Source: Shutterstock

Hap­py alone Qi­a­gen changes course af­ter Ther­mo Fish­er of­fers to buy it in $11.5B deal

Dutch di­ag­nos­tics com­pa­ny Qi­a­gen — which is de­vel­op­ing tests for the on­go­ing coro­n­avirus epi­dem­ic — is be­ing ac­quired by US-based sci­en­tif­ic in­stru­ments mak­er Ther­mo Fish­er Sci­en­tif­ic in a deal val­ued at $11.5 bil­lion, in­clud­ing debt.

The an­nounce­ment comes months af­ter the Nether­lands-based com­pa­ny, which is list­ed on the NYSE, no­ti­fied in­vestors that it was re­view­ing po­ten­tial strate­gic al­ter­na­tives af­ter it re­ceived sev­er­al “in­di­ca­tions of in­ter­est” for an ac­qui­si­tion. But by De­cem­ber, it con­clud­ed it would pre­fer to go it alone.

The deal will boost Mass­a­chu­setts-based Ther­mo Fish­er’s spe­cial­ty di­ag­nos­tics plat­form that in­cludes al­ler­gy and au­toim­mu­ni­ty, trans­plant di­ag­nos­tics and clin­i­cal on­col­o­gy test­ing with mol­e­c­u­lar di­ag­nos­tics, par­tic­u­lar­ly for in­fec­tious dis­eases.

“The ac­qui­si­tion brings about strong sam­ples prep ca­pa­bil­i­ties to TMO in ad­di­tion to mol­e­c­u­lar di­ag­nos­tics and in­fec­tious dis­ease test­ing — in­clud­ing a lead­ing TB test­ing fran­chise,” SVB Leerink’s Puneet Sou­da wrote in a note, adding that the deal should fur­ther lever Ther­mo Fish­er to Covid-19.

The dead­ly coro­n­avirus epi­dem­ic has cul­mi­nat­ed in 3,000 deaths and cas­es have topped 90,000. Qi­a­gen — which pro­vid­ed equip­ment dur­ing the SARS and swine flu out­breaks — said it had shipped test kits for the nov­el coro­n­avirus to four hos­pi­tals in Chi­na for eval­u­a­tion days ago.

Ther­mo Fish­er makes and dis­trib­utes sci­en­tif­ic equip­ment, con­sum­ables, and ser­vices used by phar­ma & biotech, di­ag­nos­tics & health­care com­pa­nies, aca­d­e­m­ic & gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions, as well as in­dus­tri­al com­pa­nies. Its in­stru­ments and reagents are em­ployed in the CDC-ap­proved as­say pro­to­col for the de­tec­tion of Covid-19.

The com­pa­ny, which has com­plet­ed sev­en $1+ bil­lion deals in the past decade, is set to pay €39 a share for Qi­a­gen. That works out to a pre­mi­um of 23% to Qi­a­gen’s Mon­day clos­ing.

The $11.5 bil­lion deal al­so in­cludes the as­sump­tion of $1.4 bil­lion of net debt. The trans­ac­tion, ex­pect­ed to close in the first half of next year, has been ap­proved by both boards.

This large­ly spec­u­lat­ed Qi­a­gen ac­qui­si­tion should have a lim­it­ed im­pact on oth­er large-cap com­pa­nies in the life sci­ence tools mar­ket, Sou­da added.

For Qi­a­gen, the buy­out fol­lows its strate­gic shift last year that saw it cease de­vel­op­ing its own next-gen­er­a­tion genome-se­quenc­ing ma­chines to in­stead col­lab­o­rate with bell­wether Il­lu­mi­na, which led to the de­par­ture of its long-time CEO.

Qi­a­gen, which gen­er­at­ed 2019 rev­enue of more than $1.5 bil­lion, has built a suite of ge­nom­ic an­a­lyt­ic prod­ucts based on tech­nol­o­gy en­gi­neered to ex­tract, iso­late and pu­ri­fy DNA, RNA and pro­teins from a wide range of bi­o­log­i­cal sam­ples.

Ther­mo Fish­er’s shares $TMO lift­ed 1.6% in pre­mar­ket trad­ing to $309.89, while Qi­a­gen’s stock $QGEN jumped more than 16% to $42.03.

The Big Phar­ma dis­card pile; Lay­offs all around while some biotechs bid farewell; New Roche CEO as­sem­bles top team; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

With earnings seasons in full swing, we’ve listened in on all the calls so you don’t have to. But news is popping up from all corners, so make sure you check out our other updates, too.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Goldfinch Bio CEO Tony Johnson (L) and Karuna Therapeutics CEO Bill Meury

Karuna li­cens­es Goldfinch as­sets to com­pete with Boehringer In­gel­heim in neu­ro­science

Karuna Therapeutics is looking to compete with Boehringer Ingelheim on depression and anxiety with a new license to Goldfinch Bio’s assets, starting with $15 million to the shuttered biotech.

Karuna steps into an arena already being tested by Boehringer in multiple Phase II studies — the two are targeting transient receptor potential canonical 4 and 5, or TRPC4/5, which is thought to have a role in neuroscience indications. Goldfinch’s asset went through a Phase II in kidney diseases, but Karuna’s sights are set on mood and anxiety disorders for now.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/Politico via AP Images)

In­fla­tion re­bates in­com­ing: Wyden calls on CMS to move quick­ly as No­var­tis CEO pledges re­ver­sal

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) this week sent a letter to the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeking an update on how and when new inflation-linked rebates will take effect for drugs that see major price spikes.

The newly signed Inflation Reduction Act requires manufacturers to pay a rebate to Medicare when they increase drug prices faster than the rate of inflation.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Trodelvy notch­es a win in most com­mon form of breast can­cer

Following a promise last year to go “big and fast in breast cancer,” Gilead has secured a win for Trodelvy in the most common form.

The drug was approved to treat HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer patients who’ve already received endocrine-based therapy and at least two other systemic therapies for metastatic cancer, Gilead announced on Friday.

Trodelvy won its first indication in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer back in 2020, and has since added urothelial cancer to the list. HR-positive HER2-negative breast cancer accounts for roughly 70% of new breast cancer cases worldwide per year, according to senior VP of oncology clinical development Bill Grossman, and many patients develop resistance to endocrine-based therapies or worsen on chemotherapy.

Raymond Stevens, Structure Therapeutics CEO

Be­hind Fri­day's $161M IPO: A star sci­en­tist, GPCR drug dis­cov­ery and a plan to chal­lenge phar­ma in di­a­betes

What does it take to pull off a $161 million biotech IPO these days?

In Structure Therapeutics’ case, it means having a star scientist co-founder paired with the computational drug discovery company Schrödinger, $198 million in private funding from blue-chip investors, almost six years of research work on G protein-coupled receptors and a slate of oral, small-molecule drugs, with an eye on the huge and growing diabetes and weight-loss market.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Af­ter 13 years, Ramy Mah­moud steps in­to CEO seat at Opti­nose; Ru­pert Vessey set to ex­it Bris­tol My­ers in Ju­ly

After 13 years as president and COO at Optinose, Ramy Mahmoud has stepped into a new role as its CEO. He is taking the place of Peter Miller, who stepped down earlier this week, though Miller is still staying with the company as a consultant.

In 2010, the two business partners joined Optinose to take it in a new direction, transforming it from a delivery platform to product company. They previously worked together at Johnson & Johnson, when Miller was president at Janssen and Mahmoud headed medical affairs. Miller said after he learned about Optinose, “I did what I always do, which is find people smarter than me to talk with about the idea. And the first person I called was Ramy … and I said, ‘Hey, Ramy, what do you think of this technology?’”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Ma­gen­ta halts stem cell work and may sell it­self fol­low­ing pa­tient death, clin­i­cal hold

Magenta Therapeutics said it is halting work on its stem cell transplant drug pipeline and may sell itself, a week after the company reported the death of a patient in an early stage trial of its antibody-drug conjugate.

The Cambridge, MA-based company said it will conduct a “review of strategic alternatives,” and that could include an “acquisition, merger, business combination, or other transaction.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Giovanni Caforio, Bristol Myers Squibb CEO (Nicolas Messyasz/Sipa via AP Images)

Bris­tol My­ers turns at­ten­tion to new prod­ucts in wake of Revlim­id patent loss

Bristol Myers Squibb CEO Giovanni Caforio is shifting his focus to newer products as generic sales continue to gnaw at the company’s blockbuster myeloma drug Revlimid.

Both Revlimid and Abraxane sales took a dive last year thanks to generic rivals, BMS reported in its Q4 and full-year results on Thursday. As a result, Q4 sales dipped 5% and full-year sales remained flat. However, Caforio sees a silver lining — or rather, two of them.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Lina Khan, FTC chair (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)

FTC makes an ex­am­ple of GoodRx, bans dis­counter from shar­ing pri­vate health da­ta with ad­ver­tis­ers

Prescription drug discount provider GoodRx will no longer be allowed to share its users’ sensitive health data with advertisers after the Federal Trade Commission charged the online coupon provider with failing to notify consumers of such disclosures to Facebook, Google, and other companies.

GoodRx agreed to pay a $1.5 million civil penalty for violating the FTC’s Health Breach Notification Rule after the FTC said it repeatedly violated a 2017 promise to not share sensitive personal health information. The FTC alleged that the company shared users’ prescription medications and personal health conditions with third party advertisers and platforms like Facebook, Google, Criteo, Branch and Twilio.