News brief­ing: PureTech plans Nas­daq de­but with sec­ondary list­ing; GoodRx prices $725M IPO

Lon­don Stock Ex­change-list­ed PureTech Health an­nounced Wednes­day that it’s look­ing to ex­tend to Nas­daq. But due to its “strong cash po­si­tion,” the biotech says it isn’t is­su­ing any new shares in the po­ten­tial sec­ondary list­ing.

The com­pa­ny’s shares closed at £256.50 Tues­day on the Lon­don Stock Ex­change. Its can­di­date LYT-100 is cur­rent­ly in Phase I de­vel­op­ment for var­i­ous in­di­ca­tions, in­clud­ing lym­phat­ic flow dis­or­ders and fi­brot­ic and in­flam­ma­to­ry dis­or­ders. PureTech is ex­pect­ing a Phase Ib read­out in lym­phat­ic flow dis­or­ders lat­er this year, and is al­so plan­ning to launch a Phase II study for the drug to treat res­pi­ra­to­ry con­di­tions ex­pe­ri­enced af­ter Covid-19.

In ad­di­tion to its own pipeline, PureTech ben­e­fits from a net­work of af­fil­i­ates, in­clud­ing Karuna Ther­a­peu­tics, which is work­ing on neu­ropsy­chi­atric dis­or­der ther­a­pies, Gele­sis, which was FDA cleared for its weight man­age­ment drug Plen­i­ty, and Vedan­ta Bio­sciences, which is de­vel­op­ing mi­cro­bio­me drugs.

PureTech said it in­tends to con­tin­ue trad­ing on the Lon­don Stock Ex­change in ad­di­tion to its po­ten­tial US list­ing. — Nicole De­Feud­is 

Price watch­dog GoodRx rais­es $725 mil­lion, prices IPO

GoodRx, the con­sumer pre­scrip­tion drug plat­form and drug price watch­dog, an­nounced the pric­ing of its IPO Wednes­day morn­ing.

The com­pa­ny, which filed for the pub­lic of­fer­ing at the end of Au­gust, will be­gin trad­ing on the Nas­daq at $33 per share. Ini­tial­ly ex­pect­ing a $750 mil­lion raise, GoodRx came up just shy of that high tar­get and ul­ti­mate­ly pulled in $725 mil­lion.

GoodRx’s ini­tial price is the high­est among biotech IPOs this year — if you can call it a biotech.

So far in 2020, there have al­ready been more than 50 IPOs in the in­dus­try, eclips­ing the to­tal from all of 2019. As of mid-Au­gust, the com­pa­nies have raised a com­bined $11 bil­lion, but GoodRx’s hefty sum will sure­ly add to that to­tal.

GoodRx has be­come quite prof­itable in the last few years, de­spite be­ing main­ly known for com­pil­ing an­nu­al lists of the most ex­pen­sive drug prices and help­ing con­sumers com­pare pre­scrip­tion costs. In 2019 the com­pa­ny net­ted a prof­it of $66 mil­lion, and through the first of half of this year, they were on track to pock­et $100 mil­lion. — Max Gel­man

Ex­pand­ing a Cel­gene lega­cy pact, Bris­tol My­ers grabs celi­ac treat­ment from Anokion

Bris­tol My­ers Squibb is ap­par­ent­ly in­trigued enough by Anokion’s ap­proach for treat­ing au­toim­mune dis­ease to not just keep, but ex­pand the col­lab­o­ra­tion Cel­gene had inked with the Swiss biotech.

In the lat­est move, Bris­tol My­ers is grab­bing Anokion’s lead drug can­di­date, KAN-101, which is de­signed to treat celi­ac dis­ease by to­ler­iz­ing T cells to gluten anti­gens.

“We are in­trigued by the op­por­tu­ni­ty to lever­age this im­mune to­ler­iza­tion plat­form as a treat­ment for celi­ac dis­ease, as well as mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis,” Ru­pert Vessey, pres­i­dent of R&D, said in a state­ment.

Anokion is get­ting an undis­closed up­front pay­ment. As with the oth­er pro­grams cov­ered in deal, orig­i­nal­ly signed in 2016, the biotech is re­spon­si­ble for com­plet­ing pre­clin­cal and Phase I be­fore Bris­tol My­ers takes over the fund­ing of tri­als and sub­se­quent com­mer­cial work. — Am­ber Tong

Medi­gene chops staffers, switch­es fo­cus to TCR for sol­id tu­mors 

Ger­many’s Medi­gene is lay­ing off a quar­ter of its staff as it hun­kers down to fo­cus on the lead pro­grams in T cell re­cep­tor T cell ther­a­py.

The biotech, which boasts of al­liances with blue­bird and Vivek Ra­maswamy’s Cy­to­vant, not­ed that the chal­lenges as­so­ci­at­ed with treat­ing very sick can­cer pa­tients amid a pan­dem­ic is forc­ing it to take longer with the Phase I dose es­ca­la­tion tri­al of MDG1011 in acute myeloid leukemia and myelodys­plas­tic syn­drome. But once that’s done, it will be look­ing for a part­ner for the Phase II por­tion.

Look­ing ahead, Medi­gene said it will con­cen­trate all pre­clin­i­cal R&D ac­tiv­i­ties on de­vel­op­ing cell ther­a­pies for sol­id tu­mors. — Am­ber Tong

The top 100 bio­phar­ma VCs, Bob Brad­way places $2B bet in can­cer, gene edit­ing pi­o­neer's new big idea, and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

Before diving in, we had some news to share: Endpoints is launching a premium weekly report focusing on all things regulatory. Coverage will be led by our new senior editor, Zachary Brennan, who joins us from POLITICO. Arsalan Arif has more details in his Publisher’s Note.

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Robert Bradway (Photographer: Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Am­gen snaps up can­cer drug play­er Five Prime, adding PhI­II-ready FGFR2b drug in $2B M&A play

Amgen is making a long-awaited move on the M&A side, buying South San Francisco-based Five Prime $FPRX for close to $2 billion and adding a slate of new cancer drugs to the pipeline.

Amgen is paying $38 a share, putting the deal value at $1.9 billion. The stock closed at $21.26 last night, giving investors a 78% premium.

The jewel in the crown of this deal is bemarituzumab, which Amgen describes as a first-in-class, Phase III-ready anti-FGFR2b antibody. Amgen was drawn to the bargaining table by Five Prime’s mid-stage data on gastric cancer, satisfied by PFS and OS data helping to validate FGFR2b as a target. Amgen researchers will now expand on the R&D program in other epithelial cancers, including lung, breast, ovarian and other cancers.

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David Liu (Casey Atkins Photography courtesy Broad Institute)

David Liu has a new big idea: pro­teome edit­ing. It could one day shred tau, RAS and some of the worst dis­ease-caus­ing pro­teins

Before David Liu became famous for inventing new forms of gene editing, he was known around academia in part for a more obscure innovation: a Rube Goldberg-esque system that uses bacteria-infecting viruses to take one protein and turn it into another.

Since 2011, Liu’s lab has used the system, called PACE, to dream up fantastical new proteins: DNA base editors far more powerful than the original; more versatile forms of the gene editor Cas9; insecticides that kill insecticide-resistant bugs; enzymes that slide synthetic amino acids into living organisms. But they struggled throughout to master one of the most common and powerful proteins in the biological world: proteases, a set of Swiss army knife enzymes that cut, cleave or shred other proteins in everything from viruses to humans.

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The 2021 top 100 bio­phar­ma in­vestors: As the pan­dem­ic hit and IPOs boomed, VCs swung in­to ac­tion like nev­er be­fore

The global pandemic may have roiled economies, killed hundreds of thousands and throttled entire industries, but the only effect it had on biopharma venture investing was to help turbocharge the field to giddy new heights.

Below you’ll find the new top 100 venture investors in the industry, ranked by the number of deals they were publicly involved in, as tracked by DealForma chief Chris Dokomajilar. The numbers master then calculated the estimated amount of money they put into each deal — divvying up the cash by the number of players — to indicate how they managed their syndicates.

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Bruce Cozadd, Jazz CEO (Jazz Pharmaceuticals)

Jazz CEO Bruce Cozadd cam­paigned for 6 months to buy GW Phar­ma. A 90% pre­mi­um sealed the deal — along with $17.6M in ‘re­ten­tion’ in­cen­tives

Jazz CEO Bruce Cozadd didn’t beat around the bush.

In his first video meeting with GW Pharma chief Justin Gover last July 8, he offered to pay $172 a share to get the company, which had beaten the odds in getting its remarkable cannabinoid drug Epidiolex across the regulatory finish line for epilepsy. GW’s stock closed at $129 that day.

Cozadd had already done his homework on the financing to make sure he could swing it the way he wanted. He just needed to do some due diligence before making the non-binding bid firm.

Seagen warns in­vestors against TRC Cap­i­tal’s lat­est 'mi­ni-ten­der of­fer'; BeiGene goes af­ter a new in­di­ca­tion for top PD-1 play­er

TRC Capital, which has selected various biotechs like Vertex and Biogen for the “mini-tender” treatment, jumped back into the game last month with an offer to buy shares in Seagen for $151. The problem, says Seagen, is that price was 4.28% lower than what the stock was selling for at the time they made the offer on Feb. 20, giving TRC a shot at an instant windfall.

So why sell for less than what it’s worth? Seagen notes warnings from regulatory authorities that these offers essentially try to trick investors into believing that they’re being offered a premium for the stock.

UP­DAT­ED: Not 3 weeks af­ter tak­ing Hu­ma­cyte pub­lic, Ra­jiv Shuk­la launch­es an­oth­er blank check com­pa­ny

One of biotech’s earliest SPAC investors is back with another blank-check company, less than a month after his last effort announced its intent to merge.

Rajiv Shukla is intending to take a third lucky winner public with Alpha Healthcare Acquisition III, filing to go public Thursday with a $150 million raise penciled in. The move comes just a couple of weeks after Shukla’s second SPAC said it would jump to Nasdaq in tandem with Laura Niklason’s Humacyte in a $255 million new investment.

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Paul Hudson, Getty Images

How does Paul Hud­son's $13.5M comp pack­age stack up against oth­er CEOs? He's in the 'first quar­tile'

Paul Hudson arrived at Sanofi like a hurricane, chopping off duds in the pipeline, shaking up the C-suite, striking big M&A deals and jumping into the Covid-19 vaccine race — all in an attempt to reboot a pharma giant notorious for its setbacks.

Now, we’re getting a look at what the CEO brought home in his first year on the job.

When all is said and done, Hudson will have made about $6.7 million in 2020, about $2.5 million of which has already been paid. The bigger figure includes a $2.3 million bonus that’s subject to approval at an April meeting, and another $1.8 million in variable compensation that has yet to be paid.

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Af­ter three years of courtship (and turn­downs), Mer­ck pounced on the first glance of clin­i­cal da­ta in $1.85B Pan­dion takeover

It’s almost become cliché for biotech executives to talk about the importance of keeping your options open and being prepared to go all the way. But when it comes to negotiating with a giant like Merck, a little patience can indeed go a long way.

Just ask Pandion Therapeutics.

Days ago we already learned that Merck is shelling out $1.85 billion to pick up the biotech and its slate of autoimmune hopefuls. What we didn’t know until the SEC disclosure dropped Thursday is that the deal comes after Pandion turned down two other proposals from Merck over the past three years and held out until the last minute for a sweetened deal.

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