Fierce Pharma Asia—Biocon bribery allegations; AstraZeneca's China investment; Shionogi's COVID pill delay

Biocon is embroiled in a bribery allegation in India around an insulin product. AstraZeneca, despite recent sales declines, is betting on more in China with a new manufacturing plant and an innovation center. Japanese authorities have postponed a decision on Shionogi's COVID-19 pill. And more.

1. Biocon denies allegations it bribed regulator to waive diabetes drug's pivotal trial

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation accuses Biocon of agreeing to pay an Indian drug regulator about $11,500 to waive a phase 3 clinical trial of the company’s insulin product last month, according to local news reports. The agency said it had arrested the regulator, plus a Biocon associate vice present and three others. Biocon denied the allegation in a statement.

2. AstraZeneca to build production facility in China for COPD inhaler Breztri

AstraZeneca plans to build a manufacturing facility in Qingdao, China, to produce its Breztri three-in-one COPD treatment. In addition, the British drugmaker said it will set up regional headquarters in the coastal city and establish an innovation center focused on rare diseases. The new investment comes despite AZ experiencing sales decline in China.

3. Shionogi’s COVID pill hits delay with Japanese drug review panel (The Japan Times)

A Japanese health ministry panel has postponed a decision on Shionogi’s emergency approval request for its oral COVID-19 drug. The panel met Wednesday but failed to a reach a conclusion, as its members were divided on several points including the drug’s efficacy, a health ministry official said. The panel will meet again with another ministry committee in July before making a final decision

4. In a first, China approves eye implant based solely on real-world data

Ocumension Therapeutics got Chinese approval for a fluocinolone implant, called Yutiq, to treat a form of eye inflammation. It marks the first medical product approved in the country based entirely on real-world data, according to Ocumension, which in-licensed Yutiq from EyePoint Pharmaceuticals.

5. Klick Health unveils global expansion plans with new offices in Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin America

Canadian health marketing agency Klick Health is expanding. Singapore, London and Sao Paulo will become regional hubs for Klick’s expanded operations in the Asia Pacific region, Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Latin America, respectively. It also plans to open other locations including in Tokyo.

6. Sino Biopharm buys out F-star for next-gen bispecific platform (release)

China’s Sino Biopharm, through its InVox subsidiary, has agreed to buy Nasdaq-listed F-star Therapeutics for $161 million. The acquisition backs InVox's strategy as Sino Biopharm’s international R&D operations outside of China. The Chinese firm is getting F-star’s bispecific antibody platform for designing oncology drugs.