Updated: Lonza sets sights on expansion, buying Novartis facility; IQVIA leads $14 million Series B funding round
→ Lonza Pharma & Biotech is expanding, buying up a Swiss facility Novartis has been using to produce drug vials and plugging it into their global supply network for industry clients. As is often the case with these deals, Lonza is picking up the work for Novartis under contract. The facility has been up and running for a decade now, serving as the Novartis Center of Excellence for sterile clinical (Phases I to III) drug product manufacturing. Lonza has already announced expansions at its sites in Basel and Visp, Switzerland and “from 2020 the group will expand development and testing labs into a larger building in Basel and expects its Ibex Solutions fill and finish facility in Visp to be operational on-track from mid-2021.”
→ CNS Pharma — which raised some eyebrows earlier this year with its unconventional drive to crowdfund first-in-human studies of a glioblastoma drug — has followed up with a mini IPO. With a goal of $10 million (a price range of $4 to $5 for 2.1 million shares), the public debut would amount to a small fraction of what we’ve seen in recent biotech IPOs but help the tiny player test the efficacy of its chemotherapy agent. The drug, berubicin, belongs to a well-known class of drugs known as anthracycline but appears able to cross the blood-brain barrier and thus target notoriously tough brain cancer cells. Houston-based CNS Pharma in-licensed it from Reata Pharma, which conducted a Phase I study suggesting a 44% response rate before shelving the program.
→ Amicus Therapeutics has lined up a supply deal for its gene therapy work with the CDMO Thermo Fisher. Amicus also set up a plasmid supply network.
→ Belong.Life — a US-Israeli creator of the mobile social networking app Belong – Beating Cancer Together for cancer caregivers, healthcare professionals and patients to manage their treatment journey — has raised $14 million in a Series B funding round led by IQVIA. The round also included The Group Ventures and existing investors. The company plans to use the funding to advance and expand its cancer networking app and its new Belong Patient Engagement Platform (PEP), which is designed to improve patient engagement, education, compliance, satisfaction, auto-care coordination and efficiency. Belong.Life was founded in 2015 by Eliran Malki, Irad Deutsch and Ohad Rubin after each lost relatives to cancer. The company has partnerships with the American Cancer Society, GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer Canada and others.
→ PTC Therapeutics $PTCT and Odylia Therapeutics inked a collaboration to develop gene therapies for rare inherited retinal diseases using the Anc80 vector system developed by researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear.
Earlier version didn’t include CNS Pharma’s IPO