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John Chiminski, Catalent CEO - File Photo

'It's a growth play': Catal­ent ac­quires Bris­tol-My­er­s' Eu­ro­pean launch pad, ex­pand­ing glob­al CD­MO ops

Catalent is staying on the growth track.

Just two months after committing $1.2 billion to pick up Paragon and take a deep dive into the sizzling hot gene therapy manufacturing sector, the CDMO is bouncing right back with a deal to buy out Bristol-Myers’ central launchpad for new therapies in Europe, acquiring a complex in Anagni, Italy, southwest of Rome, that will significantly expand its capacity on the continent.

There are no terms being offered, but this is no small deal. The Anagni campus employs some 700 staffers, and Catalent is planning to go right in — once the deal closes late this year — with a blueprint to build up the operations further as they expand on oral solid, biologics, and sterile product manufacturing and packaging.

This is an uncommon deal, Catalent CEO John Chiminski tells me. But it offers a shortcut for rapid growth that cuts years out of developing a green fields project. That’s time Catalent doesn’t have as the industry undergoes unprecedented expansion around the world.

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'So­phis­ti­cat­ed' cy­berthieves hacked in­to Charles Riv­er Labs and made off with clients’ drug da­ta

Some “highly sophisticated, well-resourced” hackers managed to break into the data vaults at Charles River Labs and make off with some of their clients’ drug data, the latest incident to underscore the threat of cyber thieves and viral attacks in the industry.

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Nine list­ings and $3.8B lat­er, HKEX cel­e­brates one-year biotech an­niver­sary with $194M CRO IPO

So how is Hong Kong stock exchange’s biotech board doing one year after regulators opened up the listing regime to pre-revenue companies in the field?

Depends on how you look at it.

While only nine biotech companies — including one CRO giant — have joined the HKEX this way in the past year, collectively they have raised $3.8 billion. By IPO proceeds, that makes Hong Kong the second largest public biotech hub worldwide after the leader Nasdaq, according to Refinitiv data cited by the local South China Morning Post.

Ahead of US gene ther­a­py ex­plo­sion, big con­tract drug man­u­fac­tur­er Catal­ent makes $1.2 bil­lion bet on Paragon Bioser­vices

As drug developers aggressively pursue gene therapies and their makers, the manufacturing end of the supply chain is also fortifying itself for the wave of therapies expected to hit the market in the coming years. Less than a month after Thermo Fisher unveiled a $1.7 billion deal to swallow Brammer Bio — a company that does contract viral vector manufacturing for cell and gene therapy developers — Catalent is planning to fork over $1.2 billion for private-equity backed Paragon Bioservices.

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As­traZeneca chops 210 work­ers, clos­es sites as it looks to con­cen­trate bi­o­log­ics man­u­fac­tur­ing in one place

AstraZeneca is closing down two manufacturing sites in Colorado that collectively employed 210 workers, in an apparent effort to consolidate its biologics supply chain.

First reported in a WARN notice on Tuesday, the layoffs are “unrelated” to the organizational changes announced a day prior, spokesperson Michele Meixell told me in an email.
The closure of Boulder and Longmont is simply a decision to consolidate the biologics manufacturing network in one large-scale drug substance facility (our site currently operating in Frederick, MD) in order to improve efficiency in our global biologics supply chain.
The major shakeup AstraZeneca unveiled just ahead of the JP Morgan conference involved the recruitment of José Baselga — following his controversial exit from Memorial Sloan Kettering — to head up oncology R&D, which now stands shoulder-to-shoulder with a biopharmaceutical R&D unit led by Mene Pangalos. The commercial operations are also being rejigged into two units to mirror the new structure.

WuXi AppTec files for pub­lic list­ing in Hong Kong four months af­ter ex­plo­sive Shang­hai IPO

Since going public in Shanghai this May, WuXi AppTec has more than tripled its share price. It’s now looking to take the momentum to Hong Kong.

The powerhouse contract research organization has filed for an IPO, eyeing a massive offering that could fetch more than $1 billion, anonymous sources tell Bloomberg, on the heels of several big IPOs by Ascletis, BeiGene and Hua Medicine.

Unlike these biotechs, which Hong Kong’s new rules are meant to attract, WuXi has been generating a sizable revenue. It’s also been expanding its global operations, with subsidiary WuXi Biologics blueprinting several manufacturing sites in Shanghai, Shijiazhuang and Worcester, MA. WuXi Biologics is currently listed in Hong Kong, having raised $509 million last June.

Catal­ent inks $133M deal to buy Ju­niper Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, adding UK de­vel­op­ment ser­vices

The biopharma contract developer and manufacturer Catalent $CTLT has swooped in to buy out Juniper Pharmaceuticals $JNP for $133 million, adding their services with an eye to amping up its early drug development offerings in the UK.

The buyout — at $11.50 a share — brings 150 staffers and their Juniper Pharma Services division in Nottingham. Catalent is looking to add their expertise on formulation development, bioavailability solutions and clinical-scale oral dose manufacturing to the company’s global operations. The company also manages the Crinone (progesterone gel) franchise.

Clin­i­cal tri­al dis­rup­tor Sci­ence 37 in talks with Soft­Bank on a $150M in­vest­ment — Re­code

Just a few months after pharma giant Novartis partnered up with Science 37 on its virtual approach to clinical trial work, Recode reports that the would-be CRO disruptor is in talks with SoftBank execs on a $150 million investment.

SoftBank, which provided Roivant chief Vivek Ramaswamy with more than a billion dollars to invest in biotech, evidently has been drawn to Science 37’s promise that it can efficiently and effectively recruit patients for clinical trials without forcing them into a trial site. Using new telemedicine tech, they say they can accumulate clean datasets to show whether or not new drugs are working — hoping to disrupt the big players who now dominate the CRO world.

List­ing in Shang­hai, WuXi AppTec rais­es a $354M IPO for Chi­na R&D fa­cil­i­ties

One day after Hong Kong’s stock exchange scored its first pre-revenue IPO application, Shanghai Stock Exchange got its own time in the limelight as global CRO WuXi AppTec hauled in $354 million (RMB2.3 billion) by going public in Shanghai.

While the final amount fell short of the $900 million cited in its filing, WuXi’s shares shot up immediately after they became available, surging 44% to $4.89 (RMB31.1) from the IPO price of RMB21.6 — hitting the Shanghai’s daily increase ceiling for newly listed shares.

Tap­ping a biotech boom, Chi­na gene edit­ing CRO Bio­cy­to­gen bags $65M round for glob­al ex­pan­sion

Money is flowing in and out of China, and it’s touching every part of the ecosystem. Today, a Chinese CRO specializing in animal models for gene editing and targeting spread the word that it has reaped a $65 million Series C round led by domestic investors.

Biocytogen says the proceeds will go toward opening up markets both in China and overseas, product R&D, facility construction and talent recruitment. CMB International Capital Corporation, the financial arm of China Merchants Bank, led the round, with support from existing investors like SDIC Venture Capital Management (Series B lead), 3E Bioventures, Cowin Capital and Oriza Holdings.