J&J hands Tracon two drugs, outlines buyback; Zymeworks does a cross-licensing deal with Daiichi Sankyo

Typically we see Big Pharmas in-licensing experimental drugs from small biotechs. But in a reverse of those roles, San Diego-based Tracon Pharmaceuticals bagged a couple of programs from pharma giant J&J. And J&J is also investing $5 million in an equity stake for its new partner. This is a two-way deal, though, as J&J also outlined some specific deal terms if it wants these drugs back. J&J agreed to pay Tracon $45 million upfront and up to $137.5 million in milestones to retrieve JNJ-63576253, a prostate cancer therapy. And JNJ-64290694 for hematologic malignancies can be roped back after negotiations. If Tracon keeps that drug, it will be on the hook for up to $60 million in milestones. Kudos on the innovative deal structure.

Zymeworks CEO Ali Tehrani

Zymeworks CEO Ali Tehrani

Vancouver-based Zymeworks continues to wheel and deal its way into new collaborations. This latest deal today includes a new partnership to develop a bi-specific antibody for Daiichi Sankyo using Zymeworks’ Azymetric and Effector Function Enhancement and Control Technology platforms. And Zymeworks is licensing immuno-oncology antibodies from Daiichi Sankyo. Terms were not put on public display. I asked CEO Ali Tehrani about the deal. His reply: “This deal, similar to the other deals we have signed, has strategic importance for Zymeworks beyond the financial terms. The strategic benefit of this deal is reflected in the license to unique immuno-oncology antibodies that Daiichi Sankyo is granting to Zymeworks, enabling Zymeworks to build additional novel and potentially highly differentiated immuno-oncology relevant bi-specific therapeutics for our internal pipeline.”

Cambridge, MA-based Eleven Biotherapeutics $EBIO has raised $13.5 million, according to a new Form D filed with the SEC. The biotech recently reorganized, handing the shell over to a new operator and a new R&D focus. Eleven’s lead drug failed badly, twice, and after outlicensing a remaining program opted to go in a new direction.

Do you want to punch Martin Shkreli in the face? Stand in line. Or go online and make a bid. Shkreli says he’s auctioning off a slap down to raise money for the family of a friend and former PR exec who died in his sleep. After raising the price of an old med more than 5000% and setting off the mother of all drug pricing controversies, he’s likely to find plenty of competition. Shkreli, now facing a lengthy lineup of federal fraud charges, has been promoting the pitch on his Twitter account, but I can’t see it. Like many other journalists, I’ve been blocked.

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Sr. Manager, Regulatory Affairs, CMC
CytomX Therapeutics San Francisco, CA
Marketing Associate - Demand Generation
Catalytic Data Science Charleston, SC
Associate Principal, Life Sciences Partnerships
Flatiron Health New York City or San Francisco

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