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

In­side Track: Be­hind the Scenes of a Ma­jor Biotech SPAC

Dr. David Hung and Michelle Doig are no strangers to the SPAC phenomenon. As Founder and CEO of Nuvation Bio, a biotech company tackling some of the greatest unmet needs in oncology, Dr. Hung recently took the company public in one of this year’s biggest SPAC related deals. And as Partner at Omega Funds, Doig not only led and syndicated Nuvation Bio’s Series A, but is now also President of the newly formed, Omega-sponsored, Omega Alpha SPAC (Nasdaq: OMEG; oversubscribed $138m IPO priced January 6, 2021).

Aduhelm OK 'bit­ter­sweet' for ALS ad­vo­cates; Con­trast­ing Covid-19 vac­cine read­outs; GSK joins TIG­IT bat­tle; 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.

With the busiest days of June now behind us, we’re starting to think seriously about the second half of the year. In August, we have scheduled a special report where Endpoints will compile a list of the 20 most influential R&D executives in biopharma. Know a luminary who should definitely be included? Nominate them now.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 109,800+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Who are the lu­mi­nar­ies dri­ving the biggest ad­vances in bio­phar­ma R&D? End­points News is ask­ing for your nom­i­na­tions for a spe­cial re­port

In biopharma, driving a drug to market is the ultimate goal — but none of that happens without a strong research and development program. At the most successful companies, those R&D efforts are spearheaded by true innovators in the field who are always looking for that next novel mechanism of action or breakthrough safety profile.

Now, Endpoints News is asking you to tell us who those guiding lights are.

Leen Kawas, Athira CEO

Biotech founder placed on leave as $400M Alzheimer's start­up idea comes un­der scruti­ny

Athira Pharma, the Alzheimer’s biotech that emerged out of obscurity last year and raised nearly $400 million for a dark-horse approach to treating neurodegeneration, has found itself in sudden turmoil.

On Tuesday evening, the company released a terse statement announcing that CEO and founder Leen Kawas had been placed on administrative leave while an independent review board investigated “actions stemming” from her doctoral research at Washington State University. Mark Litton, who joined the company as COO two years ago, will take over day-to-day operations, they said.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 109,800+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Bris­tol My­ers breaks the bank on Ei­sai's fo­late re­cep­tor ADC drug, lay­ing out more than $3B+ for rights

For years, innovation in oncology has been a crapshoot with Big Pharma — the whales at the table — dropping the big bucks for the key to the next generation of tumor fighters. Bristol Myers Squibb hasn’t exactly made a name for being an innovator in the space, but that doesn’t mean it won’t splash in when it sees a potential winner.

Now, with a massive check in hand, the drugmaker is willing to put its intuition to the test.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 109,800+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Michael Chambers (L) and John Ballantyne

Dana­her strikes deal to buy boom­ing next-gen man­u­fac­tur­er Alde­vron for $9.6B

Life sciences conglomerate Danaher Corp. $DHR has struck a deal to buy the fast-growing Aldevron, one of the world’s top manufacturers of hotly sought-after plasmid DNA, mRNA and recombinant proteins for the burgeoning world of vaccine and drugmakers pushing some game-changing technologies.

Buyout talks set the stage for Danaher to settle on a $9.6 billion cash pact to acquire the private Fargo, ND-based company — a key supplier for a disruptive new Covid vaccine as well as a host of gene and cell therapy and CRISPR gene editing players — founded by Michael Chambers and CSO John Ballantyne as a crew of 2 back in 1998.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

FDA's con­tro­ver­sial Aduhelm de­ci­sion leaves ALS pa­tients feel­ing spurned

The FDA’s controversial approval of Biogen’s Aduhelm drug for Alzheimer’s disease has been met with fierce resistance from all corners of the biopharma industry, but few seem to be as upset with the decision as ALS patients and advocacy groups.

For all that’s already been written and discussed about the agency’s announcement, from the drug’s exorbitantly high price of $56,000 per year to criticism over lowered standards, ALS patients see something more. ALS patients and associations say they largely regarded Aduhelm’s approval as a bittersweet double standard: happy that those with Alzheimer’s have a new drug available, but questioning how the FDA evaluated Biogen’s drug compared to the experimental programs being studied for their own disease.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 109,800+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Jim Green­wood opens new pol­i­cy shop, with an eye on drug price con­trols; Mod­er­na, CRISPR, Mus­tang re­ceive tax breaks in Mass­a­chu­setts

Capitol Hill heavyweight Jim Greenwood is taking his decades of experience in the intertwining worlds of biopharma and Congress to the law firm DLA Piper, where he’s opening up a new policy and regulatory practice alongside former Pfizer lawyer Geoffrey Levitt.

As Congress wrangles over how to bring down drug prices, the former BIO CEO told Endpoints News in an interview that his top three priorities will be, “Price controls, price controls and price controls.”

Spring reg­u­la­to­ry agen­da: What’s com­ing soon-ish from the FDA

The FDA’s lack of a permanent commissioner does not seem to be halting its progress to propose and finalize dozens of new regulations, with the latest batch covering everything from adverse event reporting to supplemental application submissions to annual reports for INDs.

Overall, FDA expects to release more than 40 new proposed regulations and finalize another 24 in the coming months and years.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.