FiercePharmaAsia: Kangmei-sponsored $728M healthcare fund, Strides' API biz spinoff, Daiichi in for more R&D cuts

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China's Kangmei Pharma is co-leading the foundation of a healthcare fund worth $728 million.

Welcome to this week’s FiercePharmaAsia report, which includes a $728 million healthcare fund in China with a contribution from Kangmei, Strides' plan to restructure and focus on its consumer formulations business, Chinese immuno-oncology biotech Abbisko's $28 million Series A, and more. 

1. China’s Kangmei Pharma to invest in $728M healthcare industry fund with partners

China’s Kangmei Pharma, which focused on traditional Chinese medicine, will shell out 1 billion Chinese yuan ($146 million) to co-found a healthcare industry fund of 5 billion Chinese yuan ($728 million), the company’s filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange shows. The fund will be used for investments in the healthcare industry, including hospital M&As and new medical facilities. 

2. Strides to spin off API business in India, keep other plants for new B2C focus

India’s Strides Shasun has decided to spin off all of its commodity API manufacturing into what it claims will be one of the largest stand-alone API makers in India. The remaining company, called Strides Pharma, will focus on consumer formulations business and will be divided into two divisions—one focused on the U.S., U.K. and Australia, and the other on emerging markets, primarily India and Africa. 

3. Chinese I-O biotech Abbisko raises $28M in first-round funding

Abbisko, a Shanghai-based startup focused on immunotherapy, has raised $28 million in a Series A. The money will be used to set up R&D teams and discovery centers that will help advance its core anticancer programs, currently consisting of three preclinical compounds. The company's focus lies in cancers prevalent among Asian populations, such as lung, liver, stomach and esophageal cancers.

4. Daiichi axes Japan R&D site a month after Indian research unit cull

One month after Daiichi Sankyo decided to shutter its 170-person Indian R&D site, the pharma company is swinging the ax again, this time in its native Japan. The 150-employee Japanese research subsidiary, known as Asubio Pharma and based out of Kobe, will be closed down by the end of March next year, as part of “ongoing efforts to review its global R&D structure to increase R&D productivity.”

5. A year in, WuXi's STA bulks up its API R&D engineering at China site

STA Pharmaceutical, a WuXi AppTec subsidiary focused on API development and manufacturing, just expanded its Changzhou site—which was set up about a year ago—to 200 process R&D scientists and added a new pilot plant. The company is planning to further grow that number to about 500 scientists when the site is fully operational.

6. Dr. Reddy's plant problems may derail launch of generic Gleevec

Even though Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories invited a contractor to help it while an FDA warning letter sent to its Visakhapatnam facility disrupted its plan to get a copycat version of blockbuster cancer drug Gleevec to market, regulatory problems with that substitute supplier may further delay the Indian drugmaker’s marketing of the drug.