FiercePharmaAsia—BeiGene's short attack; Sumitomo-Roivant deal; Roche-JHL settlement

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BeiGene, Sumitomo Dainippon, Roivant Sciences, Roche's Genentech and JHL Biotech made our news this week. (Google)

A short seller claims BeiGene falsified Chinese sales of its drugs licensed from Celgene, but the biotech called the allegations "wild speculations." Sumitomo Dainippon will pay $3 billion upfront for five of Roivant Sciences' companies—and for a future after Latuda loses U.S. exclusivity in 2023. Roche's Genentech settled with Taiwan's JHL Biotech over alleged trade secrets theft, though the individuals involved may not be so lucky. And more.

1. 'Wild speculations': BeiGene hits back at short seller's accusations of 60% sales inflation

New York-based investment shop J Capital Research accused BeiGene of inflating its drug sales numbers by 57%. The allegations were based on surveys and interviews with oncologists, BeiGene’s distributors and sales reps, among others. In rebuff, the Chinese biotech said J Capital’s sources couldn’t possibly deliver valid results, while calling some other accusations “wild speculations” or “simply laughable.”

2. Roivant lines up $3B upfront in Sumitomo Dainippon deal 

Japan’s Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma will pay Roivant Sciences $3 billion upfront to take over five of its “vant” biotechs: Myovant Sciences (women’s health and prostate cancer), Urovant Sciences (urinary diseases), Enzyvant Therapeutics (pediatric rare diseases), Altavant Sciences (respiratory rare diseases) and one additional firm. Sumitomo, whose bipolar depression drug Latuda is slated to lose U.S. exclusivity in 2023, will take a 10% stake in Roivant and gain the option to buy six more “vants.”

3. Genentech settles fight over cancer drug trade secrets with Taiwan's JHL

Genentech has reached a settlement with Taiwan’s JHL Biotech over allegations that the latter stole trade secrets to make copycats of its top-selling cancer drugs Rituxan, Herceptin, Avastin and Pulmozyme. The move likely means the Roche unit will now shift focus to the individuals allegedly involved, including three ex-Genentech workers and an ex-JHL staffer who have been indicted.

4. Insilico raises $37M with plans to bring its AI to more drug discovery partnerships

On the heels of a paper that showed its AI technology could synthesize and preclinically validate drug compounds in less than 50 days, Insilico Medicine has raised $37 million in a series B led by Qiming Venture Partners. The money will be used to commercialize its molecular generative chemistry and target identification technology and build up a senior leadership team.

5. Fresh off $1B Hong Kong IPO, China’s Hansoh taps Atomwise for AI drug discovery (release)

U.S. AI-powered drug discovery specialist Atomwise signed a pact with China’s Hansoh Pharma, which just got off a $1 billion Hong Kong IPO. Hansoh is tasking Atomwise to design drug candidates for up to 11 target proteins in multiple therapeutic areas. The value of the deal could reach $1.5 billion if the projects are all successful.

6. Astellas hires first chief patient exec to make 'centricity' more than a buzzword

Astellas has poached Sanofi executive Anthony Yanni to fill its newly created position of senior vice president of patient centricity. The job entails integrating patient perspectives in the drug discovery and development process all the way to market.

7. Takeda recalls Natpara but warns patients not to abruptly stop treatment 

Takeda’s reportedly been looking for a buyer for Natpara to provide some debt relief, but it has just run into some complicating circumstances. The company is voluntarily recalling all doses of the hypoparathyroidism drug in the U.S. because there was a chance of small rubber particles shedding into the injectors during the 14-day treatment period. 

8. LabCorp's CRO unit sets up major Shanghai R&D base

LabCorp’s CRO unit Covance has opened a new R&D center in Shanghai’s Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, where many biopharmaceutical companies, large or small, foreign or domestic, are based. The 12,000-square-meter facility adds to its facility in the Shanghai International Medical Zone, which focuses on early development.

9. Aurobindo recalls mislabeled statin tablets from the U.S. market

India’s Aurobindo Pharma has already been repeatedly knocked by the FDA for its role in the global “sartan” heart drug recalls due to tainted drug ingredients. Now, an American subsidiary of Aurobindo has voluntarily recalled 2,352 bottles of generic statins after certain lots were found to have been mislabeled.

10. Ipca Labs plant blasted by FDA for a 'cascade of failure'

The FDA has sent an Ipca Laboratories plant in Silvassa, India, a Form 483. The plant was hit by an FDA warning letter three years ago, but this time, its quality unit still showed “a cascade of failure,” the agency said in its three-observation, 10-page letter.

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