Neil Kumar, Endpoints

Bridge­Bio drops bid to re­claim Ei­dos af­ter di­rec­tors spurn 3 of­fers

A cou­ple of months ago a new­ly pub­lic Bridge­Bio turned some heads by dis­clos­ing that it had made a bid for sub­sidiary Ei­dos Ther­a­peu­tics in hopes of gob­bling up the 34% stake that it doesn’t al­ready own. Two of­fers lat­er, the par­ties are call­ing it off.

Bri­an Stephen­son

A spe­cial com­mit­tee of in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tors at the small­er biotech led by RA Cap­i­tal’s Ra­jeev Shah and ex-Por­to­la CEO William Lis first re­ject­ed the par­ent com­pa­ny’s ini­tial of­fer — which would swap 1.3 Bridge­Bio shares for each Ei­dos share — on Sep­tem­ber 12. In the lat­est an­nounce­ment, Bridge­Bio re­vealed that it even­tu­al­ly raised the of­fer to 1.5 shares and made $110 mil­lion avail­able for all-cash or mixed con­sid­er­a­tion op­tions, but Ei­dos still wasn’t in­ter­est­ed.

“I thank the Spe­cial Com­mit­tee for its hard work and look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing our ef­forts around the Phase 3 tri­al for AG10 and the analy­sis of da­ta from our Phase 2 Open La­bel Ex­ten­sion,” Bridge­Bio founder and CEO Neil Ku­mar said in a state­ment. “Ei­dos and AG10 are a sig­nif­i­cant part of who we are at Bridge­Bio, hav­ing been part of our plan since we found­ed the com­pa­ny. We re­main in­cred­i­bly ex­cit­ed about the pro­gram and its po­ten­tial for pa­tients with AT­TR car­diomy­opa­thy.”

Noth­ing changes with re­gards to Bridge­Bio’s 66% own­er­ship in or sup­port for Ei­dos, he added.

As with all the oth­er sub­sidiaries un­der its um­brel­la, Bridge­Bio takes cer­tain back of­fice and op­er­a­tion tasks off Ei­dos’ back so that its team can stay laser-fo­cused on mov­ing its lead drug in the clin­ic. AG10 is a small mol­e­cule de­signed to sta­bi­lize transthyretin (TTR) amy­loids in the blood, which can cause fa­tal car­diomy­opa­thy.

From the start the Ei­dos sto­ry has been one of a small but mighty con­tender tak­ing on a field of gi­ants tack­ling TTR us­ing dif­fer­ent ap­proach­es, from Pfiz­er (small mol­e­cule) to Io­n­is (an­ti­sense) to Al­ny­lam (RNAi).

It was nev­er clear why Bridge­Bio want­ed full con­trol of Ei­dos. In his ini­tial dis­clo­sure about the pro­posed merg­er, CFO Bri­an Stephen­son in­sist­ed they had no in­ter­est in sell­ing con­trol of Ei­dos de­spite some spec­u­la­tion that Bridge­Bio was look­ing to spark a buy­out.

“We con­tin­ue to be­lieve strong­ly in AG10, of which we re­tain ap­prox­i­mate­ly 66% own­er­ship, but we feel that be­yond our fi­nal of­fer there are su­pe­ri­or ways for us to de­ploy cap­i­tal, both in and out­side of our pipeline, to gen­er­ate ben­e­fits for pa­tients and re­turns for our in­vestors,” Stephen­son not­ed to­day.

Ei­dos shares dipped 7.89% this morn­ing. At $35.54, the price is now slight­ly low­er than where it was when the deal was pro­posed.

Is a pow­er­house Mer­ck team prepar­ing to leap past Roche — and leave Gilead and Bris­tol My­ers be­hind — in the race to TIG­IT dom­i­na­tion?

Roche caused quite a stir at ASCO with its first look at some positive — but not so impressive — data for their combination of Tecentriq with their anti-TIGIT drug tiragolumab. But some analysts believe that Merck is positioned to make a bid — soon — for the lead in the race to a second-wave combo immuno-oncology approach with its own ambitious early-stage program tied to a dominant Keytruda.

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Pfiz­er’s Doug Gior­dano has $500M — and some ad­vice — to of­fer a cer­tain breed of 'break­through' biotech

So let’s say you’re running a cutting-edge, clinical-stage biotech, probably public, but not necessarily so, which could see some big advantages teaming up with some marquee researchers, picking up say $50 million to $75 million dollars in a non-threatening minority equity investment that could take you to the next level.

Doug Giordano might have some thoughts on how that could work out.

The SVP of business development at the pharma giant has helped forge a new fund called the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative. And he has $500 million of Pfizer’s money to put behind 7 to 10 — or so — biotech stocks that fit that general description.

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BiTE® Plat­form and the Evo­lu­tion To­ward Off-The-Shelf Im­muno-On­col­o­gy Ap­proach­es

Despite rapid advances in the field of immuno-oncology that have transformed the cancer treatment landscape, many cancer patients are still left behind.1,2 Not every person has access to innovative therapies designed specifically to treat his or her disease. Many currently available immuno-oncology-based approaches and chemotherapies have brought long-term benefits to some patients — but many patients still need other therapeutic options.3

Es­ti­mat­ing a US price tag of $5K per course, remde­sivir is set to make bil­lions for Gilead, says key an­a­lyst

Data on remdesivir — the first drug shown to benefit Covid-19 patients in a randomized, controlled trial setting — may be murky, but its maker Gilead could reap billions from the sales of the failed Ebola therapy, according to an estimate by a prominent Wall Street analyst. However, the forecast, which is based on a $5,000-per-course US price tag, triggered the ire of one top drug price expert.

A low-pro­file biotech bests Re­gen­eron in high-pro­file patent suit

For nearly a decade now, the low-profile Cambridge biotech Kymab has been battling in US, UK, Japanese and Australian courts with the biotech behemoth Regeneron.

Regeneron has turned itself into a $70 billion company off of a platform of transgenically humanized mice they can use to make antibodies for anything from Ebola to colorectal cancer. The technology took decades and billions to build, 20 years from the company’s founding to the first approved drug. And the company guards and touts it zealously, breaking their production process down into various branded components — Velocimmune, Velocigene, Velocimouse and four other Velocis — and sometimes suing would-be copycats. In 2014, most notably, they sued two Pfizer-backed entities for patent infringement.

Bull­ish biotech mar­ket pro­pels Pli­ant to $144M IPO — as No­var­tis pro­vides a $10M boost

After pharma partner Novartis boosted its IPO with a $10 million private placement, Pliant Therapeutics has wrapped its journey to the Nasdaq on a high note.

Pliant had penciled in a $86 million raise back in May. But as has become the norm in recent months, that initial number has turned out to be a mere placeholder, making way for the final haul of $144 million.

The South San Francisco biotech did so by pricing at $16, the high end of the range, while bringing the number of shares offered up to 9 million.

Cameron Durrant, Humanigen CEO (Columbia University Technology Ventures via YouTube)

Cameron Dur­rant hus­tled his way from the OTC side­lines right in­to the Covid-19 drug race. Death or glo­ry lies straight ahead

Over the past few months, Covid-19 has gone from being a monolithic threat to one of the biggest overnight boons the biopharma industry has ever seen. And amid all the furor over Moderna’s swelling stock price, plenty of chatter over what new drugs and vaccines will cost and investors’ uninhibited zeal for all things related to pandemic products, it’s been one little biotech’s golden ticket back from the land of the living dead.

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Covid-19 roundup: BAR­DA sup­ports Op­er­a­tion Warp Speed with big $628M con­tract to ser­vice Amer­i­ca's vac­cine pro­duc­tion needs

Another BARDA contract designed to service America’s Covid-19 vaccine needs has been deployed.

The White House-led initiative designed to bankroll development to bring a vaccine to the American public by this fall — Operation Warp Speed — has via BARDA handed a meaty contract to the maker of an FDA-licensed anthrax vaccine to open up its manufacturing apparatus to shore up production of Covid-19 vaccines.

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FDA de­lays de­ci­sion on No­var­tis’ po­ten­tial block­buster MS drug, wip­ing away pri­or­i­ty re­view

So much for a speedy review.

In February, Novartis announced that an application for their much-touted multiple sclerosis drug ofatumumab had been accepted and, with the drug company cashing in on one of their priority review vouchers, the agency was due for a decision by June.

But with June less than 48 hours old, Novartis announced the agency has extended their review, pushing back the timeline for approval or rejection to September. The Swiss pharma filed the application in December, meaning their new schedule will be nearly in line with the standard 10-month window period had they not used the priority voucher.

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