Peter Ding, Allorion Therapeutics co-founder and CEO

A fledg­ling transpa­cif­ic biotech grabs a launch round to dive in­to on­col­o­gy and au­toim­mune re­search

Pre­ci­sion-med biotech Al­lo­ri­on Ther­a­peu­tics is ex­pand­ing — and now has tens of mil­lions of dol­lars more to work with.

The Nat­ick, MA-based com­pa­ny an­nounced in a state­ment this morn­ing that it closed a Se­ries A round, bring­ing in $40 mil­lion. Shang­hai VC Qim­ing Ven­ture Part­ners led the round, which al­so in­cludes a num­ber of both new and old in­vestors — Oc­ta­gon Cap­i­tal, IDG Cap­i­tal and TF Cap­i­tal, to name a few.

Ac­cord­ing to Al­lo­ri­on, which has op­er­a­tions in both Mass­a­chu­setts and Guangzhou, Chi­na, the $40 mil­lion will go to­ward pre­clin­i­cal projects, IND-en­abling stud­ies and IND ap­pli­ca­tions of two drug can­di­dates in Chi­na and the US. It al­so in­cludes in­vest­ing in its own in­ter­nal drug dis­cov­ery plat­form.

The biotech fo­cus­es on dis­cov­er­ing small mol­e­cules specif­i­cal­ly against can­cer and au­toim­mune dis­eases — but to what ex­tent re­mains un­clear. Al­lo­ri­on has not yet named any tar­gets or pro­grams it is pri­or­i­tiz­ing.

How­ev­er, the com­pa­ny says there is an in­ter­nal fo­cus on “chem­i­cal li­braries,” em­pha­siz­ing al­losteric and co­va­lent mod­u­la­tors, with a hint of AI through “op­ti­miz­ing the li­braries through the aid of AI.”

Al­lo­ri­on start­ed up close to 18 months ago in June 2020, when co-founders Pe­ter Ding and Fang Li got to­geth­er. Ding, cur­rent­ly Al­lo­ri­on’s CEO, came over from an­oth­er com­pa­ny where he was a co-founder — Cure­genix, where he was al­so head of R&D. Li joined up as CSO af­ter leav­ing his po­si­tion as the head of trans­la­tion­al and com­pu­ta­tion­al bi­ol­o­gy at Cam­bridge pre­ci­sion on­col­o­gy play­er Tan­go Ther­a­peu­tics.

And last De­cem­ber, Al­lo­ri­on got their in­ter­nal labs up and run­ning at their sites in Mass­a­chu­setts and Guangzhou, ac­cord­ing to a com­pa­ny state­ment.

“We have con­fi­dence in the team’s strong R&D ca­pa­bil­i­ties. We hope to sup­port Al­lo­ri­on to grow in­to a glob­al­ly-rec­og­nized com­pa­ny and im­prove pa­tients’ life qual­i­ty,” Ding said in a pre­pared state­ment.

M&A: a crit­i­cal dri­ver for sus­tain­able top-line growth in health­care

2021 saw a record $600B in healthcare M&A activity. In 2022, there is an anticipated slowdown in activity, however, M&A prospects remain strong in the medium to long-term. What are future growth drivers for the healthcare sector? Where might we see innovations that drive M&A? RBC’s Andrew Callaway, Global Head, Healthcare Investment Banking discusses with Vito Sperduto, Global Co-Head, M&A.

15 LGBTQ lead­ers in bio­phar­ma; Paul Stof­fels’ Gala­pa­gos re­vamp; As­traZeneca catch­es up in AT­TR; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

A return to in-person conferences also marks a return to on-the-ground reporting. My colleagues Beth Synder Bulik and Nicole DeFeudis were on-site at Cannes Lions, bringing live coverage of pharma’s presence at the ad festival — accompanied by photos from Clara Bui, our virtual producer, that bring you right to the scene. You can find a recap (and links to all the stories) below.

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AstraZeneca's new Evusheld direct to consumer campaign aims to reach more immunocompromised patients.

As­traZeneca de­buts first con­sumer cam­paign for its Covid-19 pro­phy­lac­tic Evusheld — and a first for EUA drugs

AstraZeneca’s first consumer ad for Evusheld is also a first for drugs that have been granted emergency use authorizations during the pandemic.

The first DTC ad for a medicine under emergency approval, the Evusheld campaign launching this week aims to raise awareness among immunocompromised patients — and spur more use.

Evusheld nabbed emergency authorization in December, however, despite millions of immunocompromised people looking for a solution and now more widespread availability of the drug.

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De­spite a slow start to the year for deals, PwC pre­dicts a flur­ry of ac­tiv­i­ty com­ing up

Despite whispers of a busy year for M&A, deal activity in the pharma space is actually down 30% on a semi-annualized basis, according to PwC’s latest report on deal activity. But don’t rule out larger deals in the second half of the year, the consultants said.

PwC pharmaceutical and life sciences consulting solutions leader Glenn Hunzinger expects to see Big Pharma companies picking up earlier stage companies to try and fill pipeline gaps ahead of a slew of big patent cliffs. Though a bear market continues to maul the biotech sector, Hunzinger said recent deals indicate that pharma companies are still paying above current trading prices.

Abortion-rights protesters regroup and protest following Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Fol­low­ing SCO­TUS de­ci­sion to over­turn abor­tion pro­tec­tions, AG Gar­land says states can't ban the abor­tion pill

Following the Supreme Court’s historic decision on Friday to overturn Americans’ constitutional right to an abortion after almost 50 years, Attorney General Merrick Garland sought to somewhat reassure women that states will not be able to ban the prescription drug sometimes used for abortions.

Following the decision, the New England Journal of Medicine also published an editorial strongly condemning the reversal, saying it “serves American families poorly, putting their health, safety, finances, and futures at risk.”

Joe Wiley, Amryt Pharma CEO

Am­ryt Phar­ma sub­mits a for­mal dis­pute res­o­lu­tion to the FDA over re­ject­ed skin dis­ease drug

The story of Amryt Pharma’s candidate for the genetic skin condition epidermolysis bullosa, or EB, will soon enter another chapter.

After the Irish drugmaker’s candidate, dubbed Oleogel-S10 and marketed as Filsuvez, was handed a CRL earlier this year, the company announced in a press release that it plans to submit a formal dispute resolution request for the company’s NDA for Oleogel-S10.

Kelly Martin, Radius Health CEO

VC firms take os­teo­poro­sis drug­mak­er Ra­dius Health pri­vate for al­most $900M

After attacks from activist investors and disappointing returns on share prices, Radius Health has now agreed to new ownership, a direction resulting in leaving the Nasdaq.

Radius Health, a biotech out of Massachusetts with one approved product in its arsenal, announced Thursday morning that it agreed to be acquired by two VC firms: Gurnet Point Capital and Patient Square Capital. The deal, worth around $890 million, will include debt assumption and the payout of $1 CVR per share for investors. And on top of that, OrbiMed is providing debt financing.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images)

Phar­ma-friend­ly sen­a­tor calls on FDA for a third time to show patent pro­tec­tions should­n't be blamed for high drug prices

North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis made a name for himself in the 2020 election cycle as the darling of the pharma industry, accepting hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions, even from the likes of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

Those contributions have led Tillis to attempt to re-write patent laws in pharma’s favor, a move which failed to gain steam in 2019, and request for a third time since January that the FDA should help stop “the false narrative that patent protections are to blame for high drug prices.”

Yong Dai, Frontera Therapeutics CEO

Scoop: Lit­tle-known Or­biMed-backed biotech clos­es $160M round to start gene ther­a­py tri­al

Frontera Therapeutics, a China and US biotech, has closed a $160 million Series B and received regulatory clearance to test its first gene therapy stateside, Endpoints News has learned.

Led by the largest shareholder, OrbiMed, the biotech has secured $195 million total since its September 2019 founding, according to an email reviewed by Endpoints. The lead AAV gene therapy program is for an undisclosed rare eye disease, according to the source.

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