Hua Medicine advances Type 2 diabetes candidate to PhII; Natco gets FIPB nod;

> Shanghai-based Hua Medicine's novel oral glucokinase activator (GKA) candidate for Type 2 diabetes, HMS5552, showed a 1% HbA1c average reduction blood glucose levels of patients after a month of treatment, the company said in a release. The Phase Ic trial saw the drug candidate also show a solid tolerability and safety profile with low risk of hypoglycemia or gastrointestinal discomfort, the company said. Phase II trials in China are underway. Release (PDF)

> India's Natco Pharma got the nod from the country's Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to raise as much as INR4.5 billion from qualified institutional buyers, the Business Standard said, adding that foreign investment allowed in the drugmaker is now 31.5% from 24%. Report

> South Korea-based Celltrion has gained approval to sell Remsima, its biosimilar version of Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Merck & Co.'s ($MRK) rheumatoid arthritis drug Remicade, in Australia, the Korea Herald reported. The company is now following on in Asia after the launch of Remsima, also known as Infectra, across Europe, including in the U.K., France and Germany in partnership with Hospira ($HSP). Report

> Pfizer ($PFE) has launched rheumatoid arthritis treatment Xeljanz in Singapore for adults that failed to respond to existing therapies, making it the first approved treatment in a new class of drugs known as Janus kinase inhibitors. Release (PDF)

> Vietnam's healthcare market may see a spate of privatizations and initial public offerings as it grows in capabilities from hospital care to generic drug manufacture, according to the summary of a report from Frost & Sullivan. Release

> China-based Ascentage Pharma has closed a $15.5 million Round A financing led by Oriza Capital and YuanMing Capital with the innovative small-molecule oncology firm targeting six candidates, three of which are clinical-stage. Release

> India's western state of Rajasthan will require all companies that bid to supply generic medicines to the state medical services corporation to have WHO-GMP certificates starting in 2016, the Economic Times reported. Report

> India's Cipla is among the bidders for Belgium-based UCB specialty generics drug business, Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals, the Economic Times said, adding that it is the sole Indian firm in a transaction seen around $1.3 billion. Report