Ju­lian Adams man­ages to com­plete his $50M IPO at Gami­da Cell — at a heavy cost

Ju­lian Adams has his $50 mil­lion IPO, but it cost plen­ty.

Ju­lian Adams

The Gami­da Cell CEO, who’s steer­ing his way through a late-stage study with a ther­a­py that nev­er quite man­aged to at­tract a sig­nif­i­cant amount of at­ten­tion, had to go out at $8, well short of the $13 to $15 range that was pro­ject­ed. Get­ting the $50 mil­lion took sell­ing a big­ger batch of 6.25 mil­lion shares. And that meant walk­ing away from their $300 mil­lion val­u­a­tion and ac­cept­ing a down­grade to $210 mil­lion.

Adams, a long­time Boston biotech sci­en­tist who built his rep at Mil­len­ni­um and con­tin­ued for a long stretch at In­fin­i­ty be­fore jump­ing out on his own, moved to the helm of Gami­da Cell a year ago. The Is­raeli biotech has been de­vel­op­ing a cell graft for blood can­cer pa­tients in need of a bone mar­row trans­plant that is made up of stem cells, prog­en­i­tor cells as well as den­drit­ic cells ex­tract­ed from the um­bil­i­cal cord. And it’s at­tract­ed the care­ful at­ten­tion of No­var­tis, which has passed on op­tions to buy the com­pa­ny but re­mains a large in­vestor in it.

Long ru­mored as a po­ten­tial takeover tar­get, with No­var­tis pic­tured as the like­ly buy­er, Gami­da Cell has large­ly been seen as a fringe play­er on the world biotech stage. Adams was sup­posed to help change that. But it’s not an overnight process. 

You can find the stock trad­ing as $GM­DA.

Pascal Soriot (AP Images)

As­traZeneca, Ox­ford her­ald 70% av­er­age ef­fi­ca­cy for Covid-19 vac­cine, tout­ing eas­i­er dis­tri­b­u­tion, low­er price

On the third straight Monday that the world wakes up to positive vaccine news, AstraZeneca and Oxford are declaring a new Phase III milestone in the fight against the pandemic.

With an average efficacy of 70%, the headline number may appear less impressive than the 95% and 94.5% protection that Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have boasted in the past two weeks, respectively. But the British partners have several other bright spots going for their candidate. One of the two dosing regimens tested in Phase III showed a better profile, bringing efficacy up to 90%; the adenovirus vector-based vaccine requires minimal refrigeration, which may mean easier distribution; and AstraZeneca has pledged to sell it at a fraction of the price that the other two vaccine developers are charging.

Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron CEO (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Trail­ing Eli Lil­ly by 12 days, Re­gen­eron gets the FDA OK for their Covid-19 an­ti­body cock­tail

A month and a half after becoming the experimental treatment of choice for a newly diagnosed president, Regeneron’s antibody cocktail has received emergency use authorization from the FDA. It will be used to treat non-hospitalized Covid-19 patients who are at high-risk of progressing.

Although the Rgeneron drug is not the first antibody treatment authorized by the FDA, the news comes as a significant milestone for a company and a treatment scientists have watched closely since the outbreak began.

Bahija Jallal (file photo)

TCR pi­o­neer Im­muno­core scores a first with a land­mark PhI­II snap­shot on over­all sur­vival for a rare melanoma

Bahija Jallal’s crew at TCR pioneer Immunocore says they have nailed down a promising set of pivotal data for their lead drug in a frontline setting for a solid tumor. And they are framing this early interim readout as the convincing snapshot they need to prove that their platform can deliver on a string of breakthrough therapies now in the clinic or planned for it.

In advance of the Monday announcement, Jallal and R&D chief David Berman took some time to walk me through the first round of Phase III data for their lead TCR designed to treat rare, frontline cases of metastatic uveal melanoma that come with a grim set of survival expectations.

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Simeon George, SR One CEO (SR One)

Scoop: SR One crew com­pletes a com­pli­cat­ed spin­out from Glax­o­SmithK­line. And now they have a $500M fund to in­vest on their own

It’s taken close to 2 years, but Simeon George and his team at SR One have completed their spinout from GlaxoSmithKline, ending a saga as one of the longest running venture arms of Big Pharma as they go out on their own to forge the next chapter with a new and independent $500 million fund.

GSK is sticking with the spinout, this time as a minority investor — though a big one. And I’m told that the R&D group at GSK will remain involved in evaluating their new plays, helping with the scientific due diligence involved in scouting the world for new opportunities during a period of explosive growth in biotech investing.

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CEO Matthew Kane (Precision BioSciences)

In an ap­par­ent R&D about-face, Eli Lil­ly part­ners with Pre­ci­sion Bio­Sciences on genome edit­ing in a deal worth up to near­ly $2.7B

As a large multinational corporation, Eli Lilly has their hands in boundless projects, from cancer and immuno-oncology to diabetes, psoriasis and Crohn’s disease. But Friday they signaled a shift in their R&D focus toward genome editing, leaping into a cutting-edge field CEO Dave Ricks had shied away from as recently as January 2019.

The big pharma is ponying up $100 million upfront to partner with Precision BioSciences, focusing initially on Duchenne muscular dystrophy and two other undisclosed in vivo targets. Lilly is also acquiring $35 million worth of the biotech’s stock, and has the option to develop three additional in vivo therapies.

Sean Bohen, Olema

Sean Bo­hen hauls in a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar wind­fall as his new­ly adopt­ed biotech bags a $209M-plus IPO

Sean Bohen’s IPO for Olema Oncology priced at $19 a share overnight, going over the top of the range and giving him an initial multimillion-dollar stake in the biotech as it ventures out into its first day of trading on Thursday.

In their revised S-1 out a few days ago, the company did a reverse split on his shares, leaving Bohen with an option on 1,110,896 shares — about 3% of the company — at the reconfigured exercise price of $4.82. Those options can be exercised within the next 40 days.

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Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEO (Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

It's of­fi­cial: Pfiz­er and BioN­Tech have sub­mit­ted their Covid-19 vac­cine to the FDA — and the agency cir­cled a date for the ad­comm

Pfizer and BioNTech’s request for emergency authorization of its Covid-19 vaccine is now in the FDA’s hands. Regulators caught the application Friday afternoon in an open field dash to the goal line.

The agency immediately marked Dec 10 on the calendar for an advisory committee meeting to discuss the request. Pfizer and BioNTech first announced the submission was coming on Friday morning, and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla confirmed the filing in a video statement later that afternoon. The “historic day,” as Bourla called it, came just 248 days after the pharma first announced plans to develop the candidate with BioNTech — a process which typically takes years.

Jen­nifer Zi­olkows­ki re­signs from CFO post at Sol­id Bio­sciences; Sean Bo­hen's Ole­ma On­col­o­gy adds San­dra Horn­ing to board of di­rec­tors

Jennifer Ziolkowski has decided to step down from Ilan Ganot’s team at Solid Biosciences “to pursue a new career opportunity,” according to an SEC document filed Friday. Ziolkowski will continue to be Solid’s CFO until Jan. 29, 2021. The day after she announced her resignation at the company, the Duchenne muscular dystrophy biotech entered into a consulting agreement with Danforth Advisors, at which point Danforth managing partner Stephen DiPalma was named interim CFO. DiPalma has been a CFO before at Forum Pharmaceuticals and Aquila Biopharmaceuticals, and he founded Catalyst Oncology and Athena Diagnostics.

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Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEO (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP Images)

Pfiz­er and BioN­Tech are send­ing the first Covid-19 vac­cine to the FDA to­day

The first Covid-19 vaccine is heading to regulators.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Friday morning that they would ask today for the FDA to issue an emergency use authorization for their Covid-19 candidate.

The submission, a major milestone in the fight against the pandemic and in history’s most intensive and closely-watched drug development race, will put the ball in the agency’s court, where regulators will pour over all the data the companies have generated since winter and solicit recommendations from outside advisors before making a decision.

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