Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd. is acquiring a 15.03% stake in COVID-19 vaccine-maker Sinovac Life Sciences Co. Ltd. — a unit of Sinovac Biotech Ltd.. — for $515 million.
Sinovac Life Sciences is developing CoronaVac, a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, which is currently undergoing late-stage trials. In November, the investigational vaccine was shown to induce a quick antibody response in healthy volunteers, according to preliminary results of a phase 1/2 study.
Hong Kong-listed Sino Biopham said it plans to finance the deal through internal resources. The company said the investment will help Sinovac enhance its research and development and expand the production capacity of the COVID-19 vaccine, so as to rapidly meet procurement demand from China and other countries.
The deal also marks Sino Biopharm's foray into vaccine research and development and production, the company said in a news release. "Moreover, given that preventive therapy products have a lower risk of being impacted by the national centralized drug procurement policies, the investment will enhance the Group's overall operational resilience," Sino Biopharm said.
Phase 3 clinical trials for CoronaVac have been approved in Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey and Chile.
Sinovac expects to be able to manufacture 300 million doses annually and aims to complete the construction of a second production facility by the end of 2020 to increase the annual production capacity of CoronaVac to 600 million doses. Depending on market conditions and the availability of financing, Sinovac said it may later on seek to further expand its production capacity.
Houlihan Lokey served as financial adviser, and Han Kun Law Offices and Latham & Watkins LLP served as legal advisers to Sinovac in connection with the deal.