A CRO look­ing to build its man­u­fac­tur­ing side busi­ness has a new par­ent af­ter Keen­sight snaps up ma­jor­i­ty stake

Dutch CRO Symeres has looked to grow its man­u­fac­tur­ing side busi­ness, rec­og­niz­ing the ben­e­fit of syn­er­gy in con­tract re­search and pro­duc­tion. That dual mis­sion caught the eye of Keen­sight Cap­i­tal, a French in­vest­ment firm who has de­cid­ed to go all in and steer the ship.

Keen­sight on Tues­day said it would pick up a ma­jor­i­ty stake in Symeres from Gilde Health­care. Symeres spe­cial­izes in small mol­e­cules and pro­vides R&D ser­vices from pre­clin­i­cal dis­cov­ery to Phase I/II clin­i­cal stages of drug de­vel­op­ment along­side its man­u­fac­tur­ing of­fer­ings. The com­pa­ny is grow­ing, and Keen­sight will help the com­pa­ny grow its op­er­a­tion over the next few years, Keen­sight part­ner Amit Kar­na said.

“What we see is the CROs and CD­MOs with a per­fect track record, a long en­dur­ing track record, very high qual­i­ty stan­dards, that these are dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed busi­ness­es that clients come to so if you can find a di­a­mond busi­ness … it’s a great busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ty,” Kar­na said.

Symeres em­ploys 500 peo­ple over six sites in the Czech Re­pub­lic, Fin­land and the Nether­lands. It’s ex­pect­ed to reach over €70 mil­lion in sales in 2021, ac­cord­ing to a re­lease. Apart from Symeres’ one-stop-shop ap­peal, Kar­na said there’s been a ton of in­ter­est in the con­tract space as drug in­no­va­tion grows in­creas­ing­ly con­sol­i­dat­ed in biotech, where man­u­fac­tur­ing and re­search in­fra­struc­ture is small, ver­sus phar­ma, where re­sources are im­mense.

“What you ba­si­cal­ly see is the whole trend in the in­dus­try is the whole in­no­va­tions of new med­i­cines and new mol­e­cules is not with the big phar­ma com­pa­nies any­more as it was 15 years ago, but its with the biotech com­pa­nies,” Symeres CEO Eel­co Ebbers said in an in­ter­view with End­points News.

As for Keen­sight, the 20-year-old com­pa­ny first en­tered the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal space in 2015 with a fo­cus as a force mul­ti­pli­er for es­tab­lished com­pa­nies — in­clud­ing hir­ing more em­ploy­ees, and build­ing out a com­mer­cial and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment pres­ence. Keen­sight al­ready sports three CD­MOs in its port­fo­lio, but Symeres is the first of those firms that has a CRO wing.

“You take a lot of bur­den from the cus­tomer pro­vid­ing a sin­gle so­lu­tion for them, be­cause of all the knowl­edge that you have,” Ebbers said. “If you’re on­ly in the CD­MO space, then you’re re­ly­ing on things that have been done be­fore, and you see that all of a sud­den you have a clin­i­cal can­di­date and then you need to work. And with us at Symeres, the ba­sic knowl­edge is there and you see every­thing in that pipeline com­ing through.”

Un­lock­ing ESG strate­gies for growth with Gilead Sci­ences

RBC Capital Markets explores what is material in ESG for biopharma companies with the ESG leads at Gilead Sciences. Gilead has long focused on sustainability but recognized a more robust framework was needed. Based on a materiality assessment, Gilead’s ESG strategy today focuses first on drug access and pricing, while also addressing D&I and climate change. Find out why Gilead’s board is “acutely aware” of the contribution that ESG makes to firm’s overall success.

On the hunt for the next Mod­er­na, in­vestors have pumped 'plat­form plays' with cash. Can any­thing slow the run­away train?

It didn’t take an expert to see that mRNA platforms could be huge.

Julie Sunderland partnered with both Moderna and BioNTech about a decade ago while she was running program-related investments for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — and even then the potential for their platforms was obvious despite some well-founded concerns about whether the next-gen tech would ever cross the finish line.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Fred Upton and Diana DeGette

New DARPA-like NIH agency preps for re­al­i­ty as E&C un­veils bi­par­ti­san Cures 2.0 draft bill

House Energy & Commerce leaders Fred Upton (R-MI) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) on Tuesday released new draft legislation with wide-ranging implications for public health, the FDA, NIH, and that would create a new, $6.5 billion federal advanced research agency under NIH, with an aim to cure cancer, Alzheimer’s and other difficult diseases.

Similar to DARPA, the new NIH division to be known as ARPA-H, would be run by a small group of program managers with more latitude to pursue high-risk, high-reward projects that other government agencies would likely shy away from.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Kimberly Smith, ViiV via Youtube

They went from dai­ly to once every two months. But how much longer act­ing can HIV meds be? Vi­iV en­lists Halozyme's tech to find out

It wasn’t easy navigating the manufacturing and controls issues that had led the FDA to reject ViiV Healthcare’s first pitch for the once-monthly HIV regimen cabotegravir and rilpivirine. But even as Kimberly Smith was knee-deep in sorting out those problems and putting together a new package that finally won the regulators over this January, her business development team kept looking for things that would take them to the next level.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 109,900+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) with reporters in the Senate Subway (Graeme Sloan/Sipa via AP Images)

Top Wyden pri­or­i­ty for drug price re­forms: Medicare ne­go­ti­a­tions

As the Biden administration tries to wrangle the details of its infrastructure bill, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) took a concrete step forward on drug pricing reforms on Tuesday and unveiled five principles for such reforms, including providing Medicare with the ability to negotiate prices.

“Allowing the Secretary of HHS to negotiate the price Medicare will pay creates a much needed mechanism to achieve fairer prices when the market has failed to do so,” Wyden wrote.

Pier Vincenzo Colli, Alfasigma CEO (C. Romagnoli, Alfasigma archive)

Al­fasig­ma snares EU rights to blood clot­ting an­ti­body on the hunt for pa­tients tak­ing As­traZeneca's Bril­in­ta

Two years after Phase I data generated promise for bentracimab as the first drug to stop bleeding in patients that were prescribed AstraZeneca’s much-hyped stroke and heart attack drug Brilinta, PhaseBio has licensed it out to a European partner.

PhaseBio sold European rights for the uncontrolled bleeding monoclonal antibody to Italian biotech Alfasigma. That company will market the drug in 49 countries across Europe and other markets, PhaseBio said in a press release.

End­points News is now 5 years old. Here's how you can sup­port us for the next phase of growth

Endpoints News turned five years old over the weekend. I wanted to mark the happy occasion by extending our deepest gratitude to Endpoints’ premium subscribers while outlining several other ways to support us as we go broader and get bigger this year and beyond.

Same as any business, we’ve got to create value and get paid for delivering it. So if you depend on Endpoints to stay abreast on biopharma developments, we depend on you too.

Emma Walmsley, GlaxoSmithKline CEO (Credit: Fang Zhe/Xinhua/Alamy Live News)

Ac­tivist in­vestor El­liott in talks with oth­er Glax­o­SmithK­line in­vestors about re­plac­ing Em­ma Walm­s­ley, spin­ning off vac­cine busi­ness — re­port

As Emma Walmsley reveals details this Wednesday about the upcoming split of GlaxoSmithKline’s pharma and consumer units, some tough questions may be coming her way.

Elliott Management, the activist investor that’s previously threatened an attack on GSK (but eventually backed off), is floating more radical changes like replacing the CEO, further breaking up the company and spinning out the vaccine unit, or reviewing the focus on cancer drugs, the Financial Times reported.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 109,900+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Roche's Alzheimer's drug spurred bio­mark­er changes but no cog­ni­tive im­pact — pa­per; vTv out-li­cens­es for­mer lead pro­gram

More than a year ago, Roche and Eli Lilly were forced to contend with a Phase II/III failure of their respective Alzheimer’s drugs. But while Eli Lilly essentially threw in the towels, Roche wasn’t ready to give up yet.

The Swiss drugmaker now has some biomarker data to spotlight as investigators continue monitoring patients in an open-label extension study.

Dubbed DIAN-TU, the study had been designed to see whether Roche’s gantenerumab and Lilly’s solanezumab could spur a cognitive benefit for a group of patients who had a rare, inherited form of Alzheimer’s that’d tied to early-onset. In short, they didn’t: Both failed the primary endpoint.