FiercePharmaAsia—AZ’s China business; BeiGene CEO’s $28M pay; Kangmei’s $4.4B accounting error

By | May 4, 2019

AstraZeneca warned of slowing China growth after it lost a major government procurement deal for Crestor to a generic drugmaker. BeiGene’s CEO nabbed a $ 15 million special equity award in 2018 and ranked as biopharma’s second-highest-paid exec for the year. China’s Kangmei Pharma saw shares plummet on news that its shares could be delisted after a $ 4.4 billion accounting “error.”

1. Good news for AZ’s ‘next phase of growth’: Its cancer drugs have shifted into high gear

China again delivered for AstraZeneca in the first quarter. After a 28% jump at constant currencies, AZ’s China sales totaled $ 1.24 billion, making up 23% of the British pharma’s top line. But CEO Pascal Soriot warned that the company is expecting slower growth in the country—more like 15% to 20% moving forward—partly because hospitals in 11 major cities are switching to domestically-made generics of Crestor after AZ lost in the “4+7” bulk procurement scheme.

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2. BeiGene CEO Oyler nabs a $ 15M thank-you bonus, pushing 2018 pay to $ 27.9M

BeiGene Chairman and CEO John Oyler racked up $ 27.9 million in total 2018 pay, nearly tripling the $ 10.3 million he snared in 2017. That ranks him next only to Teva CEO Kåre Schultz on the highest-paid biopharma CEO list. The major jump came from a one-time, long-term incentive award worth $ 15 million that BeiGene’s board handed to him last April.

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3. China’s Kangmei Pharma unveils $ 4.4B accounting ‘error’ amid regulator probe 

About four months after unveiling an investigation by securities regulators, China’s Kangmei Pharmaceutical, which focuses on traditional Chinese medicines, said it made an accounting “error” and overstated its cash holdings by about 30 billion Chinese yuan ($ 4.4 billion), Bloomberg reports. In a disclosure, the company said it faces potential forced delisting from Shanghai Stock Exchange.

4. Eisai buys Purdue stake in insomnia drug as PDUFA date nears

Eisai is buying back Purdue Pharma’s stake in sleep disorder drug lemborexant as the notorious opioid maker was said to be considering bankruptcy in the face of lawsuits. Purdue bought the stake in the Eisai-discovered drug in 2015 but has now decided to pull out. The drug has gone through two phase 3 trials and could win FDA approval in insomnia by the end of 2019.

5. Savonix picks up an extra $ 9.6M to bring its cognition test app to Asia

Savonix added $ 9.6 million in extension financing to its series A round, bringing its total haul to $ 14.7 million. The company uses machine learning and population health data piled into its mobile app to spot early symptoms of diseases ranging from diabetes to dementia. The new money will help the company expand into Asia.

6. Takeda’s new Trintellix ad celebrates everyday wins against depression

Takeda’s new TV ads for its antidepressant Trintellix features people with depression who struggle to deal with ordinary tasks. By the end of the ad, those people are celebrating everyday victories. Takeda made the uplifting new ad after patients mentioned “they want to focus on their journey to their desired state of health,” the company said.

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