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Dan O'Day (AP Images)

Gilead CEO Dan O'­Day's $21B M&A deal to buy Im­munomedics gets some harsh re­views

After a wild, 4-year roller coaster ride, ImmunoMedics $IMMU is getting its fairy-tale ending after all.

Sunday evening Gilead $GILD put the weekend rumors to rest and announced its agreement to buy out the company for $21 billion, which gives the big biotech Trodelvy, newly approved for metastatic triple negative breast cancer. That’s big money for a single-drug deal. Four years ago Immunomedics’ stock sold for about $2 a share. It closed Friday at $42.25, and Gilead is paying $88.

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Af­ter No­var­tis left, Boehringer bets up to $500M on the field of pre­scrip­tion smart­phone apps

Boehringer Ingelheim wants in on digital therapeutics.

The German pharma signed an up to $500 million collaboration with Click Therapeutics, one of a handful of major companies developing prescription computer and smartphone applications for various neurological or mental disorders. They join a small list of pharmas that have decided to test the waters in the emerging field.

Under the deal, Boehringer and Click will co-develop a digital therapeutic for schizophrenia, known as CT-155. It’s a complementary effort to Boehringer’s more traditional schizophrenia work. The company has concentrated their neuroscience efforts there since 2018, when a Phase II failure blew up their late-stage Alzheimer’s efforts.

Brent Saunders (via AP Images)

Brent Saun­ders piv­ots from Al­ler­gan sale to a $460M SPAC, mak­ing him an overnight play­er in one of the hottest mon­ey-rais­ing gam­bits in biotech

It was only a matter of time before Brent Saunders started wheeling and dealing again. And what better vehicle to choose for his first serious endeavor than a blank check company?

All the rage in biotech financial services these days, Saunders has formed a special purpose acquisition company called Vesper Healthcare Acquisition aimed at raising $460 million plus for some biopharma company looking to gin cash and quick recognition with a leap into Nasdaq.

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Chris Gibson, Recursion CEO (Vaughn Ridley/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images)

Re­cur­sion nabs $239M and an up to $1B part­ner­ship with Bay­er as AI race heats up

Some biotechs struggle for cash. Recursion, lately, seems to be swimming in it.

Today, having already raised over $180 million in the last two years, the Salt Lake City-based AI drug developer announced a $239 million Series D. That’s more than any US or European biotech has raised in a round this year and more than all but two biotechs raised last year. (Mabwell, a Shanghai-based antibody developer, raised $278 million in a Series A in April.)

Costa Saroukos, Takeda CFO (Takeda)

Pay­ing down more debt, Take­da of­floads pre­scrip­tion drug port­fo­lio for $562 mil­lion

It’s been two years since Takeda’s $62 billion Shire buyout, and the Tokyo biotech is still restructuring.

The company struck a deal with Germany-based Cheplapharm to divest some non-core prescription products for an upfront payment of $562 million. The portfolio — which includes cardiovascular, metabolic and anti-inflammatory drugs sold mostly in Europe and Canada — doesn’t fit in with Takeda’s post-Shire vision. The biotech has since shifted its focus to gastroenterology (GI), rare diseases, plasma-derived therapies, oncology and neuroscience.

Dab­bling in CD47, Pfiz­er in­fus­es $25M in­to a biotech play­er tout­ing pos­i­tive monother­a­py da­ta

Pfizer is following Gilead, AbbVie, Boehringer and a string of biotech upstarts into the CD47 race, lining up its own shots at the “don’t eat me” signal that is shaping up to be the big cancer checkpoint target.

And it’s starting small.

With $25 million in initial investment, Pfizer is stacking up about 2.3 million shares in Trillium Therapeutics $TRIL for $10.88 per share — a 15% premium over its Friday close. Investors were quick to follow Pfizer’s lead, bidding up Trillium’s shares 40% Wednesday morning.

Ahead of merg­er with Pfiz­er's gener­ic unit, My­lan makes $757M+ pur­chase for Eu­ro­pean throm­bo­sis port­fo­lio

Mylan is increasing its presence in Europe with a high-dollar acquisition of a blood clot portfolio.

The generic drugmaker is paying more than three-quarters of a billion dollars to gobble up Aspen Pharmacare’s thrombosis business on the continent. The exact sum of €641.9 million, or about $757 million, will be divvied up into an upfront payment of about 41% of the total, with the remaining being deferred to next June.

Then-Prince Felipe of Spain (R) toasts with Victor Grifols Roura (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Gri­fols makes a $146M bet on a Stan­ford play in a con­tro­ver­sial an­ti-ag­ing field

For the last couple of years, when it came to the vaguely vampiric field of young blood plasma transfusions, there was Alkahest and there was everyone else.

Since the field was briefly mocked on Silicon Valley in 2017, one startup charged $8,000 to $12,000 to pump the elderly with the plasma of young donors and one doctor pitched his clinical trial in a glitzy West Palm Beach gala where he reminded retirees they were likely to die soon, prompting FDA’s chief Scott Gottlieb to warn such treatments were “unproven” and that “some patients are being preyed upon by unscrupulous actors.” But Alkahest, founded by a Genentech alumn and a Stanford neuroscientist, has promised to take a more measured, scientific approach to the still-fringe science, running phased clinical trials for their plasma-derived products and couching their press releases accordingly.

Jingwu Zang (I-Mab)

Ab­b­Vie jumps in­to CD47 game, en­gi­neers $3B deal with am­bi­tious Chi­nese play­er

Gilead’s $4.9 billion bet on Forty Seven evidently triggered a rush among Big Pharma to look for their own drug that targets the CD47 “don’t-eat-me” signal. AbbVie has now jumped on the bandwagon, paying $180 million upfront to license an antibody out of China.

I-Mab is keeping China rights to lemzoparlimab, which chairman Jingwu Zang says distinguishes itself by minimizing binding to red blood cells and therefore avoiding side effects such as anemia.

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En­thused by PhII au­toim­mune da­ta, J&J kept Mo­men­ta wait­ing in the lead-up to $6.5B buy­out

Momenta had been talking to J&J for well over a year about a potential partnership when it was due to release Phase II data for its lead drug, nipocalimab (M281), in myasthenia gravis. Having established a line of contact during the 2019 JP Morgan conference, Momenta CEO Craig Wheeler raised the possibility of a buyout in October. For months, J&J kept asking more questions about both nipocalimab and a second compound, M254.

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