Hop­ing to take drug R&D in­to the cloud, In­sight­ful Sci­ence snaps up da­ta man­age­ment out­fit Dot­mat­ics

As com­pa­nies quick­ly move to­ward more in­no­v­a­tive meth­ods of R&D to in­crease sci­en­tists’ ef­fi­cien­cy, two soft­ware com­pa­nies an­nounced that they will join forces Mon­day in the lat­est string of cloud-based deals.

UK soft­ware provider In­sight­ful Sci­ence will ac­quire Dot­mat­ics, a cloud-based sci­en­tif­ic R&D da­ta man­age­ment plat­form based in San Diego. The com­bi­na­tion is in­tend­ed to im­prove lab­o­ra­to­ry ef­fi­cien­cy and fa­cil­i­tate quick­er da­ta ac­cess, analy­sis and ex­change be­tween sci­en­tists, the com­pa­nies said.

Thomas Swal­la

Fi­nan­cial terms were not an­nounced in the press re­lease Mon­day, but Bloomberg re­ports that the deal is val­ued at up to $690 mil­lion. The move could gen­er­ate over $100 mil­lion in rev­enue, the re­lease said, and will im­prove lab ef­fi­cien­cy for more than 1 mil­lion sci­en­tists.

“This an­nounce­ment sig­nals a sig­nif­i­cant trans­for­ma­tion in the fu­ture of soft­ware and da­ta man­age­ment in re­search labs,” In­sight­ful CEO Thomas Swal­la said in a state­ment. “To­geth­er our com­ple­men­tary busi­ness­es cre­ate an end-to-end cloud-first sci­en­tif­ic re­search plat­form that stands apart in our col­lec­tive abil­i­ty to sup­port da­ta-dri­ven re­search.”

Dot­mat­ics was found­ed in 2005 by two sci­en­tists from Mer­ck and has since grown to a team of over 260 sci­en­tists. It’s a sci­en­tif­ic in­for­mat­ics soft­ware and ser­vices com­pa­ny that is fo­cused on the au­toma­tion of lab­o­ra­to­ry work­flow.

Stephen Gal­lagher

“This com­bi­na­tion al­lows us to ex­pand in­vest­ments in our Dot­mat­ics plat­form and strength­en our brand as a lead­ing en­ter­prise in­for­mat­ics so­lu­tion provider,” Dot­mat­ics CEO and co-founder Stephen Gal­lagher said in a state­ment.

The ac­qui­si­tion fur­ther high­lights the in­dus­try’s in­crease in cloud-based soft­ware deals. In Sep­tem­ber, Flag­ship in­vest­ed $100 mil­lion in cloud com­put­ing. Ear­li­er in March, the com­pa­ny re­ceived a $110 mil­lion in­vest­ment from Koch Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy.

In late Feb­ru­ary, New York-based Schrödinger fi­nal­ized a deal with Google Cloud to in­crease the speed and ca­pac­i­ty of its plat­form for drug dis­cov­ery, a move the com­pa­ny said tripled its pre­vi­ous ca­pac­i­ty.

Forge Bi­o­log­ics’ cGMP Com­pli­ant and Com­mer­cial­ly Vi­able Be­spoke Affin­i­ty Chro­matog­ra­phy Plat­form

Forge Biologics has developed a bespoke affinity chromatography platform approach that factors in unique vector combinations to streamline development timelines and assist our clients in efficiently entering the clinic. By leveraging our experience with natural and novel serotypes and transgene conformations, we are able to accelerate affinity chromatography development by nearly 3-fold. Many downstream purification models are serotype-dependent, demanding unique and time-consuming development strategies for each AAV gene therapy product1. With the increasing demand to propel AAV gene therapies to market, platform purification methods that support commercial-scale manufacturing of high-quality vectors with excellent safety and efficacy profiles are essential.

Cy­to­ki­net­ics’ ALS drug fails PhI­II, leav­ing the biotech with a sin­gle late-stage prospect

Cytokinetics’ candidate for the muscle disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, failed a Phase III trial, the Bay Area biotech announced Friday morning.

At a second interim analysis of the trial, an independent review committee recommended that Cytokinetics discontinue its COURAGE-ALS trial for reldesemtiv, as it “found no evidence of effect” compared to placebo on the primary or key secondary endpoints.

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CHMP gives thumbs-up for We­govy use in ado­les­cents, along with nine new drug rec­om­men­da­tions

The European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) recommended nine drugs for approval this week while also giving thumbs up for six expanded indications, including Novo Nordisk’s approved obesity medication Wegovy for younger people. Wegovy is already approved as an obesity treatment in the EU for adults, and the new indication would allow prescriptions for adolescents aged 12 and older.

Sar­to­rius to ac­quire French man­u­fac­tur­er for $2.6B+ in cell and gene ther­a­py play

The German life science group Sartorius will be picking up French contract manufacturer Polyplus for the price of €2.4 billion, or $2.6 billion.

On Friday, Sartorius announced the acquisition through its French subgroup, Sartorius Stedim Biotech, which will be acquiring Polyplus from private investors ARCHIMED and WP GG Holdings IV. Polyplus has 270 employees and produces materials and components that go into making viral vectors that are used in cell and gene therapies. This includes DNA/RNA reagents as well as plasmid DNA. Polyplus has locations in France, Belgium, China and the US.

Mathai Mammen, FogPharma's next CEO

Math­ai Mam­men hands in J&J's R&D keys to lead Greg Ver­dine’s Fog­Phar­ma 

In the early 1990s, Mathai Mammen was a teaching assistant in Greg Verdine’s Science B46 course at Harvard. In June, the former R&D head at Johnson & Johnson will succeed Verdine as CEO, president and chair of FogPharma, the same month the seven-year-old biotech kickstarts its first clinical trial.

After leading R&D at one of the largest drugmakers in the world, taking the company through more than half a dozen drug approvals in the past few years, not to mention a Covid-19 vaccine race, Mammen departed J&J last month and will take the helm of a Cambridge, MA biotech attempting to go after what Verdine calls the “true emperor of all oncogenes” — beta-catenin.

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Nicklas Westerholm, Egetis Therapeutics CEO

Ac­qui­si­tion talks on­go­ing for Swedish rare dis­ease biotech Egetis, shares up al­most 40%

Shares of the Sweden-based rare disease biotech Egetis Therapeutics skyrocketed on Thursday afternoon as the company said it’s engaged in “ongoing discussion” with external parties regarding a “potential acquisition.”

Egetis confirmed rumors with a statement on Thursday while noting that there is no certainty that a takeover offer will be made.

Nonetheless, the possibility of an acquisition has shot up Egetis’ share price. By the afternoon on Thursday, its stock price was {$EGTX.ST} up over 38%. An Egetis spokesperson told Endpoints News in an email that it has no further comments.

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Austin biotech Mol­e­c­u­lar Tem­plates lays off more than 100 staffers as pipeline nar­rows

Molecular Templates is ridding itself of a Phase I HER2 asset and fine-tuning its pipeline to focus on three programs and a preclinical Bristol Myers Squibb collaboration. With the narrowed scope on its so-called engineered toxin bodies, the Austin, TX biotech is laying off about half of its staff.

That’s a little more than 100 employees, per an SEC filing. Molecular’s layoffs, approved by its board Wednesday, add to the dozens of pullbacks in the industry in the first three months of 2023.

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Aptinyx eval­u­ates fu­ture of the com­pa­ny fol­low­ing two failed tri­als, 60% lay­offs

This year has been tough for Aptinyx — two failed trials, a 60% cut in its workforce, and now the company has brought on a firm to help evaluate the future of the company.

The press release noted it’s working with the firm Ladenburg Thalmann as its financial advisor to assist in exploring and evaluating “strategic alternatives” — a process that a growing group of struggling biotechs has embarked on, sometimes ending in a merger, asset sale or wind-down.

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Paul Stoffels, Galapagos CEO (Andrew Harnik/AP Images)

Gala­pa­gos sends some em­ploy­ees — and a re­search unit — off to drug dis­cov­ery CRO as part of re­org

Paul Stoffels has made it clear that he views cutting jobs at Galapagos as difficult but necessary — but he’s getting creative about it.

Galapagos, headquartered in Mechelen, Belgium, has struck an arrangement with French contract research organization NovAliX to transfer its drug discovery and research activities. While NovAliX is based in Strasbourg, it will take over running the site that Galapagos ran in Romainville, France.