Bausch Health sells off Amoun for $740M; Achilles de­buts on Nas­daq with $175.5M IPO

Look­ing to pay down debt ahead of the big Bausch + Lomb spin­off, Bausch Health CEO Joseph Pa­pa has struck a deal to sell one of its units in Egypt for $740 mil­lion.

Abu Dhabi-based hold­ing com­pa­ny ADB is hand­ing over the cash for Amoun Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, which makes and mar­kets brand­ed gener­ics and an­i­mal health prod­ucts, will be the new own­er.

“The sale of Amoun marks sig­nif­i­cant progress in our ef­forts to re­duce over­all Bausch Health debt as we con­tin­ue to pur­sue all op­por­tu­ni­ties to dri­ve val­ue for our share­hold­ers, in­clud­ing prepar­ing for the spin­off of Bausch + Lomb,” said Joseph Pa­pa, chair­man and CEO, Bausch Health.

Some an­a­lysts have been look­ing for a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in mar­ket val­ue for Bausch + Lomb af­ter it goes so­lo. “An in­de­pen­dent Bausch & Lomb unit could have more room and fo­cus to ex­pand its glob­al mar­ket share, but lever­age re­duc­tion may still be a pri­or­i­ty af­ter its spin­off,” not­ed Bloomberg In­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst Ann-Hunter van Kirk. — John Car­roll

Britain’s Achilles Ther­a­peu­tics de­buts on Nas­daq with $175.5M IPO

An­oth­er day, an­oth­er IPO in the seem­ing­ly end­less cas­cade of pub­lic biotech de­buts.

The newest win­ner is Lon­don-based Achilles Ther­a­peu­tics, prep­ping to hit the Nas­daq af­ter pric­ing at $18 per ADS on Tues­day evening. No stray ar­rows took down this ef­fort, as Achilles pulled in a $175.5 mil­lion raise as it takes its T cell ther­a­pies tar­get­ing clon­al neoanti­gens to Nas­daq.

Achilles will trade un­der the tick­er $ACHL.

Co-found­ed by Char­lie Swan­ton of the Fran­cis Crick In­sti­tute, Achilles aims to lever­age heavy se­quenc­ing to iden­ti­fy a pa­tient-spe­cif­ic set of tu­mor mu­ta­tions that it can tar­get. Un­like oth­er neoanti­gen pi­o­neers like Grit­stone On­col­o­gy, Neon Ther­a­peu­tics and BioN­Tech, Achilles is look­ing to di­rect­ly de­liv­er can­cer killing T cells rather than stim­u­lat­ing an im­mune re­sponse via a vac­cine.

Achilles got a boost in Sep­tem­ber 2019 with a $121 mil­lion Se­ries B thanks to a syn­di­cate led by RA Cap­i­tal. And in No­vem­ber 2020, the biotech pulled in an­oth­er $69.7 mil­lion for an over­sub­scribed Se­ries C. — Max Gel­man

Seat­tle’s On­coRe­sponse nets $40M+ Se­ries C

Two and a half years since its last fundraise, On­coRe­sponse is back with some more cash.

The Seat­tle-based com­pa­ny raised $40.6 mil­lion in a Se­ries C fi­nanc­ing, led by mem­bers of the Mag­ne­tar Group with par­tic­i­pa­tion from ad­di­tion­al new in­vestors Yon­jin Ven­ture and Bering Cap­i­tal. Funds will pri­mar­i­ly go to­ward get­ting the biotech’s lead an­ti­body, OR2805, in­to clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment in mul­ti­ple tu­mor types and build­ing up a pipeline of pre­clin­i­cal as­sets to IND.

“OR2805 was de­rived from a can­cer pa­tient who had an ex­cep­tion­al re­sponse to an­ti-PD-1 ther­a­py and re­lieves the im­muno­sup­pres­sive ef­fect of macrophages found in the [tu­mor mi­croen­vi­ron­ment] to pro­mote tu­mor killing by T cells,” CEO Clif­ford Stocks said in a state­ment. “We will be en­ter­ing clin­i­cal stud­ies in mul­ti­ple tu­mor types lat­er this year.”

Ex­ist­ing in­vestors River­Vest Ven­ture Part­ners, Qatar In­vest­ment Au­thor­i­ty (QIA), Red­mile Group, 3B Fu­ture Health Fund (Helsinn In­vest­ment Fund), Canaan Part­ners and ARCH Ven­ture Part­ners al­so par­tic­i­pat­ed. — Max Gel­man

IDC: Life Sci­ences Firms Must Em­brace Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion Now

Pre-pandemic, the life sciences industry had settled into a pattern. The average drug took 12 years and $2.9 billion to bring to market, and it was an acceptable mode of operations, according to Nimita Limaye, Research Vice President for Life Sciences R&D Strategy and Technology at IDC.

COVID-19 changed that, and served as a proof-of-concept for how technology can truly help life sciences companies succeed and grow, Limaye said. She recently spoke about industry trends at Egnyte’s Life Sciences Summit 2022. You should watch the entire session, free and on-demand, but here’s a brief recap of why she’s urging life sciences companies to embrace digital transformation.

Tom Barnes, Orna Therapeutics CEO

UP­DAT­ED: 'We have failed to fail': Mer­ck gam­bles $250M cash on a next-gen ap­proach to mR­NA — af­ter punt­ing its big al­liance with Mod­er­na

Merck went in deep on its collaboration with Moderna on new mRNA programs, and dropped them all over time, including their RSV partnership. But after writing off what turned out as one of the most successful infectious disease players in the business, Merck is coming in this morning with a new preclinical alliance — this time embracing a biotech that hopes to eventually outdo the famously successful mRNA in a new run at vaccines and therapeutics.

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Bayer's first DTC ad campaign for chronic kidney disease drug Kerendia spells out its benefits

Bay­er aims to sim­pli­fy the com­plex­i­ties of CKD with an ABC-themed ad cam­paign

Do you know the ABCs of CKD in T2D? Bayer’s first ad campaign for Kerendia tackles the complexity of chronic kidney disease with a play on the acronym (CKD) and its connection to type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Kerendia was approved last year as the first and only non-steroidal mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist to treat CKD in people with type 2 diabetes.

In the TV commercial launched this week, A is for awareness, B is for belief and C is for cardiovascular, explained in the ad as awareness of the connection between type 2 and kidney disease, belief that something can be done about it, and cardiovascular events that may be reduced with treatment.

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James Mock, incoming CFO at Moderna

Mod­er­na taps new CFO from PerkinElmer af­ter for­mer one-day CFO oust­ed

When Moderna hired a new CFO last year,  it didn’t expect to see him gone after only one day. Today the biotech named his — likely much more vetted — replacement.

The mRNA company put out word early Wednesday that after the untimely departure of then brand-new CFO Jorge Gomez, it has now found a replacement in James Mock, the soon-to-be former CFO at diagnostics and analytics company PerkinElmer.

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Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF’s supply division

GSK lands first-ever UNICEF con­tract for malar­ia vac­cine worth $170M

GSK has landed a new first from UNICEF the first-ever contract for malaria vaccines, worth up to $170 million for 18 million vaccine doses distributed over the next three years.

The vaccine, known as Mosquirix or RTS,S, won WHO’s backing last October after a controversial start, but UNICEF said these doses will potentially save thousands of lives every year.

“We hope this is just the beginning,” Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF’s supply division, said. “Continued innovation is needed to develop new and next-generation vaccines to increase available supply, and enable a healthier vaccine market. This is a giant step forward in our collective efforts to save children’s lives and reduce the burden of malaria as part of wider malaria prevention and control programmes.”

Joe Jonas (Photo by Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

So­lo Jonas broth­er car­ries Merz's new tune in Botox ri­val cam­paign

As the lyrics of his band’s 2019 pop-rock single suggest, Joe Jonas is only human — and that means even he gets frown lines. The 33-year-old singer-songwriter is Merz’s newest celebrity brand partner for its Botox rival Xeomin, as medical aesthetics brands target a younger audience.

Merz kicked off its “Beauty on Your Terms” campaign on Tuesday, featuring the Jonas brother in a video ad for its double-filtered anti-wrinkle injection Xeomin.

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Paul Perreault, CSL Behring CEO

CSL CEO Paul Per­reault de­ter­mined to grow plas­ma col­lec­tion af­ter full-year sales dip

As the ink dries on CSL’s $11.7 billion Vifor buyout, the company posted a dip in profits, due in part to a drop in plasma donations amid the pandemic.

However, CEO Paul Perreault assured investors and analysts on the full-year call that the team has left “no stone unturned” when assessing options to grow plasma volumes. The chief executive also spelled out positive results for the company’s monoclonal antibody garadacimab in hereditary angioedema (HAE), though he isn’t revealing the exact numbers just yet.

Blaise Coleman, Endo International CEO

En­do files for Chap­ter 11 as it looks to fin­ish off its opi­oid lit­i­ga­tion

Irish drugmaker Endo International is entering into bankruptcy as it faces the weight of serious litigation related to its involvement in the opioid epidemic in the US.

The company has filed Chapter 11 proceedings in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, with the company expected to file recognition proceedings in Canada, the UK and Australia. The company’s bankruptcy filing showed the company had assets and liabilities in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion.

Marisol Peron, Genmab SVP of communications and corporate affairs

Gen­mab launch­es cor­po­rate cam­paign am­pli­fy­ing its ‘knock your socks off’ an­ti­bod­ies

Genmab often talks about its “knock-your-socks-off” antibodies — and now the term is getting its own logo and corporate campaign.

The teal and purple logo for the acronym KYSO — Genmab pronounces it “ky-so” — debuts on Wednesday and comes on the heels of Genmab’s newly announced 2030 vision. That aspiration aims to expand Genmab’s drug development beyond oncology to include other serious diseases, while also doubling down on its own drug development.

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