A Mer­ck part­ner is sucked in­to the fi­nan­cial quag­mire as key lender calls in a note

An­oth­er biotech stand­ing on shaky fi­nan­cial legs has fall­en vic­tim to the bears.

Mer­ck part­ner 4D Phar­ma has re­port­ed that a key lender, Ox­ford Fi­nance, shoved the UK com­pa­ny in­to ad­min­is­tra­tion af­ter call­ing in a $14 mil­lion loan they couldn’t im­me­di­ate­ly make good on. Trad­ing in their stock was halt­ed with a mar­ket cap that had fall­en to a mere £30 mil­lion.

“De­spite the very dif­fi­cult pre­vail­ing mar­ket con­di­tions,” 4D re­port­ed on Fri­day, the biotech had been mak­ing progress on find­ing some new fi­nanc­ing and turned to Ox­ford with an al­ter­na­tive late on Thurs­day and then again Fri­day morn­ing.

Sub­se­quent to the sus­pen­sion, the Board was in­formed that Ox­ford had to­day in­struct­ed that the Com­pa­ny be placed in­to ad­min­is­tra­tion, in ac­cor­dance with the terms of the Fa­cil­i­ty. Ac­cord­ing­ly, James Clark and David Pike of In­ter­path Ad­vi­so­ry have been ap­point­ed as joint ad­min­is­tra­tors to 4D phar­ma plc (the “Joint Ad­min­is­tra­tors”). For the avoid­ance of doubt, the fol­low­ing whol­ly owned sub­sidiaries of the Com­pa­ny have not been placed in­to ad­min­is­tra­tion: 4D Phar­ma Re­search Lim­it­ed, 4D Phar­ma Cork Lim­it­ed, 4D Phar­ma León S.L.U. and 4D Phar­ma Delaware In­cor­po­rat­ed.

It still hasn’t giv­en up, though, with plans to look for a new path for­ward as a go­ing con­cern.

Like a host of star­tups, the Leeds-based drug de­vel­op­er has seen its share price shriv­el since the start of the year. Their stock $LBPS has plunged more than 70% since the start of the year.

Mer­ck had been at­tract­ed to the biotech’s plat­form, aimed at cre­at­ing what they called “live bio­ther­a­peu­tics” with an eye to de­vel­op­ing new vac­cines. 4D’s big idea has been cen­tered on us­ing sin­gle-strain bac­te­ria from the gut to make new drugs.

4D lists 6 pro­grams in the clin­ic:

  • There’s Blau­tix in ir­ri­ta­ble bow­el syn­drome (IBS) which the biotech says com­plet­ed a suc­cess­ful Phase II tri­al.
  • A Phase I/II study of MRx0518 in com­bi­na­tion with Keytru­da (pem­brolizum­ab) in sol­id tu­mors.
  • A Phase II clin­i­cal tri­al of MRx0518 in com­bi­na­tion with Baven­cio (avelum­ab) in the first-line main­te­nance set­ting for urothe­lial car­ci­no­ma.
  • A Phase I study of MRx0518 in a neoad­ju­vant set­ting for pa­tients with sol­id tu­mors.
  • A Phase I study of MRx0518 in pa­tients with pan­cre­at­ic can­cer.
  • And a Phase I/II study of MRx-4DP0004 in asth­ma.

So­cial im­age: Dun­can Pey­ton, 4D CEO

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Ted Love, Global Blood Therapeutics CEO

Up­dat­ed: Pfiz­er scoops up Glob­al Blood Ther­a­peu­tics and its sick­le cell ther­a­pies for $5.4B

Pfizer is dropping $5.4 billion to acquire Global Blood Therapeutics.

Just ahead of the weekend, word got out that Pfizer was close to clinching a $5 billion buyout — albeit with other potential buyers still at the table. The pharma giant, flush with cash from Covid-19 vaccine sales, apparently got out on top.

The deal immediately swells Pfizer’s previously tiny sickle cell disease portfolio from just a Phase I program to one with an approved drug, Oxbryta, plus a whole pipeline that, if all approved, the company believes could make for a $3 billion franchise at peak.

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BREAK­ING: Math­ai Mam­men makes an abrupt ex­it as head of the big R&D group at J&J

In an after-the-bell shocker, J&J announced Monday evening that Mathai Mammen has abruptly exited J&J as head of its top-10 R&D group.

Recruited from Merck 5 years ago, where the soft spoken Mammen was being groomed as the successor to Roger Perlmutter, he had been one of the top-paid R&D chiefs in biopharma. His group spent $12 billion last year on drug development, putting it in the top 5 in the industry.

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No­vavax shares shred­ded as Covid vac­cine sales fall more than 90% in Q2

Months after Novavax celebrated its first profitable quarter as a commercial company, the Gaithersburg, MD-based company is back in the red.

Sales for Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine slipped to $55 million last quarter, down from $586 million in Q1, CEO Stanley Erck revealed on Monday after market close. The company’s stock $NVAX plummeted more than 32% in after-hours trading.

Upon kicking off the call with analysts and investors, Erck addressed the elephant in the room:

Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEO (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP)

Break­ing: Pfiz­er in hot pur­suit of a $5B buy­out of Glob­al Blood Ther­a­peu­tics — re­port

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has vowed to leave no stone unturned in the search for new biotech deals, and the BD team is not letting him down.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that Pfizer is in the final stages of acquiring Global Blood Therapeutics for $5 billion. According to the Journal report, though, Pfizer is not the only buyer at the deal table and while the pharma giant may be close to clinching it, there are no guarantees it will continue.

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Anna Protopapas, Mersana CEO

In $1.36B biobuck deal with GSK, Mer­sana touts 'biggest pre­clin­i­cal ADC deal ever'

Days after Enhertu reeled in another FDA nod, with the first-ever green light for HER2-low breast cancer, another antibody drug conjugate biotech claims it has secured the largest preclinical ADC pact to date for a single asset.

AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo made waves with their nearly $7 billion collaboration back in spring 2019, but at that point, Enhertu was already nearing the FDA’s doors with clinical data. The latest ADC tie-up to enter the biopharma fray centers around a preclinical asset, Mersana Therapeutics’ XMT-2056.

Uğur Şahin, BioNTech CEO (Kay Nietfeld/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

De­spite falling Covid-19 sales, BioN­Tech main­tains '22 sales guid­ance

While Pfizer raked in almost $28 billion last quarter, its Covid-19 vaccine partner BioNTech reported a rise in total dose orders but a drop in sales.

The German biotech reported over $3.2 billion in revenue in Q2 on Monday, down from more than $6.7 billion in Q1, in part due to falling Covid sales. While management said last quarter that they anticipated a Covid sales drop — CEO Uğur Şahin said at the time that “the pandemic situation is still very much uncertain” — Q2 sales still missed consensus by 14%.

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FDA commissioner Rob Califf (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

With drug pric­ing al­most done, Con­gress looks to wrap up FDA user fee leg­is­la­tion

The Senate won’t return from its summer recess until Sept. 6, but when it does, it officially has 18 business days to finalize the reauthorization of the FDA user fee programs for the next 5 years, or else thousands of drug and biologics reviewers will be laid off and PDUFA dates will vanish in the interim.

FDA commissioner Rob Califf recently sent agency staff a memo explaining how, “Our latest estimates are that we have carryover for PDUFA [Prescription Drug User Fee Act], the user fee funding program that will run out of funding first, to cover only about 5 weeks into the next fiscal year.”

Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca CEO (David Zorrakino/Europa Press via AP Images)

As­traZeneca and Dai­ichi Sankyo sprint to mar­ket af­ter FDA clears En­her­tu in just two weeks

Regulators didn’t keep AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo waiting long at all for their latest Enhertu approval.

The partners pulled a win on Friday in HER2-low breast cancer patients who’ve already failed on chemotherapy, less than two weeks after its supplemental BLA was accepted. While this isn’t the FDA’s fastest approval — Bristol Myers Squibb won an OK for its blockbuster checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo in just five days back in March — it comes well ahead of Enhertu’s original Q4 PDUFA date.