Spotlight On... India still reviewing prospects for mandated cuts in drug prices; Aspyrian gets $40M in Series B with Japan link; China FDA revises new drug classifications; and more...

India has not taken a decision on a new round of drug price controls as it talks with industry, civil society groups and other stakeholders, junior minister for the Chemicals and Fertilisers Ministry Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said. The ministry has oversight of pharmaceuticals. "We take every step very carefully when it comes to the issue of drug price control as we do not want to take even a single step without holding discussions with the industry," Ahir was quoted as saying by the Economic Times on the sidelines of a conference held by business lobby group ASSOCHAM. Reports have suggested India is ready to cut prices on key drugs by 35% to 50%. Ahir said that steep cuts may also harm a push for quality and innovation by local drug firms. Separately at the conference, Director General of Health Services in India, Jagdish Prasad, was quoted by the Economic Times as adding that the government has asked drug manufacturers to set up research and development systems to ensure they follow quality standards. "Drug manufacturers should either have an R&D system of their own or they should be attached to R&D which is available in other industries, without R&D they should not manufacture drugs," he said. Report

> A Japan-based e-commerce executive has led investment in San Diego-based Aspyrian Therapeutics, which according to a U.S. SEC filing received $40 million in Series B financing, out of $45 million sought, to fund Phase I/II trials of head and neck cancer candidate RM-1929. Listed on the filing was Hiroshi Mikitani, owner of e-commerce retailer Rakuten. VatorNews said that Mikitani, a board director with Aspyrian, led the financing through personal companies. SEC filing

> China FDA has changed classifications for new drugs and will no longer put drugs approved and marketed in other countries under that category as part of its push to get more innovative therapy clinical trials in the country and to get them approved quicker. Release

> San Diego-based Huya Bioscience has licensed ex-China rights for a novel immuno-oncology candidate developed by a research team led by Professor Qing Yang at Fudan University's School of Life Sciences. No financial or other details on the candidate were announced. Release

> Mumbai-based Sun Pharmaceutical Industries issued a Class II recall of 380,000 cartons of Alendronate Sodium tablets from the U.S. and Puerto Rico citing an "unknown impurity" in the osteoporosis therapy. Report

> Pfizer ($PFE) will spend A$21 million to upgrade a cancer drug manufacturing plant in the southern Australian city of Adelaide. Report

> Sydney-based Prima BioMed dosed a Belgian patient in double-blind Phase IIb trial of metastatic breast cancer therapy candidate IMP 321, marking a first in a trial that will use a biologic product from Shanghai-based WuXi AppTec in a European clinical setting. Release

> Bozeman, Montana-based Microbion Pharma and its Vancouver unit signed a deal with China's Haisco Pharmaceutical Group to develop and commercialize wound infection treatment candidate MBN-101 in China. Release

> Brisbane-based Invion received a patent right notification in China for its anti-smoking candidate INV102 (nadolol). Release

> Revenues for the Asia operations of Bayer Healthcare rose by over 7% in 2015, aided by sales of products such as Xarelto (rivaroxaban) and Eylea (aflibercept). Release

> China-focused SciClone Pharmaceuticals said revenues for the full year 2015 were $157.3 million, compared to $134.8 million for the full year of 2014 for the U.S.-based distributor. Release

> Swiss-based Roche ($RHBBY) said Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has approved the cobas EGFR Mutation Test v2 for diagnostic use. Release