FiercePharmaAsia—Pfizer plant closures; Gilead-Yuhan NASH pact; Fujifilm expansions

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Pfizer, Gilead-Yuhan, Fujifilm and Takeda made our news this week. (Google)

Citing low demand, Pfizer is closing two legacy Hospira facilities in India, putting 1,700 jobs at risk. Gilead is paying $15 million upfront to get its hands on NASH programs at South Korea's Yuhan. Fujifilm is making bold expansions in the U.S., including building an iPSC facility in Wisconsin and adding capacities to another in North Carolina. And more.

1. Pfizer puts 1,700 jobs in jeopardy with 2 Hospira plant shutdowns in India

More than three years after snapping up Hospira, Pfizer is shuttering two of its manufacturing facilities in India. One of the sites is located in Aurangabad and the other is a long-troubled injectables plant in Irungattukottai that was hit by an 11-observation Form 483 just half a year ago. Between them, 1,700 employees face potential cuts.

2. Gilead adds another shot on the NASH goal with $785M Yuhan pact

Gilead already has NASH programs internally, and with Nimbus and Scholar Rock. Despite some setbacks, the company is still committed to the lucrative market. It now has a new NASH deal with South Korean biotech Yuhan, adding “small molecules against two undisclosed targets.” Yuhan gets $15 million upfront but could see $770 million in biobucks. 

3. Fujifilm plans $20M U.S. facility for burgeoning interest in stem cell treatments  

Fujifilm rolls out more plans to expand its CDMO footprint with expansion of North Carolina plant

Fujifilm will invest about $21 million to build a facility in Madison, Wisconsin, to develop induced pluripotent stem cell technologies for its own pipeline of regenerative therapies and as a CDMO. In addition, it is expanding a facility in Morrisville, North Carolina, to boost a subsidiary’s cell and microbial manufacturing capacity.

4. Takeda to keep consumer business, looks outside Japan for selloffs instead: CEO

Even though Takeda is in pressing need of money to help pay off some $31 billion in debt incurred during its Shire takeover, the company doesn’t plan to sell its Japan-based consumer health business, CEO Christophe Weber said. Instead, it’ll look at “some businesses outside of Japan where we are not really performing” for potential selloffs.

5. Unity takes up option on Ascentage aging drug

California’s Unity Biotech has been working with China’s Ascentage Pharma since 2016 on “senolytic drugs,” which hold potential for some age-related illnesses. Now, Unity has selected UBX1967 for further preclinical studies to enable an IND application. The drug is designed for eye disorders such as age-related macular degeneration.

6. Apollomics raises $100M to fund transpacific cancer R&D plan

Apollomics has raised $100 million in a series B financing led by China’s CMB International, with contributions from existing investor OrbiMed Asia and others. The money will be used to advance its cancer pipeline, and the company will move its headquarters from China to Foster City, California.

7. Schrödinger secures $85M in financing toward growing drug discovery platform

New York computational drug discovery company Schrödinger has collected $85 million in funding that was co-led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust and WuXi AppTec’s Corporate Venture Fund. WuXi and Schrödinger previously formed a joint venture to identify new targets and drugs.

8. Valsartan recall expands with Aurobindo issuing recall of its high blood-pressure drug

Aurobindo is voluntarily recalling 80 lots of valsartan tablets due to the detection of N-nitrosodiethylamine, a possible carcinogen. It followed several other “sartan” recalls since potential cancer-causing impurities were found in APIs made by Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical.

9. Sun Pharma issues recall of IV muscle relaxant after glass fragments found

Sun Pharma has issued a voluntary recall of four lots of muscle relaxant vecuronium bromide for injection after particulate matter identified as glass was found in the product.