News brief­ing: UK biotech 4D phar­ma heads for Nas­daq via SPAC; Dr. Red­dy's shuts down man­u­fac­tur­ing af­ter cy­ber­at­tack

An­oth­er phar­ma com­pa­ny is in­tend­ing to use a SPAC to join the Nas­daq.

4D phar­ma, a UK-based biotech, is re­verse-merg­ing with a blank check com­pa­ny in a deal worth up to $37.6 mil­lion. The move will give 4D phar­ma a new Nas­daq tick­er, which will be $LBPS, us­ing the Amer­i­can De­posi­tary Share pro­gram. 4D will con­tin­ue to trade on the Lon­don stock ex­change un­der its pre­vi­ous tick­er.

As a re­sult of the move, 4D phar­ma will gain $14.6 mil­lion in cash held by the blank check com­pa­ny, dubbed Longevi­ty $LOAC. The merg­er is ex­pect­ed to be com­plet­ed in ear­ly 2021, af­ter which shares will be im­me­di­ate­ly trade­able on Nas­daq.

4D’s Lon­don stock is ex­pect­ed to open at about $1.44 per share, rep­re­sent­ing about an 18% pre­mi­um on Wednes­day’s clos­ing price.

The com­pa­ny’s re­search fo­cus­es on har­ness­ing bac­te­ria from the hu­man gut to treat a wide range of dis­eases. Its lead pro­gram is cur­rent­ly in a Phase I/II study in com­bi­na­tion with Keytru­da ex­am­in­ing how it could af­fect sol­id tu­mors. 4D phar­ma al­so has clin­i­cal pro­grams in pan­cre­at­ic can­cer, asth­ma, Covid-19 and ir­ri­ta­ble bow­el syn­drome.

In­dia’s Dr. Red­dy’s the tar­get of an ap­par­ent cy­ber­at­tack

An ap­par­ent cy­ber­at­tack forced In­di­an drug­mak­er Dr. Red­dy’s to shut down all of its glob­al man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

The at­tack oc­curred ear­ly Thurs­day morn­ing lo­cal time, ac­cord­ing to com­pa­ny reg­u­la­to­ry fil­ings. Dr. Red­dy’s in­formed the lo­cal stock ex­change that “in the wake of a de­tect­ed cy­ber-at­tack, we have iso­lat­ed all da­ta cen­ter ser­vices to take re­quired pre­ven­tive ac­tions.”

It was not im­me­di­ate­ly clear what kind of cy­ber­at­tack hit the com­pa­ny, be it ran­somware or some­thing else. CIO Mukesh Rathi said in the fil­ing that he ex­pects the com­pa­ny’s op­er­a­tions to be back up and run­ning at full ca­pac­i­ty with­in 24 hours.

Thurs­day’s at­tack comes less than a week af­ter In­di­an reg­u­la­tors ap­proved a Phase II/III study of Rus­sia’s Covid-19 vac­cine to com­mence in the coun­try.

Haystack Sci­ences ac­quired by in­sitro, bol­ster­ing ma­chine learn­ing ca­pa­bilites

AI and ma­chine learn­ing have long been the­o­rized as one of the next steps in drug R&D evo­lu­tion, and Thurs­day saw a deal aim­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on that front.

The ma­chine learn­ing-dri­ven com­pa­ny in­sitro an­nounced that it is ac­quir­ing Haystack Sci­ences, a pri­vate com­pa­ny de­vel­op­ing its own ma­chine learn­ing plat­form to help en­able drug dis­cov­ery. Fi­nan­cial terms of the deal were not dis­closed.

Haystack’s ap­proach fo­cus­es on syn­the­siz­ing, breed­ing and an­a­lyz­ing di­verse chem­i­cal li­braries en­cod­ed by unique DNA se­quences called DNA-en­cod­ed li­braries, or DELs. The tech can al­so ex­e­cute rapid fol­low-up and pos­sess­es a pro­pri­etary se­mi-quan­ti­ta­tive screen­ing tech­nol­o­gy that gen­er­ates datasets with high­er res­o­lu­tion than con­ven­tion­al “pan­ning” ap­proach­es.

All that goes in­to in­sitro’s ap­proach of gen­er­at­ing pre­dic­tive mod­els that the com­pa­ny us­es to ac­cel­er­ate tar­get se­lec­tion and de­vel­op their ther­a­pies.

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

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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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