Roche, billionaire-backed biotech partner on hep C drug in China

Roche ($RHHBY) and the biotech startup Ascletis have joined forces to advance Roche's experimental drug danoprevir for hepatitis C virus in the Chinese market. As Reuters reports, the deal comes as Roche sees a decline in sales of its injected interferon therapy Pegasys for hepatitis C, which many researchers want to treat with all-oral drugs. Under the new pact, Ascletis--which launched in 2011 with backing from Chinese real estate mogul Jinxing Qi--is expected to fund development and manufacturing of the drug in China and receive royalties and payments from the Swiss drug giant on potential sales of the protease inhibitor. Article