Fierce Pharma Asia—China's insulin price cut; Astellas-Dyno gene therapy deal; Fujifilm's U.K. investment

Novo Nordisk, Sanofi and Eli Lilly offered big discounts for their insulin products in China. Astellas partnered with Dyno Therapeutics on viral vectors for gene therapy. Fujifilm is pouring $530 million into its U.K. facility. And more.

1. Novo Nordisk, Sanofi and Eli Lilly cut insulin prices and lose share in China's latest cost squeeze

Insulin makers cut prices for their offerings by an average of 48% to win tenders in China’s latest volume-based procurement scheme for public hospitals. Novo Nordisk, currently the country’s largest insulin provider with about 50% share of volume, projects the program will result in a 3% erosion to its global sales growth next year. Sanofi and Eli Lilly are also ceding share to local firms.

2. Astellas becomes latest Dyno gene therapy partner with $1.6B biobucks pact to join Roche, Novartis, Sarepta

Astellas has put down $18 million upfront and promised up to $1.6 billion in milestone and royalty payments to tap into Dyno Therapeutics’ adeno-associated virus vector technology for gene therapies. The biotech had already formed deals with Novartis, Roche and Sarepta Therapeutics.

3. Fujifilm socks $530M into U.K. vaccine, gene therapy and microbial production, creating 350 jobs

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies is laying out £400 million ($533 million) and adding up to 350 new jobs to expand operations at its U.K. facility in Billingham in Teesside. The CDMO is planning to upgrade its capabilities in biologics, viral vector gene therapies, mRNA and other fields to become the "largest multi-modal biopharmaceutical manufacturing site” in the U.K.

4. Chinese firms win subcutaneous checkpoint inhibitor approval, beating global heavyweights to new opportunity 

Envafolimab, developed by Chinese firms 3D Medicines, Alphamab Oncology and Simcere Pharmaceutical, has won approval in China for microsatellite instability-high or mismatch repair deficient advanced solid tumors. The drug is the first subcutaneous PD-L1 inhibitor approved anywhere.

5. Amgen stalls Samsung's Enbrel biosim until 2029 in 2nd patent win of the year

A U.S. federal court in New Jersey has effectively pushed back the launch of Samsung Bioepis’ Enbrel biosimilar, Eticovo, to 2029, ruling that the copycat would infringe two patents on the Amgen drug if rolled out earlier. The Korean firm was also ordered to destroy any remaining Eticovo product in the U.S.

6. Insilico Medicine begins first human trial of its AI-designed drug for pulmonary fibrosis

Artificial intelligence-based drug designer Insilico Medicine has dosed the first healthy volunteer in an Australian study of ISM001-055, a small-molecule drug for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. It's the first trial for an AI-discovered novel molecule based on an AI-discovered novel target, the company says.

7. Chinook launches a new biotech with major VCs in China to double down on kidney disease R&D

Kidney disease biotech Chinook Therapeutics is entering China with a joint venture called SanReno Therapeutics. Half of the firm’s capital is coming from an investor syndicate led by Frazier Health Partners and Pivotal bioVenture Partners China. The goal is to advance at least two candidates for IgA nephropathy in the country.

8. Omicron spurs Celltrion to accelerate development of nebulized COVID-19 antibody cocktail

With the emergence of the omicron variant, Celltrion is combining its COVID-19 antibody Regkirona—which recently won approval in Europe—with investigational CT-P63 in a nebulized cocktail. The company has data on a nebulized formulation of solo Regkirona, called IN-006.

9. BeiGene sets term to raise $3.5B in its 3rd IPO—this time on China’s STAR market (release)

BeiGene has unveiled the pricing of its new IPO on China’s STAR market. Already listed on Nasdaq and in Hong Kong, the Chinese biotech is offering more than 115 million shares at 192.6 yuan apiece, looking to raise about $3.5 billion. The new shares are expected to begin trading on Dec. 15.

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10. Sun Pharma yanks thousands of erectile dysfunction tablets after manufacturing mishap

11. Japan sees 'drug lag' as foreign pharmas pass up the market amid pricing pressure, industry group warns

12. BeiGene plans to spend 'several hundred million dollars' on initial build-out of landmark US site