FiercePharmaAsia—Lilly’s rejig, OrbiMed’s $551M Asia fund, Takeda’s CAR-T pact

Eli Lilly, OrbiMed and Takeda made our Asia news this week.

Welcome to this week's FiercePharmaAsia report, which includes stories about Eli Lilly's R&D overhaul that involves the closure of its Shanghai R&D center, OrbiMed's third Asia biopharma fund of $551 million, Takeda's CAR-T deal with local upstart Noile-Immune, and more.

1. Lilly to shutter U.S., China R&D centers

Just a month after GlaxoSmithKline announced a plan to shutter its neuroscience R&D base in Shanghai, Eli Lilly is also shutting down its Shanghai R&D center, located in the same high-tech park as GSK’s. Another R&D center in New Jersey and around 3,500 workers across the company are also on the chopping block. The R&D rejig comes as Lilly’s research efforts haven’t returned many successes in recent years.

2. OrbiMed rolls out its third Asia biopharma fund with $551M up for grabs

Investment firm OrbiMed has launched its third Asia-focused biopharma and healthcare fund worth around $551 million. This will build on the company’s $2 billion already injected into the Asian healthcare industry so far. The money will be divided into 15 to 20 relatively smaller shares ranging from $10 million to $75 million, and will be focused on growth stage companies in China and India.

3. Takeda joins CAR-T chasing pack with Noile-Immune alliance

Takeda is buying into the CAR-T realm through a deal with Japanese biotech startup Noile-Immune, which was cofounded by Prof. Koji Tamada, who previously spent 13 years working at the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins University. Takeda is making an undisclosed payment and an equity investment to get its hands on Noile-immune’s future CAR-T products, which are targeting solid tumors.

4. China’s 3SBio JV seeks to buy Canadian CDMO Therapure for $290M

As part of its plan to push into the North American market, Chinese firm 3SBio is looking to spend $290 million through a joint venture formed with CITIC Private Equity investment for the biologics contract development and manufacturing business of Canadian CDMO Therapure Biomanufacturing. The JV will also invest an additional $20 million to $25 million Canadian dollars to Therapure’s plasma protein and therapeutic products business.

5. Mylan and Biocon Herceptin biosimilar delayed by FDA for 3 months

Biocon in August withdrew an application for a Herceptin biosimilar in Europe after the EMA found issues with its plant in Bangalore. Now, the Mylan-Biocon partnership is facing a three-month delay in approval for the med in the U.S, though Biocon insists that the FDA delay has nothing to do with issues the FDA raised earlier for its sterile manufacturing plant where the biosim is to be produced.

6. NICE throws a wrench in Takeda's Ninlaro growth plans with second rejection

England’s drug cost-effectiveness watchdog has again refused to back Takeda’s Ninlaro in combination with Celgene’s Revlimid and chemo dexamethasone for multiple myeloma patients who have failed one or more previous therapies. That decision put in question whether Ninlaro could surpass blockbuster Velcade as Takeda’s next cancer star as the company had previously expected.

7. Navesta opens $9.1M sterile pharma manufacturing plant in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka-based Navesta Pharma, which aims to provide affordable medicines to resolve some of the world’s most dire health needs, has opened a $9.1 million sterile manufacturing facility in its home country. The 40,000-square-foot plant is equipped with the country’s first EU-GMP compliant A and B grade microbiology lab, and is expected to meet local demand for penicillin products.