News briefing: Novartis' Zolgensma hits blockbuster status, triggering $80M milestone; Caris raises $310M for genomic profiling expansion
Novartis reported that Zolgensma earned $291 million in Q3, which puts the SMA gene therapy squarely in the blockbuster category. That, in turn, is paying benefits to Regenxbio, which provided the NAV AAV9 vector used by Zolgensma.
The biotech $RGNX reported Tuesday morning that it is getting an $80 million milestone payment from Novartis, which now has earned more than $1 billion cumulatively from the new gene therapy franchise. And with large percentages of newborns now being screened for the rare, lethal ailment, the franchise can continue to grow.
Regenxbio has a trove of gene therapy tech which has been used at a variety of gene therapy shops around the world. Their original SMA deal was with AveXis, which Novartis bought out.
‘Exciting,’ ‘extraordinary’ ‘leader’ Caris raises $310M for genomic profiling work
No one at Caris Life Sciences is underselling the work they do.
The words “extraordinary” and “unique” come into play frequently for the Dallas-based genomic profiling company, which has major league competition at places like Foundation Medicine, now part of diagnostics powerhouse Roche. And “leader” seems to be peppered in just about everywhere.
“The growth prospects are really quite extraordinary,” says vice chairman Brian Brille, “and we’re a leader in this area.”
They are also quite pleased that they raised a packet of money for the company, which Brille says now employs around 1,000 staffers, with plans to add more.
$310 million, to be exact. From a group of “leading” investors drawn to the AI-powered machine being built at Caris — which has been busily signing up a host of cancer centers for their services.
There’s $235 million in equity from Highland Capital Management and Coatue, with T. Rowe Price Associates, OrbiMed, Millennium Management, Neuberger Berman, ClearBridge Investments, First Light Asset Management and “other undisclosed investors.” And there’s $75 million in debt from Sixth Street coming in as an extension to the $150 million in structured debt financing Sixth Street invested in 2 years ago.
“As tumor profiling becomes standard practice, it’s important that we continue to grow rapidly as we maintain our leadership position,” said CEO David Halbert.