BeiGene (Hong Kong) and Guangzhou GET Technology Development are setting up a joint venture (j-v), BeiGene Biologics, to build a commercial-scale biologics manufacturing facility in Guangzhou, Guandong Province, China, with $330 million in direct investments. The j-v will use some of the funding to support the development of biologic drugs in China. The project is expected to break ground this year.
Under terms of the agreement, BeiGene HK will contribute $30 million to the BeiGene Biologics j-v. Guangzhou GET will invest an additional $150 million in the form of direct equity investment in BeiGene Biologics and a shareholder loan, which may be convertible into equity. The BeiGene Biologics’ manufacturing subsidiary is expected to secure another $150 million in commercial loans. BeiGene HK is a wholly owned subsidiary of BeiGene, and Guangzhou GET is an affiliate of Guangzhou Development District (GDD).
“We are very pleased to announce our joint venture with the Guangzhou Development District,” commented Xiaodong Wang, Ph.D., co-founder, director, and chairman of the scientific advisory board of BeiGene. “Biologics represent an important part of BeiGene’s overall R&D and manufacturing capabilities. This joint venture will enable BeiGene to keep pace with a growing demand for the development and use of biologics in China and global markets.”
John V. Oyler, co-founder, CEO, and chairman of the BeiGene board, added. “It is our strategic priority to secure high-quality large-scale manufacturing capacity based on the increasing biologics opportunity we envision in China and global markets. We believe the joint venture will provide a valuable asset for our long-term growth.”
In a statement, the Administrative Committee of Guangzhou Municipal Government and Guangzhou Development District said it believed BeiGene Biologics will transform GDD into a center for biopharma innovation, as well as promoting the development of biotech in the region and driving economic transformation. “The government will provide strong support in funding, management service, and creating a good business environment.”
Chinese biopharma BeiGene is developing a clinical pipeline of small-molecule and antibody anticancer drugs targeting Bruton’s tyrosine kinase, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), RAF dimer, and programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1). Last week the firm reported starting a pivotal clinical trial with lead Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor BGB-311 in Chinese patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). A global Phase III study comparing BGB-3111 with ibrutinib for the treatment of patients with Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia was initiated in January.
Announcement of the Chinese investment in biomanufacturing comes just over a week after Lonza and Sanofi announced they would invest $288 million into building a large-scale biologics manufacturing plant in Switzerland. Within the last 10 days, Fujifilm confirmed it would be setting up a standalone operating unit to focus on its biopharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing business.