Here comes another 'vant'—this one focused on China | Bio Tech

Vivek Ramaswamy’s Roivant Sciences has had a busy week, with Dermavant penning a $330 deal with GlaxoSmithKline and Urovant filing for a $150 million IPO. Now, the company is debuting another “vant,” dubbed Sinovant, whose mission is to “bring innovative medicines” to, you guessed it, China. 

The Shanghai-based “vant” also aims to advance Chinese biopharma innovation abroad, the company said in a statement. It is backed by Chinese private equity firm CITICPE, as well as Roivant.

While Sinovant was founded in 2017, it is only now making its pipeline public. It has 11 assets in development for Greater China and other markets in Asia, with four therapies poised for phase 3 clinical trial registration. These include the FGFR inhibitor derazantinib, in development for a type of liver cancer that is prevalent in China, and lefamulin, an antibiotic in the works for the treatment of pneumonia. Roivant picked up the rights to both drugs in Greater China earlier this year.

Its most recent pipeline addition is that of naronapride, Renexxion’s gastrointestinal prokinetic. Sinovant has the Chinese rights to the investigational drug and will initially develop naronapride in irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, the company said. Sinovant has also teamed up with China Liver Health, a public health nonprofit, on new treatments for liver disease and infectious diseases in China.

The news comes just days after Roivant’s urological disease unit, Urovant, filed to raise $150 million in its IPO. The company’s pipeline rests on its lead asset, vibegron, a selective beta3-adrenergic agonist. It licensed the global rights, except those in Japan and certain Asian territories, from Merck. And on Thursday last week, Dermavant picked up the rights to GSK’s phase 3-ready psoriasis med tapinarof in a deal that saw the British drugmaker receive £150 million ($198 million) upfront that could total up to £250 million ($330 million).

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