Af­ter snatch­ing up Shire's can­cer unit, French phar­ma gi­ant Servi­er to ex­pand US pres­ence with Kendall Square in­no­va­tion of­fice

Servi­er, the French phar­ma gi­ant that just ac­quired Shire’s on­col­o­gy unit for $2.4 bil­lion, is putting a US in­no­va­tion out­post in Kendall Square. The new unit will be called Servi­er BioIn­no­va­tion, and it’s just re­cruit­ed two ex­ec­u­tives to head it up — like­ly hunters for part­ner­ships and tech that will ad­vance Servi­er’s pipeline.

Chris­t­ian Schu­bert

This marks the sec­ond French phar­ma gi­ant to an­nounce a Kendall Square out­post in the past 24 hours. Just yes­ter­day, Ipsen an­nounced it was mov­ing its US head­quar­ters from New Jer­sey to Boston.

The two di­rec­tors of Servi­er BioIn­no­va­tion are ex-Bio­gen ex­ec Chris­t­ian Schu­bert and Uni­ver­si­ty of Mass­a­chu­setts’ di­rec­tor of tech com­mer­cial­iza­tion Rekha Pa­leyan­da. They’ll be in charge of head­ing up Servi­er’s US R&D and ex­ter­nal in­no­va­tion, and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and li­cens­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

Rekha Pa­leyan­da

To­day, Servi­er al­ready has a bit of a US pres­ence with some aca­d­e­m­ic col­lab­o­ra­tions with Har­vard and MIT in Boston. It’s al­so part­nered with biotechs and phar­ma through­out the US, and sup­ports the Lab­Cen­tral in­cu­ba­tor. And af­ter the April news that Servi­er was buy­ing up Shire’s on­col­o­gy unit, the French com­pa­ny will have a much big­ger foot­print on this side of the At­lantic. In a state­ment, Servi­er said the ac­qui­si­tion al­lows Servi­er to es­tab­lish an “im­me­di­ate and di­rect com­mer­cial pres­ence in the US.”

Christophe Thurieau

“Servi­er BioIn­no­va­tion rep­re­sents Servi­er’s com­mit­ment to ex­pand­ing its grow­ing pres­ence in the U.S. for the long-term through R&D and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and li­cens­ing ac­tiv­i­ties,” said Christophe Thurieau, di­rec­tor of re­search cen­ters and the Servi­er In­ter­na­tion­al Re­search Net­work (SIRN) at Servi­er’s R&D head­quar­ters. “Chris­t­ian Schu­bert and Rekha Pa­leyan­da are es­tab­lished lead­ers in ex­ter­nal in­no­va­tion, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and li­cens­ing in the biotech­nol­o­gy sec­tor with deep ex­pe­ri­ence in both aca­d­e­m­ic re­search and com­mer­cial busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. The Boston area pro­vides an amaz­ing con­cen­tra­tion of in­no­va­tion, es­pe­cial­ly in the field of on­col­o­gy, for part­ner­ships that will ad­vance sci­ence and build on Servi­er’s his­to­ry as a lead­ing glob­al phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­no­va­tor.”

The US out­post is just the start, Servi­er said. It has plans to broad­en the SIRN pres­ence world­wide, open­ing up of­fices in Bei­jing, Chi­na next.

Im­age: The Longfel­low Bridge con­nect­ing Bea­con Hill, Boston to Kendall Square, Cam­bridge.SHUT­TER­STOCK

Fangliang Zhang, AP Images

UP­DAT­ED: Leg­end fetch­es $424 mil­lion, emerges as biggest win­ner yet in pan­dem­ic IPO boom as shares soar

Amid a flurry of splashy pandemic IPOs, a J&J-partnered Chinese biotech has emerged with one of the largest public raises in biotech history.

Legend Biotech, the Nanjing-based CAR-T developer, has raised $424 million on NASDAQ. The biotech had originally filed for a still-hefty $350 million, based on a range of $18-$20, but managed to fetch $23 per share, allowing them to well-eclipse the massive raises from companies like Allogene, Juno, Galapagos, though they’ll still fall a few dollars short of Moderna’s record-setting $600 million raise from 2018.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 83,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

As it hap­pened: A bid­ding war for an an­tibi­ot­ic mak­er in a mar­ket that has rav­aged its peers

In a bewildering twist to the long-suffering market for antibiotics — there has actually been a bidding war for an antibiotic company: Tetraphase.

It all started back in March, when the maker of Xerava (an FDA approved therapy for complicated intra-abdominal infections) said it had received an offer from AcelRx for an all-stock deal valued at $14.4 million.

The offer was well-timed. Xerava was approved in 2018, four years after Tetraphase posted its first batch of pivotal trial data, and sales were nowhere near where they needed to be in order for the company to keep its head above water.

Is a pow­er­house Mer­ck team prepar­ing to leap past Roche — and leave Gilead and Bris­tol My­ers be­hind — in the race to TIG­IT dom­i­na­tion?

Roche caused quite a stir at ASCO with its first look at some positive — but not so impressive — data for their combination of Tecentriq with their anti-TIGIT drug tiragolumab. But some analysts believe that Merck is positioned to make a bid — soon — for the lead in the race to a second-wave combo immuno-oncology approach with its own ambitious early-stage program tied to a dominant Keytruda.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Bris­tol My­ers is clean­ing up the post-Cel­gene merg­er pipeline, and they’re sweep­ing out an ex­per­i­men­tal check­point in the process

Back during the lead up to the $74 billion buyout of Celgene, the big biotech’s leadership did a little housecleaning with a major pact it had forged with Jounce. Out went the $2.6 billion deal and a collaboration on ICOS and PD-1.

Celgene, though, also added a $530 million deal — $50 million up front — to get the worldwide rights to JTX-8064, a drug that targets the LILRB2 receptor on macrophages.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 83,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Leen Kawas, Athira CEO (Athira)

Can a small biotech suc­cess­ful­ly tack­le an Ever­est climb like Alzheimer’s? Athi­ra has $85M and some in­flu­en­tial back­ers ready to give it a shot

There haven’t been a lot of big venture rounds for biotech companies looking to run a Phase II study in Alzheimer’s.

The field has been a disaster over the past decade. Amyloid didn’t pan out as a target — going down in a litany of Phase III failures — and is now making its last stand at Biogen. Tau is a comer, but when you look around and all you see is destruction, the idea of backing a startup trying to find complex cocktails to swing the course of this devilishly complicated memory-wasting disease would daunt the pluckiest investors.

GSK presents case to ex­pand use of its lu­pus drug in pa­tients with kid­ney dis­ease, but the field is evolv­ing. How long will the mo­nop­oly last?

In 2011, GlaxoSmithKline’s Benlysta became the first biologic to win approval for lupus patients. Nine years on, the British drugmaker has unveiled detailed positive results from a study testing the drug in lupus patients with associated kidney disease — a post-marketing requirement from the initial FDA approval.

Lupus is a drug developer’s nightmare. In the last six decades, there has been just one FDA approval (Benlysta), with the field resembling a graveyard in recent years with a string of failures including UCB and Biogen’s late-stage flop, as well as defeats in Xencor and Sanofi’s programs. One of the main reasons the success has eluded researchers is because lupus, akin to cancer, is not just one disease — it really is a disease of many diseases, noted Al Roy, executive director of Lupus Clinical Investigators Network, an initiative of New York-based Lupus Research Alliance that claims it is the world’s leading private funder of lupus research, in an interview.

Drug man­u­fac­tur­ing gi­ant Lon­za taps Roche/phar­ma ‘rein­ven­tion’ vet as its new CEO

Lonza chairman Albert Baehny took his time headhunting a new CEO for the company, making it absolutely clear he wanted a Big Pharma or biotech CEO with a good long track record in the business for the top spot. In the end, he went with the gold standard, turning to Roche’s ranks to recruit Pierre-Alain Ruffieux for the job.

Ruffieux, a member of the pharma leadership team at Roche, spent close to 5 years at the company. But like a small army of manufacturing execs, he gained much of his experience at the other Big Pharma in Basel, remaining at Novartis for 12 years before expanding his horizons.

Covid-19 roundup: Ab­b­Vie jumps in­to Covid-19 an­ti­body hunt; As­traZeneca shoots for 2B dos­es of Ox­ford vac­cine — with $750M from CEPI, Gavi

Another Big Pharma is entering the Covid-19 antibody hunt.

AbbVie has announced a collaboration with the Netherlands’ Utrecht University and Erasmus Medical Center and the Chinese-Dutch biotech Harbour Biomed to develop a neutralizing antibody that can treat Covid-19. The antibody, called 47D11, was discovered by AbbVie’s three partners, and AbbVie will support early preclinical work, while preparing for later preclinical and clinical development. Researchers described the antibody in Nature Communications last month.

Pfiz­er’s Doug Gior­dano has $500M — and some ad­vice — to of­fer a cer­tain breed of 'break­through' biotech

So let’s say you’re running a cutting-edge, clinical-stage biotech, probably public, but not necessarily so, which could see some big advantages teaming up with some marquee researchers, picking up say $50 million to $75 million dollars in a non-threatening minority equity investment that could take you to the next level.

Doug Giordano might have some thoughts on how that could work out.

The SVP of business development at the pharma giant has helped forge a new fund called the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative. And he has $500 million of Pfizer’s money to put behind 7 to 10 — or so — biotech stocks that fit that general description.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 83,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.