Business, Drug Development

Bioverativ beefs up its pipeline of rare blood disease drugs with $825M True North buyout

Nancy Stagliano

Biogen spin-off Bioverativ isn’t just passively managing the portfolio of hemophilia drugs it’s been given. The biotech just struck a deal to buy South San Francisco-based True North Therapeutics for $400 million in cash plus another $425 million in milestones.

The prize in this deal is TNT009, an experimental drug for cold agglutinin disease, or CAD, a rare and chronic hemolytic condition that often leads to severe anemia. True North has been prepping plans for a pivotal program for the therapy after winning the FDA’s breakthrough therapy designation to help speed it along the regulatory pathway.

The buyout marks another success for CEO Nancy Stagliano, an experienced biotech vet who was brought in six years ago to steer a new course for iPierian. She spun out True North to focus on rare diseases and later struck a deal to sell iPierian.

TNT009 is designed to tackle C1s, a serine protease engaged in the classical complement pathway involved in governing the human immune system.  Investigators tested it on a small group of six patients with cold agglutinin disease, an autoimmune condition which is described as a type of hemolytic anemia in which autoantibodies target and destroy red blood cells, and highlighted signs of rapid onset with complete responses. That’s what attracted the FDA’s attention, followed by Bioverativ.

Stagliano raised $142 million for True North from some loyal venture backers.

Bioverativ is signaling that it has more deals in mind as it maps its own post-Biogen course.

“One of our strategic priorities is to invest thoughtfully in business development with a focus on building our pipeline in areas where we believe we can make a real difference for patients,” said John Cox, Chief Executive Officer of Bioverativ, in a statement. “This acquisition of True North is aligned with those goals and with our vision to become the leading rare disease company focused on blood disorders. It strengthens our pipeline with a potential first-in-class therapy to treat CAD, a rare blood disorder with a high unmet patient need.”


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