Achillion's CEO Milind Deshpande steps down; NeuroVision raises $11.2M for novel Alzheimer's detection tech
→ Milind Deshpande is stepping down from Achillion $ACHN, the biotech he’s led for the better part of the last two decades, first as CSO and then as CEO. His departure leaves the faded hep C star in the hands of former COO Joseph Truitt, who already has the president title. During his tenure, Deshpande steered a pipeline restructuring that rebranded Achillion from an infectious disease player to a specialist in complement biology, axing staff just a few months ago. Truitt, who joined the company in 2009, emerged as a key figure in that comeback narrative. Having led commercial strategy and business development, he will now prep Achillion for a series of readouts from its complement factor D inhibitor program in rare diseases.
→ NeuroVision, a company developing a non-invasive diagnostic for Alzheimer’s disease, has raised $11.2 million out of $15 million in planned Series C financing. Sacramento, CA-based NeuroVision attracted the backing of Wildcat Capital Management, J&J Innovation and other investors with an eye imaging system that aims to detect amyloid beta plaque via the retina. Given that amyloid beta plaque deposits in the brain are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease but are inconvenient and expensive to detect, execs say, this new technology offers a low-cost alternative that could lead to earlier detection of disease as well as easier screening in clinical trials. Neurovision is on track to seek regulatory approval for the tech, which was licensed from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
→ UK gene editing company Horizon Discovery has snubbed a $370 million takeover bid by Abcam, an international research tool company. The proposal was rejected despite the fact that Abcam offered a price that represented a 26% premium to Horizon’s closing price on May 1. Abcam, which makes antibodies, proteins, and other products for researchers, is building a new global headquarters at Cambridge Biomedical Campus and is on the hunt for strategic takeovers. Horizon would make a pretty match, Abcam says, allowing each company to expand their reach globally. Abcam is pitching that idea to Horizon’s shareholders by going public with its bid proposal. Shares in Horizon jumped 36% on the London exchange on the news.
With contribution by Brittany Meiling