Amicus CEO John Crowley has struck a deal to buy up a portfolio of gene therapies for an extremely rare disease — bagging a small biotech for $100 million in cash plus hundreds of millions in milestones. And it includes some great optics.
Crowley, who’s been fond of highlighting a biotech career inspired by a daughter afflicted with Pompe disease, is acquiring a company launched by Hollywood producer Gordon Gray and his wife, Kristen, whose own daughters suffer from Batten disease.
The key figure you shouldn’t lose sight of here is Celenex co-founder Brian Kaspar of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, who spearheaded the science work on AveXis’ gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy — since bought out by Novartis for $8.7 billion. Kaspar, Kathrin Meyer and Arthur Burghes of Ohio State did the preclinical and early Phase I work on a slate of gene therapies for Batten disease that now go into the pipeline at Amicus.
With this much cash upfront. Crowley is keeping the development milestones lean, pointedly limiting that part to $15 million in potential payments. There’s another $262 million in milestones on the table for submissions and approvals.
Amicus, which only recently landed a controversial OK for their new Fabry disease drug Galafold, is taking on $150 million in debt to pay for the deal. That money is coming from BioPharma Credit, an investment fund managed by Pharmakon Advisors.
Matthew Herper at Forbes got the family portrait story, which included a chat with Crowley, who always enjoys spotlighting his passion for R&D inspired by sick kids.
Crowley included a pledge alongside the money, telling Herper: “I promised Gordon I would treat his children and the other kids as if they were my own.”
Image: John Crowley. AMICUS
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