Al­ler­gan buys an ail­ing Re­pros, bag­ging a women’s health drug for the pipeline

Af­ter a lengthy deal spree, Al­ler­gan $AGN is go­ing shop­ping in the pen­ny stock aisle.

The com­pa­ny says it has struck a deal to buy out Re­pros $RPRX and its trou­bled late-stage drug for uter­ine fi­broids and en­dometrio­sis, held up by a par­tial hold at the FDA as reg­u­la­tors main­tain de­mands for sig­nif­i­cant­ly more safe­ty da­ta.

The ac­qui­si­tion comes with an of­fer of 67 cents a share.

The biotech, based in The Wood­lands, TX, has been strug­gling for years, with a low T ther­a­py that aimed for an ap­proval just as the agency was rais­ing the bar on safe­ty on testos­terone treat­ments. Last sum­mer Re­pros sig­naled that it re­mained in trou­ble on Proellex, with reg­u­la­tors de­mand­ing a big­ger tri­al with a broad­er fo­cus on safe­ty for their drug to treat uter­ine fi­broids.

In the mean­time, the biotech’s share price dwin­dled, leav­ing the mar­ket cap at a mi­nus­cule $18 mil­lion.

Al­ler­gan al­ready has a drug in the field. It’s been re­view­ing late-stage da­ta on Es­mya (ulipristal ac­etate), which is de­signed to treat heavy bleed­ing among women with uter­ine fi­broids. Ap­proved in Eu­rope and up for a de­ci­sion in the US, the EMA just days ago be­gan an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to sev­er­al cas­es of liv­er dam­age.

At the same time, Ab­b­Vie has been an­gling for an ap­proval of elagolix, a po­ten­tial block­buster for en­dometrio­sis that it ob­tained in a deal with Neu­ro­crine.

RBC Cap­i­tal Mar­kets’ Ran­dall Stan­icky has es­ti­mat­ed peak sales for Es­mya at more than $800 mil­lion, which is on the very high­est end of the scale for sales pro­jec­tions.  And he wants Al­ler­gan to sell off women’s health in a multi­bil­lion dol­lar deal — which ev­i­dent­ly is not the fa­vored route in­side Al­ler­gan.

Ev­i­dent­ly Al­ler­gan feels it can af­ford to do what Re­pros couldn’t and de­liv­er the safe­ty da­ta that the FDA is look­ing for. The com­pa­ny has been un­der the gun for months as it sought to stave off gener­ic com­pe­ti­tion to its fran­chise drug. But a deal with a Mo­hawk tribe on the patents on­ly drew crit­i­cism from law­mak­ers and so far failed to pro­tect the patents.

Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Getty Images)

Sanofi CEO Paul Hud­son has $23B burn­ing a hole in his pock­et. And here are some hints on how he plans to spend that

Sanofi has reaped $11.1 billion after selling off a big chunk of its Regeneron stock at $515 a share. And now everyone on the M&A side of the business is focused on how CEO Paul Hudson plans to spend it.

After getting stung in France for some awkward politicking — suggesting the US was in the front of the line for Sanofi’s vaccines given American financial support for their work, versus little help from European powers — Hudson now has the much more popular task of managing a major cash cache to pull off something in the order of a big bolt-on. Or two.

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Pablo Legorreta, founder and CEO of Royalty Pharma AG, speaks at the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Cap­i­tal­iz­ing Pablo: The world’s biggest drug roy­al­ty buy­er is go­ing pub­lic. And the low-key CEO di­vulges a few se­crets along the way

Pablo Legorreta is one of the most influential players in biopharma you likely never heard of.

Over the last 24 years, Legorreta’s Royalty Pharma group has become, by its own reckoning, the biggest buyer of drug royalties in the world. The CEO and founder has bought up a stake in a lengthy list of the world’s biggest drug franchises, spending $18 billion in the process — $2.2 billion last year alone. And he’s become one of the best-paid execs in the industry, reaping $28 million from the cash flow last year while reserving 20% of the cash flow, less expenses, for himself.

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The Avance Clinical leadership team: CEO Yvonne Lungershausen, Sandrien Louwaars - Director Business Development Operations, Gabriel Kremmidiotis - Chief Scientific Officer, Ben Edwards - Chief Strategy Officer

How Aus­tralia De­liv­ers Rapid Start-up and 43.5% Re­bate for Ear­ly Phase On­col­o­gy Tri­als

About Avance Clinical

Avance Clinical is an Australian owned Contract Research Organisation that has been providing high-quality clinical research services to the local and international drug development industry for 20 years. They specialise in working with biotech companies to execute Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials to deliver high-quality outcomes fit for global regulatory standards.

As oncology sponsors look internationally to speed-up trials after unprecedented COVID-19 suspensions and delays, Australia, which has led the world in minimizing the pandemic’s impact, stands out as an attractive destination for early phase trials. This in combination with the streamlined regulatory system and the financial benefits including a very favourable exchange rate and the R & D cash rebate makes Australia the perfect location for accelerating biotech clinical programs.

As­traZeneca trum­pets the good da­ta they found for Tagris­so in an ad­ju­vant set­ting for NSCLC — but many of the ex­perts aren’t cheer­ing along

AstraZeneca is rolling out the big guns this evening to provide a salute to their ADAURA data on Tagrisso at ASCO.

Cancer R&D chief José Baselga calls the disease-free survival data for their drug in an adjuvant setting of early stage, epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated NSCLC patients following surgery “momentous.” Roy Herbst, the principal investigator out of Yale, calls it “transformative.”

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Dan O'Day, Gilead CEO (Andrew Harnik, AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Gilead leas­es part­ner rights to TIG­IT, PD-1 in a $2B deal with Ar­cus. Now comes the hard part

Gilead CEO Dan O’Day has brokered his way to a PD-1 and lined up a front row seat in the TIGIT arena, inking a deal worth close to $2 billion to align the big biotech closely with Terry Rosen’s Arcus. And $375 million of that comes upfront, with cash for the buy-in plus equity, along with $400 million for R&D and $1.22 billion in reserve to cover opt-in payments and milestones..

Hotly rumored for weeks, the 2 players have formalized a 10-year alliance that starts with rights to the PD-1, zimberelimab. O’Day also has first dibs on TIGIT and 2 other leading programs, agreeing to an opt-in fee ranging from $200 million to $275 million on each. There’s $500 million in potential TIGIT milestones on US regulatory events — likely capped by an approval — if Gilead partners on it and the stars align on the data. And there’s another $150 million opt-in payments for the rest of the Arcus pipeline.

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Bris­tol My­ers Squibb fi­nal­ly gets in the front­line NSCLC game dom­i­nat­ed by Mer­ck, adding a sec­ond Op­di­vo/Yer­voy-based op­tion

Bristol Myers Squibb may be trailing Merck and Roche in the checkpoint race to treat frontline cases of non-small cell lung cancer, but as it does, it makes sure to bring its best feet forward.

Just days after scoring a landmark NSCLC approval for Opdivo and Yervoy alone for PD-L1 positive patients, the company said the FDA has also OK’d using the two agents with a limited course of chemo regardless of the biomarker status.

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No­var­tis jumps in­to Covid-19 vac­cine hunt, as Big Phar­ma and big biotech com­mit to bil­lions of dos­es

After spending most of the pandemic on the sidelines, Novartis is offering its aid in the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.

AveXis, the Swiss pharma’s gene therapy subsidiary, has agreed to manufacture the vaccine being developed by Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital. The biotech will begin manufacturing this month, while the vaccine undergoes further preclinical testing. They’ve agreed to provide the vaccine for free for clinical trials beginning in the second half of 2020, but have not disclosed financials for after.

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Bryan Roberts, Venrock

Ven­rock sur­vey shows grow­ing recog­ni­tion of coro­n­avirus toll, wan­ing con­fi­dence in ar­rival of vac­cines and treat­ments

When Venrock partner Bryan Roberts went to check the results from their annual survey of healthcare leaders, what he found was an imprint of the pandemic’s slow arrival in America.

The venture firm had sent their form out to hundreds of insurance and health tech executives, investors, officials and academics on February 24 and gave them two weeks to fill it out. No Americans had died at that point but the coronavirus had become enough of a global crisis that they included two questions about the virus, including “Total U.S. deaths in 2020 from the novel coronavirus will be:”.

Roger Perlmutter, Merck R&D chief (YouTube)

UP­DAT­ED: Backed by BAR­DA, Mer­ck jumps in­to Covid-19: buy­ing out a vac­cine, part­ner­ing on an­oth­er and adding an­tivi­ral to the mix

Merck execs are making a triple play in a sudden leap into the R&D campaign against Covid-19. And they have more BARDA cash backing them up on the move.

Tuesday morning the pharma giant simultaneously announced plans to buy an Austrian biotech that has been working on a preclinical vaccine candidate, added a collaboration on another vaccine with the nonprofit IAVI and inked a deal with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics on an early-stage antiviral.

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