Big Pharma joins £200M UK Biobank sequencing project; Monopar sets terms for $40M IPO
→ The UK Biobank is kicking off an ambitious £200 million project to undertake whole-genome sequencing of 450,000 participants, probing the role that genetics plays in a range of common and chronic ailments including dementia, mental illness, cancer and heart disease. Amgen, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and J&J pooled £100 million total in exchange for 9 months of exclusive access, while The Wellcome Trust charity and the UK government each provided £50 million.
The Wellcome Sanger Institute in Cambridge and deCODE genetics in Iceland — a subsidiary of Amgen — have been commissioned to conduct the sequencing.
→ Gilead is handing out a $10 million milestone payment for the HIV deal they struck with Durect in July. At the time, Gilead spent a modest $25 million in cash for the rights to jump on the platform at Durect, which has been using its technology to come up with an extended-release version of bupivacaine. The latest cash comes out of the $75 million promised for development and regulatory milestones. On top of that, Gilead has reserved $70 million in sales goal cash and $150 million for each new development program it adds to its pipeline out of the pact.
→ Monopar Therapeutics has announced the terms for its IPO. The Wilmette, Illinois-based company plans to offer 4.4 million shares at a price range of $8 to $10 to raise $40 million, it said in a filing on Tuesday. At the midpoint of the proposed range, Monopar would command a fully diluted market value of $130 million.
Co-founded by Christopher Starr after he stepped down as Raptor CEO, the biotech’s pipeline includes validive — obtained from France’s Onxeo in 2017 — for severe oral mucositis induced by chemoradiotherapy in head and neck cancer patients and camsirubicin, a cancer drug aimed at soft tissue sarcoma. JonesTrading is the sole bookrunner on the deal. The company plans to list under the symbol $MNPR.
→ OncoCell MDx — a pan disease immunogenomics platform company focused on noninvasive blood-based tests — has raised $22.2 million in Series B financing. The round was led by Savitr Capital along with existing investors. Founded on technologies created by Amin Kassis at Harvard medical school, OncoCell has raised more than $30 million to date to detect and other diseases using a single blood sample. It plans to launch a blood test for the detection and grading of aggressive prostate cancer next year.
→ The decades of failure to develop a drug to fight Alzheimer’s disease has convinced The National Institute on Aging to confer a five-year federal grant of up to $53.4 million to Brown University and Boston-based Harvard Medical affiliate, Hebrew SeniorLife, to support trials aimed at improving care for people with dementia.