Life sciences fund raises €118M for its next round of bets; Gilead scraps Alpine alliance
→ A small but growing transatlantic biotech investor is getting a fresh shot in the arm for its next round of bets. Fountain Healthcare Partners has raised €118 million for Fund III, bringing its total amount of capital raised to €294 million. The fund has offices in Dublin and New York, with plans to invest the bulk of its money in Europe, with part of the portfolio in the US. “Fountain’s investment strategy focuses on building a balanced portfolio of companies with complementary risk and return profiles within the life science sector,” noted co-founder Manus Rogan.
→ Close to 4 years after CAR-T pioneer Kite Therapeutics inked a $535 million deal to in-license tech from Mitch Gold’s Alpine Immune System, the Gilead subsidiary is now waving off the collaboration. In an SEC filing, Seattle-based Alpine revealed that Gilead was scrapping the deal, which started with a small $5 million upfront and gradually escalated after that. Kite had initially extended the deal back in 2017, which centered on Alpine’s transmembrane immunomodulatory protein tech to engineer CAR-Ts and TCRs.
→ The FDA has set the PDUFA date for November 21, 2019 for SK Life Science’s — a subsidiary of SK Biopharmaceuticals — NDA submission of its investigational antiepileptic drug, cenobamate (YKP3089). The company says that it’s a “drug for the potential treatment of partial-onset seizures in adult patients, is the first molecule discovered and developed from inception through to the submission of an NDA without partnering or out-licensing from a Korean pharmaceutical company.” The company plans to commercialize the drug independently.
Even with the availability and introduction of many new AEDs, overall treatment outcomes for people with epilepsy has not improved in 20 years. “The CDC states that nearly 60 percent of people with epilepsy are still experiencing seizures, showcasing a great unmet need for patients and their families. Additionally, while some patients may experience a reduction in seizure frequency with current treatments, they continue to live with seizures.”