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Neil Kumar Credit: Endpoints

Bridge­Bio CEO Neil Ku­mar en­gi­neers a deal to reel back Ei­dos shares. Or is he re­al­ly hunt­ing a buy­out?

A year after BridgeBio took its biotech subsidiary Eidos public at $17 a share $EIDX, the mother company wants it all back. 

BridgeBio CFO Brian Stephenson alerted investors in an SEC filing late last week that the San Francisco-based company proposed to buy out the investors who snapped up a third of the equity, shooting for a stock-for-stock deal.

BridgeBio, an umbrella drug development group co-founded by CEO Neil Kumar which owns 66.6% of Eidos, went public in a record-setting IPO a few weeks ago, pricing at $17 a share — but now trading north of $26, even after a 10% trim on Friday as the news of the filing began to percolate.

Bay­er’s $240M up­front for Blue­Rock ac­qui­si­tion puts them in the high rollers club for pre­clin­i­cal biotech buy­outs

Bayer’s deal today marks a major, top-10 acquisition for a preclinical biotech, but it’s also significantly different than the average big-buck pacts in the field, which typically revolve around a single drug or target. Bayer wants to build a whole new pipeline covering a variety of disease fields.

The pharma giant’s $600 million gamble — $240 million in cash upfront with $360 million for development goals — ranks as the 6th largest money-down deal on the top 20 list of preclinical M&A deals, as gathered by DealForma’s Chris Dokomajilar.

The list is topped by Bristol-Myers Squibb’s misguided $800 million upfront for Flexus’ IDO program — later scrapped. Tekmira — now Arbutus — followed with a motherlode of dollars for OnCore’s hep B effort. That stands out as an unusual play for a biotech. The top 15 players dominate the preclinical M&A game when it comes to large upfronts.

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Emile Nuwaysir. BlueRock

Bay­er is go­ing all in on next-gen stem cell biotech Blue­Rock, buy­ing out Ver­sant and founders for $600M

After holding a ringside seat watching the growing team at BlueRock build up an advanced preclinical set of regenerative stem cell projects in the pipeline, Bayer wants to own it all.

Bayer execs struck a deal to buy out the 60% of the shares it didn’t already own, paying $240 million in cash and setting up a smorgasbord of $360 million in development milestones on the table while valuing the company at a unicorn-sized billion dollars. The bulk of that cash is earmarked for Versant Ventures, which seeded the company and set up the $225 million launch round in late 2016, with the rest going for stock held by some of the founders.

Now that BlueRock’s staff has been built to 130, with a lead program for Parkinson’s headed to the clinic before the end of this year, the Versant team feels they reached the stage where they needed to either go public and raise a substantial amount of cash, or let a deep-pocket group like Bayer take it forward.

And Bayer is all in.

Stefan Oelrich

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Per­mi­ra pro­pos­es to take Cam­brex pri­vate in $2.4B deal, stir­ring up CD­MO M&A

Cambrex is at the M&A game again, but this time it’s switching roles. After buying out Halo Pharma and Avista Pharma Solutions in the past couple of years, the contract developer and manufacturer is getting acquired.

Private equity firm Permira Funds has put a $2.4 billion offer on the table for the NYSE-listed company, which translates to $60 per share for Cambrex $CBM stockholders or a 47.1% premium to the closing price the day before. Its stock has surged on roughly the same scale.

Un­der a cloud of opi­oid law­suits, Mallinck­rodt sus­pends spe­cial­ty gener­ics spin­off

Mallinckrodt $MNK is halting plans to spin off its specialty generics business, citing “current market conditions and developments, including increasing uncertainties created by the opioid litigation.”

The UK drugmaker had intended to establish a new, publicly-traded company bearing the Mallinckrodt name while renaming the specialty brands unit Sonorant Therapeutics and adopting the new symbol $SRTX. It first announced the spinoff last December at the end of a 2-year review.

Ne­oleuk­in's quest to shake up the IL-2 space gets a boost via re­verse merg­er with Aquinox

Months after launching out of the University of Washington, Neoleukin Therapeutics is making a swift leap to the Nasdaq and gaining momentum to push its new IL-2 cancer drug to the clinic.

Aquinox Pharmaceuticals — which had been exploring strategic alternatives after a late-stage disaster forced the company to ax half its staff — provided the shell for the reverse merger. Their shareholders will own around 61.42% of the combined entity while Neoleukin gets access to $65 million in capitalization.

Take­da kicks up GPCR work with So­sei Hep­tares, dish­ing out $26M to get GI drug dis­cov­ery go­ing

Takeda is joining the growing group of big-league players enlisting the GPCR experts at Sosei Heptares for drug design work.

Much like the Genentech deal unveiled days ago, the partnership with Takeda comes with $26 million in upfront and near-term milestones, with milestones adding up to $1.2 billion. Sosei Heptares will apply its technology — which generates both small molecules and antibodies based on stabilized GPCR structures — on a range of diseases, focusing initially on gut inflammation and motility disorders.

Jeff Leiden, Vertex via YouTube

Jump­ing in­to grow­ing queue of buy­ers, Ver­tex chief tar­gets a slate of new and 'larg­er' deals ahead

After making it crystal clear that Jeff Leiden plans to keep his hand directly on the wheel of business development following his move from CEO to the executive chairman’s spot, Leiden himself stepped up on Wednesday to personally map out plans for a series of new deals he expects to orchestrate to beef up the pipeline.

During the Q2 call with analysts, Leiden heralded the near-term approval expected for their triple combination for cystic fibrosis. And he made it abundantly clear that a string of new deals regarding gene editing programs for Duchenne muscular dystrophy — buying Exonics and more — are just a prelude to more M&A pacts in the very near future as Reshma Kewalramani preps a move to the CEO suite.

Fresh de­lay for $4.3B Roche/Spark deal trig­gers an­a­lyst con­cerns about gene ther­a­py M&A

Roche CEO Severin Schwan may have prepared the staff at Spark for the fifth delay of its $4.3 billion acquisition — adding a few months of cushion and pushing the deadline as far as April 30, 2020 — but that’s not stopping analysts from becoming seriously concerned.

The FTC’s dragged on investigation, which is holding up the deal, points to something bigger than Spark or Roche, Mani Foroohar of SVB Leerink told Bloomberg. It sends a worrying signal to any buyers looking to make a move in gene therapy M&A.

Daniel O'Day, AP Images

Gilead chief Daniel O’Day isn’t done mak­ing head­lines — with more R&D deals and lots of new hires to come

Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day isn’t about to stop doing R&D deals now that he’s completed a record-setting $5 billion collaboration with Galapagos — even if he does have some top executive positions to fill.

In their Q2 call with analysts Tuesday, O’Day highlighted a few key notions.

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