Deals channel feed

Sean McClain, AbSci

On a mis­sion to 'u­ni­fy' drug dis­cov­ery and cell-line de­vel­op­ment, Ab­Sci ac­quires AI out­fit De­n­ovi­um

Imagine discovering a drug and cell line at the click of a button. That’s the goal of AbSci CEO Sean McClain — and on Monday, he closed on a deal to buy Denovium and its AI engine that transcends the human brain and even the best of lab tools.

“Essentially what we’re doing is we’re taking all this data…that looks at manufacturability and drug functionality, and then feeding it into the AI platform that’s continually learning,” McClain told Endpoints. “Every molecule we have is fed into the model,” he said.

CEO Tehila Ben-Moshe (Biond Biologics)

Dou­bling down on on­col­o­gy, Sanofi buys in­to a new check­point in­hibitor with a $125M down pay­ment

On its latest shopping trip through the immuno-oncology department, Sanofi picked up the rights to a checkpoint inhibitor from Biond Biologics’ pipeline, paying over $1 billion to add the clinic-bound program to its growing cancer lineup.

The French pharma will shell out $125 million in cash upfront, with the potential for another $1 billion in milestones plus “tiered double digit” royalties, for BND-22, a humanized, IgG4 antagonist antibody that goes after the ILT2 receptor. Israel-based Biond is leading a Phase 1a study — which is expected to launch by mid-2021 — and Sanofi will take the program from there.

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Kevin Pojasek, Enara CEO

Boehringer In­gel­heim en­lists a UK start­up in a mile­stone-heavy quest for 'dark anti­gen­s'

A year after raising $17.5 million for a platform to search for so-called “dark antigens” lurking in tumors, Enara Bio has nabbed a buyer for at least some of what that platform found.

Enara announced Tuesday a partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim, whereby the German big pharma would develop cancer vaccines and bispecific antibodies targeted at Enara-discovered antigens in lung or GI cancers. Upfront terms weren’t disclosed but Enara will be eligible to earn as much as $960 million.

Vas Narasimhan, Novartis CEO (Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

No­var­tis brings BeiGene's promis­ing check­point in­hibitor in­to the fold, but what about high­ly tout­ed spar­tal­izum­ab?

Arriving on the Chinese market among a wave of PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors in late 2019, BeiGene’s tislelizumab has earned laurels for its outstanding data and broad pipeline. Now, Novartis has signed a deal to take BeiGene’s drug abroad in what could be seen as a snub for its own touted in-house PD-1 antibody.

Novartis will drop $650 million in upfront cash for commercial and co-development rights to most major markets outside of China for tislelizumab, a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor that already sports marketing approval in China for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and metastatic urothelial carcinoma, the Swiss drugmaker said Monday.

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Reshma Kewalramani (Vertex via YouTube)

#JPM21: Resh­ma Ke­wal­ra­mani is on the hunt for 'mid-to late-stage as­sets,' new tools to re­plen­ish Ver­tex pipeline

It’s her first JP Morgan as CEO of Vertex, and Reshma Kewalramani is hitting the ground running.

The partnerships she inherited from predecessor Jeff Leiden have produced a slate of programs that, while promising, are either preclinical or just wrapping up human proof-of-concept. But for 2021, Kewalramani has outlined a plan to bring in more mid-to late-stage assets — alongside and tools to expand our toolkit.

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Glax­o­SmithK­line backs a pre­clin­i­cal ac­ne treat­ment from Eli­go Bio­science that us­es CRISPR to kill bac­te­ria

Roughly three and a half years since bagging a $20 million financing round to develop its CRISPR-based microbiome modulation platform, Eligo Bioscience has made its first deal with a major pharma player. And it’s one who’s typically on the lookout for new precision medicines.

The French biotech locked down a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline for up to $224 million, the companies announced Monday, aiming to adapt Eligo’s technology into a treatment for the bacteria that causes acne. Under the agreement, Eligo will receive an upfront payment and R&D funding to take the program through the proof of concept phase, after which GSK can exercise an option to license the candidate.

Alexis Borisy

EQRx scores $500M to dri­ve its dis­rup­tive drug pric­ing mod­el and late-stage on­col­o­gy hope­fuls to mar­ket

Nearly a year into its mission of rewriting the rules of drug pricing, EQRx has made a few key late-stage pickups to speed up its march to market. With the ball rolling faster than expected, investors are jumping on board in droves — and EQRx will soon have to prove if its disruptive business model holds water.

EQRx has bagged a $500 million Series B — among the largest of its kind in recent biopharma history — to continue driving its oncology and inflammatory candidates to market, the company said Monday.

Paul Hudson (AP Images)

Sanofi CEO Paul Hud­son’s lat­est M&A gam­bit adds new eczema drug in $1.5B buy­out. And he’s steer­ing back in­to a mar­ket mael­strom

Around the same time that Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson was engineering a $3.7 billion buyout of Principia to add a late-stage multiple sclerosis drug to the pipeline last August, the team at Kymab was posting upbeat remarks about its mid-stage data on their rival OX40L drug for atopic dermatitis. Now Hudson has come back in to ink a $1.45 billion deal to buy Kymab out and add that to the late-stage immuno-inflammation pipeline as well.

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Mike Sherman, Chimerix CEO

Chimerix places its bets on On­co­ceu­tic­s' dopamine an­tag­o­nist for rare brain can­cer in quest to sal­vage its im­age

In the clinical wasteland of aggressive brain cancers, Philly’s Oncoceutics has churned out promising data with a Phase II candidate on the verge of an FDA filing. Chimerix, looking to turn around its reputation — and share price — has jumped on board, putting half-a-billion-dollar hopes in Oncoceutics’ drug.

Chimerix will acquire private biotech Oncoceutics and lead candidate ONC-201, an oral small molecule dopamine receptor D2 antagonist and caseinolytic protease agonist currently being tested in a Phase II trial against recurrent glioma, a form of brain cancer with a particularly poor prognosis, the companies said Friday.

Merck KGaA's Belén Garijo (AP Images)

Mer­ck KGaA snaps up Ger­man CD­MO in boost to mR­NA port­fo­lio — in­clud­ing for Covid-19

Once thought unlikely as a mechanism of action in vaccines, mRNA-based shots have stormed out to a lead in the fight against Covid-19. But mRNA’s potential effect isn’t limited to just vaccines, and now German drugmaker Merck KGaA is looking to find out just how far it can take the technology.

The Darmstadt, Germany based biopharma has acquired mRNA CDMO AmpTec in Hamburg, saying it plans to strengthen its own capacities to develop and manufacture mRNA for customers to use in “vaccines, treatments and diagnostics applicable in Covid-19 and many other diseases.”