Fra­zier clos­es 12th fund in 30 years, with $617M to bet on cell/gene ther­a­py, Big Phar­ma spin­offs and more

The team at Fra­zier Health­care did a num­ber of deals that ex­em­pli­fied its wide-rang­ing strat­e­gy in 2019: Tachi Ya­ma­da worked with gene ther­a­py pi­o­neer Jim Wil­son to launch Pas­sage Bio; Mike Gal­latin sold Mavuphar­ma and its STING-tar­get­ed small mol­e­cule to Ab­b­Vie; and Bhaskar Chaud­huri flipped Ar­cutis to an IPO just months af­ter in­tro­duc­ing it to the world via a crossover round close to $100 mil­lion. They’re now kick­ing off 2020 with a new, big­ger fund that will give them fire­pow­er to do more.

Patrick Heron Fra­zier

At $617 mil­lion, Fund X is “fair­ly dra­mat­i­cal­ly” big­ger than their last fund, said man­ag­ing part­ner Patrick Heron.

“We’re in­creas­ing­ly go­ing af­ter new ther­a­peu­tic modal­i­ties like gene ther­a­py, cell ther­a­py, neoanti­gens and be­cause those need sig­nif­i­cant man­u­fac­tur­ing and CMC in­vest­ment or in­vest­ing more dol­lars per com­pa­ny,” he told End­points News.

He sees Fra­zier pour­ing around $40 mil­lion in­to each com­pa­ny — sup­port­ing them through every stage, whether it’s helped with the launch or joined through a lat­er syn­di­cate — though that could vary if, say, they sell a com­pa­ny right af­ter Se­ries A. By that es­ti­mate, the new fund could touch any­where from 15 to 25 biotechs.

Jamie Brush

About a third of the port­fo­lio is re­served for home­grown star­tups, an­oth­er 15% to 25% for pub­lic se­cu­ri­ties, and the rest is in-be­tween.

Heron is one of three lead­ing the fund; he’s joined by man­ag­ing part­ner James Top­per and Dan Estes, who’s just been pro­mot­ed to gen­er­al part­ner. Al­so in­volved will be Jamie Brush, new­ly made part­ner af­ter spear­head­ing in­vest­ments in pub­lic se­cu­ri­ties for the past three years.

Fra­zier is hap­py to both cre­ate and syn­di­cate with its “ven­ture brethren,” Heron added, cit­ing Or­biMed as a friend.

The con­gre­ga­tion has grown ex­po­nen­tial­ly since Fra­zier first put its feet down three decades ago.

“When I start­ed at Fra­zier, there were prob­a­bly 10 to 15 life sci­ences fo­cused VC funds,” said Heron, who’s just cel­e­brat­ed his 20th year at the firm, “and now there’s prob­a­bly 100.”

It gives Fra­zier a lengthy track record to boast — which can be par­tic­u­lar­ly help­ful when they pitch big­ger play­ers on biotech spin­offs such as Phath­om Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, now de­vel­op­ing one of Take­da’s GI drugs.

“Phar­ma com­pa­nies have be­come more re­cep­tive to that when they see sub­stan­tial val­ue ac­cru­al to them,” Heron said. “And it’s pub­lic now: Take­da owns prob­a­bly about $200 mil­lion worth of stock in Phath­om, and so they are ba­si­cal­ly de­riv­ing a lot of eco­nom­ic val­ue from the part­ner­ship, and what they’re al­so fo­cused on is the qual­i­ty of teams we can put around their as­set such that the pro­gram will reach the clin­ic and ben­e­fit pa­tients.”

Two for­mer Cel­gene ex­ecs from the glob­al in­flam­ma­tion and im­munol­o­gy fran­chise have been re­cruit­ed to the C-suite at Phath­om, in­clud­ing CEO Ter­rie Cur­ran and CCO Mar­tin Gilli­gan.

De­spite the lack of big check M&A at the be­gin­ning of the year and an elec­tion loom­ing in No­vem­ber, Heron re­mains op­ti­mistic as their deal flow has been in line with the ex­pec­ta­tion of 2 to 3 sales per year. And the same goes for IPO.

“I think you will see a lot of com­pa­nies sort of back­ing up the truck and load­ing up with as much cap­i­tal as they can, with prob­a­bly less ro­bust ac­tiv­i­ty in the sec­ond half of the year,” he said.

MedTech clinical trials require a unique regulatory and study design approach and so engaging a highly experienced CRO to ensure compliance and accurate data across all stages is critical to development milestones.

In­no­v­a­tive MedTech De­mands Spe­cial­ist Clin­i­cal Tri­al Reg­u­la­to­ry Af­fairs and De­sign

Avance Clinical is the Australian CRO for international biotechs providing world-class clinical research services with FDA-accepted data across all phases. With Avance Clinical, biotech companies can leverage Australia’s supportive clinical trials environment which includes no IND requirement plus a 43.5% Government incentive rebate on clinical spend. The CRO has been delivering clinical drug development services for international biotechs for FDA and EMA regulatory approval for the past 24 years. The company has been recognized for the past two consecutive years with the prestigious Frost & Sullivan CRO Best Practices Award and a finalist in Informa Pharma’s Best CRO award for 2022.

Tony Coles, Cerevel CEO

Cerev­el takes the pub­lic of­fer­ing route, with a twist — rais­ing big mon­ey thanks to ri­val da­ta

As public biotechs seek to climb out of the bear market, a popular strategy to raise cash has been through public offerings on the heels of positive data. But one proposed raise Wednesday appeared to take advantage not of a company’s own data, but those from a competitor.

Cerevel Therapeutics plans to raise $250 million in a public offering and another $250 million in debt, the biotech announced Wednesday afternoon, even though it did not report any news on its pipeline. However, the move comes days after rival Karuna Therapeutics touted positive Phase III data in schizophrenia, a field where Cerevel is pursuing a similar program.

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Bernat Olle, Vedanta Biosciences CEO

Cit­ing 'chal­leng­ing eco­nom­ic en­vi­ron­ment,' PhI­II-ready mi­cro­bio­me biotech lays off 20% of staffers

The market downturn isn’t just sweeping up public biotechs.

Vedanta Biosciences, a developer of oral drugs derived from the human microbiome, is laying off about 20% of its staff — an unfortunately common occurrence these days. But CEO Bernat Olle took the unusual step of sharing the decision on LinkedIn and offering to connect the employees being let go with any company that’s hiring in their areas.

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Who are the women blaz­ing trails in bio­phar­ma R&D? Nom­i­nate them for End­points' 2022 spe­cial re­port

Over the past three years, Endpoints News has spotlighted 60 women who have blazed trails and supercharged R&D across the biopharma world. And judging from the response we’ve received, to both our special reports and live events, telling their stories — including any obstacles they may have had to overcome — has inspired our readers in many different ways.

But change takes time, and the fact remains that women are still underrepresented at the upper ranks of the drug-making world.

Up­dat­ed: Amid mas­sive re­struc­tur­ing, Bio­gen looks to re­duce phys­i­cal pres­ence in Boston

Biogen is putting a sizable chunk of office and research space in Kendall Square and Weston, MA up for sublease, marking another big change as the biotech grapples with the aftershock of a disastrous and controversial rollout for its Alzheimer’s drug.

The subbleases are “part of Biogen’s overall implementation of the ‘Future of Work,’ which is allowing us to optimize our footprint and reduce the amount of space we occupy, taking into consideration new elements such as the hybrid work model,” Biogen spokesperson Ashleigh Koss wrote in a statement to Endpoints News, adding that the company has had subleases across several buildings for years.

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Hervé Affagard, MaaT Pharma CEO

One year in­to clin­i­cal hold, FDA has more ques­tions about 'pooled' mi­cro­bio­me ther­a­py

The FDA is still wary about a trial testing a microbiome therapy in patients with steroid-resistant acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD).

A year after MaaT Pharma’s IND application in the US was first met with a clinical hold, the French biotech said the agency is maintaining the hold. The crux of the matter, MaaT suggested, has to do with the way it puts together its drug candidate, which is administered as an enema (i.e. an injection of fluid into the bowel).

Pfiz­er launch­es re­bate pro­gram for rare dis­ease pa­tients who have to stop tak­ing Panzy­ga

Pfizer is launching its second-ever rebate program, this time for Panzyga, its treatment for a rare neurological disease of the peripheral nerves.

The program began last month, according to STAT which first reported the news, and offers a refund of out-of-pocket costs for patients who must discontinue their course before the fifth treatment for “clinical reasons.”

Panzyga was approved back in 2018 to treat primary immunodeficiency (PI) in patients two years and older and chronic immune thrombocytopenia (cITP) in adults. It has since picked up an indication in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), a condition that’s characterized by weakness of the arms or legs, tingling or numbness, and a loss of deep tendon reflexes, according to the NIH.

Horizon's back-to-school campaign for children with cystinosis includes an all about me poster as part of a care package box.

Hori­zon read­ies kids and fam­i­lies for back to school with week­long ac­tiv­i­ties around rare dis­ease cysti­nosis

Going back to school is usually a bumpy readjustment from summer freedom for all kids, but especially for kids with chronic health conditions. Horizon Therapeutics is hoping to help smooth the way for some who have the rare disease cystinosis. Cystinosis is a genetic disease that causes the amino acid cystine to build up in different tissues and organs.

The “Gear Up” for school campaign is running all week with different online and at-home events and activities for families and children with cystinosis. Each family who signed up receives a care package mailed to their home including an activity coloring book “Michael’s Show-and-Tell.” The book tells Michael’s story about living with cystinosis while offering kids matching, coloring and finding object games along with information.

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Alessandro Maselli, Catalent CEO

Catal­ent ac­quires North Car­oli­na CD­MO for $475M, boost­ing oral solids work

As Catalent has been expanding its reach in the US this year, as well as recently completing a C-suite shuffle, the company announced last night that it has acquired the CDMO Metrics Contract Services for $475 million from Mayne Pharma Group.

The acquisition will increase Catalent’s capabilities in oral solid formulation development, manufacturing and packaging as well as expand its capacity to handle more highly potent compounds.

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