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U.S. Biotech Amgen Strikes Major Deal to Expand China Presence

October 31, 2019, 10:18 PM UTC

This is the web version of Brainstorm Health Daily, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the top healthcare news. To get it delivered daily to your in-box, sign up here.

Good afternoon, readers (and a Happy Halloween to those who “celebrate.”)

China is in the early throes of a biotech explosion. And American companies have taken notice.

On Thursday, U.S. biotech giant Amgen announced that it will take a 20.5% stake in BeiGene, a firm which IPO’d in the U.S. back in 2016 with a $158 million public offering and then had a subsequent $903 million secondary IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange in summer of 2018. (Stunningly, that secondary debut was seen as a disappointment compared to what the company could have picked up at the time.)

A whole bunch of factors likely played into this decision, including fundamental changes China has made to its financial and public health regulations surrounding experimental biotech companies in recent years.

For more on that, I encourage you to read up on a recent conversation I had with Brad Loncar, an investor who runs cancer immunotherapy-based funds in both the U.S. and China.

But Amgen’s $2.7 billion cash stake in BeiGene will include a profit-sharing and commercialization agreement for a number of Amgen cancer drugs in China, as well as R&D partnerships for a few other treatments.

Read on for the day’s news. And trick or treat.

Sy Mukherjee, @the_sy_guy, sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com

DIGITAL HEALTH

A fecal transplant led to a patient's death. The microbiome (those tiny little critters which live on our guts) has been a big new focus area for biopharma companies in recent years. The idea is to leverage whatever is present in the gut to improve health - and that includes the concept of "fecal transplants" that could shore up problems occurring in patients' intestines. But things can always go wrong in medicine, as underscored by a new explanation regarding a patient's death linked to a fecal transplant. In this particular case, the fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) included an E. Coli contamination in the stool transplanted to the patient.

INDICATIONS

How sleep clears away toxins from the brain. We've all heard that sleep is good for you. But a new study highlights exactly why that is in greater detail. For instance, according to Boston University researchers, sleep may actually clear away toxins. Here's what BU's Laura Lewis told Wired: "What she discovered was that during non-REM sleep, large, slow waves of cerebrospinal fluid were washing over the brain. The EEG readings helped show why. During non-REM sleep, neurons start to synchronize, turning on and off at the same time." (Wired)

REQUIRED READING

The Mobile Price Wars Are On. Here's How Much You Can Saveby Aaron Pressman

When Women Invest in Other Womenby Ellen McGirt

China Is Launching Its 5G Network Ahead of Schedule, by Grady McGregor

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