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Betting big on Chinese biotech

Photo credit: SupChina illustration. Premier Lǐ Kèqiáng 李克强 officially leads economic policy in China, and has emphasized biopharma as one of the country’s ten target industries for Made in China 2025.

A MAN, AND A BUSINESS, TO WATCH

Shān Wěijiàn 单伟建 is the CEO of PAG, a Hong Kong–based private equity firm. He was previously a managing director of JP Morgan, a professor at the Wharton business school, and during the Cultural Revolution, a farm laborer in Inner Mongolia. He has written a memoir titled Out of the Gobi: My Story of China and America.

This star private equity investor just bet big on Chinese biotech: PAG has paid $540 million for a controlling stake in Hisun BioRay Biopharmaceutical, the biotech division of state-owned Hisun Pharma, reports the Financial Times (paywall).

FROM AN EBOLA CURE TO BIOSIMILARS

Hisun Pharma is best known for co-developing an Ebola remedy, “the experimental MIL-77 drug combination used to successfully treat Anna Cross, a British Army reserve nurse who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone in 2015.”

Per the FT, “Hisun BioRay specializes in making biosimilar drugs, which involves manufacturing much more complex molecules than for many other drugs. It has already commercialized one drug to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It also has plans to launch two others.”

Chinese biotech is an industry to watch, and Hisun Pharma is at the leading edge of China’s emerging power in pharma and biotech.

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