Bristol Myers Squibb is selling a Swiss tablet and capsule plant to WuXi STA. China’s Clover Biopharma will use Dynavax’s adjuvant, rather than GlaxoSmithKline’s, as it moves its COVID-19 vaccine into a phase 3 trial. Illumina and Sequoia Capital China established a genomics startup incubator in Shanghai. And more.
WuXi STA is buying a Bristol Myers Squibb tablet and capsule production plant in Couvet, Switzerland. Financial terms were not disclosed. The Chinese CDMO plans to use the facility as a commercial manufacturing and supply center and a lever for breaking into the European market, CEO Minzhang Chen said. The company already runs facilities in the U.S. and China.
Clover Biopharmaceuticals previously had its S-Trimer COVID-19 vaccine candidate paired with either one of the adjuvants from GlaxoSmithKline or Dynavax. But the company’s now moving only the Dynavax version into late-stage testing after taking into account “manufacturing considerations,” even though the shot performed well with both adjuvants in the phase 1 study. GSK is also partnered with Sanofi on a COVID-19 shot that’s been delayed.
Illumina and Sequoia Capital China have launched a new Shanghai incubator for genomics startups, following Illumina’s similar projects in the San Francisco and Cambridge, U.K., areas. Selected startups will receive at least $500,000 in upfront funding from the investment shop, plus sequencing systems, reagents, genomics expertise and lab space from Illumina.
Junshi Biosciences is out-licensing U.S. and Canadian rights to its China-approved PD-1 inhibitor toripalimab to Coherus BioSciences for $150 million upfront. The deal brings the tally of China-developed PD-1/L1s that have locked in U.S. commercial partners to six, but Coherus CEO Denny Lanfear still sees a market for tori. The deal marks Coherus’ pivoting from biosimilars to immuno-oncology.
Meanwhile, Innovent and partner Eli Lilly have won Chinese approval for their PD-1, Tyvyt, used alongside Lilly’s Alimta and platinum chemo, in first-line nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer. In China, Merck & Co.’s Keytruda is allowed in front-line NSCLC, and so is Hengrui’s camrelizumab in the nonsquamous type. BeiGene’s tislelizumab, partnered with Novartis outside of China, awaits a nonsquamous decision there, too.
6. Korea grants conditional nod to Celltrion’s COVID-19 antibody (Korea Biomedical Review)
South Korea has conditionally approved domestic firm Celltrion’s COVID-19 antibody drug, Regkirona, for treating mild patients with a high risk of developing more serious disease and those with moderate symptoms. In earlier-phase trials, the drug showed it—when used in combination with standard treatment—can cut the risk of progressing to severe disease in mild patients and help moderate patients recover faster.