Roivant Launches New China-Based Startup Sinovant Sciences
Published: Jul 17, 2018 By Alex Keown
Fresh off its first Pipeline Day last week, Vivek Ramaswamy’s Roivant Sciences is taking aim at breaking into the Chinese market. Roivant has launched another company called Sinovant Sciences that is aimed at developing innovative treatments for some of China’s most pressing medical concerns.
Sinovant Sciences launched with a pipeline of 11 investigational biopharmaceutical products for Greater China and other Asian markets, including four therapies suitable for Phase III clinical trial application or registration in China. Sinovant launched with support from Roivant, as well as CITICPE, a leading Chinese private equity firm. Sinovant will be helmed by its co-founder Canwen Jiang, a Novartis veteran. Prior to his tenure at Novartis, Jiang was head of global clinical development for Alcon and head Asia R&D at Genzyme. Sinovant was also co-founded by Xinan Chen, who previously worked at Roivant Sciences on new company formation.
The pipeline of the new Sinovant is focused on some of the key medical issues facing that nation, including liver cancer and drug-resistant bacterial infections. The pipeline includes three key drugs:
- Derazantinib, a fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitor in Phase III development for the treatment of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA), a form of liver cancer with high incidence in Greater China and no approved therapies globally.
- Lefamulin, an antibiotic that has successfully completed two global Phase III studies for community-acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP), one of the leading causes of mortality in China.
- RVT-802, an investigational tissue-based regenerative therapy designed to treat primary immune deficiency resulting from congenital athymia associated with complete DiGeorge Anomaly, a fatal pediatric disorder.
In addition to those three drugs, Sinovant has received Chinese rights to naronapride, an investigational gastrointestinal prokinetic being developed outside of China by Menlo Park, Calif.-based Renexxion. Sinovant plans to develop naronapride in irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C), a condition that impacts approximately 13 million people in. Naronapride's low systemic absorption and high specificity for 5HT4 and D2 receptors may differentiate it from other members of the class, Sinovant said. Sinovant added that it plans to expand development into other gastrointestinal disorders.
In addition to its collaboration with Renexxion, Sinovant also partnered with China Liver Health, a Chinese public health, to accelerate the availability of new treatments for liver disease and infectious diseases in China.
Roivant launched its newest company following a June shakeup that saw a 10 percent cut in employment and the restructuring of its business operations. Sinovant marks the latest in a string of companies launched this year by Roivant. In April Roivant teamed up with Canada-based Arbutus Biopharma Corporation to launch Genevant, which has a focus on the development of RNA-based therapies. Earlier this month, ahead of its Pipeline Day, Roivant launched Immunovant, which will focus on autoimmune diseases.