BeiGene reports positive Phase III interim analysis for lung cancer drug

MedCity News | April 14, 2020

Interim results from a Phase III clinical trial have shown that patients receiving a cancer immunotherapy drug for a form of lung cancer on top of chemotherapy were more likely than those receiving chemotherapy alone to survive without their disease worsening, the company developing the drug said Monday. Beijing-based BeiGene reported an improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) among first-line patients with non-squamous non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) receiving tislelizumab along with platinum chemotherapy and pemetrexed, compared with those receiving chemotherapy and pemetrexed alone. However, it did not disclose the data. The company said it plans to file for approval of the drug with Chinese drug regulators and present data from the study at upcoming medical conferences. Shares of BeiGene were up around 6% on the Nasdaq in Tuesday afternoon trading, following the after-hours announcement.

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Igor Lokot, CEO at Double Bond Pharmaceutical, holding a talk and answering questions about company's products and development at Life Science-day in Gothenburg…


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PHARMA TECH

Therorna completes Series A financing to accelerate pipeline development and clinical transformation of circRNA-based platform

Therorna Inc. | June 21, 2022

Therorna Inc., a China-based biotech company specialized in the development of cutting-edge circular RNA technology-based new vaccines and therapies, announced the completion of a US$42 million Series A financing round. The round was co-led by a well-known industrial investment firm and MSA Capital, with participation from Sherpa Healthcare Partners, 3H Health Investment, and existing investors Quan Capital and Cenova Capital, demonstrating their continuous commitment to supporting Therorna's growth. With the new funding, Therorna plans to accelerate the build-out of its technology platform and the development of its product pipeline, as well as the clinical trials, regulatory applications, and international collaborations. Therorna was founded in Beijing in April 2021. The company focuses on leveraging its proprietary circRNA technology platform to develop next-generation vaccines and innovative therapies. The company has established a strong pipeline of novel prophylactic and therapeutic drugs aiming to address high unmet medical needs. When combined with the previously completed angel and pre-A rounds, the company has to date raised over US$60 million. "We really appreciate the support of our investors. As the world continues to suffer from the COVID-19, scientists are obliged to shoulder the responsibility to provide scientific solutions to end this pandemic. We are devoted to accelerating the clinical application of our circRNA-based vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants." The scientific founder of Therorna, Professor Wensheng Wei Therorna Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Daniel Tang commented, "I am very grateful for the support of our new and existing investors in this financing round. The successful completion of this round will play a key role in helping Therorna accelerate the development of a new broad-spectrum COVID-19 vaccine and the discovery of additional novel therapies for a variety of diseases. Our team will continue to spare no effort to advance the circRNA platform technology to develop the next-generation of breakthrough therapies and quickly deliver meaningful social benefits." MSA Capital founder and managing partner Yu Zeng added, "We are confident in the potential of circRNA technology for drug development in the area of protein expression and regulation. Compared with linear RNA, circRNA boasts breakthroughs in expression, stability, immunogenicity, and production. In terms of the technology, Chinese scientists have proven their internationally recognized capabilities at innovation and efficient transformation. MSA Capital is impressed by Therorna's strong team of scientists and entrepreneurs. As a serial entrepreneur, Professor Wei has deep expertise in gene editing and circRNA technology application, and Therorna's management team has rich experience in drug R&D and industrial management. MSA Capital will make use of its resources to support the expansion of Therorna in international markets." Sherpa Healthcare Partners investment VP Dr. Changzu Cai said, "mRNA drugs have achieved notable success in the application of COVID-19 vaccines, but challenges in terms of side effects remain to be addressed. Linear RNA is easily degraded and its application beyond vaccines is still under exploration. Thanks to its unique structure, the circRNA as a tool for protein expression has been proven to maintain a relatively stable protein expression level in vivo for a longer time, which is expected to further expand the application scenarios of RNA therapy. The team led by Professor Wei is leveraging their experience in applying circRNA as a gene editing tool to support the development of the circRNA expression tool. The proprietary circularization method developed by Therorna has demonstrated its advantages in terms of dosage, and activation of cellular immunity by being first applied in COVID-19 vaccines. We are pleased to continue supporting the efforts of Wei Lab in converting innovations into benefits for patients and communities, while looking forward to transforming Therorna into a platform-based circRNA technology-focused company with an international presence." 3H Health partner Dr. Minchuan Wang said, "circRNA has better stability and long-lasting expression with a potential for creating a new RNA therapy platform. The combination of Professor Wei's team with strong technical expertise in circRNA and the management team established at an earlier stage of the company with members having rich experience in promoting the adoption of new technologies will help accelerate the clinical transformation of circRNA. We are honored to support Therorna in this financing round, and we will work with the company's team, and their new and existing investors, to help the company assume a leadership role in the realm of circRNA, providing patients with pioneering therapies and addressing unmet clinical needs." Exclusive financial advisor for this transaction and CEC Capital Managing Director, Echo Zhang commented, "circRNA has attracted widespread attention as an emerging technology for RNA drugs. Therorna is expected to take the lead in advancing the technology into clinical applications. We are honored to help Therorna complete this round of financing, and we believe that Therorna will lead the development of the global circRNA sector." About MSA Capital Founded in 2014, MSA Capital is an independent global private equity and venture capital firm with over $2.0 billion under management. The firm manages capital from the world's top sovereign wealth funds, international asset managers, pension funds, university endowments, fund of funds and family offices, as well as China's leading new economy entrepreneurs. MSA actively partners with outstanding entrepreneurs in China and other technology markets to build leading, innovative companies that aim to deliver strong financial returns and meaningful, positive impact. The firm is headquartered in Beijing, with resident teams in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Middle East, North Africa and the United States. About Sherpa Healthcare Partners Sherpa Healthcare Partners ("Sherpa") was founded in 2018, the founders previously worked together in one of China's leading venture capital firms, built and led its professional medical investment team since 2011, set up the dedicated healthcare investment fund and responsible for healthcare investment. The founders have been teamed together in close co-operation, built on shared values, mutual trust, and complementary capabilities. Sherpa has now become an influential healthcare VC firm in the industry. Sherpa has invested in leading companies in many key areas, such as Pharma, GeneTech, MedTech and Medical services. From 2011 to 2020, the team has gone through 4 vintage year cycles of multiple U.S dollar funds and RMB funds and made 100 investments. Sherpa has the honor to work with many outstanding entrepreneurs and grow together with them. About 3H Health Investment 3H Health Investment is a Hong Kong and Shanghai based healthcare venture capital firm. It focuses on unmet medical needs and invests in emerging fields of science and medicine to deliver breakthroughs to patients. Leveraging its extensive resources with clinical institutions, industry partners and policy institutes, 3H builds leading innovative healthcare companies together with its partners. About Quan Capital Quan capital is a life sciences venture capital firm with strong China expertise and global capabilities. We discover, incubate, and grow next-generation life science companies in early and growth stage, worldwide. Our portfolio companies pioneer differentiated therapies and enabling technologies to address major human diseases with high unmet medical needs. Quan has offices in Shanghai, Menlo Park and Boston. Our investment professionals combine their strong expertise in both science and business with their diverse experiences in global drug development and healthcare investments, and they leverage their broad network worldwide to help maximize the company's value across geographies and development stages. Visit www.quancapital.com to learn more about us. About Cenova Capital Cenova Capital is one of the earliest healthcare funds dedicated to early and growth-stage investments in the life sciences and healthcare sectors in China. Since inception in 2010, Cenova Capital now has six funds under management with investments in over 80 companies in pharmaceuticals, medical devices,healthcare services and digital heath. Cenova Capital's investors are mainly large domestic and international institutional investors including Asian sovereign wealth investors, government institutions, insurance companies, financial institutions and multinational companies. About CEC Capital CEC Capital is a leading Chinese FA with a focus on the global TMT, consumption and health sectors. In addition to investment banking, CEC Capital is managing a RMB fund and a dollar fund with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and it also has a license to the US securities market. The healthcare industry is an advantageous industry that CEC Capital is concerned about. Meanwhile, CEC Capital has the largest and most professional health investment banking team in China with the most complete industry chain.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Global Pharmaceutical Market Drives Innovative Digitalization to Accelerate Drug Discovery

Frost & Sullivan | June 17, 2022

Frost & Sullivan's recent analysis, Global Pharmaceuticals Outlook, finds that the accelerated drug development timelines are driving digitalization and innovation across the pharmaceutical value chain. Data, the decentralization of clinical trials, supply-chain resilience, digital therapeutics, and manufacturing automation are the key areas driving digitalization. The industry also ensures that healthcare will remain precise, preventive, and outcome-based in promoting social and financial inclusion. The global pharmaceuticals market, including small molecules and biologics, is expected to register 3.8% growth, garnering $1.48 trillion by the end of 2022 from $1.43 trillion in 2021 under the aspirational scenario. "The partnerships and horizontal integration of technology companies with life science companies have laid the foundation for rapid and cost-effective drug discovery and development. Further, all major genomics technology companies are channeling their resources to digitalize genomic data for better selection of patients for clinical trials and to reduce the turnaround time for clinical studies." Surbhi Gupta, Healthcare & Life Sciences Senior Industry Analyst Gupta added: "Owing to the growing use of machine learning and artificial intelligence in personalized medicine, the pharmaceuticals industry will move from a symptom-driven treatment approach to a genetics-based approach. Additionally, precision medicine can offer in-depth information about cellular and molecular alterations, accelerating the development of targeted therapies." Digitalization and innovation in the pharmaceuticals industry will unlock new growth opportunities, including: Digital therapeutics companies must excel in areas where many pharmaceutical companies are lacking, including data analytics, interoperability, user-centric design, and flexible business models. Innovative formulation and delivery technologies that improve RNA stability at ambient temperatures will facilitate the rapid global adoption of RNA-based treatments at reduced costs. Contract development and manufacturing companies should partner with global companies to meet the required experience in clinical drug manufacturing and expand market reach in Asia-Pacific. Global Pharmaceuticals Outlook, 2022 is the latest addition to Frost & Sullivan's Healthcare & Life Sciences research and analyses available through the Frost & Sullivan Leadership Council, which helps organizations identify a continuous flow of growth opportunities to succeed in an unpredictable future. About Frost & Sullivan For six decades, Frost & Sullivan has been world-renowned for its role in helping investors, corporate leaders and governments navigate economic changes and identify disruptive technologies, Mega Trends, new business models, and companies to action, resulting in a continuous flow of growth opportunities to drive future success. Contact us: Start the discussion

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PHARMACY MARKET

Standigm Signs MOU with Merck Korea for AI drug Discovery Research

Standigm | June 02, 2022

Standigm Inc. the leading workflow artificial intelligence (AI) drug discovery company, announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Merck Korea, for AI-based drug discovery research. The MOU signing took place on May 30 at the headquarters of Standigm, attended by Sojeong Yun, CEO of Standigm, and Stephen Namkoo Lee, the Head of Science and Lab Solutions, Life Science business sector of Merck Korea. Under the MOU, Standigm will accelerate its drug discovery research by adopting Merck's AI software SYNTHIA™. which can help Standigm's novel compound synthesis. SYNTHIA™ is a computer-aided retrosynthetic design tool and unites network theory, modern high-power computing, and expert chemical knowledge to rapidly design synthetic pathways. "Applying AI to the drug discovery process can dramatically reduce time in discovering novel drug candidates and finding optimized synthesis paths. By pooling know-how in AI synthesis of Merck and Standigm's AI technology together, we expect better results in drug discovery faster, compared to the traditional AI drug discovery method," Sojeong Yun, co-founder and CEO of Standigm "Candidate chemical discovery using AI technology for new drug development is playing a crucial role in the growth of local bioindustry," said Stephen Nam-Koo Lee, Head of Science and Lab Solutions for South Korea, Life Science business sector, Merck Korea. As a leading workflow AI drug discovery company, Standigm has actively conducted research on AI technology in organic synthesis at its own Synthetic Research Center, established last year. About Standigm Standigm is a workflow AI-driven drug discovery company headquartered in Seoul, South Korea and Standigm has expanded its operations across the world, recently opening offices in the U.S. and UK. Standigm has proprietary AI platforms encompassing novel target identification to compound design, to generate commercially valuable drug pipelines. Founded in 2015, Standigm has established an early-stage drug discovery workflow AI to generate multiple First-in-Class compounds within seven months. Pursuing full-stack, AI-driven industrializing drug discovery, Standigm has achieved the automation of molecular design workflow, and the automation effort has been expanding to the whole drug discovery process based on Standigm AI platforms, including Standigm ASK™ for novel target discovery, Standigm BEST™ for novel compound generation. About Merck Merck a leading science and technology company, operates across life science, healthcare and electronics. Around 60,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people's lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2021, Merck generated sales of € 19.7 billion in 66 countries.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

ClinChoice Raises $150 mm Series E Round Financing, Further Strengthening its Global Services Capabilities

ClinChoice | July 05, 2022

Recently, ClinChoice announced the successful completion of its $150 mm Series E round financing. The investment was led by Legend Capital, and co-invested by Taikang Life Insurance, Sherpa Healthcare Partners and existing shareholders, including Lilly Asia Ventures and Apricot Capital. Proceeds of the financing will be used to fund the Company's continued business expansion and innovative service offering worldwide. Recently, ClinChoice announced the successful completion of its $150 mm Series E round financing. The investment was led by Legend Capital, and co-invested by Taikang Life Insurance, Sherpa Healthcare Partners and existing shareholders, including Lilly Asia Ventures and Apricot Capital. Proceeds of the financing will be used to fund the Company's continued business expansion and innovative service offering worldwide. As a full service clinical-stage CRO, ClinChoice serves the global market by providing integrated one-stop clinical development services to emerging biopharmaceutical, medical device and consumer health clients around the world. ClinChoice has over 3000 employees worldwide covering most of drug development hotbeds in US, China, multiple countries in Europe and Southeast Asia. With over 25 years of high-quality services, ClinChoice has completed more than 1,000 Phase I-IV full-service clinical projects and supported over 100 innovative drug registrations, clinical design and development. ClinChoice strictly adheres to GCP and ICH standards and has developed robust SOPs recognized by more than 50 large multinational companies, all of which have passed multiple inspections and audits by major regulatory agencies around the world. "We thank the investors for their trust in ClinChoice. This round of capital investment fully validates ClinChoice's rapid growth and future potential in the field of clinical CRO. With the new round of financing, we will further enhance our innovative service offering and continue business expansion by organic growth and M&A, in order to better serve our clients worldwide." Global Chairman and CEO of ClinChoice, Mr. Ling ZHEN Dr. Hongbin ZHOU, Co-Chief Investment Officer of Legend Capital, said, "We would like to express our gratitude for trusting in Legend Capital and we are excited to be part of ClinChoice, together with the Management Team and the existing shareholders, including Lilly Asia Ventures, Goldman Sachs. We are very positive on the growth outlook of the CRO industry. As a rapidly growing CRO, ClinChoice has built an excellent platform combining global expertise with deep knowhow across key local markets, to support innovation. Going forward, we will work closely with the management team to improve its existing business, attract industry talent and launch new strategic initiatives." About ClinChoice ClinChoice is a global clinical CRO, providing high-quality Integrated One-stop Service Offerings for new bio-pharmaceutical and medical device clients worldwide. Our Service Offerings cover Clinical Operation, Project Management, Biostatistics, Data Management, Biostatistical Programming, Regulatory Affairs, Medical Affairs, Feasibility Research, HGRAC Submission, Clinical Safety Management, Site Management Organization, Nature Medicine/Traditional Chinese Medicine and Phase I Clinical Research, etc. Now, ClinChoice has over 3,000 employees worldwide covering most of drug development hotbeds in US, China, multiple countries in Europe and Southeast Asia. Since its inception, ClinChoice has completed multiple rounds of financing, with investments from renowned institutional investors including Goldman Sachs, Lilly Asia Ventures, and DFJ Dragon Fund. About Legend Capital In April 2001, Legend Capital was established as a fund manager under Legend Holdings, focusing on the early-stage VC and growth-stage PE investment. Since its establishment, Legend Capital has been adhereing to internationally accepted standards to create best practices in fund management and operation. With a proven track record of more than 20 years, it now has full experience in fund management and operation and has built an extensive partner ecosystem across the entire investment chain.

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