Deer­field com­mits $50M-plus to trans­la­tion­al drug R&D at the Broad

Er­ic Lan­der

Deer­field Man­age­ment and the fa­mous Broad In­sti­tute of MIT and Har­vard have come up with a nov­el plan for pur­su­ing trans­la­tion­al drug re­search work.

In the deal an­nounced this morn­ing, Deer­field will in­vest more than $50 mil­lion in­to projects at the Broad over the next five years. And the biotech in­vestor plans to fol­low up with sup­port to cre­ate new biotechs out of the re­search, with “sig­nif­i­cant ad­di­tion­al re­sources” avail­able for de­vel­op­ment work.

“Over the last decade, sci­en­tif­ic ad­vances have made it pos­si­ble to rapid­ly un­der­stand the bi­o­log­i­cal ba­sis of dis­ease at un­prece­dent­ed res­o­lu­tion,” said Er­ic Lan­der, pres­i­dent and found­ing di­rec­tor of the Broad In­sti­tute. “The chal­lenge now is to de­vel­op ways to speed the process of turn­ing these sci­en­tif­ic in­sights in­to ther­a­pies that ben­e­fit pa­tients.”

Deer­field isn’t stop­ping there. It plans to trans­fer any prof­its for its Health­care In­no­va­tions Fund over to its phil­an­thropic arm, which will be used to sup­port its non­prof­it work.

James Fly­nn

“Over the last few years, Broad In­sti­tute re­searchers have de­vel­oped a num­ber of un­prece­dent­ed bi­o­log­i­cal in­sights and ther­a­peu­tic hy­pothe­ses that are ear­ly-stage but po­ten­tial­ly trans­for­ma­tive,” said James Fly­nn, Man­ag­ing Part­ner of Deer­field. “Mov­ing these hy­pothe­ses from the lab to­ward the clin­ic re­quires sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial re­sources to build on work launched by phil­an­thropy and grants, and are not yet far enough along to at­tract tra­di­tion­al ven­ture fund­ing or phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal col­lab­o­ra­tions. We are pre­pared to fund and de­vel­op these projects so Broad re­searchers can im­me­di­ate­ly pur­sue bold ideas, and have con­fi­dence that re­al break­throughs will have ad­di­tion­al sup­port to move to­ward clin­i­cal suc­cess.”

Ugur Sahin, BioNTech CEO (Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa via AP Images)

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Flush with the success of its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine, BioNTech is now gearing up for one of the biggest challenges in vaccine development — which comes without potential profit.

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How one start­up fore­told the neu­ro­science re­nais­sance af­ter '50 years of shit­show'

In the past couple of years, something curious has happened: Pharma and VC dollars started gushing into neuroscience research.

Biogen’s controversial new Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm has been approved on the basis of removing amyloid plaque from the brain, but the new neuro-focused pharma and biotechs have much loftier aims. Significantly curbing or even curing the most notorious disorders would prove the Holy Grail for a complex system that has tied the world’s best drug developers in knots for decades.

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Why is On­col­o­gy Drug De­vel­op­ment Re­search Late to the Dig­i­tal Bio­mark­ers Game?

During the recent Annual ASCO Meeting, thousands of cancer researchers and clinicians from across the globe joined together virtually to present and discuss the latest findings and breakthroughs in cancer research and care. There were more than 5000+ scientific abstracts presented during this event, yet only a handful involved the use of motion-tracking wearables to collect digital measures relating to activity, sleep, mobility, functional status, and/or quality of life. Although these results were a bit disappointing, they should come as no surprise to those of us in the wearable technology field.

Bob Bradway, Amgen CEO (Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Am­gen bel­lies back up to the M&A ta­ble for an­oth­er biotech buy­out, this time with a $2.5B deal for an an­ti­body play­er fo­cused on PS­MA

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This time around, Amgen is paying $900 million cash while committing up to $1.6 billion in milestones to bag the privately held Teneobio, an antibody drug developer that has expertise in developing new bispecifics and multispecifics. In addition, Amgen cited Teneobio’s “T-cell engager platform, which expands on Amgen’s existing leadership position in bispecific T-cell engagers by providing a differentiated, but complementary, approach to Amgen’s current BiTE platform.”

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Art Levinson (Calico)

Google-backed Cal­i­co dou­bles down on an­ti-ag­ing R&D pact with Ab­b­Vie as part­ners ante up $1B, start to de­tail drug tar­gets

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According to their statement, each of the two players is putting up $500 million more to keep the labs humming.

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Andrea Pfeifer, AC Immune CEO (AC Immune)

Look­ing to repli­cate Covid-19 suc­cess in neu­ro, BioN­Tech back­ers bet on AC Im­mune and its new­ly-ac­quired Parkin­son's vac­cine

The German billionaires behind BioNTech have found a new vaccine project to back.

Through their family office Athos Service, twin brothers Thomas and Andreas Strüngmann are leading a $25 million private placement into Switzerland’s AC Immune — which concurrently announced that it’s shelling out $58.7 million worth of stock to acquire Affiris’ portfolio of therapies targeting alpha-synuclein, including a vaccine candidate, for Parkinson’s disease.

Rajiv Shukla, Constellation Alpha Holdings

Can­del gets busy IPO week mov­ing with down­sized raise as Ra­jiv Shuk­la's third SPAC goes pub­lic

Editor’s note: Interested in following biopharma’s fast-paced IPO market? You can bookmark our IPO Tracker here.

In a week that’s expected to see several biotechs price their IPOs, Candel Therapeutics got things kicked off Tuesday with a muted opener.

The company helmed by former GlaxoSmithKline vet Paul Peter Tak made its way to Nasdaq thanks to a $72 million raise, which was downsized by about 15% than originally anticipated, according to Renaissance Capital. Candel priced at $8 per share after initially seeking to launch in the $13 to $15 range.

Busi­ness­es and schools can man­date the use of Covid-19 vac­cines un­der EUAs, DOJ says

As public and private companies stare down the reality of the Delta variant, many are now requiring that their employees or students be vaccinated against Covid-19 prior to attending school or to returning or starting a new job. Claims that such mandates are illegal or cannot be used for vaccines under emergency use authorizations have now been dismissed.

Setting the record straight, the Department of Justice on Monday called the mandates legal in a new memo, even when used for people with vaccines that remain subject to EUAs.

Gerry Brunk (Lumira)

What will Lu­mi­ra Ven­tures do with $220M? Stay out of the com­fort zone and off the beat­en biotech path

Lumira Ventures closed its largest fund on Monday, raking in $220 million to pump into the life sciences — but instead of targeting biotech hubs like San Francisco and Boston, the company is rolling the dice on “underserved geographies” in the US and Canada.

“We find oftentimes companies located in places like Montreal, or Fort Lauderdale, FL, or Kansas City or Phoenix, AZ just have more capital efficiency and better valuations, without having to compromise anything at all in the quality of the innovation and the management talent,” co-founder and managing partner Gerry Brunk told Endpoints News.