Spotlight On... Natco Pharma suffers as FDA highlights 483 observations; WuXi praises South Korea science hub; and more...

India's Natco Pharma has been hit with a series of FDA inspection worries at its two facilities--although the drugmaker said these were only "minor" and would not have an adverse impact on its current or future products. "The company has received 483 observations for both facilities and believes them to be of minor in nature," it said in a statement. This comes after an inspection was conducted by the U.S. regulator in two of its facilities earlier this year, namely, the API manufacturing facility at Manali, near Chennai, and the Pharmaceutical Formulations facility at Kothur, near Hyderabad. Natco has already sent response and compliance report for these observations, it said. However, the markets were concerned as in early trade, the company's shares opened down over 8% on Monday morning, later falling further to nearly 12%. Story

> Chinese company WuXi AppTec has opened a new South Korean branch and has praised the region as one of the "most dynamic life science innovation hubs in the Asia Pacific." Located at an industrial park in the Pangyo Techno Valley, the WuXi AppTec Korea branch will help bring the Chinese company closer to the life science community in South Korea. Release

> The Melbourne startup biotech MecRx has secured a $4 million investment from the Medical Research Commercialization Fund for its new anticancer tech. The biotech's aim is to develop and test a promising drug lead for inhibiting the biological target cMyc--a key driver of destructive cell mutation in a number of cancers. Story

> Hangzhou-based cardio valve and stent maker Venus Medtech has raised $37 Million from Goldman Sachs, according to TrustedInsight, noting the company recently setup a heart valve research center in in a venture with the Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine. Previous funding rounds for the company starting in 2009 came from Qiming Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital China and Dinova Capital. Report

> Beijing-based medical device maker for kidney diseases, Millin Enterprises, secured an undisclosed investment from Lilly Asia Ventures in a Series A round for a company that also operates a specialty hospital and supplies hemodialysis centers. Report

> Seoul-based Medivate Partners has invested $12 Million in Busan-based oncology biotech and IPO candidate SillaJen out of $37 million total for work on Phase III candidate Pexa-Vec--pexastimogene devacirepvec--(formerly JX-594) in patients with advanced liver cancer in trials held across the U.S., Europe and Asia. Release

> Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) unit Janssen Research & Development inked research pacts for its Disease Interception Accelerator at Boston University School of Medicine on COPD and at the Agency For Science Technology And Research in Singapore on the identification of biomarkers in Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Release

> Sequoia Capital China aims to raise nearly $1.5 billion via two investment funds set to close in April, with $500 million to $550 million for Sequoia China Venture Fund VI LP and $850 million to $900 million for Sequoia China Growth Fund IV LP, Bloomberg reports. The company is an active investor in life sciences in China. Report

> Shanghai Henlius Biotechnology has selected the Medidata Technology Platform as it works on monoclonal antibody drug development in a Phase III oncology clinical trial in China. Release

> A $1.6 billion bid by U.S.-based genomics company Origin Technologies for microarray maker Affymetrix has challenged an earlier bid by Thermo Fisher Scientific. Origin runs manufacturing units in China and Taiwan. Release

> Infection rates for tuberculosis in China have dropped further, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said, bolstering a trend that has seen morbidity decline to 63.4 in 100,000 in 2015 from 71.1 in 100,000 in 2011. Report

> Mumbai-based Sun Pharmaceutical Industries has partnered with U.K drugmaker AstraZeneca ($AZN) to sell and market Type 2 diabetes treatment dapagliflozin in India under their respective brand names. AstraZeneca retains intellectual property rights to dapagliflozin under the deal. Sun is also approved to sell the combination therapy dapagliflozin and metformin under the brand name Oxramet in India, a product for which AstraZeneca has also sought a regulatory nod. Report

> Paris-based clinical-stage vaccine company BioNet-Asia has formed a Scientific Advisory Board that named Stanley Plotkin as chairman. Release

> Results of a human challenge study of dengue vaccine candidate TV003 showed complete protection in a Phase I trial, according to a paper published in Science Translational Medicine, for a one-dose therapy covering four live attenuated recombinant dengue serotypes. Report

> Shenzhen Hepalink Pharmaceutical has joined with Canada's Quest PharmaTech in a $9 million joint venture in China that will fund research work on Quest's cancer immunotherapy candidates in the country. Release

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