Fierce Pharma Asia—Fujifilm, WuXi STA plan major expansions; Hanmi's GLP-1 posts heart data; BeiGene plots $3B China IPO

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Fujifilm, WuXi STA, Hanmi Pharma and BeiGene made our news this week. (Google)

Fujifilm and WuXi STA are investing heavily on expanding their CDMO capacities in Western countries. Hanmi's GLP-1 diabetes drug, once partnered with Sanofi, has reported positive cardiovascular outcomes data. BeiGene has scored a green light for a $3 billion IPO on China's Nasdaq-like STAR market. And more.

1. Fujifilm's multibillion-dollar expansion spree rolls on with $850M capacity boost in U.S., U.K.

Fujifilm is pouring JPY 90 billion ($850 million) into its CDMO arm Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies to increase manufacturing capacity for biologics such as gene therapies and vaccines in the U.S. and U.K. Stateside, the expansion will double the firm’s cell culture capacity for recombinant vaccines. The company is supporting Novavax’s efforts to make its COVID-19 vaccine, NVX-CoV2373.

2. WuXi's STA to build massive manufacturing facility in Delaware, adding 500 jobs

Meanwhile, WuXi AppTech’s STA Pharmaceutical has made public its plan to build a massive manufacturing facility that will occupy 190 acres of land in Middletown, Delaware, thanks to a $19 million grant from the state. The plan is to hire 479 employees when the plant opens in 2024. It could eventually house about 1,000 employees pending potential expansions, the CDMO said.

3. ADA 2021: Hanmi's GLP-1 drug, returned by Sanofi, curbs cardiovascular, kidney issues while tackling Type 2 diabetes

In Type 2 diabetes patients with a history of heart disease, kidney disease or both, Hanmi Pharmaceutical’s GLP-1 drug efpeglenatide reduced the risk of heart attack, stroke or death from cardiovascular or undetermined causes by 27% compared to placebo. It also cut the risk of kidney disease by 33%. The drug was previously partnered with Sanofi.

4. BeiGene snags China OK for $3B IPO on Shanghai STAR market (The Paper, Chinese)

BeiGene has won clearance to stage a CNY 20 billion ($3.1 billion) IPO on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR market. It will be the Chinese biotech’s third listing after its Nasdaq public offering in 2016 and its Hong Kong IPO in 2018. The money will be used to support drug R&D, manufacturing projects, and commercial networks, and also to increase cash flow, according to the prospectus.

5. Takeda, Endo reaped 'many hundreds of millions' through Amitiza pay-for-delay deal, lawsuit claims

An antitrust lawsuit is targeting Takeda and Endo’s 2014 patent settlement around the Japanese pharma’s constipation drug Amitiza. The “pay-for-delay” deal allowed the two companies to “maintain a monopoly” for Amitiza and effectively put off generic competition to the drug by several years, while the two reaped “many hundreds of millions of dollars,” the plaintiff alleged in Massachusetts federal court.

6. ArriVent raises $150M to bring Chinese drugs to Western markets

Many biotechs have been built to in-license Western-made drugs for the Chinese market. But ArriVent Biopharma has raised up to $150 million in a series A to bring drugs from East to West. The company has already got ex-China rights to Allist Pharma’s furmonertinib, an EGFR inhibitor that recently won approval for non-small cell lung cancer in China.

7. Aditum's 5th biotech will take another look at Taisho's failed depression drug

Aditum Bio, an investment firm co-founded by former Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez, has launched Ancora Bio with a drug that previously failed in major depressive disorder at Taisho Pharmaceutical. The company plans to test the drug, formerly dubbed TS-121, for a subgroup of patients who typically resist other treatments.

8. Lonza invests $22M to add ‘mid-scale’ API manufacturing in China facility (release)

Lonza is investing CHF 20 million in its existing facility in Nansha, China. The money will help build six 1,000L small-molecule reactors. The CDMO said the new addition will support “mid-scale” API manufacturing to ensure a smooth transition between early-phase and large-scale commercial production.