Never too late: Forbion pitches $100M SPAC; Kronos Bio releases early interim data on CDK9 inhibitor
Dutch VC Forbion is hopping on the ever-lengthening SPAC train.
To be led by Jasper Bos, who joined Forbion Growth as a general partner back in May just after the fund closed at $428 million, Forbion European Acquisition will target late-stage opportunities in the life sciences industry in Europe to merge with and bring onto Nasdaq.
Cyril Lesser, senior controller at Forbion, will be the CFO while Bos serves as CEO.
After a record year for biotech SPACs, the craze for blank check companies appears to be in a bit of a lull recently, although it’s clearly not stopping experienced investors who think they will be able to spot a decent private company to flip public.
As is standard with these types of deals, Forbion European Acquisition is penciling in a $100 million raise by selling shares at $10 apiece — a pitch centered around the management team’s experience, network and expertise. It may raise another $20 million “at the closing of an acquisition,” the company added. — Amber Tong
Kronos Bio releases early interim data on CDK9 inhibitor
Oncology biotech Kronos Bio announced data from its ongoing Phase I/II clinical trial of its oral CDK9 inhibitor KB-0742, which is being developed to treat MYC-amplified solid tumors.
Among the 12 patients treated in the trial, KB-0742 had a terminal half-life of 24 hours, with approximately 2 to 2.5-fold accumulation between days 1 and 10. According to Kronos, this long plasma half-life supports the biotech’s approach to defining a therapeutic window for CDK9 inhibition.
Further dose escalation — the first part of the two-stage trial — is required to reach desired levels of CDK9 inhibition.
The nature and severity of the adverse events observed have been consistent with what is typically seen among heavily pretreated patients with advanced cancer in Phase I trials, and Kronos Bio is continuing to enroll in the trial.
“These early data are encouraging, and we look forward to continuing the trial and establishing a recommended Phase II dose,” said Kronos Bio CEO and president Norbert Bischofberger.
While the first stage is determining safety of the drug and finding a dosage level for patients, the second stage of the trial will enroll patients with MYC-amplified or over-expressing tumors, as well as other transcriptionally addicted tumor types, to assess the anti-tumor activity of KB-0742 at the recommended Phase II dose. — Paul Schloesser
Gilead goes with Amazon Web Services as its cloud provider
Gilead had decided on Amazon for its cloud services.
Gilead announced this morning that it is going with Amazon Web Services as its cloud provider — citing AWS’s online portfolio for infrastructure and other services.
According to Gilead, AWS’ capabilities in machine learning and analytics fuel decision making across the pharma — from biomarker discovery to manufacturing and clinical trial recruitment.
“With AWS as our preferred cloud provider, our researchers can use AWS’s portfolio of services to gain the insights, agility, and security needed to deliver new medicines at speed,” said Gilead SVP and CIO Marc Berson in a prepared statement.
In addition, Gilead has moved more than 50% of its data center footprint to AWS over the past year through an accelerated cloud migration program with AWS Professional Services. The company also plans to migrate hundreds of applications to AWS, which include applications that support industry good practice guidelines and regulations in areas like drug manufacturing, storage and distribution.
As a result, Gilead will be accelerating its plans to upgrade its IT operations with AWS, while avoiding upfront costs to refresh hardware and the sustained costs of running an “always on,” on-premises IT landscape provisioned for peak use. — Paul Schloesser