Marc de Garidel, CinCor Pharma CEO (Eric Piermont/AFP via Getty Images)

How the price of As­traZeneca's buy­out of Cin­Cor fell by $1.4B

Cin­Cor scored a $1.8 bil­lion buy­out deal with As­traZeneca ear­li­er this month, but ac­cord­ing to re­cent­ly re­leased doc­u­ments, it al­most walked away from the deal ta­ble with much more than that.

In Sep­tem­ber, As­traZeneca of­fered to buy Cin­Cor for $60 per share plus a con­tin­gent val­ue right of $6 per share, adding up to $3.2 bil­lion if all mile­stones had been achieved, ac­cord­ing to an SEC fil­ing pub­lished on Mon­day. How­ev­er, the Cin­Cor board and CEO Marc de Garidel want­ed to see more cash up­front.

De Garidel made a coun­terof­fer to As­traZeneca CEO Pas­cal So­ri­ot of $63 per share with­out a CVR the fol­low­ing day. So­ri­ot’s re­sponse? As­traZeneca was still in­ter­est­ed, but they’d need to see forth­com­ing da­ta from the com­pa­ny’s HA­LO tri­al in pa­tients with un­con­trolled hy­per­ten­sion be­fore mak­ing a fi­nal de­ci­sion.

On Nov. 28, Cin­Cor re­vealed that its lead drug bax­dro­stat failed the HA­LO tri­al, send­ing its stock price plum­met­ing near­ly 47%. A few weeks lat­er, As­traZeneca made an­oth­er (much low­er) of­fer: $22 per share, with a CVR of up to $10 per share, amount­ing to rough­ly $1.5 bil­lion, at a 164% pre­mi­um to Cin­Cor’s clos­ing price that day.

De Garidel told So­ri­ot that the of­fer was “in­suf­fi­cient,” ac­cord­ing to the fil­ing, and that the Cin­Cor board want­ed an up­front of­fer­ing of at least $30 per share. Af­ter more ne­go­ti­a­tion, the par­ties set­tled on $26 per share up­front, with a CVR of $10 per share that hinges on the “spec­i­fied reg­u­la­to­ry sub­mis­sion of a bax­dro­stat prod­uct.”

Bax­dro­stat, a re­vived Roche drug, is de­signed to block the pro­duc­tion of al­dos­terone, a hor­mone linked to in­creased blood pres­sure that’s long been of in­ter­est in the treat­ment of hy­per­ten­sion. How­ev­er, se­lec­tiv­i­ty has been a chal­lenge. If not care­ful enough, sci­en­tists run the risk of block­ing the pro­duc­tion of cor­ti­sol, which would counter the blood pres­sure-low­er­ing ef­fect of al­dos­terone re­duc­tion.

Topline re­sults from the Phase II BrigHTN tri­al showed that pa­tients with treat­ment-re­sis­tant hy­per­ten­sion on a 2 mg dose of bax­dro­stat saw an 11 mm Hg re­duc­tion in sys­tolic blood pres­sure com­pared to place­bo at week 12 (p<0.001), with no in­stances of adreno­cor­ti­cal in­suf­fi­cien­cy. That suc­cess sparked in­ter­est from a hand­ful of com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing As­traZeneca, how­ev­er the British phar­ma was the on­ly one to make a pro­pos­al.

De Garidel told End­points News ear­li­er this month that re­searchers saw a “very pro­found place­bo ef­fect” in the HA­LO study, and that some pa­tients may not have been tak­ing the drug as rec­om­mend­ed.

“Some­thing went wrong. In that study, the place­bo arm was much, much, much greater than nor­mal,” he said. “These are things that we are cur­rent­ly in­ves­ti­gat­ing.”

As­traZeneca al­so of­fered to buy Cin­Cor for $700 mil­lion up­front with $400 mil­lion in mile­stones back in De­cem­ber 2021, be­fore the com­pa­ny’s IPO — an of­fer that the board deemed “in­ad­e­quate” at the time, ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ments.

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.

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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.

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Teresa Graham, incoming Roche Pharmaceuticals CEO

In­com­ing Roche CEO builds out his top team, tap­ping Genen­tech vet to lead phar­ma di­vi­sion

Roche announced another leadership shuffle Thursday morning – the head of global product strategy, Teresa Graham, will take over as CEO of Roche Pharmaceuticals in March while the company’s corporate executive committee will make a spot for Levi Garraway, CMO and executive VP of global product development.

Thomas Schinecker will take over the top spot as Roche group CEO in March, leaving his spot as head of diagnostics.

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.

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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?’”

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Te­va drops out of in­dus­try trade group PhRMA

Following in AbbVie’s footsteps, Teva confirmed on Friday that it’s dropping out of the industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Teva didn’t give a reason for its decision to leave, saying only in a statement to Endpoints News that it annually reviews “effectiveness and value of engagements, consultants and memberships to ensure our investments are properly seated.”

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Sanofi CFO Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon (L) and CEO Paul Hudson (Romuald Meigneux/Sipa via AP Images)

Sanofi sees downtick in flu sales as it preps for launch of RSV an­ti­body

Sanofi expects its RSV antibody jointly developed with AstraZeneca will be available next season, executive VP of vaccines Thomas Triomphe announced on the company’s quarterly call.

Beyfortus, also known as nirsevimab, was approved in the EU back in November and is currently under FDA review with an expected decision coming in the third quarter of this year. The news comes as the FDA plans to hold advisory committee meetings over the next couple months to review RSV vaccines from Pfizer and GSK.

Christophe Weber, Takeda CEO (Photographer: Shoko Takayasu/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Take­da fo­cus­es on ‘di­verse’ pipeline prospects on heels of two ac­qui­si­tions

After a whopping $4 billion asset buy from Nimbus Therapeutics, along with a $400 million deal with Hutchmed for a colorectal cancer drug, Takeda executives touted pipeline optimism on its latest earnings call this week.

That’s because the TYK2 inhibitor for psoriasis Takeda is getting from Nimbus, along with the Hutchmed fruquintinib commercialization outside of China, are just two of what it reports are 10 late-stage development programs of promising candidates.