GHO Cap­i­tal Part­ners dou­bles its last raise, clos­ing on a mas­sive $2B-plus to ad­vance Eu­ro­pean health­care

Back in 2019, GHO Cap­i­tal Part­ners claimed it closed the biggest-ever pri­vate eq­ui­ty fund fo­cused on Eu­ro­pean health­care, rais­ing a mam­moth $1 bil­lion-plus. Now the firm is clos­ing its next fund with dou­ble that amount.

GHO Cap­i­tal raised $2 bil­lion-plus un­der its third fund, GHO Cap­i­tal III, which is clos­ing less than four months af­ter en­ter­ing the mar­ket, the firm said on Tues­day. The fund, which drew sup­port from both new and old in­vestors, blew past GHO’s ini­tial tar­get of about $1.47 bil­lion (€1.25 bil­lion).

“We have seen un­prece­dent­ed deal ac­tiv­i­ty in our port­fo­lio and the sec­tor at large,” GHO part­ners said in a state­ment. “Our pipeline is more ac­tive now than ever be­fore.”

Since it was found­ed in 2014, GHO has pumped around $2.9 bil­lion (€2.5 bil­lion) in­to 14 plat­form com­pa­nies in the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, medtech, pa­tient ser­vices and out­sourced ser­vices space. That in­cludes ac­tive phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­gre­di­ent (API) de­vel­op­er Ster­ling Phar­ma So­lu­tions and the oph­thalmic-fo­cused VI­S­U­far­ma. The firm says it pri­or­i­tizes com­pa­nies that “en­able bet­ter, faster and more ac­ces­si­ble health­care.”

Fol­low­ing sev­er­al strong years, bio­phar­ma ac­tiv­i­ty in­creased in Eu­rope amid the pan­dem­ic, a 2020 re­port by Bain & Com­pa­ny sug­gests. Last year saw a to­tal of 35 deals, up from 24 in 2019, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

“The pan­dem­ic has served to high­light the strong, sec­u­lar sec­tor tail­winds that guide GHO’s in­vest­ment the­sis: an ever-grow­ing need for bet­ter, faster, more ac­ces­si­ble health­care,” the part­ners said.

In ad­di­tion to the fund, GHO has added 12 new team mem­bers in the last year and a half, and is now open­ing a US of­fice in Re­search Tri­an­gle Park, NC, which it hopes will ac­cel­er­ate growth op­por­tu­ni­ties for Eu­ro­pean busi­ness­es in­to North Amer­i­can mar­kets.

GHO is run by three man­ag­ing part­ners: Mike Mor­timer, a for­mer Quin­tiles ex­ec­u­tive; Alan MacK­ay, who served as a se­nior part­ner at 3i Group; and An­drea Pon­ti, who pre­vi­ous­ly was with JP Mor­gan.

So­cial im­age: Shut­ter­stock

Adap­tive De­sign Meth­ods Of­fer Rapid, Seam­less Tran­si­tion Be­tween Study Phas­es in Rare Can­cer Tri­als

Rare cancers account for 22 percent of cancer diagnoses worldwide, yet there is no universally accepted definition for a “rare” cancer. Moreover, with the evolution of genomics and associated changes in categorizing tumors, some common cancers are now characterized into groups of rare cancers, each with a unique implication for patient management and therapy.

Adaptive designs, which allow for prospectively planned modifications to study design based on accumulating data from subjects in the trial, can be used to optimize rare oncology trials (see Figure 1). Adaptive design studies may include multiple cohorts and multiple tumor types. In addition, numerous adaptation methods may be used in a single trial and may facilitate a more rapid, seamless transition between study phases.

Marianne De Backer (L) and Jeff Hatfield

Bay­er nabs star biotech Vi­vid­ion with a $2B buy­out and an ‘arms-length’ pact, pulling a part­ner out of the IPO con­ga line

Vividion is canceling that IPO it filed. Instead of following the industry-wide migration to Nasdaq, the biotech that has captured considerable attention for its still-preclinical work finding cryptic pockets to bind to on proteins is going to work for Bayer now.

The pharma giant is putting out word today that it has bought out Vividion for $1.5 billion in cash and another half-billion dollars in milestones.

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Tadataka Yamada (Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sci­ence pi­o­neer, phar­ma re­search chief, glob­al health ad­vo­cate and biotech en­tre­pre­neur Tadata­ka ‘Tachi’ Ya­ma­da has died

Tadataka Yamada, a towering physician-scientist who made his name in academia before transforming drug development at GlaxoSmithKline and developing vaccines for malaria and meningitis at the Gates Foundation, died unexpectedly of natural causes at his home in Seattle Wednesday morning.

He was 76. Frazier Healthcare Partners’ David Socks confirmed his death.

Known widely by the mononym “Tachi,” Yamada had a globetrotting career and arrived in industry relatively late in life. A 2004 Independent article noted GSK had asked Yamada to stay on beyond his approaching 60th birthday, the company’s usual retirement age. Yamada would continue working for the next 17 years, steering the Gates Foundation’s global health division for 6 years, funding Jim Wilson’s gene therapy work when few would touch it, launching Takeda Vaccines and co-founding a series of high-profile biotechs.

Josh Hoffman, outgoing Zymergen CEO (Zymergen)

UP­DAT­ED: Syn­bio uni­corn Zymer­gen jet­ti­sons found­ing CEO, cuts guid­ance as cus­tomers re­port lead prod­uct does­n't work

Zymergen, just months off a $500 million IPO that put the synthetic bio firm in rarified air, has now ejected its founding CEO and downgraded its revenue forecasts after customers reported its lead film product doesn’t work as advertised, the company said Tuesday afternoon.

CEO Josh Hoffman will leave his role and sacrifice his board seat immediately in favor of Jay Flatley, the former CEO of Illumina who will take the lead role on an interim basis as the company conducts a search for its next leader.

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Zymergen co-founders Zach Serber, Josh Hoffman, and Jed Dean (Zymergen via website)

Zymer­gen's sud­den im­plo­sion shocked biotech. A lin­ger­ing loan could make things even worse

As former synbio unicorn Zymergen picks up the pieces from its spectacular implosion Tuesday, an outstanding loan from Perceptive Advisors — the only blue-chip biotech crossover investor to touch Zymergen’s fundraising efforts — could make the situation worse, according to public documents.

In December 2019, more than a year before Zymergen filed for what would eventually become a $500 million IPO, the “biofacturing” firm signed a $100 million credit facility with Perceptive to help supplement the nearly $700 million the company had raised across four VC rounds.

Bio­gen, Ei­sai are push­ing for an­oth­er ac­cel­er­at­ed Alzheimer's OK — this time for BAN2401

Now that the door at the FDA has been opened wide for Alzheimer’s drugs that can demonstrate a reduction in amyloid, Biogen and its partners at Eisai are pushing for a quick OK on the next drug to follow in the controversial path of aducanumab.

In a presentation to analysts, Eisai neurology chief Ivan Cheung outlined some bullish expectations for their newly-approved treatment and set the stage for what he believes will be a fast follow for BAN2401 (lecanemab) — after a dry spell in new drug development that’s lasted close to 20 years.

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Jeffrey Bluestone, Sonoma CEO (Photo credit: Steve Babuljak)

Jeff Blue­stone just raised $265M to de­vel­op cu­ra­tive cell ther­a­pies. We asked him how

Jeff Bluestone had some big goals in mind when he decided to make a switch from a decades-long career in academia and non-profit research to a biotech startup CEO. And now — 18 months after the $40 million launch party — he has a whole lot more money on hand to pay for the considerable amount of work ahead at Sonoma Biotherapeutics.

This morning Bluestone is taking the wraps off a $265 million B round after boosting the core syndicate of A-list investors he started with. Even by today’s standards, that sum dwarfs the kind of $100 million-plus megarounds that have become standard fare in biotech over the last 2 years.

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Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Eric Piermont/AFP via Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Sanofi buys mR­NA play­er Trans­late Bio for $3.2B. And the price fits a pop­u­lar range for biotech M&A

Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson is dead serious about his intention to vault directly into contention for the future of mRNA vaccines.

A year after paying Translate Bio $TBIO a whopping $425 million in an upfront and equity payment to help guide the pharma giant to the promised land of mRNA vaccines, Sanofi closed the deal with a buyout early Tuesday, spending $38 a share in a $3.2 billion buyout.

Translate’s stock $TBIO soared after the market closed Monday when Reuters reported the first word of the acquisition just hours ahead of the formal announcement. The wire service, though, didn’t have a price to report in its scoop, and investors chased the stock up 78% in the wild ride that followed. Once the price was announced, gains shriveled to 29% ahead of the bell.

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Matt Gline (L) and Pete Salzmann

UP­DAT­ED: Roivant bumps stake in Im­muno­vant with a $200M deal. But with M&A off the ta­ble, shares crater

Roivant has worked out a deal to pick up a chunk of stock in its majority-owned sub Immunovant $IMVT, but the stock buy falls far short of its much-discussed thoughts about buying out all of the 43% of shares it doesn’t already own.

Roivant, which recently inked a SPAC move to the market at a $7 billion-plus valuation, has forged a deal to boost its ownership in Immunovant by 6.3 points, ending with 63.8% of the biotech’s stock following a $200 million injection. That cash will bolster Immunovant’s cash reserves, giving it a $600 million war chest to fund a slate of late-stage studies for its big drug: the anti-FcRn antibody IMVT-1401.

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