in the release.

"It will also provide 3SBio with a solid base for expansion into the treatment of diabetes-related complications and dermatology, specialized markets where our academic marketing approach has the potential to build market-leading brands," he added.

3SBio's main earnings come from hematology products to treat anemia in cancer or chronic kidney disease patients.

In June, shortly after it returned to the capital markets two years after delisting from the Nasdaq, 3SBio bought the ex-China rights to Apexigen's anti-TNF monoclonal antibody technology, adding to mainland rights held since 2006. The candidate, SSS07, has demonstrated higher potency than the best-known available TNF inhibitors, including adalimumab and infliximab, in preclinical testing, according to a press release.

The Shenyang-based company raised approximately $710 million in the Hong Kong initial public offering, according to a press release.

In February in preparation for the listing in a HKEx filing, 3SBio said it has 8 potential candidates in nephrology and 6 in oncology, including three monoclonal antibody therapies, as well as autoimmune disease targets, among 20 potential products listed. At the time, analysts said the company wanted to raise $500 million.

In November, 3SBio in-licensed South Korea-based PharmAbcine biotech cancer drug candidate tanibirumab in Greater China and this year announced a deal on injectables with Sirton.

- here's the release