Fierce Pharma Asia—WuXi Bio's plunge; Daiichi-Novartis $182M settlement; Merck KGaA's Abbisko deal

WuXi Biologics' gloomy business update triggered a stock market avalanche. Daiichi Sankyo and Novartis reached a $182 million settlement on their BRAF drug patent dispute. Merck KGaA linked up with China's Abbisko Therapeutics on a phase 3 joint tumor med. And more.

1. Contract manufacturing giant WuXi Bio's stock plummets as it warns of $400M revenue miss

WuXi Biologics’ stock price plummeted about 24% Monday after the CDMO giant said it expects to miss this year’s revenue target by around $400 million. The company pointed to an industrywide downturn in COVID-related sales and challenges in biotech funding. The biologics manufacturer views the first half of 2024 as its darkest hours, with a positive turnaround in the second half of next year.

2. Daiichi Sankyo scores $182M from Novartis settlement in long-running patent case

Novartis has agreed to pay $182 million to settle a patent dispute with Daiichi Sankyo. The case centers around Novartis’ melanoma drug Tafinlar. Daiichi’s former subsidiary Plexxikon, which developed rival BRAF drug Zelboraf, alleged that Tafinlar was made possible only because of discussions with Plexxikon about a partnership that never came to fruition.

3. Merck KGaA buys into Abbisko’s late-stage joint tumor med for $70M upfront

Merck KGaA paid $70 million upfront to license greater China rights to Abbisko Therapeutics’ phase 3 candidate for tenosynovial giant cell tumor, a benign tumor of the joint. Development is underway to test the CSF-1R inhibitor, pimicotinib, in graft-versus-host disease and solid tumors. Merck has an option to expand the deal to other geographies.

4. Novartis expands radiotherapy manufacturing network with $85M plant in China

Novartis has unveiled a plan to build a new radiotherapy manufacturing facility in China with an investment of about $85 million. The new plant, located in Haiyan about 60 miles from Shanghai, is expected to be operational for local production in 2026. The Chinese project adds to Novartis’ existing radiotherapy facilities in Italy, Spain and the U.S.

5. High-flying Fujifilm splashes $200M to beef up cell therapy capacity

Fujifilm plans to spend $200 million between Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics and Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies to expand its cell therapy capabilities. The former subsidiary, focused on human induced pluripotent stem cells, will get a new headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin; and the latter CDMO will expand an existing site in Thousand Oaks, California.

6. South Africa's Aspen expands reach with $100M buy of Sandoz's Chinese business

Sandoz is selling its China business to South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare for about $100 million, with about $20 million tied to the future performance of Sandoz’s pipeline products. Aspen expects the deal to add about $96 million in annual sales, with such products such as the synthetic hormone injectable Sandostatin.

7. Tang Capital’s Concentra back with another buyout offer, this time for LianBio

LianBio has rejected an unsolicited buyout proposal by Tang Capital Partners’ Concentra Biosciences, saying the deal terms undervalue the company. LianBio, built on a business model of bringing innovative drugs to China and other Asian markets, recently launched a strategic review and sold certain Asian rights to mavacamten to Bristol Myers Squibb for $350 million.

Other News of Note: 

8. FDA recommends avoiding plastic syringes made in China amid safety investigation

9. With J&J settlement, Samsung Bioepis and Sandoz lock down Stelara biosimilar license

10. FDA posts a flurry of voluntary drug recalls by Teva, Glenmark, Apotex and VistaPharm

11. Coya taps familiar friend Dr. Reddy’s to commercialize ALS med