Co­di­ak Bio­sciences out­lines a new fo­cus for its ex­o­some plat­form in $86M IPO fil­ing

Ven­ture rais­es from mar­quee in­vestors? Check. Col­lab­o­ra­tion deal? Check. Clin­i­cal tri­al time­line? Check. For its next step, Co­di­ak Bio­sciences is head­ed for an IPO.

Doug Williams

The S-1 re­veals lit­tle that we didn’t al­ready know about the Cam­bridge, MA-based biotech, which has a plat­form to re­pur­pose ex­o­somes as drug de­liv­ery ve­hi­cles to car­ry a range of ther­a­peu­tic pay­loads, from small mol­e­cules to pro­teins to nu­cle­ic acids. CEO Doug Williams has raised $168.2 mil­lion so far in his first gig since leav­ing the top re­search job at Bio­gen, and re­cent­ly brought in a fur­ther $56 mil­lion in up­front pay­ment from an al­liance with Jazz.

It did dis­close a li­cens­ing pact with a mys­te­ri­ous French com­pa­ny called Kay­la Ther­a­peu­tics, in which Co­di­ak ob­tained a STING ag­o­nist pre­sum­ably used in its lead prod­uct can­di­date, ex­oST­ING. The up­front pay­ment reg­is­tered at $6.5 mil­lion.

Raghu Kalluri

By chauf­feur­ing the com­pound di­rect­ly to anti­gen pre­sent­ing cells, Co­di­ak hopes to ful­ly un­leash the can­cer killing po­ten­tial of the STING path­way with­out hav­ing to wor­ry about sys­temic tox­i­c­i­ty that stems from “leak­age” out of the tu­mor. The clin­i­cal tri­al to be kicked off in the first half of 2020 will fo­cus on “cold” tu­mors, i.e. those re­sis­tant or non-re­spon­sive to check­point ther­a­pies.

They have a sim­i­lar log­ic for the run­ner up in the pipeline, exo-IL-12, for which clin­i­cal tests are planned for H2 2020.

Mean­while, the pro­gram where they load ex­o­somes with siR­NA tar­get­ing KRAS for pan­cre­at­ic can­cer — an ear­ly can­di­date the start­up has tout­ed — is put on the back­burn­er. Co­di­ak li­censed the rel­e­vant IP from MD An­der­son Can­cer Cen­ter in an agree­ment that could re­sult in a one-time pay­ment any­where from $20 mil­lion to $150 mil­lion (in cash or stock) when the com­pa­ny de­buts on the Nas­daq as $CDAK.

Richard Brud­nick

Hav­ing ini­ti­at­ed the part­ner­ship with MD An­der­son, seed­ed the com­pa­ny and led sub­se­quent fi­nanc­ings, Arch Ven­ture Part­ners’ stake now sits at over 28%. Flag­ship Pi­o­neer­ing, whose new com­pa­ny cre­ation arm pro­vid­ed the oth­er half of the foun­da­tion­al ex­o­some re­search, con­trols 18%. Fi­deli­ty is in for 14%. No­tably, Raghu Kalluri, the MD An­der­son re­searcher be­hind much of Co­di­ak’s sci­ence, is a 7.65% stock­hold­er, in ad­di­tion to the 6.72% that the in­sti­tute owns. Er­ic Lan­der of the Broad, a Co­di­ak board di­rec­tor, has 6.08%.

Lin­da Bain

Williams, who holds 5% of the com­pa­ny him­self, bagged a com­pen­sa­tion pack­age of $2.1 mil­lion last year — with over a mil­lion in op­tion awards. Chief busi­ness of­fi­cer and Biover­a­tiv vet Richard Brud­nick got $1.5 mil­lion, while CFO Lin­da Bain’s pack­age was worth around $700,000.

Norbert Bischofberger. Kronos

Backed by some of the biggest names in biotech, Nor­bert Bischof­berg­er gets his megaround for plat­form tech out of MIT

A little over a year ago when I reported on Norbert Bischofberger’s jump from the CSO job at giant Gilead to a tiny upstart called Kronos, I noted that with his connections in biotech finance, that $18 million launch round he was starting off with could just as easily have been $100 million or more.

With his first anniversary now behind him, Bischofberger has that mega-round in the bank.

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Francesco De Rubertis

Medicxi is rolling out its biggest fund ever to back Eu­rope's top 'sci­en­tists with strange ideas'

Francesco De Rubertis built Medicxi to be the kind of biotech venture player he would have liked to have known back when he was a full time scientist.

“When I was a scientist 20 years ago I would have loved Medicxi,’ the co-founder tells me. It’s the kind of place run by and for investigators, what the Medicxi partner calls “scientists with strange ideas — a platform for the drug hunter and scientific entrepreneur. That’s what I wanted when I was a scientist.”

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Af­ter a decade, Vi­iV CSO John Pot­tage says it's time to step down — and he's hand­ing the job to long­time col­league Kim Smith

ViiV Healthcare has always been something unique in the global drug industry.

Owned by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer — with GSK in the lead as majority owner — it was created 10 years ago in a time of deep turmoil for the field as something independent of the pharma giants, but with access to lots of infrastructural support on demand. While R&D at the mother ship inside GSK was souring, a razor-focused ViiV provided a rare bright spot, challenging Gilead on a lucrative front in delivering new combinations that require fewer therapies with a more easily tolerated regimen.

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Novotech CRO Ex­pands Chi­na Team as Biotech De­mand for Clin­i­cal Tri­als In­creas­es up to 79%

An increase in demand of up to 79% for clinical trials in China has prompted Novotech the Asia-Pacific CRO to rapidly expand the China team, appointing expert local clinical executives to their Shanghai and Hong Kong offices. The company is planning to expand their team by 30% over the next quarter.

Novotech China has seen considerable demand recently which is borne out by research from GlobalData:
A global migration of clinical research is occurring from high-income countries to low and middle-income countries with emerging economies. Over the period 2017 to 2018, for example, the number of clinical trial sites opened by biotech companies in Asia-Pacific increased by 35% compared to 8% in the rest of the world, with growth as high as 79% in China.
Novotech CEO Dr John Moller said China offers the largest population in the world, rapid economic growth, and an increasing willingness by government to invest in research and development.
Novotech’s 23 years of experience working in the region means we are the ideal CRO partner for USA biotechs wanting to tap the research expertise and opportunities that China offers.
There are over 22,000 active investigators in Greater China, with about 5,000 investigators with experience on at least 3 studies (source GlobalData).

On a glob­al romp, Boehringer BD team picks up its third R&D al­liance for Ju­ly — this time fo­cused on IPF with $50M up­front

Boehringer Ingelheim’s BD team is on a global deal spree. The German pharma company just wrapped its third deal in 3 weeks, going back to Korea for its latest pipeline pact — this time focused on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

They’re handing over $50 million to get their hands on BBT-877, an ATX inhibitor from Korea’s Bridge Biotherapeutics that was on display at a science conference in Dallas recently. There’s not a whole lot of data to evaluate the prospects here.

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Servi­er scoots out of an­oth­er col­lab­o­ra­tion with Macro­Gen­ics, writ­ing off their $40M

Servier is walking out on a partnership with MacroGenics $MGNX — for the second time.

After the market closed on Wednesday MacroGenics put out word that Servier is severing a deal — inked close to 7 years ago — to collaborate on the development of flotetuzumab and other Dual-Affinity Re-Targeting (DART) drugs in its pipeline.

MacroGenics CEO Scott Koenig shrugged off the departure of Servier, which paid $20 million to kick off the alliance and $20 million to option flotetuzumab — putting a heavily back-ended $1 billion-plus in additional biobuck money on the table for the anti-CD123/CD3 bispecific and its companion therapies.

Den­mark's Gen­mab hits the jack­pot with $500M+ US IPO as small­er biotechs rake in a com­bined $147M

Danish drugmaker Genmab A/S is off to the races with perhaps one of the biggest biotech public listings in decades, having reaped over $500 million on the Nasdaq, as it positions itself as a bonafide player in antibody-based cancer therapies.

The company, which has long served as J&J’s $JNJ key partner on the blockbuster multiple myeloma therapy Darzalex, has asserted it has been looking to launch its own proprietary product — one it owns at least half of — by 2025.

FDA over­rides ad­comm opin­ions a fifth of the time, study finds — but why?

For drugmakers, FDA advisory panels are often an apprehended barometer of regulators’ final decisions. While the experts’ endorsement or criticism often translate directly to final outcomes, the FDA sometimes stun observers by diverging from recommendations.

A new paper out of Milbank Quarterly put a number on that trend by analyzing 376 voting meetings and subsequent actions from 2008 through 2015, confirming the general impression that regulators tend to agree with the adcomms most of the time — with discordances in only 22% of the cases.

UP­DAT­ED: With loom­ing ‘apoc­a­lypse of drug re­sis­tance,’ Mer­ck’s com­bi­na­tion an­tibi­ot­ic scores FDA ap­proval on two fronts

Merck — one of the last large biopharmaceuticals companies in the beleaguered field of antibiotic drug development — on Wednesday said the FDA had sanctioned the approval of its combination antibacterial for the treatment of complicated urinary tract and intra-abdominal infections.

To curb the rise of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the efficacy of the therapy, Recarbrio (and other antibacterials) — the drug must be used to treat or prevent infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by susceptible gram-negative bacteria, Merck $MRK said.

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