Chi­nese on­col­o­gy start­up Ada­gene clos­es $50M Se­ries C led by Se­quoia Cap­i­tal

It’s been a busy week for biotech news com­ing out of Chi­na, and the lat­est fi­nanc­ing round doesn’t break the trend. VC firm Se­quoia Cap­i­tal Chi­na is back­ing Chi­nese an­ti­body plat­form com­pa­ny Ada­gene — which has a pipeline of ear­ly-stage on­col­o­gy pro­grams — in a $50 mil­lion round.

The Se­ries C will fu­el the de­vel­op­ment of an­ti­body ther­a­peu­tics for part­ner com­pa­nies and for Ada­gene’s own in­ter­nal pipeline. The com­pa­ny is keep­ing its tar­gets un­der wraps, but did dis­close that all six pre-clin­i­cal and dis­cov­ery-stage pro­grams are in the field of on­col­o­gy.

Pe­ter Luo

“The funds from this round of fi­nanc­ing will be used to ad­vance nov­el an­ti­body ther­a­peu­tics in­to hu­man tri­als across the globe,” said the com­pa­ny’s co-founder and CEO Pe­ter Luo in a state­ment. “The an­ti­bod­ies dis­cov­ered from our Dy­nam­ic Pre­ci­sion Li­brary plat­form en­able trans­la­tion­al re­search of our ther­a­peu­tic leads on the in­tact im­mune sys­tem of high­ly pre­dic­tive pre­clin­i­cal mod­els.”

Join­ing Se­quoia Chi­na in the round were New World TMT, AVIC Trust, King Star Cap­i­tal, and Go­pher As­set Man­age­ment, among oth­er in­vestors.

Ada­gene, found­ed in 2011, pre­vi­ous­ly raised over $36 mil­lion from in­vestors in­clud­ing F-Prime Cap­i­tal, Eight Roads Ven­tures Chi­na, and 6 Di­men­sions Cap­i­tal.

Neil Shen

Neil Shen, found­ing and man­ag­ing part­ner of Se­quoia Chi­na, said Ada­gene’s as­set re­flects “the in­no­va­tion orig­i­nat­ed from Chi­na.”

“By lead­ing the in­vest­ment round, Se­quoia Chi­na aims to help pro­vide Ada­gene with the abil­i­ty to dri­ve long term growth, as well as bet­ter the dis­cov­ery of nov­el an­ti­bod­ies and next gen­er­a­tion ther­a­peu­tics through the con­tin­ued pro­duc­tiv­i­ty of its dis­cov­ery en­gine,” Shen said.

Ada­gene HQ lo­cat­ed in biotech park, BioBay, in Suzhou, Chi­na. ADA­GENE

Sanofi brings in 4 new ex­ec­u­tives in con­tin­ued shake-up, as vac­cines and con­sumer health chief head out the door

In the middle of Sanofi’s multi-pronged race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, David Loew, the head of their sprawling vaccines unit, is leaving – part of the final flurry of moves in the French giant’ months-long corporate shuffle that will give them new-look leadership under new CEO Paul Hudson.

The company also said today that Alan Main, the head of their consumer healthcare unit, is out, and they named 4 executives to fill new or newly vacated positions, 3 of whom come from both outside both Sanofi and from Pharma.

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As­traZeneca trum­pets the 'mo­men­tous' da­ta they found for Tagris­so in an ad­ju­vant set­ting for NSCLC — but many of the ex­perts aren’t cheer­ing along

AstraZeneca is rolling out the big guns this evening to provide a salute to their ADAURA data on Tagrisso at ASCO.

Cancer R&D chief José Baselga calls the disease-free survival data for their drug in an adjuvant setting of early stage, epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated NSCLC patients following surgery “momentous.” Roy Herbst, the principal investigator out of Yale, calls it “transformative.”

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Pablo Legorreta, founder and CEO of Royalty Pharma AG, speaks at the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Cap­i­tal­iz­ing Pablo: The world’s biggest drug roy­al­ty buy­er is go­ing pub­lic. And the low-key CEO di­vulges a few se­crets along the way

Pablo Legorreta is one of the most influential players in biopharma you likely never heard of.

Over the last 24 years, Legorreta’s Royalty Pharma group has become, by its own reckoning, the biggest buyer of drug royalties in the world. The CEO and founder has bought up a stake in a lengthy list of the world’s biggest drug franchises, spending $18 billion in the process — $2.2 billion last year alone. And he’s become one of the best-paid execs in the industry, reaping $28 million from the cash flow last year while reserving 20% of the cash flow, less expenses, for himself.

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Ab­b­Vie wins an ap­proval in uter­ine fi­broid-as­so­ci­at­ed heavy bleed­ing. Are ri­vals My­ovant and Ob­sE­va far be­hind?

Women expel on average about 2 to 3 tablespoons of blood during their time of the month. But with uterine fibroids, heavy bleeding is typical — a third of a cup or more. Drugmakers have been working on oral therapies to try and stem the flow, and as expected, AbbVie and their partners at Neurocrine Biosciences are the first to make it across the finish line.

Known chemically as elagolix, the drug is already approved as a treatment for endometriosis under the brand name Orilissa. It targets the GnRH receptor to decrease the production of estrogen and progesterone.

As tislelizum­ab gains trac­tion in Chi­na, BeiGene pulls the cur­tain on NSCLC da­ta sup­port­ing the PD-1 drug

In a world now brimming with checkpoint inhibitors, companies often struggle to make a mark given a raft of therapies have already captured a considerable portion of the vast oncology market.

BeiGene’s tislelizumab was the fourth PD(L)-1 inhibitor to secure approval in China — and as it works on expanding its share the company has put out detailed data on the use of the drug in certain patients with lung cancer.

Dan O'Day, Gilead CEO (Andrew Harnik, AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Gilead leas­es part­ner rights to TIG­IT, PD-1 in a $2B deal with Ar­cus. Now comes the hard part

Gilead CEO Dan O’Day has brokered his way to a PD-1 and lined up a front row seat in the TIGIT arena, inking a deal worth close to $2 billion to align the big biotech closely with Terry Rosen’s Arcus. And $375 million of that comes upfront, with cash for the buy-in plus equity, along with $400 million for R&D and $1.22 billion in reserve to cover opt-in payments and milestones..

Hotly rumored for weeks, the 2 players have formalized a 10-year alliance that starts with rights to the PD-1, zimberelimab. O’Day also has first dibs on TIGIT and 2 other leading programs, agreeing to an opt-in fee ranging from $200 million to $275 million on each. There’s $500 million in potential TIGIT milestones on US regulatory events — likely capped by an approval — if Gilead partners on it and the stars align on the data. And there’s another $150 million opt-in payments for the rest of the Arcus pipeline.

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Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Getty Images)

Sanofi CEO Paul Hud­son has $23B burn­ing a hole in his pock­et. And here are some hints on how he plans to spend that

Sanofi has reaped $11.1 billion after selling off a big chunk of its Regeneron stock at $515 a share. And now everyone on the M&A side of the business is focused on how CEO Paul Hudson plans to spend it.

After getting stung in France for some awkward politicking — suggesting the US was in the front of the line for Sanofi’s vaccines given American financial support for their work, versus little help from European powers — Hudson now has the much more popular task of managing a major cash cache to pull off something in the order of a big bolt-on. Or two.

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Roger Perlmutter, Merck R&D chief (YouTube)

Backed by BAR­DA, Mer­ck jumps in­to Covid-19: buy­ing out a vac­cine, part­ner­ing on an­oth­er and adding an­tivi­ral to the mix

Merck execs are making a triple play in a sudden leap into the R&D campaign against Covid-19. And they have more BARDA cash backing them up on the move.

Tuesday morning the pharma giant simultaneously announced plans to buy an Austrian biotech that has been working on a preclinical vaccine candidate, added a collaboration on another vaccine with the nonprofit IAVI and inked a deal with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics on an early-stage antiviral.

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Daphne Koller, insitro CEO (insitro)

Daphne Koller’s AI start­up gets $143M in new cash from a16z, oth­ers

Biotech is becoming saturated with machine learning companies promising to reinvent and hasten drug development, but few, if any, have amassed the war chest Daphne Koller has.

Entering Tuesday, the former Stanford professor, MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Coursera founder and chief computing officer of Google’s secretive anti-aging biotech Calico had raised $100 million for her AI startup insitro. Now she’s raised $143 million more.

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