FiercePharmaAsia—AbbVie, I-Mab's $2B CD47 deal; COVID-19 vaccine trial pause; Baidu's AI biotech plan

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AbbVie and I-Mab, AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India made our news this week. (Google)

I-Mab has attracted AbbVie with its anti-CD47 program in a deal that could potentially worth more than $3 billion. After AstraZeneca halted its COVID-19 vaccine trial upon noticing a yet-unexplained patient illness, the Serum Institute of India has followed suit for its local study. China's Baidu is talking to its investors, looking to raise $2 billion for the launch of an AI-powered biotech firm. And more.

1. AbbVie puts $2B on the table for I-Mab cancer collab as biotech nabs $418M raise

After Gilead Sciences’ $4.9 billion play for Forty Seven that features anti-CD47 cancer drug magrolimab, AbbVie has made a move in the same field. The Illinois pharma has penned a potentially $2 billion deal for Shanghai-based I-Mab’s CD47 antibody, lemzoparlimab. There’s also an option for AbbVie to take on two CD47-based bispecifics for a minimum of $500 million each.

2. Serum Institute pauses India trials of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine (Reuters)

The Serum Institute of India paused its local clinical trials of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine after the British pharma halted testing because of a suspected safety signal. Serum’s move came after the Drugs Controller General of India questioned why the company wasn’t suspending the Indian trial and warned Serum of regulatory action if it did not offer an explanation.

3. China’s Baidu in talks to raise $2B to launch an AI-based biotech (Reuters)

China’s search engine giant Baidu is in talks with investors to raise $2 billion over three years to launch a biotech that will use artificial intelligence for drug discovery and diagnostics, Reuters reported, citing a person with direct knowledge of the matter. Other Chinese tech moguls, including Alibaba and Tencent, have also made forays into healthcare.

4. Takeda's selloff spree continues with $562M deal with Germany's Cheplapharm

Takeda has penned yet another deal to offload some noncore drugs. This time, it’s with Germany’s Cheplapharm. The $562 million transaction covers products in the cardiometabolic and anti-inflammatory spaces, as well as calcium, and are sold mainly in Europe and Canada. It will push the potential total worth of Takeda’s sold-off assets to about $10.8 billion as the company pays off debt.

5. Rain bags $63M, ex-Daiichi cancer drug to mount pivotal push

Rain Therapeutics has raised $63 million and licensed a Daiichi Sankyo MDM2 inhibitor, DS-3032, now called RAIN-32. The company plans to advance the candidate into a pivotal clinical trial in differentiated or dedifferentiated liposarcoma next year, and a phase 1b/2 MDM2 basket study is also planned for 2021.