Af­ter fruit­less talks, a bid from Vas and plen­ty of pa­tience, AveX­is CEO Sean Nolan slow­ly reeled in an $8.7B deal

AveX­is CEO Sean Nolan

Some­times, it pays to be pa­tient. In Sean Nolan’s case, it was per­son­al­ly worth tens of mil­lions of dol­lars.

Af­ter watch­ing the cork bob in the wa­ter for months, the AveX­is CEO got his first hard strike on June 29 last year when an ad­mir­er of­fered to buy the com­pa­ny for $112 a share, with a mix of cash and stock.

He and the board threw it right back, even though his own stock was trad­ing at that time for $81.69.

The bio­phar­ma, iden­ti­fied in a re­cent SEC fil­ing as Com­pa­ny B, wasn’t done. A $118 of­fer was fol­lowed by $130, and by the end of Ju­ly, they were in to con­duct due dili­gence.

It didn’t go any­where, though, with Com­pa­ny B walk­ing away in Au­gust, un­able to put a deal to­geth­er. And that’s some­thing that Nolan prob­a­bly laughs about these days.

Vas­ant Narasimhan, No­var­tis

In the com­ing months, AveX­is shares would surge as it be­came clear that the FDA would be will­ing to con­sid­er very ear­ly-stage da­ta on its gene ther­a­py for spinal mus­cu­lar at­ro­phy, a po­ten­tial ground­break­er in that field. And on Feb­ru­ary 16, af­ter the top BD guys at No­var­tis had be­gun talks about an al­liance, the new­ly pro­mot­ed CEO Vas Narasimhan jumped on the phone and of­fered Nolan $190 a share.

Nolan de­murred, but al­lowed that he was in­ter­est­ed.

There were plen­ty more com­mu­ni­ca­tions — even a sud­den ap­pear­ance by “Com­pa­ny C” which end­ed up of­fer­ing $185 with an in­tent to find some added val­ue. But Narasimhan got what he want­ed when he hiked No­var­tis bid to $218, with a sweet­en­er to $225 if No­var­tis has to ex­tend the of­fer.

Suku­mar Na­gen­dran

They closed on April 6 at $8.7 bil­lion, with an 88% pre­mi­um on the shares and close to twice the first bid made by Com­pa­ny B.

Nolan’s ex­it pack­age is worth $64.5 mil­lion.

Chief Med­ical Of­fi­cer Suku­mar Na­gen­dran gets $23.4 mil­lion.

James L’Ital­ien, the chief reg­u­la­to­ry of­fi­cer, gets $19 mil­lion.

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The dynamic in the biotech market has been highly volatile in the last few years, from the high peaks immediately after the COVID vaccine in 2021, to the lowest downturns of the last 20 years in 2022. This uncertainty makes calling the exact timing of the market’s turn something of a fool’s errand, according to Dr. Chen Yu, Founder and Managing Partner of TCG Crossover (TCG X). He speaks with RBC’s Noël Brown, Head of US Biotechnology Investment Banking, about the market’s road ahead and two possible paths for growth.

Casey McPherson shows his daughters Rose (left) and Weston around Everlum Bio, a lab that he co-founded to spark a treatment for Rose and others with ultra-rare conditions. (Ilana Panich-Linsman)

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Gray specks on the screen show her cells that scientists reprogrammed with the goal of zeroing in on a custom medicine. McPherson co-founded the lab, Everlum Bio, to spark a treatment for Rose — and others like her. A regarded singer-songwriter, McPherson never imagined going into drug development.

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Marc Dunoyer, Alexion CEO (AstraZeneca via YouTube)

Up­dat­ed: As­traZeneca nabs a small rare dis­ease gene ther­a­py play­er for 667% pre­mi­um

AstraZeneca is kicking off the fourth quarter with a little M&A Monday for a gene editing player recently overcoming a second clinical hold to its only program in human studies.

The Big Pharma and its subsidiary Alexion are buying out little LogicBio for $2.07 per share. That’s good for a massive 667% premium over its Friday closing price, when it headed into the weekend at 27 cents and just weeks after Nasdaq said LogicBio would have to delist, which has been put on hold as the biotech requests a hearing. It’s one of two biotech deals to commence October, alongside the news of Incyte buying a vitiligo-focused biotech.

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Dave Marek, Myovant CEO

My­ovant board balks as ma­jor­i­ty own­er Sum­it­o­mo swoops in with a $2.5B deal to buy them out

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But these other investors at Myovant want more than what the Japanese pharma company is currently offering to pay at this stage.

Sumitomo is bidding $22.75 a share for the outstanding stock, which now represents 48% of the company after Sumitomo bumped its ownership since the original deal with Roivant. Myovant, however, created a special committee on the board, and they’re shaking their heads over the offer.

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Vlad Coric, Biohaven CEO

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Pfizer officially scooped up Biohaven’s CGRP assets on Monday, including blockbuster migraine drug Nurtec and the investigational zavegepant, for $11.6 billion. As a result, Coric spun the broader pipeline into an independent company on Tuesday — with the same R&D team behind Nurtec but about 1,000 fewer staffers and a renewed focus on neuroscience and rare disease.

Benjamine Liu, TrialSpark CEO

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TrialSpark and the Big Pharma on Tuesday committed to in-licensing and/or acquiring six Phase II/Phase III drugs within the next three years.

“I’ve known Paul Hudson for a while and we were discussing the opportunity to really re-imagine a lot of different parts of pharma,” TrialSpark CEO Benjamine Liu told Endpoints News, “and one of the things that we discussed was this opportunity to accelerate the development of new medicines in mutual areas of interest.”

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Jeff Mar­raz­zo has found a buzzy new biotech cause to cham­pi­on. And once again, he's all in

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The fact that he stayed around for a couple of years after Roche’s $4.3 billion Spark buyout, making sure the organization he founded weathered Covid-19, is one example. And that came after he carefully guided the company to the first-ever US approval of a gene therapy — no easy task.

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In AstraZeneca's latest campaign, wild eosinophils called Phils personify the acting up often seen in uncontrolled asthma

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There are some odd-looking purple creatures lurking around the halls of AstraZenca lately. The “Phil” character cutouts are purple, personified eosinophils with big buggy eyes and wide mouths, and they’re a part of AZ’s newest awareness effort to help people understand eosinophilic asthma.

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