Róbert Wessman, Alvogen CEO

Biotech bil­lion­aire Róbert Wess­man en­gi­neers $450M deal for Alvo­gen sub­sidiaries

Alvo­gen is hand­ing off two of its sub­sidiaries to CEO Róbert Wess­man and his health­care in­vest­ment firm Az­tiq — who has now tied the two to­geth­er in a mas­sive biobucks deal.

In an al­liance with Thai­land’s PTT Group sub­sidiary In­no­bic, the two com­pa­nies signed an agree­ment last week to buy a 100% stake in Alvo­gen Emerg­ing Mar­ket Hold­ings Lim­it­ed (AEMH) for $475 mil­lion from Alvo­gen, buy­ing out share­hold­ers such as CVC Cap­i­tal Part­ners and Sin­ga­pore’s Temasek. And now, the group is the ma­jor­i­ty share­hold­er of Alvo­gen’s for­mer Asian sub­sidiary Lo­tus Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and the on­ly share­hold­er of Alvo­gen Mal­ta, the own­er of B2B phar­ma Adal­vo.

The aim of the con­sor­tium — and the trans­ac­tion — ac­cord­ing to Az­tiq is to cre­ate a phar­ma en­ter­prise with glob­al re­sources, net­works and reach. And ad­di­tion­al­ly, to give Lo­tus and Adal­vo “a com­pelling com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage, en­abling both en­ter­pris­es to sup­port one an­oth­er and ad­vance their glob­al lead­er­ship in their sec­tor,” Wess­man said in a state­ment.

Wess­man will re­main chair­man of the board for both Lo­tus and Adal­vo.

Alvo­gen ac­quired a ma­jor­i­ty stake in Lo­tus, an on­col­o­gy-fo­cused biotech, back in 2014. And over the past two years it had been in­volved in “strate­gic in­vest­ments” — mak­ing 10 in­vest­ments back in April 2020 that in­clude tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for de­vel­op­ment, reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs and man­u­fac­tur­ing of prod­ucts such as Cel­gene’s mul­ti­ple myelo­ma drug Revlim­id, along with Pfiz­er’s kid­ney can­cer drug Su­tent and prostate can­cer ther­a­py Xtan­di.

And ear­li­er this year In­no­bic spent $50 mil­lion to ac­quire shares in Lo­tus — close to 17 mil­lion shares.

In the case of Adal­vo, Alvo­gen spun out Adal­vo in 2018 from an in-house B2B plat­form in­to a sep­a­rate busi­ness unit — which now boasts more than 60 dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed meds in its port­fo­lio.

The deal is ex­pect­ed to close in Q1 2022.

Alvo­gen Lux board di­rec­tor Tomas Ek­man said in a state­ment that while Alvo­gen de­cid­ed it was time to “mon­e­tize our in­vest­ment,” the two sub­sidiaries will con­tin­ue to close­ly col­lab­o­rate with Alvo­gen.

Graphic: Alexander Lefterov for Endpoints News

Small biotechs with big drug am­bi­tions threat­en to up­end the tra­di­tion­al drug launch play­book

Of the countless decisions Vlad Coric had to make as Biohaven’s CEO over the past seven years, there was one that felt particularly nerve-wracking: Instead of selling to a Big Pharma, the company decided it would commercialize its migraine drug itself.

“I remember some investors yelling and pounding on the table like, you can’t do this. What are you thinking? You’re going to get crushed by AbbVie,” he recalled.

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Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: Pfiz­er de­buts Pre­vnar 20 TV ads; Lil­ly gets first FDA 2022 pro­mo slap down let­ter

Pfizer debuted its first TV ad for its Prevnar 20 next-generation pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine. In the 60-second spot, several people (actor portrayals) with their ages listed as 65 or older are shown walking into a clinic as they turn to say they’re getting vaccinated with Prevnar 20 because they’re at risk.

The update to Pfizer’s blockbuster Prevnar 13 vaccine was approved in June, and as its name suggests is a vaccine for 20 serotypes — the original 13 plus seven more that cause pneumococcal disease. Pfizer used to spend heavily on TV ads to promote Prevnar 13 in 2018 and 2019 but cut back its TV budgets in the past two fall and winter seasonal spending cycles. Prevnar had been Pfizer’s top-selling drug, notching sales of just under $6 billion in 2020, and was the world’s top-selling vaccine before the Covid-19 vaccines came to market last year.

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Albert Bourla (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Pfiz­er fields a CRL for a $295M rare dis­ease play, giv­ing ri­val a big head start

Pfizer won’t be adding a new rare disease drug to the franchise club — for now, anyway.

The pharma giant put out word that their FDA application for the growth hormone therapy somatrogon got the regulatory heave-ho, though they didn’t even hint at a reason for the CRL. Following standard operating procedure, Pfizer said in a terse missive that they would be working with regulators on a followup.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

Opin­ion: Flori­da is so mAb crazy, Ron De­San­tis wants to use mAbs that don't work

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is trying so hard to politicize the FDA and demonize the federal government that he entered into an alternate universe on Monday evening in describing a recent FDA action to restrict the use of two monoclonal antibody, or mAb, treatments for Covid-19 that don’t work against Omicron.

Without further ado, let’s break down his statement from last night, line by line, adjective by adjective.

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A new can­cer im­munother­a­py brings cau­tious hope for a field long await­ing the next big break­through

Bob Seibert sat silent across from his daughter at their favorite Spanish restaurant near his home in Charleston County, SC, their paella growing cold as he read through all the places in his body doctors found tumors.

He had texted his wife, a pediatric intensive care nurse, when he got the alert that his online chart was ready. Although he saw immediately it was bad, many of the terms — peritoneal, right iliac — were inscrutable. But she was five hours downstate, at a loud group dinner the night before another daughter’s cheer competition.

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Not cheap­er by the dozen: Bris­tol My­ers be­comes the 12th phar­ma com­pa­ny to re­strict 340B sales

Bristol Myers Squibb recently joined 11 of its peer pharma companies in limiting how many contract pharmacies can access certain drugs discounted by a federal program known as 340B.

Bristol Myers is just the latest in a series of high-profile pharma companies moving in their own direction as the Biden administration’s Health Resources and Services Administration struggles to rein in the drug discount program for the neediest Americans.

Joaquin Duato, J&J CEO (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

New J&J CEO Joaquin Du­a­to promis­es an ag­gres­sive M&A hunt in quest to grow phar­ma sales

Joaquin Duato stepped away from the sideline and directly into the spotlight on Tuesday, delivering his first quarterly review for J&J as its newly-tapped CEO after an 11-year run in senior posts. And he had some mixed financial news to deliver today while laying claim to a string of blockbuster drugs in the making and outlining an appetite for small and medium-sized M&A deals.

Duato also didn’t exactly shun large buyouts when asked about the future of the company’s medtech business — where they look to be in either the top or number 2 position in every segment they’re in — even though the bar for getting those deals done is so much higher.

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Amgen's Twitter campaign #DearAsthma inspired thousands of people to express struggles and frustrations with the disease

Am­gen’s #Dear­Asth­ma spon­sored tweet lands big on game day, spark­ing thou­sands to re­spond

Amgen wanted to know how people with asthma really felt about daily life with the disease. So it bought a promoted tweet on Twitter noting the not-so-simple realities of life with asthma and ended the post with a #DearAsthma hashtag, a megaphone emoji and a re-tweet button.

That was just over one week ago and the responses haven’t stopped. More than 7,000 posts so far on Twitter replied to #DearAsthma to detail struggles of daily life, expressing humor, frustration and sometimes anger. More than a few f-bombs have been typed or gif-ed in reply to communicate just how much many people “hate” the disease.

Pfiz­er, Bris­tol My­ers dom­i­nate top 10 pre­dic­tions for the best-sell­ing drugs of 2022

The annual exercise where analysts try and predict which drugs will become blockbusters and make the most money tends to highlight the biggest trends in biopharma R&D. 2022 is no exception.

The team at Evaluate Vantage published its predictions for the top 10 selling drugs for the year — expecting tens of billions of dollars in sales and highlighting an industry-wide focus on certain diseases and indications.

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