Combined company led by Dr. Zhao creates robust and potentially first-in-class pipeline of drug candidates in growing ophthalmology and CNS markets
SHANGHAI, China, Oct. 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AffaMed Therapeutics (“AffaMed”), a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing transformative therapeutics to address ophthalmologic and central nervous system (CNS) disorders with high unmet medical need for patients in Greater China and beyond, today announced a definitive merger agreement with biopharmaceutical company EverInsight Therapeutics (“EverInsight”).
This merger brings together complementary businesses to expand AffaMed’s advanced portfolio of existing assets, adding EverInsight’s pipeline of innovative therapeutic candidates in CNS and ophthalmology and further strengthening the company’s global R&D capabilities. The combined company, which will retain the AffaMed Therapeutics name and the entity, will focus on the development of therapeutics for ophthalmologic and CNS disorders in Greater China and beyond. The two companies were both incubated by CBC Group (formerly known as C-Bridge Capital) and have established partnerships and licensing agreements with leading global biopharmaceutical companies.
Dayao Zhao, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the combined company and will also join the Board of Directors when the merger is complete. Wei Fu, Chief Executive Officer of CBC Group, will serve as the Chairman of the Board.
“Under the leadership of Dr. Zhao alongside our high caliber management team with deep expertise in global biopharmaceutical development, AffaMed is poised to become the leading global company dedicated to therapeutics in ophthalmology, neurology and psychiatry based in China,” said Wei Fu. “We look forward to leveraging our combined R&D capabilities to advance this strong portfolio of therapeutic candidates as we work to create synergy and value for our shareholders.”
“EverInsight brings with it a strong team and portfolio in neurological and psychiatric disorders, including its neurosteroid nasal spray, PH94B, which is moving into Phase 3 development for social anxiety disorder with licensing rights from VistaGen Therapeutics in Greater China, Korea, and Southeast Asia,” said Dr. Zhao. “With this significant merger, AffaMed is well on its way to leading the charge to efficiently bring innovation to patients in Greater China from the rest of the world, positioned as the partner of choice in ophthalmologic diseases and neurological and psychiatric disorders, all growing disease areas with high unmet medical need in the region.”
Dr. Zhao brings to this role decades of biopharmaceutical leadership, having most recently served as CEO of EverInsight, and prior to that CEO of Eucure Pharmaceuticals, where he built a first-in-class clinical development team that implemented programs worldwide. From 2016 to 2019, Dr. Zhao was the General Manager of Pfizer’s China R&D Center overseeing 1,400 scientists located across Shanghai, Wuhan, and Beijing. He was also head of the Development China organization, which is responsible for all clinical development in China for the global markets. From 2011 to 2015, Dr. Zhao was the head of China R&D for Johnson and Johnson’s (JNJ) pharmaceutical division, and prior to JNJ, he was the Group Vice President at Genzyme, heading up its Japan-Asia Pacific R&D where he was responsible for Clinical Development, Pharmacovigilance, Medical Affairs and Regulatory Affairs. Prior to his position at Genzyme, Dr. Zhao had worked for more than 12 years in both discovery and clinical development at Pfizer Central Research and led the CNS clinical development team in North America at Novartis. Dr. Zhao received a Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School and M.D. degree from Peking University Medical School.
AffaMed’s existing portfolio has strong presence in ophthalmology, including rights in China and Singapore for biosimilars referencing ranibizumab (Lucentis®), and aflibercept (Eylea®) from Samsung Bioepis. AffaMed also has the Greater China right of first negotiation and refusal for GB-102, an investigative twice-per-year intravitreal pan-VEGF inhibitor in Phase 2b development for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration, by Graybug Vision (NASDAQ: GRAY).
In early October, AffaMed entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Kissei Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. to develop and commercialize KDT-3594, an agent for Parkinson's Disease, in Greater China and Southeast Asia. After the merger, the combined company will continue to in-license late stage assets to augment its portfolio in ophthalmology, and neurological and psychiatric disorders.
About AffaMed Therapeutics
AffaMed Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing transformative pharmaceutical products that address critical unmet medical needs in ophthalmology, and neurological and psychiatric disorders for patients in Greater China and around the world. The management team of AffaMed Therapeutics has deep industry expertise and an extensive track record of high-quality clinical development, regulatory affairs, CMC, business development and operations both in China and with leading global pharmaceutical companies. AffaMed Therapeutics was founded and funded by the CBC Group in 2019.
About EverInsight Therapeutics
EverInsight Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative drugs in ophthalmology, and neurological and psychiatric disorders in Greater China and globally. EverInsight was founded and funded by CBC Group in 2019.
About CBC Group
CBC Group (formerly C-Bridge Capital) is one of the largest and most active healthcare-dedicated investment firms in Asia focused on platform-building and buyout opportunities across three core areas within the healthcare sector: pharmaceutical & biotech, medtech and healthcare services. CBC's operationally intensive approach empowers healthcare sector champions to make transformative changes to enable sustainable long-term growth, fulfill unmet medical needs and continuously improve the standard of living and quality of care in China and the rest of Asia. Founded in 2014, CBC has a strong team of investment, healthcare and portfolio management professionals based across Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and New York.
The CBC Group team comprises of a group of talented professionals including seasoned investors, senior executives and professionals from the healthcare industry, as well as professional legal, financial and other operational support. As entrepreneurs who empower other entrepreneurs, CBC Group aims to achieve shared growth and alignment with portfolio companies through its differentiated portfolio management model, which includes assisting with operations management, alternative financing channels, team building, strategy formulation and business expansion. For more information, please visit www.cbridgecap.com.
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