In recent quarters ShangPharma has added discovery biology and China-based clients. Winning a monoclonal antibody (mAb) development deal with Jiangsu Hengrui continues both upwards trends.
“[ShangPharma] continues to gain traction in this business since its discovery biologics division was established last year”, Liping Cai, equity analyst at William Blair, said in a note to investors.
Initially the Hengrui partnership will focus on development of novel therapeutic mAbs in a major therapeutic area. ShangPharma is providing preclinical services, such as target protein preparation, and Hengrui is leading drug development. Hengrui will keep ownership of the mAbs and patents.
Several preclinical and development milestone payments, as well as a timeline-based incentive, are built into what could be the first of several projects. “It appears the two companies will collaborate on multiple development programmes”, Cai said, but news of other projects is yet to emerge.
Discovery biology growth
The Hengrui deal continues a busy 2011 for discovery biology services at ShangPharma. In March the unit won an antibody development deal with Shenogen Pharma and last month received oncology milestone payments from a US-based biopharm.
Service expansion is helping ShangPharma win business and it is increasing staffing to handle the new capabilities and higher volumes. By the end of 2011 ShangPharma expects to employ 100 people in discovery biology, a five-fold increase from the start of the year, and further growth is planned.
“We expect our collaborative work will lead to further domestic and multinational partnerships in biologics development, and pave the way for innovation and growth in China's own biotechnology industry”, Michael Xin Hui, chairman and CEO of ShangPharma, said in a press statement.