High-value deals have dominated the Asia-Pacific (APAC) pharma strategic partnership landscape in 2020. Within the region, China is well ahead of other countries, particularly in the field of oncology, reveals GlobalData.
Sasmitha Sahu, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments, “China has tackled the COVID-19 pandemic effectively and restarted economic activities quickly compared to other countries in the region. In addition, fast-tracking clinical trials, updating the National Reimbursement Drug List (NRDL), Healthy China 2030 policy and growing demand for high-quality treatment are all driving the domestic oncology market.”
According to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center, as many as four high-value deals have already been completed within the first two months of 2021 in APAC, of which two are from China. CStone Pharma out-licensed two key late-stage immuno-oncology assets, sugemalimab (anti-PD-L1) and CS1003 (anti-PD-1), to EQRx while Beigene out-licensed tislelizumab (anti-PD-1) to Novartis. Tislelizumab was already approved in China for classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma and locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma.
Sahu explains, “Both the deals are related to either late-stage development molecules or already established molecules in China. This is a win-win situation as it gives an opportunity for novel therapies developed in China to gain global access while the licensee companies can leverage drug development cost and time benefits associated with shorter time-to-market molecules.”
GlobalData reveals that 41 high-value deals have been completed in APAC since 2011, of which over 24 deals are related to oncology with 10 of them involving Chinese companies.
Sahu adds, “Despite the COVID-19 situation, deals values more than $1 billion in China witnessed 100 per cent year-on-year increase to four in 2020 versus two in 2019.”
According to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center, China has 3,667 ongoing clinical trials for 1,761 oncological drugs as of 10 March 2021.
Sahu continues, “As the clinical drug development ecosystem in China evolves towards innovative therapies, clinical trials in the field of oncology are increasing.”
In addition, with the prevailing high cancer incidence in China, oncology will remain an undisputed therapy area choice for deal-making.
Sahu concludes, “With immuno-oncology expected to continue as one of the most impactful trends in the biopharmaceutical industry in 2021, it is expected that more and more companies are likely to tap this opportunity to form strategic collaborations with their Chinese counterparts.”