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Hal Barron, Endpoints UKBIO20 (Jeff Rumans)

GSK inks $231M man­u­fac­tur­ing deal as Hal Bar­ron an­tic­i­pates fruit­ful year for pruned R&D group

Almost halfway into the big turnaround year that Hal Barron has blueprinted for GlaxoSmithKline’s R&D team, the Big Pharma is unveiling a $231 million manufacturing deal to match the growing commercial portfolio.

In a new partnership, GSK has enlisted Samsung Biologics to provide additional manufacturing capacity for its commercial specialty care drugs, beginning with the lupus drug Benlysta. Production will take place in Samsung’s facilities in Korea, the company told Endpoints News.

Robert Spignesi (Rapid Micro Biosystems)

Al­ly Bridge joins Bain in $120M bet that speed­ing up man­u­fac­tur­ing QC can hit big in post-pan­dem­ic world

The global tide of venture and private equity money flooding into biopharma — undeterred, if not boosted, by the public health crisis — is floating the boats of not just drug developers but also the vendors that help them do their job. In the latest example, China’s Ally Bridge Group and Switzerland’s Endeavour Vision have joined Bain Capital in contributing to Rapid Micro Biosystems’ $120 million financing.

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Source: Shutterstock

Theft vic­tim or da­ta bul­ly? IQVIA ex­changes blows with small ri­val it says de­stroyed ev­i­dence in le­gal fight

Three years into their legal battle, the plot around health information giant IQVIA and Veeva’s dispute over reference data and software managing those data continues to thicken.

Just a week after IQVIA filed a motion for default judgment in their trade theft suit with salacious allegations that Veeva intentionally deleted evidence that would prove they stole information from the data giant, Veeva said it’s expanding its antitrust counterclaims to put an end to IQVIA’s “long history of abusing its monopoly position.”

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Catalent CEO John Chiminski speaks at an Endpoints News event at the JP Morgan conference in San Francisco, January 2020 [Jeff Rumans, Endpoints News]

Catal­ent chief John Chimin­s­ki trig­gers a $315M-plus wa­ger on the boom­ing cell ther­a­py mar­ket now in the mak­ing

Last year Catalent CEO John Chiminski invested more than a billion dollars to expand the contract manufacturer ahead of an explosion of gene therapy trials and expected approvals. He’s starting this year with a $315 million wager on the booming cell therapy field.

Just ahead of the market open Monday, Chiminski $CTLT laid out to me the details of his decision to buy a transatlantic player that has been building up manufacturing capability in CAR-Ts, TCRs, TILs (tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes) and mesenchymal stem cell therapies.

In exchange for the $315 million in cash, he’s getting MaSTherCell Global and its 32,000 square-foot facility in Houston and a 25,000 square-foot facility in Gosselies, Belgium. The manufacturing operation is in the process of building out a 60,000-square-foot addition in Belgium set to go live next year, expanding beyond clinical supplies to the commercial realm.

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Alex Karnal (Deerfield)

Deer­field vaults to the top of cell and gene ther­a­py CD­MO game with $1.1B fa­cil­i­ty at Philadel­phi­a's newest bio­phar­ma hub

Back at the beginning of 2015, Deerfield Management co-led a $10 million Series C for a private gene therapy startup, reshaping the company and bringing in new leaders to pave way for an IPO just a year later.

Fast forward four more years and the startup, AveXis, is now a subsidiary of Novartis marketing the second-ever gene therapy to be approved in the US.

For its part, Deerfield has also grown more comfortable and ambitious about the nascent field. And the investment firm is now putting down its biggest bet yet: a $1.1 billion contract development and manufacturing facility to produce everything one needs for cell and gene therapy — faster and better than how it’s currently done.

Credit: Celltrion

Ko­re­a's Cell­tri­on blue­prints $514M bi­o­log­ics plant in Chi­na, beef­ing up biosim­i­lar, con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ing

The Chinese city of Wuhan might have sprung to worldwide infamy for the coronavirus outbreak originating from one of its seafood markets, but if Celltrion has its way, it will become known as a center of biologics manufacturing.

The Korean biosimilars maker has budgeted $514 million (₩600 billion) over five years for a new plant in Wuhan, which it says will be China’s biggest biologics facility at a capacity of 120,000 liters. A groundbreaking ceremony is slated for April.

David Simmons. PPD via YouTube

What are bio­phar­ma com­pa­nies hir­ing CROs for these days? PPD spells it out in bid for $100M IPO

More than eight years after PPD was taken private in a $3.9 billion deal, the 35-years-old contract research organization is bracing for the public market again with a $100 million ask.

Having served all of the top 50 biopharma companies in the world by R&D spending and over 300 biotech fledglings, PPD’s filings highlighted the entrenched role CROs play in an industry chasing an ever dwindling return on investment by pushing for faster timelines and tackling payer resistance to pricey therapies.

Prepar­ing for new wave of treat­ments, Fu­ji­film drops $55 mil­lion for gene ther­a­py cen­ter

The preparations to serve biopharma’s explosion of gene therapy pipeline candidates continues.

Seven months ago Thermo Fisher put down $1.7 billion for a rising gene therapy contract manufacturer. Catalent quickly followed up with a $1.2 billion deal for gene therapy play of its own, acquiring the Maryland-based Paragon Bioservices.  And now, Fujifilm is expanding its own capabilities in the field — with the Japanese conglomerate investing $120 million into the field and building a “Gene Therapy Innovation Center” beside its recently completed base in College Station, Texas.

Chi­na's Foun­tain Med­ical scores $62M as de­mand for CRO ser­vices surges

Circa 2016, China secured its status as the second-biggest market for prescription drugs. The soaring demand for medicines has fueled the return of key scientific talent, the appetite for spending on drug research and development, while China’s cost advantage has lured multinational pharmaceutical makers to set up R&D shops in the region and stimulated the domestic CRO industry. In 2007, a former Quintiles (now IQVIA) executive set up his own CRO in China — Fountain Medical Development Limited (FMD) — and on Friday, the company unveiled a $62 million Series D round of financing.

Parex­el em­braces re­al world ev­i­dence, en­list­ing Data­vant to drill it in­to CRO work­flow

With the emergence of real-world evidence as a promising way to capture data points outside of clinical trials and speed up drug development, contract research organizations — the stalwarts of traditional trial execution — are often leading the charge in adopting new technology. Parexel, a leading player in the field, is stepping up that commitment through a deal with Datavant.

Spawned by Vivek Ramaswamy’s startup factory Roivant and led by Travis May, Datavant has positioned itself as a key aggregator linking up the disparate datasets that exist in healthcare, often in silos. In the new partnership, its software will be integrated into Parexel’s workflow such that all the data from their studies will be connected to real-world data such as electronic health records, claims and diagnostics, as well as information relating to genomics, wearable devices, socioeconomic and behavioral data and others.