FiercePharmaAsia—Big Pharma's China growth; Pfizer's new Upjohn HQ; Hansoh's $1B Hong Kong IPO

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Big Pharma's Chinese business, Pfizer Upjohn and Hansoh Pharma made our news this week. (Google)

As the Chinese government pilots a bulk procurement program for generic drugs, Big Pharma's older medicines are under increasing pricing pressure. Pfizer is planning a push into China's rural areas in response to the headwinds, and it has moved the headquarters of its Upjohn established medicines business to Shanghai. China's Hansoh Pharma plans to raise $1 billion in a Hong Kong IPO and has secured some venture capital bigwigs as cornerstone investors. And more

1. China's driving sales growth ahead of the U.S. for Big Pharma. But can it last?

Big Pharmas followed by Wolfe Pharma analysts turned in an average 29% sales growth in China in the first quarter, versus 8.2% in the U.S. These firms are pivoting to innovative products in China, but many warn of a slowdown the rest of the year from their established medicines departments, as the Chinese government pilots a new drug procurement process to slash generic drug costs.

2. Pfizer eyes rural China amid pricing policy and Upjohn HQ move to Shanghai (Bloomberg)

Pfizer lost out to Chinese generics makers for supplying cholesterol drug Lipitor to hospitals in 11 major cities in the bidding process. So, the New York pharma is turning to rural areas for expansion, planning to hire 600 staffers to drive the initiative, Michael Goettler, head of Pfizer’s Upjohn division, said. The company has just moved the established medicines unit’s global headquarters to Shanghai.

3. Viela Bio, China's Hansoh pen development pact potentially worth $220M-plus

China's Hansoh Pharma could raise up to $1 billion in HK IPO (Reuters)

China’s Hansoh Pharmaceutical plans to raise as much as $1 billion in a Hong Kong IPO, offering 551 million shares at HK$13.06 to HK$14.26 apiece, Reuters reported. It counts China’s Boyu Capital and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC among its cornerstone investors. The news comes as it has penned a deal with AstraZeneca spinout Viela Bio to develop the latter’s autoimmune drug inebilizumab in China.

4. Emcure injected schizophrenia drug recalled after contamination detected

New Jersey-based Heritage Pharmaceuticals is recalling infection drug amikacin and schizophrenia therapy prochlorperazine after microbial contamination was found in unreleased supplies. The injectables were manufactured by India’s Emcure Pharmaceuticals.

5. Former CFDA deputy pleads guilty to taking $3M worth of bribery (China Daily)

An anti-corruption investigation against then-deputy China FDA director Wu Zhen was unveiled last year amid a national crackdown on vaccine safety. During a trial Thursday, Wu pleaded guilty for taking bribes worth more than 21 million yuan ($3 million) in exchange for drug approvals and other favors.

6. China’s Kangmei Pharma admits using false documents in $4.3B accounting probe (Bloomberg)

After unveiling an “accounting error” that led to an overstatement of cash by 29.9 billion yuan ($4.3 billion) amid a regulatory probe, China’s Kangmei Pharmaceutical has admitted that it used false documents and transaction records. Shares of the traditional Chinese medicine-focused company, one of the largest pharmas in China and a member on the MSCI global index, have plummeted 40% since late April.