Bio­haven adds near­ly $1B in Nurtec deals with Roy­al­ty Phar­ma, Sixth Street

Bio­haven just added near­ly $1 bil­lion to their bal­ance sheet.

On Fri­day morn­ing, the neu­ro­science biotech an­nounced a pair of cre­ative agree­ments with Roy­al­ty Phar­ma and the in­vest­ment firm Sixth Street to bol­ster the com­mer­cial launch of their new mi­graine drug, Nurtec. Bio­haven will sell a sliv­er of its roy­al­ties on Nurtec and 3% of the roy­al­ties on their ex­per­i­men­tal mi­graine drug za­veg­epant to Roy­al­ty Phar­ma as part of a larg­er agreee­ment that will pay $450 mil­lion. At the same time, the com­pa­ny an­nounced they took out a $500 mil­lion loan from Sixth Street.

For both Bio­haven and its new back­ers, the two deals rep­re­sent a sig­nif­i­cant bet on the com­mer­cial po­ten­tial of a mi­graine med­i­cine that has al­ready shown strong sales, de­spite a pan­dem­ic launch and stiff com­pe­ti­tion from two much big­ger play­ers in Eli Lil­ly and Ab­b­Vie. In a se­ries of notes, SVB Leerink’s Marc Good­man, who has been fol­low­ing the three dif­fer­ent drugs, not­ed that Nurtec has in­creas­ing­ly been tak­ing up mar­ket share from Ab­b­Vie’s Ubrelvy. He’s es­ti­mat­ed around $50 mil­lion in sales for 2020 and fore­cast $290 mil­lion for next year, with $2 bil­lion to $2.5 bil­lion in sales in 2032.

The deal is the sec­ond from Roy­al­ty Phar­ma since their record $2.2 bil­lion IPO, fol­low­ing a $650 mil­lion deal to ac­quire roy­al­ties on the spinal mus­cu­lar at­ro­phy gene ther­a­py Roche and PTC Ther­a­peu­tics are co-de­vel­op­ing. The deal with Bio­haven in­cludes not on­ly a pur­chase of roy­al­ties – they on­ly ac­quired 0.4% of Nurtec sales – but al­so a $250 mil­lion di­rect in­vest­ment in­to their com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion, to be paid back with 12% in­ter­est.

Za­veg­epant, un­til re­cent­ly known as vazegepant, is an in­tranasal mi­graine med­i­cine that tar­gets the same CGRP re­cep­tor as Nurtec. It is now in Phase II. The com­pa­ny is al­so test­ing its po­ten­tial in Covid-19 pa­tients.

So­cial: Vlad Coric, Bio­haven CEO (An­drew Ven­dit­ti)

Secretary of health and human services Alex Azar speaking in the Rose Garden at the White House (Photo: AFP)

Trump’s HHS claims ab­solute au­thor­i­ty over the FDA, clear­ing path to a vac­cine EUA

The top career staff at the FDA has vowed not to let politics overrule science when looking at vaccine data this fall. But Alex Azar, who happens to be their boss’s boss, apparently won’t even give them a chance to stand in the way.

In a new memorandum issued Tuesday last week, the HHS chief stripped the FDA and other health agencies under his purview of their rule making ability, asserting all such power “is reserved to the Secretary.” Sheila Kaplan of the New York Times first obtained and reported the details of the September 15 bulletin.

Can a mag­net­ic cell ther­a­py re­place corneal trans­plan­ta­tion? As eight-year jour­ney leads to the clin­ic, two broth­ers un­veil bold vi­sion

Jeff Goldberg was getting acquainted with a brand new way to do corneal transplants when an even newer, even bolder idea hit him.

It was almost 10 years ago, and Goldberg was in his first faculty position at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami. Scientists had developed a new way to do cornea transplants where instead of sewing a whole donor cornea — a decades-old practice — they were just engrafting the inner layer of cells.

News brief­ing: Tiny Vac­cinex's drug flops in PhII Hunt­ing­ton's tri­al, stock craters; Siol­ta nabs $30M Se­ries B to de­vel­op mi­cro­bio­me drug

Siolta Therapeutics, a microbiome company targeting allergic diseases, raked in a $30 million Series B to develop its lead candidate, STMC-103H. The drug, which has been FDA fast-tracked, is headed for proof-of-concept trials, according to the company. Its various indications include allergic asthma, food allergies, atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, and allergy prevention.

The news comes just after the California-based biotech added a prominent biopharma veteran as an advisor: 20-year Gilead CEO John Martin. The biotech also gained Richard Shames as CMO, who came by way of Protagonist Therapeutics.

Embattled CDC director Robert Redfield (AP Images)

Covid-19 roundup: CDC ad­vi­so­ry com­mit­tee de­lays pri­or­i­ty dis­tri­b­u­tion vote; EU re­port­ed­ly in­dem­ni­fy­ing vac­cine mak­ers

A federal committee that advises the CDC was expected to hold a vote Tuesday on a plan regarding the distribution for initial doses of approved Covid-19 vaccines. But that vote has been scrapped.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, won’t be voting until the committee members learn more about which vaccines become available first, the Wall Street Journal reported. The vote could potentially wait until a specific vaccine is authorized before recommending how to dole out the first doses.

Samit Hirawat (Bristol Myers Squibb)

Af­ter bruis­ing re­jec­tion, blue­bird and Bris­tol My­ers Squibb land ide-cel pri­or­i­ty re­view. But will it mat­ter for the CVR?

With the clock all but up, the FDA accepted and handed priority review to Bristol Myers Squibb and bluebird bio’s BCMA CAR-T, keeping a narrow window open for Celgene investors to still cash in on the $9 CVR from the $63 billion Celgene merger.

The acceptance comes five months after the two companies weres slammed with a surprise refuse-to-file that threatened to foreclose the CVR entirely. Today’s acceptance sets the FDA decision date for March 27, 2021 – or precisely 4 days before the CVR deadline of March 31. Given the breakthrough designation and strong pivotal data — 81.5% response rate, 35.2% complete response rate — priority review was largely expected.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 90,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Anthony Coyle (Pfizer via Youtube)

Flag­ship's merged biotech Reper­toire nets ex-Pfiz­er CSO An­tho­ny Coyle as R&D chief

Flagship is building a big-name C-Suite at its new, $220 million merged biotech.

Repertoire Immune Medicines, which already boasts former Bioverativ chief John Cox as its CEO, announced yesterday that Anthony Coyle, the former Pfizer CSO and the founding CEO of Pandion, will join as their head of R&D.

“As we progress clinical trials for our multi-clonal T cell candidates in immuno-oncology, Tony’s deep expertise in cellular immunology and novel therapeutic development will help us achieve our vision of creating a new class of transformative medicines for patients,” Cox said in a statement.

UP­DAT­ED: Two wild weeks for Grail end in $8B Il­lu­mi­na buy­out

Grail’s whirlwind two weeks have ended in the wealthy arms of its former founder and benefactors.

Illumina has shelled out $8 billion to reacquire the closely-watched liquid biopsy startup they spun out just 5 years ago and sold off much of its shares just 3 years ago. The deal comes nearly two weeks after the well-heeled startup filed for a potentially massive IPO — one that was disrupted just a week later when Bloomberg reported that Illumina was in talks to buy their former spinout for up to $8 billion.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 90,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Roche vaults to the front of the NL­RP3 clin­i­cal race, pay­ing $448M up­front to bag In­fla­zome

Roche is going all in on NLRP3.

The pharma giant is putting down $448 million (€380 million) upfront to snatch Novartis-backed Inflazome, which makes it a clinical player in the space overnight.

Dublin and Cambridge, UK-based Inflazome is the second NLRP3-focused biotech Roche has acquired in less than two years, and although no numbers were disclosed in the Jecure buyout, this is almost certainly a much larger deal.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 90,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

President Donald Trump (via AP Images)

Signs of an 'Oc­to­ber Vac­cine Sur­prise' alarm ca­reer sci­en­tists. HHS con­tin­ues to claim Azar “will de­fer com­plete­ly to the FDA"

President Donald Trump, who seems intent on announcing a Covid-19 vaccine before Election Day, could legally authorize a vaccine over the objections of experts, officials at the FDA and even vaccine manufacturers, who have pledged not to release any vaccine unless it’s proved safe and effective.

In podcasts, public forums, social media and medical journals, a growing number of prominent health leaders say they fear that Trump — who has repeatedly signaled his desire for the swift approval of a vaccine and his displeasure with perceived delays at the FDA — will take matters into his own hands, running roughshod over the usual regulatory process.