Pharming has signed a deal to collaborate with the Shanghai Institute of Pharmaceutical Industry, a subsidiary of China's Sinopharm the country's largest drugs distributor, to develop  treatments and sell the Dutch biotech's hereditary angioedema drug Ruconest/Rhucin.

Under the terms of the agreement, Pharming will transfer its technology platform and manufacturing know-how to SIPI, so that joint global development for new products will take place at the latter's facilities in Shanghai. The firms aim to benefit from "both the cost advantages of the Pharming platform and the competitive development and manufacturing costs structures at SIPI".

Cashwise, SIPI will pay Pharming 1.26 million euros upfront for the collaboration and 840,000 euros associated with the the first technology transfer relating to Ruconest (conestat alfa). The agreement, which also covers the usual clinical and regulatory milestones, plus royalties, will initially focus on Ruconest and haemophilia A treatment.

Sijmen De Vries, Pharming's chief executive, said the deal looks to develop "new recombinant products in a cost effective manner [and]  is a significant strategic achievement". He claimed that "the combination of SIPI’s vast resources and product development capabilities and Pharming’s platform will allow us to jointly develop a biological pipeline by engaging in future multiple product development activities and significantly increase the output of our platform".

Weigen Lu, president of SIPI, said that "we have created an opportunity to provide for China’s rapidly increasing need to domestically developed world- class quality biological medicines" and to bringing to Chinese patients affordable biologics. He went on to say that by supplying Pharming, "we can become a global exporter of such domestically produced competitive world- class biological medicines".