NY-based Athenex has big China manufacturing plans with name change to boot

A manufacturing pact in China's Chongqing will see U.S.-based Athenex build two drug manufacturing plants at Banan that will receive local funding for land and construction, the company formerly known as Kinex said in a press release.

Athenex, a specialty oncology pharmaceutical company, will outfit and operate the plants as well as expand a translational medicine collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong as part of the arrangement, according to the release, adding that a previous acquisition of a drug manufacturing plant in Chongqing from Polymed/Taihao "is capacity constrained."

The plant purchase was not mentioned on the website of Kinex. The company announced a global rights in-licensing pact for an oral absorption technology from Polytechnic University in February this year.

"The new API plant will be approximately five times larger and add significant capacity," the company said in the release. "This expansion is an important next step in assembling a world-class global pharmaceutical supply chain in the oncology area and will complement our U.S. based manufacturing strategy. Secondly, the government collaboration allows us to execute on a key aspect of our game plan delivering innovative oncology drugs into an important global market like China."

In May, then-Kinex said it had completed a private placement of equity to strategic investors that included Huateng Ma, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Tencent Holdings, according to its website.

In March, Hanmi Pharmaceutical signed a licensing agreement for then-Kinex Pharmaceuticals to develop its Orascovery pump inhibitor for gastrointestinal treatments in India.

The South Korea and U.S. companies have been partners in global development since 2011 except for in South Korea and Japan. Under the agreement, Kinex is to have full responsibility for developing Orascovery in India. Hanmi also has arrangements with other drugmakers in Australia and New Zealand and in Singapore.

In September of last year, Kinex Pharmaceuticals bought U.S.-based contract manufacturer QuaDPharma for an undisclosed sum, which followed a March U.S. FDA approval for an oral form of the cancer medication irinotecan.

- here's the release from Athenex