Is­raeli API mak­er Wave­length buys up ma­jor­i­ty stake in In­di­an firm mak­ing drug start­ing ma­te­ri­als and in­ter­me­di­ates

As the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic con­tin­ues to chal­lenge the glob­al drug sup­ply chain, na­tions are look­ing for new ways to en­able na­tive pro­duc­ers to con­tin­ue scal­ing up. Now, an Is­raeli API mak­er is drop­ping a down pay­ment in­to an In­di­an in­ter­me­di­ates com­pa­ny to ramp up its own man­u­fac­tur­ing base.

Wave­length Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals will pay an undis­closed sum to buy up a ma­jor­i­ty stake in Hy­der­abad’s Vana­mali Or­gan­ics, an In­di­an firm spe­cial­iz­ing in mak­ing drug in­ter­me­di­ates and start­ing ma­te­ri­als that will add to Wave­lengths’ API con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ing work, the com­pa­ny said in a re­lease.

In tak­ing con­trol of Vana­mali, Wave­length will dou­ble the firm’s pro­duc­tion ca­pac­i­ty and add more than 10 key reg­u­la­to­ry start­ing ma­te­ri­als and drug in­ter­me­di­ates for Wave­length’s own strate­gic APIs and API CD­MO cus­tomers, a Wave­length spokes­woman said by email.

If­tach Seri

As cur­rent­ly con­sti­tut­ed, Vana­mali em­ploys rough­ly 140 works in Hy­der­abad, Telan­gana, that spe­cial­ize in API start­ing ma­te­ri­als and con­tract re­search, ac­cord­ing to its web­site. Wave­length said the In­di­an firm cur­rent­ly sports enough ca­pac­i­ty for re­search- to com­mer­cial-scale pro­duc­tion of its drug in­ter­me­di­ates.

“The ac­qui­si­tion of Vana­mali Or­gan­ics rep­re­sents the next stage of this in­vest­ment strat­e­gy,” Wave­length CEO If­tach Seri said in a state­ment. ” We are de­light­ed to add their tal­ent­ed team and ad­vanced de­vel­op­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties to Wave­length, and we ex­pect they will be im­por­tant con­trib­u­tors to our glob­al sup­ply chain net­work and our rapid­ly grow­ing cus­tom de­vel­op­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing ser­vices busi­ness.”

Wave­length, a more than 30-year-old firm based in Petah Tik­va, launched its API CD­MO busi­ness in ear­ly 2020 and cur­rent­ly sports more than 250 cus­tomers from 50 coun­tries. The com­pa­ny’s con­tract arm churns out more than 250 met­ric tons of com­mer­cial APIs every year for in­jecta­bles, in­hal­ables, high­ly po­tent, cy­to­tox­ic and con­trolled sub­stances, ac­cord­ing to a re­lease.

Dur­ing Covid-19, the com­pa­ny has helped fill a void in meet­ing API de­mand for med­i­cines used to treat pa­tients with the virus. In April of last year, Wave­length ex­pand­ed its pro­duc­tion of API for three gener­ic drugs— seda­tive mi­da­zo­lam, mus­cle re­lax­ant cisatracuri­um, and par­a­lyt­ic rocuro­ni­um — to help keep up with hos­pi­tal de­mand.

The com­pa­ny was one of many to step in­to the void for need­ed gener­ic med­i­cines as chron­ic short­ages crip­pled ac­cess to key drugs, specif­i­cal­ly in the ear­ly- to mid-stages of the pan­dem­ic. That short­age ac­tu­al­ly led the FDA to thaw its re­la­tion­ship with com­pound­ing phar­ma­cies — which was once par­tic­u­lar­ly icy — to ramp up pro­duc­tion.

Wave­length’s growth in the API space comes as na­tions around the world look to de­vel­op re­dun­dant sup­ply chains for key gener­ic med­i­cines amid the pan­dem­ic. In­dia and Chi­na are two of the lead­ing play­ers in that game, and US leg­is­la­tors for months have pushed for an ag­gres­sive “on­shoring” of drug pro­duc­tion to coun­ter­act the na­tion’s re­liance on for­eign pro­duc­ers. Is­rael, a key al­ly to the US, could be a log­i­cal part­ner in that ef­fort, but the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion al­so took out big bets on US firms to set up shop state­side.

The top 100 bio­phar­ma VCs, Bob Brad­way places $2B bet in can­cer, gene edit­ing pi­o­neer's new big idea, 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.

Before diving in, we had some news to share: Endpoints is launching a premium weekly report focusing on all things regulatory. Coverage will be led by our new senior editor, Zachary Brennan, who joins us from POLITICO. Arsalan Arif has more details in his Publisher’s Note.

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Robert Bradway (Photographer: Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Am­gen snaps up can­cer drug play­er Five Prime, adding PhI­II-ready FGFR2b drug in $2B M&A play

Amgen is making a long-awaited move on the M&A side, buying South San Francisco-based Five Prime $FPRX for close to $2 billion and adding a slate of new cancer drugs to the pipeline.

Amgen is paying $38 a share, putting the deal value at $1.9 billion. The stock closed at $21.26 last night, giving investors a 78% premium.

The jewel in the crown of this deal is bemarituzumab, which Amgen describes as a first-in-class, Phase III-ready anti-FGFR2b antibody. Amgen was drawn to the bargaining table by Five Prime’s mid-stage data on gastric cancer, satisfied by PFS and OS data helping to validate FGFR2b as a target. Amgen researchers will now expand on the R&D program in other epithelial cancers, including lung, breast, ovarian and other cancers.

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David Liu (Casey Atkins Photography courtesy Broad Institute)

David Liu has a new big idea: pro­teome edit­ing. It could one day shred tau, RAS and some of the worst dis­ease-caus­ing pro­teins

Before David Liu became famous for inventing new forms of gene editing, he was known around academia in part for a more obscure innovation: a Rube Goldberg-esque system that uses bacteria-infecting viruses to take one protein and turn it into another.

Since 2011, Liu’s lab has used the system, called PACE, to dream up fantastical new proteins: DNA base editors far more powerful than the original; more versatile forms of the gene editor Cas9; insecticides that kill insecticide-resistant bugs; enzymes that slide synthetic amino acids into living organisms. But they struggled throughout to master one of the most common and powerful proteins in the biological world: proteases, a set of Swiss army knife enzymes that cut, cleave or shred other proteins in everything from viruses to humans.

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The 2021 top 100 bio­phar­ma in­vestors: As the pan­dem­ic hit and IPOs boomed, VCs swung in­to ac­tion like nev­er be­fore

The global pandemic may have roiled economies, killed hundreds of thousands and throttled entire industries, but the only effect it had on biopharma venture investing was to help turbocharge the field to giddy new heights.

Below you’ll find the new top 100 venture investors in the industry, ranked by the number of deals they were publicly involved in, as tracked by DealForma chief Chris Dokomajilar. The numbers master then calculated the estimated amount of money they put into each deal — divvying up the cash by the number of players — to indicate how they managed their syndicates.

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In the lat­est big in­vest­ment in gene ther­a­py man­u­fac­tur­ing, Bio­gen com­mits $200M to a ma­jor new fa­cil­i­ty in NC

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the only R&D effort of any consequence at Biogen belongs to aducanumab, its controversial Alzheimer’s drug. But behind the uproar around that drug, the big biotech has a full scale pipeline in play that includes a growing focus on developing gene therapies.

Now Biogen plans to build up the kind of manufacturing muscle that will give it an advantage in gaining FDA approvals — where CMC is always key — and then marketing them around the world.

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Ab­b­Vie of­floads UK site for $119M in sale to Chi­nese cell and gene ther­a­py play­er Phar­maron

With its Allergan buyout now long in the books, AbbVie has been taking a hard look at its suddenly expansive global ops to find space for a deal. Now, working with a Chinese cell and gene therapy player hungry for more elbow room abroad, AbbVie has taken one UK facility off its books.

AbbVie has offloaded its Liverpool manufacturing site as part of a $118.7 million sale to Chinese cell and gene therapy player Pharmaron, which is pitching the purchase as the next step in its global expansion plans, the companies said last week.

Bob Nelsen (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)

With stars aligned and cash in re­serve, Bob Nelsen's Re­silience plans a makeover at 2 new fa­cil­i­ty ad­di­tions to its drug man­u­fac­tur­ing up­start

Bob Nelsen’s new, state-of-the-art drug manufacturing initiative is taking shape.

Just 3 months after gathering $800 million of launch money, a dream team board and a plan to shake up a field where he found too many bottlenecks and inefficiencies for the era of Covid-19, Resilience has snapped up a pair of facilities now in line for a retooling.

The company has acquired a 310,000-square-foot plant in Boston from Sanofi along with a 136,000-square-foot plant in Ontario to add to a network which CEO Rahul Singhvi says is just getting started on building his company’s operations up. The Sanofi deal comes with a contract to continue manufacturing one of its drugs.

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Bruce Cozadd, Jazz CEO (Jazz Pharmaceuticals)

Jazz CEO Bruce Cozadd cam­paigned for 6 months to buy GW Phar­ma. A 90% pre­mi­um sealed the deal — along with $17.6M in ‘re­ten­tion’ in­cen­tives

Jazz CEO Bruce Cozadd didn’t beat around the bush.

In his first video meeting with GW Pharma chief Justin Gover last July 8, he offered to pay $172 a share to get the company, which had beaten the odds in getting its remarkable cannabinoid drug Epidiolex across the regulatory finish line for epilepsy. GW’s stock closed at $129 that day.

Cozadd had already done his homework on the financing to make sure he could swing it the way he wanted. He just needed to do some due diligence before making the non-binding bid firm.

UP­DAT­ED: Not 3 weeks af­ter tak­ing Hu­ma­cyte pub­lic, Ra­jiv Shuk­la launch­es an­oth­er blank check com­pa­ny

One of biotech’s earliest SPAC investors is back with another blank-check company, less than a month after his last effort announced its intent to merge.

Rajiv Shukla is intending to take a third lucky winner public with Alpha Healthcare Acquisition III, filing to go public Thursday with a $150 million raise penciled in. The move comes just a couple of weeks after Shukla’s second SPAC said it would jump to Nasdaq in tandem with Laura Niklason’s Humacyte in a $255 million new investment.

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