Drug Startups Eye Quicker Profits Under China’s New Fast-Track Approvals

Key changes designed to bring cutting-edge drugs more quickly to market have yet to ignite significant rally for money-losing startups Key takeaways: New fast-track approval system could bring cutting-edge drugs to market more quickly Changes could benefit startups with quicker approvals, and by letting them work with big foreign manufacturing partners By Richard Barbarossa A recent regulatory overhaul designed to speed up development and approval of new drugs in China has been welcomed by global pharma giants and local startups alike, aimed at bringing their latest cutting-edge treatments more quickly…

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Investors Bet Big on Cancer Drug Infant Duality Biologics and Its Rockstar Founder

Company has raised $120 million in 18 months from A-list investors including Eli Lilly and domestic heavyweight WuXi Biologics Key takeaways Duality Biologics’ new $90 million funding just 18 months after its founding comes on the reputation of its founder and focus on a hot cancer treatment area Recent advances in antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) have led to an uptick in drug approvals and tide of similar new fundraising By Richard Barbarossa If one person’s reputation can form the foundation for building a company, then Dr. John Zhu, whose young cancer…

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Pharmaron, I-Mab and Burning Rock Get Investor Validation From MSCI

Three up-and-coming Chinese pharma companies are among those included in latest adjustment for the index compiler’s China All Shares Index Key takeaways: MSCI’s addition of Pharmaron, I-Mab and Burning Rock to its China All Shares Index highlights their strong growth potential Inclusion typically represents validation for a company’s products and outlook By Richard Barbarossa Drug and healthcare R&D firms are well-represented in the latest round of additions to the MSCI China All Shares Index, highlighting the sector’s growth potential and strong fundamentals. Some new ascendants to the list are even…

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Undervalued Zai Lab on Licensing Binge to Boost Cancer Treatment Portfolio

With $860 million in new cash from a recent share sale, company seeks to accelerate approval and rollout of new cutting-edge treatments from abroad Key takeaways: Zai Lab’s revenue should continue to surge on new product approvals and inclusion of a core product on the National Reimbursement Drug List Company’s losses could continue to balloon as it pursues expensive new licensing deals at the cost of near-term profits By Richard Barbarossa Cancer and autoimmune drug specialist Zai Lab Ltd.(Nasdaq: ZLAB; 9688.HK) is poised to accelerate approval of new medicines and…

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Online Insurance Broker Waterdrop Makes Splash, Then Crash, in New York IPO

Company raises $360 million after pricing shares at the top of their range, only to see stock tank nearly 20% in trading debut Key points: Waterdrop’s position as a middleman insurance broker should help protect it from regulatory risk in China’s sensitive financial services sector The company’s strong IPO pricing, followed by a sharp selloff in its trading debut, reflect investor indecision about its growth prospects  By Doug Young Middlemen are creatures of little or no respect, often seen as parasites that profit from a gap between businesses and the…

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CStone Finds Tonic in Steady Stream of Drug Approvals, Licensing Deals

Cancer drug specialist reported its first significant revenue in 2020, following a string of milestones capped by a $200 million investment from Pfizer Key takeaways: Strong upfront licensing fees helped CStone post its first-ever significant revenues and narrowing losses in 2020 The company is eying new approvals for more uses of its cancer drugs as big-name global pharma companies pump it up with cash By Richard Barbarossa CStone Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd (2616.HK), a Chinese maker of immuno-oncology therapies and precision medicines, is moving closer to profitability after its losses narrowed…

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Zepp or Huami? Wearable Device Maker in China-U.S. Identity Crisis

Company’s latest announcement of moving its user data to AWS reflects drive to separate itself from smartphone patron Xiaomi Key points: Zepp is taking further steps to distance itself from China and Xiaomi by announcing the movement of its data to Amazon Web Services The company’s valuation is quite low following a recent selloff, possibly over concerns about the chances for success in its drive to diversify from Xiaomi By Doug Young As the clock ticks down on China and the U.S. to resolve their differences over the auditing of…

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Drug Maker Simcere Ditches Cell Therapy to Focus on Oncology

Company sells money-losing Simgene unit for $16 million, following recent deals to commercialize two new cancer drugs in China  Key Takeaways: New China licensing deals and oncology focus come amid earnings slump, though profit declines eased in second half of 2020 Despite securing big name cornerstone investors, company’s shares have tumbled 40% since its October Hong Kong IPO, following its New York de-listing six years earlier By Richard Barbarossa Generic drug maker Simcere Pharmaceutical Group Ltd. (2906.HK) has sold off a money-losing unit making cell therapy drugs and is placing…

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Newly Confident Hutchmed Weans Itself from Partners, Prepares to Stand on Its Own

Oncological drug specialist backed by billionaire Li Ka-shing sells OTC business and raises $200 million, half from Baring Private Equity Asia Key Takeaways Hutchmed predicts revenue from its core oncology and immunology business will more than triple on new approvals and more direct control over its sales and marketing Stiff competition in cancer drugs and divestiture of its profitable but non-core OTC business could result in continued net losses By Richard Barbarossa Hutchison China MediTech Ltd. (Nasdaq: HCM; HCM.L), a leading Chinese maker of cancer drugs backed by Hong Kong…

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Medical Device Maker Venus Medtech Pumps Up Investors With Prospect of 2021 Profits

Company funds expansion through $400 million share sale as it targets U.S. and EU with growing pipeline of heart valve-replacement products Major Takeaways Venus Medtech’s recent $400 million equity fundraising gives it a war chest to accelerate device approvals and expand abroad Rising revenue, narrowing losses and low debt could position the company to finally turn a profit this year By Richard Barbaroza Flush with new cash from two major share placements and shrinking annual losses, Venus Medtech (Hangzhou) Inc. (HKEx: 2500), a maker of devices used to treat structural…

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