Chris Perkin, Altasciences via Youtube

A year af­ter ex­pan­sion in Penn­syl­va­nia, Al­ta­sciences scoops up CRO to spread to Mid­west

Al­ta­sciences CEO Chris Perkin has gone through sev­er­al ac­qui­si­tions in his 45-year ca­reer. And if there’s one thing he learned, it’s how not to go through an ac­qui­si­tion.

His com­pa­ny put that knowl­edge to use on Tues­day when it an­nounced that it had ac­quired com­peti­tor Sin­clair re­search, a pre­clin­i­cal con­tract re­search or­ga­ni­za­tion in Mis­souri. With the pick­up, Al­ta­sciences gains 80 an­i­mal rooms, and full-ser­vice IND and NDA-en­abling tox­i­col­o­gy and safe­ty phar­ma­col­o­gy ser­vices.

The com­pa­ny has been around for more than 50 years, and Perkin said that the move has felt more like meet­ing up with fel­low col­leagues than ac­quir­ing a new as­set. Sin­clair’s reg­u­la­to­ry his­to­ry is sol­id, he said, and it gives Al­ta­sciences more op­por­tu­ni­ties in the small mol­e­cule mar­ket, which can be of­ten over­looked. That will al­low for a range of dif­fer­ent drug class­es, and broad­en the over­all pre­clin­i­cal of­fer­ings.

“We’ve al­ways been aware of Sin­clair, I mean, that’s a com­peti­tor,” Perkin said. “When it came up for sale…we start­ed talk­ing with the own­ers, and we con­nect­ed along a lot of lev­els. Sim­i­lar cul­ture, sim­i­lar ap­proach to cus­tomer ser­vice. It just gave us so much of a com­fort lev­el that they had al­ready heard of us, it was just more like col­leagues com­ing to­geth­er than form­ing a new com­pa­ny.”

Perkin said that cul­ture was the biggest pri­or­i­ty for the team. If you meet the cur­rent em­ploy­ees where they al­ready are, you can iden­ti­fy strate­gies and meth­ods the team have in place. When you don’t have to change much, morale is kept high.

The lo­ca­tion in Mis­souri al­so stood out to Al­ta­sciences, as it al­ready boasts Wash­ing­ton state and Penn­syl­va­nia sites on ei­ther coast.

“It’s per­fect be­cause it fills a gap, but it’s on­ly a cou­ple of hours, at most from our cam­pus with a clin­i­cal site, which al­ways brings a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties as we pro­vide this in­te­grat­ed so­lu­tion for drug de­vel­op­ment,” Perkin said.

The ac­qui­si­tion marks the eighth site un­der the Al­ta­sciences um­brel­la. Six of those have come through ac­qui­si­tions, and three of those deals were made in 2021 alone. The com­pa­ny isn’t done ei­ther. The deal fits in­to its long-term growth plan, which is fo­cused on ex­pand­ing both or­gan­i­cal­ly and through ac­qui­si­tions, and stretch­ing its reach ge­o­graph­i­cal­ly. Most press­ing is the com­pa­ny’s move to Eu­rope, which is cur­rent­ly in the works. More con­crete news on that front is ex­pect­ed to be re­leased in the next five to six months, Perkin said.

Ed­i­tor’s Note: For more news and ex­clu­sive cov­er­age from the man­u­fac­tur­ing beat, sub­scribe to the End­points Man­u­fac­tur­ing week­ly re­port in your read­er pro­file.

The Big Phar­ma dis­card pile; Lay­offs all around while some biotechs bid farewell; New Roche CEO as­sem­bles top team; 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.

With earnings seasons in full swing, we’ve listened in on all the calls so you don’t have to. But news is popping up from all corners, so make sure you check out our other updates, too.

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Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/Politico via AP Images)

In­fla­tion re­bates in­com­ing: Wyden calls on CMS to move quick­ly as No­var­tis CEO pledges re­ver­sal

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) this week sent a letter to the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeking an update on how and when new inflation-linked rebates will take effect for drugs that see major price spikes.

The newly signed Inflation Reduction Act requires manufacturers to pay a rebate to Medicare when they increase drug prices faster than the rate of inflation.

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Trodelvy notch­es a win in most com­mon form of breast can­cer

Following a promise last year to go “big and fast in breast cancer,” Gilead has secured a win for Trodelvy in the most common form.

The drug was approved to treat HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer patients who’ve already received endocrine-based therapy and at least two other systemic therapies for metastatic cancer, Gilead announced on Friday.

Trodelvy won its first indication in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer back in 2020, and has since added urothelial cancer to the list. HR-positive HER2-negative breast cancer accounts for roughly 70% of new breast cancer cases worldwide per year, according to senior VP of oncology clinical development Bill Grossman, and many patients develop resistance to endocrine-based therapies or worsen on chemotherapy.

Raymond Stevens, Structure Therapeutics CEO

Be­hind Fri­day's $161M IPO: A star sci­en­tist, GPCR drug dis­cov­ery and a plan to chal­lenge phar­ma in di­a­betes

What does it take to pull off a $161 million biotech IPO these days?

In Structure Therapeutics’ case, it means having a star scientist co-founder paired with the computational drug discovery company Schrödinger, $198 million in private funding from blue-chip investors, almost six years of research work on G protein-coupled receptors and a slate of oral, small-molecule drugs, with an eye on the huge and growing diabetes and weight-loss market.

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Af­ter 13 years, Ramy Mah­moud steps in­to CEO seat at Opti­nose; Ru­pert Vessey set to ex­it Bris­tol My­ers in Ju­ly

After 13 years as president and COO at Optinose, Ramy Mahmoud has stepped into a new role as its CEO. He is taking the place of Peter Miller, who stepped down earlier this week, though Miller is still staying with the company as a consultant.

In 2010, the two business partners joined Optinose to take it in a new direction, transforming it from a delivery platform to product company. They previously worked together at Johnson & Johnson, when Miller was president at Janssen and Mahmoud headed medical affairs. Miller said after he learned about Optinose, “I did what I always do, which is find people smarter than me to talk with about the idea. And the first person I called was Ramy … and I said, ‘Hey, Ramy, what do you think of this technology?’”

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Uğur Şahin, BioNTech CEO (Andreas Arnold/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

BioN­Tech opens new plas­mid DNA man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ty in Ger­many

German mRNA player BioNTech opened the doors to a new manufacturing facility on Thursday, this one just about 75 miles north of its headquarters in Mainz, Germany.

BioNTech announced on Thursday that it has completed the construction of its first plasmid DNA manufacturing facility in Marburg, Germany. The facility will produce materials for mRNA-based vaccines and therapies along with cell therapies.

Te­va drops out of in­dus­try trade group PhRMA

Following in AbbVie’s footsteps, Teva confirmed on Friday that it’s dropping out of the industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Teva didn’t give a reason for its decision to leave, saying only in a statement to Endpoints News that it annually reviews “effectiveness and value of engagements, consultants and memberships to ensure our investments are properly seated.”

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Sanofi CFO Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon (L) and CEO Paul Hudson (Romuald Meigneux/Sipa via AP Images)

Sanofi sees downtick in flu sales as it preps for launch of RSV an­ti­body

Sanofi expects its RSV antibody jointly developed with AstraZeneca will be available next season, executive VP of vaccines Thomas Triomphe announced on the company’s quarterly call.

Beyfortus, also known as nirsevimab, was approved in the EU back in November and is currently under FDA review with an expected decision coming in the third quarter of this year. The news comes as the FDA plans to hold advisory committee meetings over the next couple months to review RSV vaccines from Pfizer and GSK.

Christophe Weber, Takeda CEO (Photographer: Shoko Takayasu/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Take­da fo­cus­es on ‘di­verse’ pipeline prospects on heels of two ac­qui­si­tions

After a whopping $4 billion asset buy from Nimbus Therapeutics, along with a $400 million deal with Hutchmed for a colorectal cancer drug, Takeda executives touted pipeline optimism on its latest earnings call this week.

That’s because the TYK2 inhibitor for psoriasis Takeda is getting from Nimbus, along with the Hutchmed fruquintinib commercialization outside of China, are just two of what it reports are 10 late-stage development programs of promising candidates.