Mar­kets buzz as an­oth­er mR­NA biotech uni­corn looks to car­ry home a record $800M IPO haul

That oth­er mes­sen­ger RNA biotech uni­corn is look­ing to jump in­to Wall Street with an IPO that may seek a record $800 mil­lion and a val­u­a­tion of some $4 bil­lion.

Ugur Sahin, CEO, BioN­Tech

Bankers are buzzing that Bank of Amer­i­ca and JP Mor­gan have al­ready been tapped for the IPO on be­half of BioN­Tech, a Ger­man biotech that has at­tract­ed con­sid­er­able at­ten­tion for its role as a leader in the mR­NA field, ac­cord­ing to a re­port in Reuters.

Some­thing is bound to be go­ing on here. Reuters’ re­port comes a few weeks af­ter Bloomberg pub­lished a piece on the prospec­tive IPO for BioN­Tech, cit­ing a pos­si­ble val­u­a­tion of $5 bil­lion.

Mod­er­na blazed the IPO $MR­NA path for mR­NA a lit­tle more than 3 months ago, rais­ing $604 mil­lion in a his­toric of­fer­ing that quick­ly soured as its stock blew south. But that was just tem­po­rary. The stock lat­er climbed back up and now sits at $19.75 with a $6.5 bil­lion mar­ket cap.

Ear­ly this year Sanofi dou­bled down on its al­liance with the biotech, fronting an ex­pand­ed pact with $91 mil­lion in cash for im­munother­a­pies de­signed to go af­ter sol­id tu­mors. Ear­li­er Pfiz­er lined up a siz­able deal to de­vel­op an mR­NA flu vac­cine, of­fer­ing cash for an up­front and eq­ui­ty. And a lit­tle more than a year ago BioN­Tech came up with a $270 mil­lion round, bring­ing its to­tal raise at the time to close to $1 bil­lion.

The ini­tial seed mon­ey was of­fered by the bil­lion­aire Strüng­mann broth­ers, who are the ma­jor­i­ty share­hold­ers.

The IPO win­dow re­mains open for biotechs, but af­ter a big string of new of­fer­ings in 2018, the gen­er­al con­sen­sus is that there will be a de­cline in the num­ber of com­pa­nies mak­ing the leap on­to the pub­lic stage.

 

 

In a stun­ning set­back, Amarin los­es big patent fight over Vas­cepa IP. And its high-fly­ing stock crash­es to earth

Amarin’s shares $AMRN were blitzed Monday evening, losing billions in value as reports spread that the company had lost its high-profile effort to keep its Vascepa patents protected from generic drugmakers.

Amarin had been fighting to keep key patents under lock and key — and away from generic rivals — for another 10 years, but District Court Judge Miranda Du in Las Vegas ruled against the biotech. She ruled that:
(A)ll the Asserted Claims are invalid as obvious under 35 U.S.C.§ 103. Thus, the Court finds in favor of Defendants on Plaintiff’s remaining infringementclaim, and in their favor on their counterclaims asserting the invalidity of the AssertedClaims under 35 U.S.C. § 103.

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UP­DAT­ED: Have a new drug that promis­es to fight Covid-19? The FDA promis­es fast ac­tion but some de­vel­op­ers aren't hap­py

After providing an emergency approval to use malaria drugs against coronavirus with little actual evidence of their efficacy or safety in that setting, the FDA has already proven that it has set aside the gold standard when it comes to the pandemic. And now regulators have spelled out a new approach to speeding development that promises immediate responses in no uncertain terms — promising a program offering the ultimate high-speed pathway to Covid-19 drug approvals.

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FDA puts pe­di­atric aGVHD drug on pri­or­i­ty re­view lane — will they go vir­tu­al with the ad­comm?

Despite worries about regulatory delays due to new work arrangements under Covid-19, the FDA appears intent to go full speed ahead with its everyday work, not only granting priority review to a stem cell therapy for acute graft versus host disease but also plotting an advisory committee meeting for it.

With a PDUFA date of September 30, the journey of the drug — remestemcel-L, or Ryoncil — could shed light on the agency’s capacity to facilitate drug development unrelated to Covid-19.

Covid 19 roundup: Trump push­es his new fa­vorite, untest­ed drug; CRISPR out­lines crip­pling im­pact of Covid-19

President Trump has a new favorite Covid-19 drug.

After a conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Politico reports, the president is pressuring the FDA to issue emergency use authorization for favipiravir, a flu drug that showed glimpses of success in China but remains unproven and carries a list of worrying side effects. The push comes after a week-plus in which the White House touted a potentially effective but unproven malaria medication despite the concerns of scientific advisors such as NIAID director Anthony Fauci. And Trump ally Rudy Giuliani has been talking up unproven cell therapy efforts on Twitter.

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Once fu­ri­ous over No­var­tis’ da­ta ma­nip­u­la­tion scan­dal, the FDA now says it’s noth­ing they need to take ac­tion on

Back in the BP era — Before Pandemic — the FDA ripped Novartis for its decision to keep the agency in the dark about manipulated data used in its application for Zolgensma while its marketing application for the gene therapy was under review.

Civil and criminal sanctions were being discussed, the agency noted in a rare broadside at one of the world’s largest pharma companies. Notable lawmakers cheered the angry regulators on, urging the FDA to make an example of Novartis, which fielded Zolgensma at $2.1 million — the current record for a one-off therapy.

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Covid-19 roundup: GSK, Am­gen tai­lor R&D work to fit the coro­n­avirus age; Doud­na's ge­nomics crew launch­es di­ag­nos­tic lab

You can add Amgen and GSK to the list of deep-pocket drug R&D players who are tailoring their pipeline work to fit a new age of coronavirus.

Following in the footsteps of a lineup of big players like Eli Lilly — which has suspended patient recruitment for drug studies — Amgen and GSK have opted to take a more tailored approach. Amgen is intent on circling the wagons around key studies that are already fully enrolled, and GSK has the red light on new studies while the pandemic plays out.

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ITeos nabs $125M as they prep Keytru­da com­bi­na­tion tri­al — if Covid-19 will let them

For iTeos, it turned out, $75 million could only last so long.

Two years after announcing their eye-catching Series B raise, the Belgian biotech is back with an even larger Series B-2: $125 million.

The now $200 million financing illustrates the vast capital available for those with promising new immuno-oncology compounds, particularly those that might be used in combination with existing therapies. In December, iTeos announced a collaboration with Merck to test its lead compound with Keytruda this year. The proceeds will push forward that trial and help fund the ongoing Phase I/II trials for that compound, EOS-850, and a second one, EOS-448.

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Flex­ion se­cures Chi­na deal for os­teo­poro­sis drug; Strug­gling to find a buy­er, Ako­rn throws in the tow­el

→ Flexion may be hitting the brakes on clinical trials, including one for its osteoporosis Zilretta, but that’s not stopping the biotech from plotting regulatory action in China. Hong Kong Tainuo has committed $10 million upfront to seize the development and commercialization rights to Zilretta, with plans to apply for a clinical trial in China by the end of the year. Flexion, which said it has 10 months of finished goods in the US and 12 months of active pharmaceutical ingredient available, will supply all products to the Chinese partner.

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As­traZeneca says its block­buster Farx­i­ga proved to be a game-chang­er in CKD — wrap­ping PhI­II ear­ly

If the FDA can still hold up its end of the bargain, AstraZeneca is already on a short path to scooping up a cutting-edge win with a likely approval for their SGLT2 drug Farxiga in cutting the risk of heart failure. Now the pharma giant says it can point to solid evidence that the drug — initially restricted to diabetes — also works for chronic kidney disease, potentially adding a blockbuster indication for the franchise.

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