FiercePharmaAsia—JSR’s $400M Crown buy, Orchid buyout bids, Tessa’s $80M funding

JSR, Crown Biosciences, Aurobindo, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories and Tessa Therapeutics made our news this week.

Welcome to this week's FiercePharmaAsia report, which includes stories about JSR's $400 million deal for Taiwan CRO Crown Biosciences, Aurobindo and Dr. Reddy's responses to a report about buyout bids for Orchid, T-cell biotech Tessa's $80 million financing backed by Temasek, and more.

1. JSR buys up CRO Crown Biosciences in $400M deal

Japan’s JSR Corporation, parent of JSR Life Sciences, has snapped up Taiwan-based CRO Crown Biosciences for about $400 million. With operations across the U.S., Europe and China, Crown has a portfolio of platforms for oncology and cardiovascular/metabolic diseases, which the company says can bring insight to a drug’s efficacy, pharmacological profile and patient response.

2. Aurobindo, Dr. Reddy’s respond to report they are front-runners to buy bankrupt Orchid Pharma

After the Economic Times reported Aurobindo and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories are front-runners in takeover race for the bankrupt Orchid Pharma—once a major player in injectables and active pharmaceutical ingredients—both companies spoke up. Aurobindo said the report’s contents are “factually incorrect,” and Dr. Reddy’s said the story was “purely speculative.”

3. Singapore’s Tessa raises $80M for T cell therapy push

Singapore’s state-owned wealth fund Temasek led an $80 million financing injection into Tessa Therapeutics, which focuses on T-cell treatments for solid tumors. The company’s virus-specific T-cell immunotherapies bear some similarities to CAR-T; they also involve harvesting immune cells from patients, tweaking them to respond to tumors and infusing the cells back into the patient.

4. Former Philippine president defends Dengvaxia program, but the questions aren't going away

Former Philippine president Benigno Aquino III defended his administration’s decision to launch a mass dengue vaccination program, which used Sanofi's Dengvaxia shot. Lawmakers questioned the unusual haste of the launch and suggested graft charges might be in order. Some demanded officials ask Sanofi for a refund, while another senator raised the issue of future compensation for dengue cases potentially linked to Dengvaxia.

5. Dr. Reddy’s to pay out $5M to settle federal lawsuit over child safety packaging

The U.S. Justice Department alleged that Dr. Reddy’s—after finding the packaging for five drugs wouldn’t pass tests for child protection—made changes and continued to sell products in untested packaging. Though the Indian drugmaker denied the allegation it paid $5 million to settle the case and agreed to develop a program to ensure its products’ are in compliance.

6. Founder of nonprofit lands at WuXi NextCODE for rare disease push

Christina Waters, Ph.D., founder and CEO of pediatric rare disease nonprofit Rare Science, has joined WuXi NextCODE as rare disease SVP. The WuXi AppTec subsidiary has formed partnerships with some of the world’s best pediatric institutions, such as Boston Children’s Hospital. Its approach is to build a database fed by new mutations linked to rare diseases identified by its screening technologies.