Daily Archives: May 4, 2020

Junshi Biosciences and Lilly to Co-develop Antibody Therapies for the Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19

SHANGHAI and INDIANAPOLIS, May 04, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Junshi Biosciences (HKEX: 1877) and Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) announced today they have entered into an agreement to co-develop therapeutic antibodies for the potential prevention and treatment of COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Junshi Biosciences—a China-based biopharmaceutical company specializing in discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapies—launched one of the industry’s first R&D efforts aimed at discovering therapies to combat COVID-19. Multiple neutralizing antibodies have been engineered, with the lead asset poised to enter clinical testing in the second quarter.

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have been working diligently to join the fight against the pandemic. Entering into this agreement with Lilly empowers us to accelerate the clinical development of Junshi SARS-CoV-2 antibodies globally,” said Ning Li, M.D., Ph.D., Junshi Biosciences’ chief executive officer. “At the same time, by leveraging Lilly’s global presence and capabilities, we have the potential to reach broader COVID-19 patient populations in a wider range of countries and regions.”

“As the number of global cases continues to grow, there is an urgent need to study multiple complementary approaches to address this disease,” said Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., Lilly’s chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories. “The data generated by Junshi Biosciences suggest the lead antibody may have appropriate properties to support testing its therapeutic use in patients as well as exploring its potential for preventing infection in at-risk individuals. We look forward to partnering with Junshi Biosciences to quickly begin testing this potential new therapy in clinical trials.”

Lilly will receive an exclusive license to conduct clinical development, manufacturing and distribution of products outside of Greater China. Junshi Biosciences will maintain all rights in Greater China.

About Junshi SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies
JS016 is a recombinant fully human monoclonal neutralizing antibody that is specific to the SARS-CoV-2 surface spike protein receptor binding domain and can effectively block the binding of viruses to host cell surface receptor ACE2. The project is jointly developed by Junshi Biosciences and Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Science.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Junshi Biosciences rapidly launched the research and development program of neutralizing antibodies to combat COVID-19. Within two months, the company has completed IND enabling pre-clinical studies, the process development and production for GLP toxicity study and GMP production of clinical material by leveraging the company’s platform technology. Junshi Biosciences and Lilly aim to submit an IND application and initiate clinical studies in the United States in the second quarter of the year. Meanwhile, the company is communicating actively with the Center for Drug Evaluation of the National Medical Products Administration to initiate the IND application submission in China as soon as possible.

About Junshi Biosciences
Established in 2012, Junshi Biosciences is committed to developing first-in-class and best-in-class drugs through original innovation and becoming a pioneer in the area of translational medicine to provide patients with effective and affordable treatment options. On December 24, 2018, Junshi Biosciences was listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong with the stock code: 1877.HK. The Company has established a diversified R&D pipeline comprising 21 drug candidates with therapeutic areas covering cancer, metabolic diseases, autoimmune diseases, neurologic diseases, and infectious disease. Product types include monoclonal antibodies, fusion proteins, antibody-drug conjugates, and small molecule drugs. With a combined 33,000L fermentation capacity in two GMP-facilities at Shanghai and Suzhou, Junshi has established the manufacturing infrastructure to support commercialization and provide our partners and patients with high-quality products through a global supply chain network. For more information, please visit: http://junshipharma.com/en/Index.html

About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly is a global health care leader that unites caring with discovery to create medicines that make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at lilly.com and lilly.com/newsroom. C-LLY


Zhi Li; zhi_li@junshipharma.com; (8621) 61058800 (Junshi Media)

Inger Chen; inger_chen@junshipharma.com; (8621) 61058800 (Junshi Investors)

Michael Levitan; mlevitan@soleburytrout.com; (646) 378-2920 (Junshi Investors; Solebury Trout)

Nicole Hebert; Nicole_Hebert@lilly.com; (317) 701-9984 (Lilly Media)

Kevin Hern; hern_kevin_r@lilly.com; (317) 277-1838 (Lilly Investors)

Inspection Commission proposes expelling former official from Party

The Party Central Committee’s Inspection Commission has asked the Political Bureau and the Committee to expel a former Deputy Defence Minister from the Party.

In a notice on May 3, the Commission said during its 44th session in Hanoi on April 27 and 28, it made the proposal against Nguyen Van Hien, also former member of the Committee, for his very serious violations of legal provisions in a criminal case happening in the Navy.

It also decided to expel two former leading officials of a military division for their very serious violations of legal provisions related to land management in the Anti-Aircraft and Air Force.

Besides, the commission reviewed wrongdoings committed by Party units and leading officials at various economic groups and in localities, among other important contents.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Hanoi licenses 235 FDI projects in four months

The capital city of Hanoi granted licences to 235 foreign-invested projects with total registered capital of 324 million USD in the first four months of this year.

A further 35 projects registered additional capital of 365 million USD, while foreign investors contributed capital and purchased shares worth 293 million USD.

During the period, the city earned over 4.3 billion USD from exports, down nearly 4.7 percent year-on-year. Export earnings of domestic firms fell 4.6 percent while that of foreign enterprises was down 4.7 percent.

The city’s industrial production index in April dropped 14.7 percent month-on-month and 4.3 percent year-on-year.

However, the index for the first four months of this year rose by 2.3 percent annually.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Building material sector eyes boon

The building material sector would be among the first to benefit from the Government’s efforts to speed up disbursement of public investment, which was identified as a growth driver as the COVID-19 pandemic cast a shadow on the economy.

According to analysts of VNDirect Securities, major growth drivers were slowing down. Specifically, exports were under pressure as global demand dropped and FDI also saw significant decline in registered capital (down by 20.9 percent to 8.6 billion USD in the first quarter).

“COVID-19 entirely changed the macro-economic landscape. We believe that public investment will play a very important role in accelerating economic growth this year as other drivers slow down,” VNDirect Securities wrote.

VNDirect forecast Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) to expand at five percent this year.

VNDirect said that the Government was sending strong signals about accelerating public investment disbursement this year.

Disbursement of public investment rose by 16.4 percent to reach 59.5 trillion VND in the first quarter, or 13.2 percent of the plan for the full year.

In the 2021-22 period, the Government would increase public investment by 8.2 percent, higher than the Government’s GDP growth target set at 6.1 percent for 2020.

Budget deficit would be allowed to increase to 3.5 percent of GDP in 2021-22, from the planned rate of 3.4 percent of GDP in 2020.

According to a report by the Ministry of Finance, public investment was planned at 700 trillion VND this year, 2.2 times higher than the realised capital in 2019.

It was estimated that if all budgeted public investment was disbursed this year, GDP this year would increase by 0.42 percentage points. Public investment would focus on improving infrastructure.

According to VNDirect, component projects of the North-South Expressway would be the focus of public investment. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc agreed to change the investment model of eight projects of the North-South Expressway from public-private partnership to State-invested.

Thus, all 11 component projects of the North-South Expressway would be State-invested.

The Prime Minister also urged localities to focus on speeding up land clearance for these projects so that construction of some could be started in the third quarter of this year, instead of the first quarter of 2021.

Enterprises which produced and supplied building materials would benefit from the speeding up of public investment disbursement, VNDirect said.

VNDirect estimated that around 40 percent of public investment would be spent in 11 component project of the North-South Expressway and My Thuan – Can Tho Highway.

Accordingly, the construction would need asphalt worth around 8.9 trillion VND, construction steel worth 7.6 trillion VND and cement worth 3.8 trillion VND. Demand for construction stone would also increase to around 30-35 percent of the capacity of producers.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Industrial production index grows at slowest pace in many years

The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) in the first four months of 2020 grew by about 1.8 percent year on year, the slowest pace in many years, due to COVID-19, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The processing-manufacturing sector rose 3 percent; electricity production and distribution 2.9 percent; and water supply, waste and wastewater management and treatment 3.6 percent. Meanwhile, the mining industry contracted 6.8 percent.

The GSO said the complex developments of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world have led to a shortage of input materials, which has subsequently hit industrial production.

Motorized vehicle production was down 14.2 percent; beverage production 13.9 percent; and crude oil and natural gas extraction 10.8 percent.

Other key products that followed the downward trend are beer (24.1 percent), automobiles (23.8 percent), sugarcane (23.5 percent), motorcycles (16.6 percent), crude oil (12 percent), and liquefied petroleum gas (11.8 percent).

However, some industries still recorded fair growth such as medicine, pharmaceutical chemical product, and herbal material manufacturing (25.9 percent), coke and refined petroleum product production (16.9 percent), and metal ore mining (16.5 percent).

In April alone, the IIP dropped by 13.3 percent month on month and 10.5 percent year on year.

The GSO said the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts have forced a large number of businesses to lay off employees, adding that the number of employees at industrial firms on April 1 declined 1.1 percent month on month and 1.6 percent year on year.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Enterprises look to enhance links to prevent future disruptions to supply chains

Some 81 percent of members of the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) will strengthen sectoral links to prevent their supply chains from suffering any future disruption caused by a disaster similar to the COVID-19 pandemic, a survey has found.

The survey was conducted by VBCSD to explore how domestic enterprises are doing amid the pandemic and based on this, it made recommendations for the Government to develop a medium- and long-term response strategy associated with the National Action Plan to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Most enterprises have posted sharp declines in revenue as COVID-19 has damaged exports and triggered a shortage of materials, said VBCSD Vice President Nguyen Quang Vinh, who is also Secretary-General of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

Enterprises must therefore prepare new suitable business plans that integrate urgent short-term issues with medium- and long-term strategies, he said, adding that after the pandemic ends, global supply chains will soon be restructured and repositioned.

The survey also revealed that 31 percent of respondents said they have focused or will focus more on the domestic market and reduce dependency on certain foreign markets.

Vinh added that many respondents said they will accelerate e-commerce and digital transformation to become less dependent on traditional markets and conventional ways of doing business.

Their first task, however, is to cut costs and postpone investments in non-essential items.

VBCSD President Vu Tien Loc said a sustainable development strategy would benefit businesses in the long run as it would help them strengthen their resilience in any circumstance, particularly in the face of COVID-19.

Vinh suggested enterprises diversify their suppliers rather than prioritising the boosting of efficiency. They should establish a network of short-term suppliers in addition to those with long-term contracts and at the same time, develop risk management scenarios for their supply chain and adopt more flexible and streamlined production plans.

The VBCSD also proposed the Government develop a legal framework to facilitate sustainable development. It should formulate and implement plans for improving sustainable corporate governance in 2021-2025 and the national programme to support the business community in promoting the circular economy in Vietnam from 2021-2030.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Industry and trade sector will promote development

The Industry and Trade Ministry will promote the restructuring of industrial production sectors, especially the support industry, due to difficulties in production during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has caused local enterprises difficulties in production because they depend on imported input materials.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said the ministry would focus on restructuring chains for industrial production, especially in large manufacturing and processing industries such as textiles, footwear, electronics and wooden processing sectors.

The restructuring would be carried out to promote sustainable cooperation with some partners such as the Republic of Korea, Japan and India to avoid dependence on a few partners or markets as at present.

The ministry would review the situation and demand for input materials to propose production organisation plans and solutions to diversify sources of raw materials for production and business.

It has also proposed the Government consider approval of a resolution on solutions promoting development of the support industry. Based on the resolution, the solutions on developing the support industry would be carried out in all provinces and cities nationwide, reported the Ha Noi Moi newspaper.

Truong Thanh Hoai, director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Industry Department, said Vietnam had a low localisation rate in industries and mostly imported raw materials and spare parts for domestic production.

Besides that, according to the ministry, Vietnam’s index of industrial production in the first quarter surged 5.8 percent year on year, lower than the growth rate of 9.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019.

Of which, the industrial production of the manufacturing and processing industry in the first quarter of this year rose by only 7.2 percent year on year, much lower than the growth rate of 10.9 percent in the first quarter of last year and 15.7 percent in the first quarter of 2018.

The low growth rate was mainly due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has affected the supply of imported raw materials for domestic industrial production, especially in the processing and manufacturing industries.

At present, domestic garment enterprises have a shortage of raw materials for processing export products. Therefore, many of them have focused on producing masks to meet high demand on the domestic market. The production has helped them to overcome the current difficulties due to available raw materials on the local market.

Source: Vietnam News Agency