Joe Wiley, Amryt CEO

A biotech with a yen for pricey rare dis­ease drugs — and bar­gain base­ment shop­ping — adopts an­oth­er or­phan in lat­est M&A pact

Af­ter mak­ing it through a long, painful haul to get past a CRL and on to an FDA ap­proval last sum­mer, lit­tle Chi­as­ma has found a buy­er.

Am­ryt $AMYT, a com­pa­ny known for its ap­petite for ac­quir­ing ex­pen­sive drugs for rare dis­eases at bar­gain prices, snagged Chi­as­ma and its acromegaly drug My­capssa (oc­treotide) cap­sules in an all-stock deal — with an ex­change of 0.396 shares of Am­ryt for every share of Chi­as­ma.

The Need­ham, MA-based Chi­as­ma $CHMA launched My­capssa last Sep­tem­ber, but record­ed less than $2 mil­lion in sales for Q1. Now Am­ryt says it can carve out $50 mil­lion in an­nu­al “syn­er­gies” with the deal as it us­es its in-house group to mar­ket the drug and look for an ex­pand­ed la­bel. That may hit the staff of 84 em­ploy­ees at Chi­as­ma.

Chi­as­ma start­ed the day with a mar­ket cap of $164 mil­lion, with shares shoot­ing up 44% on news of the buy­out.

Chi­as­ma had crashed close to 5 years ago when the FDA re­ject­ed My­capssa and sent the com­pa­ny back to the draw­ing board af­ter ques­tion­ing the de­sign of their piv­otal study. Their drug is an oral ver­sion of so­mato­statin ana­logues used to treat an over­pro­duc­tion of growth hor­mones that leads to or­gan growth.

Af­ter they fi­nal­ly won their OK, the com­pa­ny rolled it out at a cost of $5,152 for a 28-day course of ther­a­py at the start­ing dose.

Am­ryt — with a mar­ket cap of $351 mil­lion — picked up some ex­tra at­ten­tion last fall when the com­pa­ny an­nounced pos­i­tive top-line re­sults for its drug Fil­su­vez for epi­der­mol­y­sis bul­losa, though it sparked plen­ty of ques­tions about a fail­ure on the sec­ondary side. The biotech is per­haps best known for their ac­qui­si­tion of Aege­ri­on, which net­ted two of the world’s most ex­pen­sive ther­a­pies: Myalept and Jux­tapid. They fol­lowed that deal by swift­ly up­ping the price by 9.99%.

The buy­er is now paint­ing in some block­buster num­bers around its new drug, though it’s vir­tu­al­ly start­ing from scratch on mar­ket­ing.

Am­ryt CEO Joe Wi­ley not­ed:

We see sig­nif­i­cant rev­enue growth op­por­tu­ni­ties for My­capssa in acromegaly and are al­so very ex­cit­ed to fur­ther de­vel­op the po­ten­tial for My­capssa in pa­tients with car­ci­noid symp­toms stem­ming from NET where we be­lieve the com­mer­cial op­por­tu­ni­ty is sig­nif­i­cant.

In­side Track: Be­hind the Scenes of a Ma­jor Biotech SPAC

Dr. David Hung and Michelle Doig are no strangers to the SPAC phenomenon. As Founder and CEO of Nuvation Bio, a biotech company tackling some of the greatest unmet needs in oncology, Dr. Hung recently took the company public in one of this year’s biggest SPAC related deals. And as Partner at Omega Funds, Doig not only led and syndicated Nuvation Bio’s Series A, but is now also President of the newly formed, Omega-sponsored, Omega Alpha SPAC (Nasdaq: OMEG; oversubscribed $138m IPO priced January 6, 2021).

Hal Barron, GSK R&D chief (Endpoints News)

Hal Bar­ron gam­bles $625M cash on high-wire TIG­IT act, throw­ing Glax­o­SmithK­line in­to heat­ed race and com­plet­ing next-gen I/O trin­i­ty

Count Hal Barron and GlaxoSmithKline in for the TIGIT fight.

The stakes are as high as the risks: While a growing pack of Big Pharma rivals is lending credence to the hypothesis that TIGIT will be the next big immune checkpoint and cancer drug target, the first clinical trials have shown response rates that can be described as modest at best. But Barron’s bet is on the whole “axis” that the receptor sits on, with an eye on testing its new anti-TIGIT antibody not just in combo with PD-1 but also in triplets.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 109,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Barry Greene, Sage CEO

UP­DAT­ED: Sage's sec­ond chance at de­pres­sion hits the PhI­II pri­ma­ry, but ques­tions re­main over dura­bil­i­ty, side ef­fects

Looking to make a comeback after a big Phase III flop, Sage Therapeutics revealed data they believe could change the entire depression treatment landscape, given the vast array of failures in the field. But some results are spooking investors, sending Sage $SAGE shares down early Tuesday.

First, the primary: Sage and Biogen reported Phase III data for once-daily zuranolone Tuesday morning, saying the experimental drug hit its primary endpoint by spurring a statistically significant change from baseline in the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression total score. After 15 days, patients in the drug arm saw an average change of -14.1 points, compared to -12.3 on placebo.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 109,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

CEO Harith Rajagopalan (Fractyl)

Af­ter a decade in the type 2 di­a­betes game, Fractyl Lab­o­ra­to­ries recharges with a fresh $100M and a new name

Harith Rajagopalan compared the way type 2 diabetes is managed to sticking your fingers in a dam that’s leaking from a number of places.

You can take drugs to lower your blood sugar, cholesterol, or blood pressure, but you’re not addressing what he says is the core issue — the metabolic abnormality that causes the disease.

“We’re so busy plugging the holes in the dam, we don’t have time to see that the whole infrastructure is at risk,” he said. “That infrastructure is a full-body systemic metabolic abnormality called metabolic syndrome, that we’re ignoring while we’re so busy trying to treat all of the individual symptoms of the condition.”

Bio­gen sig­nals a big PhI­II fail­ure as the lead gene ther­a­py in their $800M Night­star buy­out goes down in flames

That $800 million buyout of Nightstar has turned into a bust for Biogen as the lead therapy in the deal failed a pivotal study, signaling a severe setback for the biotech’s ambitions in gene therapies.

The big biotech put out the word after the market closed on Monday that the gene therapy they picked up in the deal for a degenerative blindness called choroideremia failed the Phase III study, just a month after their #2 drug in the deal also flopped in a mid-stage study.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 109,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Andrew Hopkins, Exscientia CEO

Ex­sci­en­tia spends Soft­Bank's cash in bid to edge out AI ri­vals

Exscientia is sprinting to win the great AI biotech race.

The UK company, having long labored on small discovery deals with large pharmas, raised up to $525 million in a Series D led by the infamous Japanese conglomerate SoftBank in April and followed it up less than a month later with a Bristol Myers Squibb deal that paid $50 million cash and $1.2 billion in milestones.

Now, the Oxford spinout is splurging on a shiny new tool. On Monday they announced they purchased the three-year-old molecule-screening biotech Allcyte, a longtime collaborator, for $60.6 million in cash and stock.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 109,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Michel Sade­lain puts his name and new cell en­gi­neer­ing tech be­hind 'ag­nos­tic' CAR-T start­up chas­ing epi­ge­net­ic anti­gens

It felt natural for Alain Maiore and Sebastian Amigorena to bring in Michel Sadelain as a co-founder of Mnemo Therapeutics. A CAR-T pioneer, Sadelain had been involved as an advisor since the early days — enthusiastic about Amigorena’s work in a genetic knockout that could enhance T cell memory and a new class of potential targets he’s discovered — and could introduce some well-known technologies to the toolbox. So they got the initial cash from Sofinnova Partners to plant roots in Paris and New York in early 2019; within a few months, they began to see more clearly just what the antigen discovery platform might unlock.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 109,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Lynn Fitch, Mississippi Attorney General (Rogelio V. Solis/AP Images)

Mis­sis­sip­pi sues Eli Lil­ly, Sanofi and No­vo over in­sulin prices as in­ter­change­able biosim­i­lars may ar­rive soon

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch last week sued the top three insulin manufacturers, which collectively cover almost the entire US insulin market, alleging that they’ve colluded to raise their prices in lockstep, and in some cases by more than 1,000% for drugs that are decades old.

“Because of Manufacturer Defendants’ collusive price increases, nearly a century after the discovery of insulin, diabetes medications have become unaffordable for many diabetics,” the lawsuit says.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 109,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Bob Cuddihy, Capsida CEO

CRISPR Ther­a­peu­tics takes a swing at ALS gene edit­ing in dis­cov­ery deal with AAV up­start Cap­si­da

When small biotech Capsida launched just a few months ago, it hit the scene with backing from drug giant AbbVie to chase AAV-delivered drugs for CNS. Now, the team has earned the support of one of the biggest names in gene editing — and it’s taking on a big challenge right away.

CRISPR Therapeutics has signed a deal with Capsida Biotherapeutics, a gene therapy player specializing in AAV engineering, to carve out a delivery mechanism for the company’s gene editing tech in ALS and rare neurodegenerative disorder Friedreich’s ataxia, the companies said Tuesday.