FiercePharmaAsia—Takeda’s Shire bid, WuXi AppTec’s and Aslan’s IPOs

Takeda is weighing a potentially difficult buyout bid for Shire that could be worth $52 billion, and Big Pharma bidders may well complicate the effort. WuXi AppTec won approval for its $900M-plus IPO in Shanghai as China puts out the welcome mat for high-tech unicorns. Aslan Pharma aims to raise $86 million through an IPO on Nasdaq, and more.

1. Takeda confirms it's scoping out Shire for a GI-focused buyout bid of up to $52B

Takeda said it is weighing a bid for Shire to bulk up in oncology, GI and neuroscience. Shire’s shares skyrocketed at the news, while Takeda’s fell by 7%. Some analysts estimate a successful bid could worth more than $50 billion—which is more than Takeda’s own market cap—and question Takeda’s financial power to pull it off. Bernstein analysts said that “the strategic logic is not apparent,” as there isn’t much potential for cost-cutting. Meanwhile, Big Pharma bidders such as AbbVie and Pfizer might jump into the fray.

2. WuXi AppTec gets fast-track approval for $900M-plus Shanghai IPO

China’s stock market watchdog has approved WuXi AppTec’s application to raise over $900 million through an IPO in Shanghai. The short time used—less than two weeks after WuXi AppTec submitted its revised prospectus—reflects China’s recent welcoming attitude toward high-tech unicorns, as it fears losing technologies and investments to exchanges in Hong Kong and New York.

3. Singapore’s Aslan stalks $86M IPO to fund cancer pipeline

Singapore’s Aslan Pharma, whose shares trade on the Taipei exchange, has filed to list on Nasdaq. It hopes to raise $86 million to accelerate development of its lead cancer drug varlitinib, which is under testing in several tumor types prevalent in Asia. Aslan also plans to use the proceeds to advance other clinical candidates and build manufacturing facility in preparation of a commercial launch.

4. China’s Adagene raises $50M to take anticancer antibodies into the clinic

China antibody discovery shop Adagene just raised $50 million in a series C round backed by Sequoia China. The company uses an AI-empowered novel platform to design antibodies against cancers. The series C money will be used to advance some of its lead candidates into the clinic.

5. Urovant starts pursuit of Astellas’ overactive bladder drug Myrbetriq with new phase 3 trial

Roivant’s Urovant has started a confirmatory phase 3 test of its overactive bladder drug vibergron. If results from this trial concur with earlier data and lead to an approval, the med could take on a head-to-head rival from Astellas, the beta3-adrenergic agonist Myrbetriq, whose sales rose 30% to about $876 in the nine months ended in January.

6. Roivant snags Chinese rights to Nabriva’s antibiotic in $95M deal

Roivant Sciences has reached a deal with Nabriva Therapeutics for Greater China rights to lefamulin, a pleuromutilin antibiotic for pneumonia. The deal includes $5 million up front and an additional $90 million pegged to regulatory and commercial milestones.

7. Hanmi Pharma betting big on its ‘smart plant’ in move into CDMO role

Hanmi Pharma’s newly minted $140 million manufacturing facility uses radio-frequency identification systems with electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags. The company said data collected from the system, combined with analytic computing, help achieve better quality and faster production.

8. Mitsubishi Tanabe, Hitachi join forces in AI-enabled clinical trials

Through a new collaboration, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma will apply Hitachi’s AI to help search and collect information from medical papers and listings on as it plans clinical trials. A test run confirmed that the approach can shorten the time spent on planning by about 70%, the pair said.

9. Plotting a global path to blockbuster sales, GSK grabs Shingrix nods in Europe, Japan

After rolling out its shingles vaccine Shingrix in the U.S. and Canada, GlaxoSmithKline has gained approval for the shot in Europe and Japan. A joint venture between GSK and Daiichi Sankyo will sell it in Japan.

10. Cadila Healthcare says FDA inspection at Ahmedabad facility had no observations

Indian drugmaker Cadila Healthcare reported that its topical manufacturing facility in Changodar, India, passed a recent FDA inspection. The firm currently has one generic drug approval for the plant.