AveXis wants $400M more for promising SMA gene therapy; ShangPharma partners with Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

AveXis $AVXS is raising more cash to fuel its gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy with a public offering of up to $400 million of shares at $117.5 per share. The plan, laid out in an SEC filing, is to allocate $225 to $270 million to research, manufacturing, clinical and regulatory activities — mainly in SMA, but also for programs in Rett syndrome and ALS. Around $140 million to $175 million will go to pre-commercial activities for the potential launch of SMA blockbuster contender AVXS-101, including medical affairs, commercial initiatives and licensing activities. The Chicago-based biotech is coming on strong in the SMA field, threatening to cut into Biogen’s Spinraza franchise.

ShangPharma Innovation, a VC firm that focuses on seed investments, has struck a deal with Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to fuel research behind early-stage drugs. Under the multi-year collaboration deal, ShangPharma will provide R&D funding at the school’s clinical institutes in New York. Led by CEO Walter Moos, ShangPharma will also provide research services from CRO Shanghai ChemPartner. “This partnership was fueled by the groundbreaking technologies from innovators here at Mount Sinai,” said Erik Lium, senior VP of Mount Sinai Innovation Partners, in a statement. “Our expertise in commercially-relevant translational research, coupled with ShangPharma Innovation’s drug development capabilities will advance much needed medicines to patients worldwide.”

→ London’s Hikma Pharmaceuticals has recruited Surendera Tyagi as its new CSO and global head of R&D. Tyagi comes from German heathcare giant Fresenius Kabi (ETR: FRE), where he led the company’s US Innovation & Development Center and expanded the Fresenius’ oncology business. At Hikma, Tyagi will be first tasked with boosting non-injectable R&D to expand the company’s pipeline. The hire comes at a time when Hikma’s generics unit is taking some hits, leading to the company’s stock (LON:HIK) falling 47% over the past year. Tyagi’s recruitment may be part of the company’s strategy to recover through diversification in the pipeline. Before Fresenius Kabi, Tyagi worked at Darbur Pharma, Roche, IGEN, Abbott, and Schwarz Pharma.

Pfizer $PFE is teaming up with Foundation Medicine $FMI to develop, provide regulatory support, and help commercialize companion diagnostics for Pfizer’s oncology portfolio. Foundation Medicine makes an FDA-approved genomic profiling test for solid tumors called FoundationOne CDx, which the collaboration hopes to improve on. The company also makes analytics software called FoundationInsights, which Pfizer can leverage to accelerate discovery and development of cancer drugs. Pfizer currently has 10 FDA-approved cancer medicines that treat solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. Its oncology pipeline also includes 17 assets in clinical development and 19 Phase III studies.

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

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