AstraZeneca hands Compugen $10M to launch I/O discovery deal; RA Capital joins opposition to proposed BioCryst/Idera merger

→ Israel’s Compugen $CGEN nabbed a $10 million upfront to get started on a discovery deal with AstraZeneca on bi- and multi-specific antibodies for immuno-oncology. The pharma giant also committed to $200 million in milestones. “This licensing deal allows us to monetize specific scientific advances in our programs, while we continue to advance our lead programs into clinical trials,” said Compugen CEO Anat Cohen-Dayag.

BioCryst has run into some opposition to its proposed merger with Idera. RA Capital Management — which holds a 7% stake in the Research Triangle Park, NC-based company — dismissed the deal as “unnecessary and unjustified” in a letter delivered today and vowed to vote against it. The letter follows a lengthy objection letter from Great Point Partners in February, a month after the proposal was announced. While the Idea management team’s expertise in hereditary angioedema means they could offer good advice to BioCryst, the fund wrote, the proposed merger would neither help BioCryst’s ongoing Phase III trial nor lessen future financing burdens. They also just didn’t like Idera: “While we appreciate that both companies could potentially create value, we made the conscious choice to invest in BioCryst and not Idera because we consider BioCryst to be far more undervalued with far less associated risk.” In their view, the merger is unfair to all BioCryst shareholders but one: the largest shareholder, who would see its 14% stake boosted to 16% in the new company (according to a recent SEC filing, Baker Bros owns slightly more than 14% of BioCryst). RA wants the BioCryst board to reevaluate and consider other strategic alternatives, such as changing the management team and selling to a third party.

Alzheon has set its terms for an upcoming IPO. The Alzheimer’s drug developer is looking to sell 5 million shares at $13 to $15 a pop, which would give it a market value of about $228 million.

→ Just three months after hauling in a $38 million A round, Suzhou, China-based biologics developer and manufacturer CMAB Biopharma has closed a Series B that brought in another $34 million. Several new Chinese investors came in for the round, including CD Capital, the lead, as well as Cormorant and Tigermed. C-Bridge Capital and Qianhai FoF fund — participants in the last round — also came back. The money will go toward upgrading CMAB’s manufacturing facilities, moving it one step closer to the goal of offering commercial production services, in addition to its current preclinical and clinical operations, to both domestic and international clients.

With contribution by Amber Tong.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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