Fierce Pharma Asia—Big Pharma's China visit; AstraZeneca's parallel supply chains; WuXi's predicament

Several Big Pharma CEOs gathered in Beijing to reaffirm their commitment to the Chinese market. AstraZeneca is working to separate its supply chains for the U.S. and China. U.S. intelligence officials reportedly flagged an unauthorized transfer of a customer's data by WuXi AppTec to Chinese authorities. And more.

1. Big Pharma CEOs gather in Beijing to ⁠show continued interest in China, offer policy advice

Lilly CEO reaffirms commitment to Chinese market amid US threat against local biotechs

The CEOs of AstraZeneca, Bayer, Bristol Myers Squibb, GSK, Novartis, Pfizer, Takeda, Organon, Abbott Laboratories and Medtronic traveled to Beijing to attend the annual China Development Forum. In addition, Eli Lilly’s CEO met with China’s commerce minister. As the chief executives refreshed their commitment to the Chinese market, some of them also urged the Chinese government to bolster intellectual property protections, improve regulatory review of drugs based on novel technologies and optimize the country’s reimbursement system to cover more innovative therapies.

2. AstraZeneca plans independent drug supply chains for US and China, CEO says

AstraZeneca is reorganizing its supply chain to manufacture drugs for the U.S. and Chinese markets independently from one another, the company’s CEO Pascal Soriot told Bloomberg while in China. During a separate meeting in Beijing organized by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Soriot reportedly touted AZ’s recent investments in China as part of its global manufacturing footprint.

3. Intelligence officials warned lawmakers WuXi AppTec furnished China with client's intellectual property: Reuters

A key defense that WuXi AppTec has been using against accusations in the BIOSECURE Act is that the bill’s proposed prohibition based on national security grounds is “preemptive and unjustified.” But before the U.S. Senate’s homeland security committee voted earlier this month to advance a counterpart version of the bill, U.S. intelligence officials had informed senators that WuXi had transferred a U.S. client’s intellectual property to Chinese authorities without the customer’s consent, Reuters reported, citing two sources.

4. WuXi Biologics stays the course with positive 2024 outlook as national security crackdown threatens business in US

Despite the ongoing national security-related controversy, WuXi Biologics said it’s well positioned to capture new business opportunities in 2024 as biopharma companies are increasingly outsourcing biologics activities to CDMOs. For 2023, the Chinese CDMO logged an 11.6% year-over-year revenue increase to 17 billion Chinese yuan (about $2.4 billion).

5. Brii goes all in on hepatitis B, punting HIV, depression, lung disease programs to potential partners

Brii Biosciences is narrowing its focus on hepatitis B, or, more specifically, BRII-179, an immunotherapeutic that the Chinese biotech licensed from VBI Vaccines. The drug is currently being tested in two phase 2 trials. While prioritizing resources for the HBV portfolio, Brii is “pursuing partnership opportunities” for other pipeline candidates across multiple disease areas.

6. Sanofi inks 3 distribution pacts in India and Korea for CNS drugs and vaccines

Sanofi has found local partners to help distribute its drugs. The French pharma has entrusted Cipla to market six central nervous system medicines, including epilepsy med Frisium, and has tapped Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories to sell certain vaccines, in India. In South Korea, SK Bioscience will sell five Sanofi vaccines in 2024, with the potential for the deal to be extended in the future.

Other News of Note:

7. Olympus mounts lung cancer education push with advocacy group

8. SK Life Science marks Purple Day for epilepsy awareness by highlighting patient support programs

9. BD boosts US production as FDA warns against using plastic syringes from China

10. Nuvation to acquire Sino-American oncology specialist AnHeart in all-stock deal (release)