Yvonne Lungershausen, Avance Clinical CEO

Aus­tralian CRO makes a move across the Pa­cif­ic for US ac­qui­si­tion

As the CRO in­dus­try con­tin­ues to con­sol­i­date, an­oth­er com­pa­ny is look­ing to get in on the mul­ti-na­tion­al ac­tion with its lat­est move.

Avance Clin­i­cal, an Aus­tralian-based CRO for biotech com­pa­nies, has ac­quired US-based re­search or­ga­ni­za­tion C3 Re­search As­so­ci­ates, giv­ing the com­pa­ny a sol­id foothold on North Amer­i­can soil.

The pri­vate eq­ui­ty group River­side backed Avance’s move, and the new US op­er­a­tions are fore­cast­ed to gen­er­ate $30 mil­lion to $40 mil­lion in rev­enue over the next two years. Avance said it will be mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments in the US op­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing grow­ing the team to more than 120 peo­ple and lever­ag­ing its deep in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence across a broad range of ther­a­peu­tic ar­eas, in par­tic­u­lar on­col­o­gy. The due dili­gence for the move took around six months, ac­cord­ing to the com­pa­ny.

“Avance Clin­i­cal has been work­ing with C3 Re­search As­so­ci­ates in re­cent years and they share a sim­i­lar cul­ture and fo­cus on cus­tomer ser­vice and clin­i­cal ex­cel­lence. This strong re­la­tion­ship made C3 Re­search As­so­ci­ates a nat­ur­al ac­qui­si­tion choice,” Avance CEO Yvonne Lunger­shausen said in a state­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to Avance, the ac­qui­si­tion al­so will give biotech com­pa­nies in both Aus­tralia and New Zealand, who are al­so in the ear­ly stages of de­vel­op­ment, a way to get their clin­i­cal pro­grams in the US.

Like­wise, the move al­so gives clients ac­cess to ben­e­fits on the Aus­tralian side as well. Avance has ac­cess to a 43.5% re­bate on clin­i­cal tri­al costs that the Gov­ern­ment of Aus­tralia gives to R&D ini­tia­tives.

Avance is not the on­ly CRO mak­ing big moves. In Ju­ly, Lab­corp an­nounced that it is spin­ning out its CRO busi­ness, known as Co­v­ance, eight years af­ter its $6 bil­lion ac­qui­si­tion. In the spring, Sin­ga­pore-based Novotech ac­quired US-based NCGS to ex­pand its glob­al of­fer­ings to cus­tomers in the US.

Last year, Icon, a Dublin-based CRO, snapped up PRA Health Sci­ences for $12 bil­lion in a move that shook up some of the high­er ech­e­lons of the CRO mar­ket.

Biotech in­vestors and CEOs see two paths to growth, but are they equal­ly vi­able?

The dynamic in the biotech market has been highly volatile in the last few years, from the high peaks immediately after the COVID vaccine in 2021, to the lowest downturns of the last 20 years in 2022. This uncertainty makes calling the exact timing of the market’s turn something of a fool’s errand, according to Dr. Chen Yu, Founder and Managing Partner of TCG Crossover (TCG X). He speaks with RBC’s Noël Brown, Head of US Biotechnology Investment Banking, about the market’s road ahead and two possible paths for growth.

Dave Marek, Myovant CEO

My­ovant board balks as ma­jor­i­ty own­er Sum­it­o­mo swoops in with a $2.5B deal to buy them out

Three years after Sumitomo scooped up Roivant’s 46% stake in the publicly traded Myovant $MYOV as part of a 5-company, $3 billion deal, they’re coming back for the whole thing.

But these other investors at Myovant want more than what the Japanese pharma company is currently offering to pay at this stage.

Sumitomo is bidding $22.75 a share for the outstanding stock, which now represents 48% of the company after Sumitomo bumped its ownership since the original deal with Roivant. Myovant, however, created a special committee on the board, and they’re shaking their heads over the offer.

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Casey McPherson shows his daughters Rose (left) and Weston around Everlum Bio, a lab that he co-founded to spark a treatment for Rose and others with ultra-rare conditions. (Ilana Panich-Linsman)

Fa­ther starts lab af­ter in­tel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty is­sues stymie rare dis­ease drug de­vel­op­ment

Under bright lab lights, Casey McPherson holds his 6-year-old daughter, Rose. His free hand directs Rose’s gaze toward a computer screen with potential clues in treating her one-of-a kind genetic condition.

Gray specks on the screen show her cells that scientists reprogrammed with the goal of zeroing in on a custom medicine. McPherson co-founded the lab, Everlum Bio, to spark a treatment for Rose — and others like her. A regarded singer-songwriter, McPherson never imagined going into drug development.

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Benjamine Liu, TrialSpark CEO

Paul Hud­son and Tri­alSpark's mu­tu­al de­sire to speed up de­vel­op­ment con­verges in three-year, six-drug goal

A unicorn startup that originally set out to hasten clinical studies for biopharma partners dug further into its revised path of internal drug development by linking arms with Sanofi in a pact that the biotech’s CEO said originated from the top.

TrialSpark and the Big Pharma on Tuesday committed to in-licensing and/or acquiring six Phase II/Phase III drugs within the next three years.

“I’ve known Paul Hudson for a while and we were discussing the opportunity to really re-imagine a lot of different parts of pharma,” TrialSpark CEO Benjamine Liu told Endpoints News, “and one of the things that we discussed was this opportunity to accelerate the development of new medicines in mutual areas of interest.”

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Vlad Coric, Biohaven CEO

Vlad Coric charts course for new Bio­haven with neu­ro­science push and Big Phar­ma vets on board

What’s Biohaven without its CGRP portfolio? That’s what CEO Vlad Coric is tasked with deciding as he maps out the new Biohaven post-Pfizer takeover.

Pfizer officially scooped up Biohaven’s CGRP assets on Monday, including blockbuster migraine drug Nurtec and the investigational zavegepant, for $11.6 billion. As a result, Coric spun the broader pipeline into an independent company on Tuesday — with the same R&D team behind Nurtec but about 1,000 fewer staffers and a renewed focus on neuroscience and rare disease.

In AstraZeneca's latest campaign, wild eosinophils called Phils personify the acting up often seen in uncontrolled asthma

As­traZeneca de­buts an­noy­ing pur­ple ‘Phil’ crea­tures, per­son­i­fied asth­ma eosinophils ‘be­hav­ing bad­ly’

There are some odd-looking purple creatures lurking around the halls of AstraZenca lately. The “Phil” character cutouts are purple, personified eosinophils with big buggy eyes and wide mouths, and they’re a part of AZ’s newest awareness effort to help people understand eosinophilic asthma.

The “Asthma Behaving Badly” characters aren’t only on the walls at AZ to show the new campaign to employees, however. The “Phils” are also showing up online on the campaign website, and in digital and social ads and posts on Facebook and Instagram.

Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: No­var­tis re­cruits NFL coach for Leqvio cam­paign; Pfiz­er pro­motes ‘Sci­ence’ merch on so­cial me­dia

Novartis is turning to a winning coach to talk about Leqvio and the struggles of high cholesterol — including his own. Bruce Arians, the retired NFL head coach of the Arizona Cardinals and Super Bowl-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is partnering with the pharma for its “Coaching Cholesterol” digital, social and public relations effort.

In the campaign, Arians talks about the potential for “great comebacks” in football and heart health. Once nicknamed a “quarterback whisperer,” he is now retired from fulltime coaching (although still a front-office consultant for Tampa Bay), and did a round of media interviews for Novartis, including one with People and Forbes.

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Amy West, Novo Nordisk head of US digital innovation and transformation (Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News)

Q&A: No­vo Nordisk dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion chief Amy West dis­cuss­es phar­ma pain points and a health­care 'easy but­ton’

Amy West joined Novo Nordisk more than a decade ago to oversee marketing strategies and campaigns for its US diabetes portfolio. However, her career path shifted into digital, and she hasn’t looked back. West went from leading Novo’s first digital health strategy in the US to now heading up digital innovation and transformation.

She’s currently leading the charge at Novo Nordisk to not only go beyond the pill with digital marketing and health tech, but also test, pilot and develop groundbreaking new strategies needed in today’s consumerized healthcare world.

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Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEO (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP)

Can a smart­phone app de­tect Covid? Pfiz­er throws down $116M to find out

What can a cough say about a patient’s illness? Quite a bit, according to ResApp Health — and Pfizer’s listening.

The pharma giant is shelling out about $116 million ($179 million AUD) to scoop up the University of Queensland spinout and its smartphone technology that promises to diagnose Covid and other respiratory illnesses based on cough and breathing sounds, the university announced last week.

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