Dai­ichi Sankyo dous­es a puz­zling re­port about an As­traZeneca buy­out of­fer

Here’s an­oth­er head scratch­er to con­sid­er on As­traZeneca.

The Lon­don-based phar­ma gi­ant re­port­ed­ly made a se­ri­ous pass at Japan’s Dai­ichi Sankyo last year, look­ing to buy the com­pa­ny and add it to their glob­al op­er­a­tions. But the re­port from Nikkei Busi­ness says that the Japan­ese com­pa­ny turned down the of­fer.

Reuters picked up the sto­ry, but couldn’t get any com­ments from the com­pa­nies. But soon af­ter Dai­ichi Sankyo de­cid­ed to squelch any ru­mors that may have been sparked. The com­pa­ny said in a state­ment:

It was to­day re­port­ed by Nikkei Busi­ness that Dai­ichi Sankyo Com­pa­ny Lim­it­ed (here­inafter “Dai­ichi Sankyo”) re­ceived the ac­qui­si­tion of­fer from As­traZeneca. How­ev­er, this is not the fact.

Pas­cal So­ri­ot AP Im­ages

If there was any truth to the buy­out ru­mor, it wouldn’t have been cheap. Dai­ichi Sankyo has a mar­ket val­ue in the pricey neigh­bor­hood of $16 bil­lion. And As­traZeneca has been more of a sell­er over the past year, not a buy­er, mar­ket­ing off rights to a slew of pipeline prod­ucts as the com­pa­ny strug­gles to turn around and start grow­ing rev­enue.

One of those deals came two years ago when Dai­ichi agreed to pay As­traZeneca $200 mil­lion in cash for co-pro­mo­tion rights in the US for the opi­oid-in­duced con­sti­pa­tion drug Movan­tik. The deal al­so in­clud­ed $625 mil­lion in mile­stones.

An­a­lysts con­clud­ed awhile ago that the UK com­pa­ny is cash con­strained, look­ing to fund a broad va­ri­ety of deals struck dur­ing Pas­cal So­ri­ot’s 5-year rein — and mak­ing a pos­si­ble buy­out deal like this all the less like­ly.

As­traZeneca has a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in be­com­ing a can­cer drug pow­er­house, with some ad­vances and some big dis­ap­point­ments that have piled up in the on­col­o­gy group. And that may have helped in­spire some in­ter­est in Dai­ichi Sankyo, which re­cent­ly won a break­through tag from the FDA for its HER2-tar­get­ing an­ti­body-drug con­ju­gate DS-8201. Its can­cer pipeline has 20 mol­e­cules in it, fo­cused on AD­Cs and acute myeloid leukemia. The Japan­ese com­pa­ny struck a deal with Kite to launch its pi­o­neer­ing CAR-T drug in Japan, which now makes it part­ners with Gilead.

It’s prob­a­bly all aca­d­e­m­ic now. But it does raise ques­tions about what So­ri­ot — who re­port­ed­ly thought about tak­ing the job at Te­va — has been think­ing as he looks to de­liv­er on a promise to es­sen­tial­ly dou­ble last year’s rev­enue.

He’s go­ing to need some ma­jor league help. That all won’t come from the pipeline.

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An important technology in assessing lung function, spirometry offers crucial data for the diagnosis and monitoring of pulmonary system diseases, as well as the ongoing measurement of treatment efficacy. But trends in the healthcare industry and new challenges introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic are causing professionals in clinical practice and research to reevaluate spirometry’s deployment methods and best practices.

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Sanofi got out early in the race to develop a vaccine using more of a traditional approach, then derailed late last year as their candidate failed to work in older people. Now, after likely missing the bus for the bulk of the world’s affluent nations, they’re back from that embarrassing collapse with a second attempt using GSK’s adjuvant that may get them back on track — with a potential Q4 launch that the rest of the world will be paying close attention to.

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SCO­TUS de­clines to re­view En­brel biosim­i­lar case, tee­ing up 30+ years of ex­clu­siv­i­ty and $20B more for Am­gen’s block­buster

As the House Oversight Committee is set to grill AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez on Tuesday over tactics to block competition for its best-selling drug of all time, another decision on Capitol Hill on Monday opened the door for billions more in Amgen profits over the next eight years.

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Charles Riv­er keeps adding on to its CD­MO arm, snatch­ing up a vi­ral vec­tor play­er for a tidy $350M

Contract researcher Charles River Laboratories has been on a roll recently to flesh out its manufacturing arm with a specific focus on its capabilities in gene therapy. Now, the firm is putting its name to a big check for a Maryland-based viral vector firm it thinks will add to its growing expertise in the field.

Charles River will dole out $292.5 million for gene therapy CDMO Vigene Biosciences with the possibility for an additional $57.5 million in performance-based payments, the companies said Monday. The deal will close at the start of Q3, a Charles River spokesman said.

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Just days after getting stung by criticism from a badly disappointed group of analysts, there’s a big change happening today at the helm of Esperion $ESPR.

Longtime CEO Tim Mayleben, who championed the company for 9 years from early clinical through a lengthy late-stage drive to successfully get their cholesterol drug approved for a significant niche of patients in the US, is out of the C suite, effective immediately. Sheldon Koenig — hired at the end of 2020 with a resume replete with Big Pharma CV sales experience —  is stepping into his place, promising to right a badly listing commercial ship that’s been battered by market forces.

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No­var­tis' En­tresto takes its 2nd fail­ure of the week­end at ACC, show­ing no ben­e­fit in most dire heart fail­ure pa­tients

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In­sid­er ac­count of Roivan­t's SPAC deal — and that $7.3B val­u­a­tion — re­veals a few se­crets as Matt Gline po­si­tions the com­pa­ny as the new ‘Big Phar­ma’

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The CEO of Roivant had word that KKR vet Jim Momtazee’s SPAC had priced late the night before, triggering a green light for anyone interested in pursuing a big check for future operations and riding the financial instrument to Nasdaq. So he wrote a quick email congratulating Momtazee, whom he knew, for the launch.

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Josep Bassaganya-Riera, Landos Biopharma CEO (Landos)

Per­cep­tive's Chi­na up­start Lian­Bio con­tin­ues swing­ing deals, team­ing up with lead Xon­toge­ny biotech Lan­dos in IBD

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