Jim Tananbaum, Foresite

Fore­site re­turns to the SPAC well, as in­vestors won­der how long the run can last

Six months af­ter launch­ing his first biotech SPAC, Fore­site’s Jim Tanan­baum has start­ed a sec­ond. On Tues­day, the long­time life sci­ence in­vestor filed to raise $100 mil­lion by sell­ing 10 mil­lion shares of the blank check com­pa­ny FS de­vel­op­ment II.

It’s a quick re­turn to Wall Street for Fore­site, al­though oth­er firms have moved quick­er. Per­cep­tive Ad­vi­sors raised a $130 mil­lion SPAC in June and were back be­fore the end of Ju­ly to raise an­oth­er $125 mil­lion. By that point, the firm was ev­i­dent­ly near­ing a deal for the June SPAC, which would an­nounce a half-bil­lion-dol­lar merg­er with Cerev­el Ther­a­peu­tics on Ju­ly 30.

Tanan­baum sim­i­lar­ly man­aged to find a quick home for his first SPAC, merg­ing with the ge­net­ics-dri­ven eye dis­ease com­pa­ny Gem­i­ni Ther­a­peu­tics in a $216 mil­lion deal in Oc­to­ber. Bruce Booth, a part­ner at At­las Ven­ture, which helped launch Gem­i­ni, praised the deal at the time as the ar­che­type for a good SPAC tar­get: A com­pa­ny that hasn’t yet raised a crossover round but al­ready has an es­tab­lished pipeline that will gen­er­ate clin­i­cal da­ta.

The new S-1 of­fers few de­tails on Tanan­baum’s po­ten­tial tar­gets out­side of what’s be­come boil­er­plate lan­guage for life sci­ences SPACs. They’ll have two years to find a merg­er part­ner.

The new Fore­site of­fer­ing was one of two SPACs to file this week, join­ing the blunt­ly named Biotech Ac­qui­si­tion Corp. It was found­ed by Michael Shleifer, co-founder of SPRIM, which in­vests in and pro­vides ser­vices for CRO, health tech and oth­er life sci­ences and health­care com­pa­nies. Ac­cord­ing­ly, de­pend­ing on how you de­fine “biotech,” the SPAC’s ti­tle is a bit of a mis­nomer: They will al­so be look­ing at health tech and med­ical de­vice com­pa­nies for merg­ers.

Shleifer will look to raise even more than Fore­site, fil­ing for a $230 mil­lion of­fer.

Both firms, though, are fil­ing just as an­a­lysts be­gin to ques­tion how long the SPAC run can last. On Twit­ter, pri­vate in­vestor Brad Lon­car not­ed SPACs can be lu­cra­tive for VCs, cost­ing them just a few mil­lion dol­lars to bring pub­lic a com­pa­ny worth sev­er­al hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars.

Still, he won­dered, whether the num­ber of SPACs was out­pac­ing the num­ber of vi­able tar­get com­pa­nies.

A new era of treat­ment: How bio­mark­ers are chang­ing the way we think about can­cer

AJ Patel was recovering from a complicated brain surgery when his oncologist burst into the hospital room yelling, “I’ve got some really great news for you!”

For two years, Patel had been going from doctor to doctor trying to diagnose his wheezing, only to be dealt the devastating news that he had stage IV lung cancer and only six months to live. And then they found the brain tumors.

“What are you talking about?” Patel asked. He had never seen an oncologist so happy.

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ProFound Therapeutics founding team

Flag­ship's lat­est biotech could turn some of the thou­sands of new pro­teins it dis­cov­ered in­to ther­a­pies — and it has $75M to start

Flagship Pioneering, the incubator of Moderna and dozens of other biotechs, says it has landed upon tens of thousands of previously undiscovered human proteins. The VC shop wants to potentially turn them into therapeutics.

Like other drug developers that have turned proteins into therapeutics (think insulin for diabetes), Flagship’s latest creation, ProFound Therapeutics, wants to tap into this new trove of proteins as part of its mission to treat indications ranging from rare diseases to cancer to immunological diseases.

Richard Silverman, Akava Therapeutics founder and Northwestern professor

This time around, Lyri­ca's in­ven­tor is de­vel­op­ing his North­west­ern dis­cov­er­ies at his own biotech

Richard Silverman was left in the dark for the last five years of clinical development of the drug he discovered. The Northwestern University professor found out about the first approval of Lyrica, in the last few days of 2004, like most other people: in the newspaper.

What became one of Pfizer’s top-selling meds, at $5 billion in 2017 global sales before losing patent protection in 2019, started slipping out of his hands when Northwestern licensed it out to Parke-Davis, one of two biotechs that showed interest in developing the drug in the pre-email days, when the university’s two-person tech transfer team had to ship out letters to garner industry appetite.

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David Ricks, Eli Lilly CEO (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Eli Lil­ly set to in­vest $2.1B in home state man­u­fac­tur­ing boost

Eli Lilly is looking to expand its footprint in its home Hoosier State by making a major investment in manufacturing.

The pharma is investing $2.1 billion in two new manufacturing sites at Indiana’s LEAP Lebanon Innovation and Research District in Boone County, northwest of Lilly’s headquarters in Indianapolis.

The two new facilities will expand Lilly’s manufacturing network for active ingredients and new therapeutic modalities, including genetic medicines, according to a press release.

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Up­dat­ed: US sees spike in Paxlovid us­age as Mer­ck­'s mol­nupi­ravir and As­traZeneca's Evusheld are slow­er off the shelf

New data from HHS show that more than 162,000 courses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 antiviral Paxlovid were administered across the US over the past week, continuing a streak of increased usage of the pill, and signaling not only rising case numbers but more awareness of how to access it.

In comparison to this week, about 670,000 courses of the Pfizer pill have been administered across the first five months since Paxlovid has been on the US market, averaging about 33,000 courses administered per week in that time.

Pfiz­er and CD­MOs ramp up Paxlovid man­u­fac­tur­ing with Kala­ma­zoo plant ex­pan­sion lead­ing the way

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve, pharma companies and manufacturers are exploring how to step up production on antivirals.

Pfizer is planning to expand its Kalamazoo-area facility to increase manufacturing capabilities for the oral Covid-19 antiviral Paxlovid, according to a report from Michigan-based news site MLive. The expansion of the facility, which serves as Pfizer’s largest manufacturing location, is expected to create hundreds of “high-skilled” STEM jobs, MLive reported. No details about the project’s cost and timeline have been released, but according to MLive, Pfizer will announce the details of the expansion at some point in early June.

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FDA spells out the rules and re­stric­tions for states seek­ing to im­port drugs from Cana­da

The FDA is offering more of an explanation of the guardrails around its program that may soon allow states to import prescription drugs in some select circumstances from Canada, but only if such imports will result in significant cost reductions for consumers.

While the agency has yet to sign off on any of the 5 state plans in the works so far, and PhRMA’s suit to block the Trump-era rule allowing such imports is stalled, the new Q&A guidance spells out the various restrictions that states will have to abide by, potentially signaling that a state approval is coming.

Franz-Werner Haas, CureVac CEO (Christoph Schmidt/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

Tak­ing an­oth­er shot at mR­NA glo­ry, Cure­Vac inks on­col­o­gy pact while keep­ing up with Covid work

CureVac may have lost out on the initial mRNA race to bring a Covid-19 vaccine to the market, but it’s still eager to prove that it has what it takes to be a serious player in the field.

As it updates investors on its second-generation vaccine candidates for infectious diseases in Q1 results, the German biotech says it’s beefing up its oncology pipeline.

To that end, it has struck a new collaboration with Belgium’s myNEO, which boasts of a neoantigen discovery and selection platform, to identify new targets for mRNA immunotherapies.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla at the World Economic Forum (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP Images)

All about ac­cess: Pfiz­er moves to a non-prof­it mod­el for drug sales in 45 low­er-in­come coun­tries

Leading the way to increase access to cheaper drugs worldwide, Pfizer said Wednesday it will provide all current and future patent-protected medicines and vaccines available in the US or EU on a not-for-profit basis to about 1.2 billion people in 45 lower-income countries.

Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda are the first five countries to sign on to this accord, which will also seek to blaze new paths for quick and efficient regulatory and procurement processes to reduce the usual delays in making new medicines and vaccines available in these countries.