2019-04-26| Asia-Pacific

Weekly in Asia(0414-0420)

by GeneOnline
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Taiwanese Company Excelsior Bio-System Invents Rapid Test Kit for African Swine Fever

African swine fever (ASF) is a devastating infectious disease of pigs, usually deadly. ASF is responsible for serious economic and production losses. Early detection and appropriate biosecurity are the main methods to prevent and control the spread of ASF virus. Taiwan has adopted stiff fines against those attempting to bring pork products from ASF-affected areas into the country, including a fine of NT$200,000 (US$6,484) for first-time offenders and NT$1 million for repeat offenders.

Taiwanese biotech company Excelsior Bio-System Inc. developed a rapid test kit to detect ASF in 10 minutes, through detecting the presence of antibodies against the ASF virus protein p30. The kit has been recognized by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), making it the first such test provider in Asia. According to the company, the kit works only with live animals, not with carcasses or with pork products such as sausages. The rapid test kit does not have to be conducted in a laboratory and can be conveniently applied in various environments such as airports or farms.

The incubation period for ASF is from four to 19 days, Excelsior’s testing method can diagnose ASF as early as 14 days after infected, which is better than the world’s other existing rapid test kit developed in Spain. The Spanish diagnostic system targets antibodies against the ASF virus protein p72, which is generated later in the development of ASF.

About Excelsior Bio-System Inc.
Excelsior Bio-System (EBS) was founded in 2004 and originated in the Industrial Technology Research Institute’s Cultivation Center. The major goals of the company are developing alternative therapy products, holistic natural food supplements and probiotics, and creating a series of diagnostic systems using biochip detection technology to detect immune system related diseases in both people and animals.

CStone Receives NMPA’s Approval for Avapritinib Study in China

CStone Pharmaceuticals recently announced that the company was approved to start a bridging Phase I/II clinical trial in China of avapritinib in patients with unresectable or metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) by the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA). The Phase I dose-escalation study and Phase II dose-expansion study aims to determine the safety, pharmacokinetics and efficacy of avapritinib in Chinese patients.

GIST, classified as a rare disease, is a sarcoma most commonly found in the stomach wall or small intestine, and accounts for about 0.1% to 3.0 % of all gastrointestinal malignant diseases. Approximately 90 percent of GIST cases are linked to mutations that produce over-activation of the KIT or PDGFRA tyrosine kinases, resulting in deregulated cell growth. Avapritinib is a GIST drug candidate discovered by Blueprint Medicines, and has been shown to have broad inhibitory effects on KIT and PDGFRA-driven (including D842V mutation) GIST. Avapritinib has been granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the U.S. FDA based on the treatment’s promising data. In June 2018, CStone acquired China rights to avapritinib and two other oral genomic-based potential cancer agents from Blueprint Medicine of the US in a deal worth up to $386 million.

About CStone
Established in 2015, CStone has assembled a world-class management team with extensive experience in innovative drug development, clinical research, and commercialization. The company has built an oncology-focused pipeline with a strategic emphasis on immune-oncology combination therapies.

About Blueprint Medicines
Blueprint Medicines Corporation, incorporated on October 14, 2008, is a biopharmaceutical company. The company develops drugs of small molecule kinase inhibitors that target genomic drivers in various cancers and rare genetic diseases.

Shanghai Miracogen Signs a Non-Exclusive License Agreement with Synaffix for its ADC Technologies

There is a trend in China towards developing innovative products, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) have emerged as a strong area of growth within the field of oncology. ADCs are an emerging novel class of anticancer treatment agents that combines the selectivity of targeted treatment with the cytotoxic potency of chemotherapy drugs.

Synaffix B.V., a Netherlands-based biotechnology company focused on the development of best-in-class ADCs, announces that it has entered into a license agreement with Shanghai Miracogen Inc., a Chinese biotechnology company with a clinical-stage pipeline of ADCs. Miracogen will focus on the research, development, manufacturing and commercialization of the ADC product. Synaffix ‘s GlycoConnect™ and HydraSpace™ technologies will further differentiate the pipeline of ADCs by delivering valuable expansion of the therapeutic index.

Under the terms of the agreement, Miracogen has been granted non-exclusive rights to Synaffix’s proprietary GlycoConnect™ and HydraSpace™ ADC technologies for use in its next clinical candidate. This agreement follows a research collaboration between the two companies which was centered around a specific drug candidate that has now been selected for clinical development.

About Synaffix BV
Synaffix BV is a clinical-stage, Netherlands-based biotech company that has established a proprietary antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology platform that enhances efficacy and tolerability compared to all 3 major clinical-stage ADC technologies.

About Miracogen
Shanghai Miracogen Biotechnology Co., Ltd. was established in early 2014 and is located in Pudong, Shanghai. The company is committed to the development of the world’s leading technology antibody-conjugated drugs (ADC) and the development of innovative anti-tumor drugs, clinical research and industrialization.

HitGen and Kaken Enter Into License Agreement to Develop a Novel Class of Drugs

HitGen Inc., a rapidly growing Chinese biotechnology company and Kaken Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., a Japanese specialty pharmaceutical company, recently entered into a license agreement to develop a novel class of drugs for an undisclosed target nominated by Kaken. The small-molecules were identified by Hitgen’s leading drug discovery platform, the DNA encoded chemical libraries (DELs), to discover novel small molecules against a variety of targets.

HitGen’s DELs contain nearly 400 billion drug-like small molecule and macrocyclic compounds against precedented and unprecedented classes of biological targets, synthesized from hundreds of distinct chemical scaffolds.

Under the terms of collaborative agreement, HitGen will grant exclusive rights to Kaken for further development and commercialization, and be eligible for preclinical and clinical milestone payments from Kaken as the project progresses.

About Kaken
Kaken is a specialty pharmaceutical company in Japan with strong experience in developing and commercializing novel pharmaceuticals and medical devices in the fields of orthopedics, dermatology and surgery. Kaken concentrates its R&D resources in inflammation/immunology, pain relief and fungal infection areas.

About HitGen Inc.
HitGen is a rapidly growing biotech company with headquarter and main research facility based in Chengdu, China and with a subsidiary in the USA. HitGen has established a platform for small molecule drug discovery research centred on the design, synthesis and screening of DNA encoded chemical libraries (DELs).

China’s Thalys and Israel’s iCan Sign MOU for Co-investment in Cannabis and Hemp Related Startups

Thalys Medical Technology, a leading Chinese healthcare company, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with iCAN, Israel’s leading medical cannabis incubator. The two companies will collaborate to advance the development of early stage incubated companies focusing on the medical hemp industry. Hemp, typically found in the northern hemisphere, is a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. It can be refined into a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint , biofuel, food, and animal feed.

Thalys will help the early stage companies in iCAN’s portfolio develop their businesses and subsequently enter the world’s most populous consumer market. According to the MOU, Thalys will have access to all early stage companies that iCAN is evaluating for investment, funding for co-investment, and access to the Israel market. Thalys will have the ability to negotiate exclusive rights with all of the incubated companies for the Chinese market.

This signing will deepen the relationship between Chinese and Israeli and accelerate the development of China’s new medical hemp industry.

About Thalys
Thalys Medical Technology Inc. was founded in 2004 and is based in Wuhan, China. The company primarily provides agents for in vitro diagnostic products in China.

About iCAN
iCAN is a globally recognized Israeli company focused on developing novel cannabis formulations, devices and solutions to industry challenges. The company is creating a portfolio of brands that will transform the global cannabis economy and ecosystem.



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