Car­lyle Group in­jects $260M in­to a lead­ing car­dio play­er in Chi­na, grab­bing a seat at the deals ta­ble

The Car­lyle Group is in­vest­ing $260 mil­lion to grab a mi­nor­i­ty stake in Shen­zhen Salu­bris Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, a sto­ried gener­ic mak­er that’s in­creas­ing­ly in­vest­ing in new drug R&D.

The cash is good for a 5% stake in Shen­zhen-list­ed Salu­bris, giv­ing the pri­vate eq­ui­ty play­er ac­cess to a port­fo­lio of treat­ments and de­vices in the car­dio­vas­cu­lar, on­col­o­gy and an­ti-in­fec­tive ar­eas. As the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s re­im­burse­ment re­forms spur con­sol­i­da­tion in the gener­ic drug mar­ket, some play­ers are poised to gain mar­ket share, Car­lyle not­ed in a state­ment.

While Salu­bris’ rev­enues have his­tor­i­cal­ly been dri­ven by sales of main­stays like the blood thin­ners clopi­do­grel and bi­valirudin, the com­pa­ny’s been up­ping its bet on ear­ly-stage drug de­vel­op­ment.

That means in-li­cens­ing enar­o­du­s­tat, a hy­pox­ia-in­ducible fac­tor pro­lyl hy­drox­y­lase (HIF-PH) in­hibitor, from Japan’s JT; tak­ing the lead on back­ing Virac­ta, a biotech work­ing on vi­ral-as­so­ci­at­ed can­cers; as well as push­ing through in­ter­nal­ly dis­cov­ered can­di­dates, in­clud­ing an an­giotensin re­cep­tor-NEP in­hibitor and a re­com­bi­nant fu­sion pro­tein for heart fail­ure.

Lever­ag­ing Car­lyle’s ex­per­tise, net­work and re­sources, Salu­bris says it is look­ing to ex­pand both do­mes­ti­cal­ly and glob­al­ly — with plans to do more tri­als over­seas. M&A is al­so on the ta­ble.

For Car­lyle, it’s a chance to tap in­to “one of the strongest fran­chis­es” in the car­dio- and cere­brovas­cu­lar (CCV) seg­ment in Chi­na, said Ling Yang, a man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the Car­lyle Asia Buy­out ad­vi­so­ry team. Salu­bris is now the sec­ond largest do­mes­tic com­pa­ny in the space, ac­cord­ing to Car­lyle.

The firm boasts of long-stand­ing op­er­a­tions in Chi­na built over 20 years, in­vest­ing more than $9.5 bil­lion worth of eq­ui­ty as it en­tered the sec­ond half of 2020.

More promi­nent in its Chi­na deal streak are the in­vest­ments in the pep­tide API man­u­fac­tur­er Am­bio and the clin­i­cal lab­o­ra­to­ry Adi­con, among oth­er moves in medtech and health­care.

Glob­al­ly, Car­lyle — which has re­cruit­ed re­tired Pfiz­er chief Ian Read to be a deal scout — has been known for its role as a ma­jor in­vestor in con­tract re­search or de­vel­op­ment/man­u­fac­tur­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing PPD and AM­RI. Most re­cent­ly it struck a deal with In­dia’s Pi­ra­mal Phar­ma to pur­chase around 20% of its shares for $490 mil­lion.

Tar­get­ing a Po­ten­tial Vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of Cer­tain Can­cers with DNA Dam­age Re­sponse

Every individual’s DNA is unique, and because of this, every patient responds differently to disease and treatment. It is astonishing how four tiny building blocks of our DNA – A, T, C, G – dictate our health, disease, and how we age.

The tricky thing about DNA is that it is constantly exposed to damage by sources such as ultraviolet light, certain chemicals, toxins, and even natural biochemical processes inside our cells.¹ If ignored, DNA damage will accumulate in replicating cells, giving rise to mutations that can lead to premature aging, cancer, and other diseases.

Roivant par­lays a $450M chunk of eq­ui­ty in biotech buy­out, grab­bing a com­pu­ta­tion­al group to dri­ve dis­cov­ery work

New Roivant CEO Matt Gline has crafted an all-equity upfront deal to buy out a Boston-based biotech that has been toiling for several years now at building a supercomputing-based computational platform to design new drugs. And he’s adding it to the Erector set of science operations that are being built up to support their network of biotech subsidiaries with an eye to growing the pipeline in a play to create a new kind of pharma company.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Ken Frazier, Merck CEO (Bess Adler/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Mer­ck takes a swing at the IL-2 puz­zle­box with a $1.85B play for buzzy Pan­dion and its au­toim­mune hope­fuls

When Roger Perlmutter bid farewell to Merck late last year, the drugmaker perhaps best known now for sales giant Keytruda signaled its intent to take a swing at early-stage novelty with the appointment of discovery head Dean Li. Now, Merck is signing a decent-sized check to bring an IL-2 moonshot into the fold.

Merck will shell out roughly $1.85 billion for Pandion Pharmaceuticals, a biotech hoping to gin up regulatory T cells (Tregs) to treat a range of autoimmune disorders, the drugmaker said Thursday.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 102,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Fol­low biotechs go­ing pub­lic with the End­points News IPO Track­er

The Endpoints News team is continuing to track IPO filings for 2021, and we’ve designed a new tracker page for the effort.

Check it out here: Biopharma IPOs 2021 from Endpoints News

You’ll be able to find all the biotechs that have filed and priced so far this year, sortable by quarter and listed by newest first. As of the time of publishing on Feb. 25, there have already been 16 biotechs debuting on Nasdaq so far this year, with an additional four having filed their S-1 paperwork.

Steve Cutler, Icon CEO (Icon)

In the biggest CRO takeover in years, Icon doles out $12B for PRA Health Sci­ences to fo­cus on de­cen­tral­ized clin­i­cal work

Contract research M&A had a healthy run in recent years before recently petering out. But with the market ripe for a big buyout and the Covid-19 pandemic emphasizing the importance of decentralized trials, Wednesday saw a tectonic shift in the CRO world.

Icon, the Dublin-based CRO, will acquire PRA Health Sciences for $12 billion in a move that will shake up the highest rungs of a fragmented market. The merger would combine the 5th- and 6th-largest CROs by 2020 revenue, according to Icon, and the merger will set the newco up to be the second-largest global CRO behind only IQVIA.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 102,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Roche and Genen­tech re­searchers plot $53M dis­cov­ery quest aimed at spark­ing a 'Holy moly' piv­ot in neu­ro R&D

Roche and Genentech have committed $53 million to back a 10-year quest aimed at going back to the drawing board to use new technology and fresh scientific insights to generate a pipeline of drugs for neurological diseases.

Researchers from both Roche and its big South San Francisco hub — mixing teams from gRED and pRED this time — will mix it up with the scientists drawn together for the Weill Neurohub — formed in 2019 as a joint research partnership involving UCSF, Berkeley and the University of Washington — in an exploration of the field to develop new therapies for some of the toughest diseases in drug R&D: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, ALS and autism.

With dust set­tled on ac­tivist at­tack, Lau­rence Coop­er leaves Zio­pharm to a new board

Laurence Cooper has done his part.

In the five years since he left a tenured position at Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center to become CEO of Boston-based Ziopharm, he’s steered the small-cap immunotherapy player through patient deaths in trials, clinical holds, short attacks and, most recently, an activist attack on the board.

So when the company has “fantastic news” like an IND clearance for a TCR T cell therapy program, he’s ready to pass on the baton.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 102,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Doug Ingram (file photo)

Why not? Sarep­ta’s third Duchenne MD drug sails to ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval

Sarepta may be running into some trouble with its next-gen gene therapy approach to Duchenne muscular dystrophy. But when it comes to antisense oligonucleotides, the well-trodden regulatory path is still leading straight to an accelerated approval for casimersen, now christened Amondys 45.

We just have to wait until 2024 to find out if it works.

Amondys 45’s approval was unceremonious, compared to its two older siblings. There was no controversy within the FDA over approving a drug based on a biomarker rather than clinical benefit, setting up a powerful precedent that still haunts acting FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock as biotech insiders weighed her potential permanent appointment; no drama like the FDA issuing a stunning rejection only to reverse its decision and hand out an OK four months later, which got more complicated after the scathing complete response letter was published; no anxious tea leaf reading or heated arguments from drug developers and patient advocates who were tired of having corticosteroids as their loved ones’ only (sometimes expensive) option.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 102,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

J&J ad­comm live blog: Com­mit­tee votes 22-0 to rec­om­mend an FDA OK for the J&J vac­cine, set­ting up 3rd US Covid-19 jab

The US could have a third authorized Covid-19 vaccine within hours.

The FDA’s advisory committee voted unanimously — 22-0 — to recommend the agency issue an emergency use authorization for J&J’s vaccine. If they follow the precedent of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine,  the FDA will likely authorize the vaccine by Saturday, immediately adding a few million doses to the US supply and adding a 100 million by June. An authorization would give the world its first single-dose vaccine, a major weapon in the effort to vaccinate the world and bring the virus to heel, particularly in rural and developing areas.