Novartis throws Cerulean a lifeline with $5M deal; Porges disses Celgene’s GED-0301

Novartis has come along with a company-saving deal to partner with Cerulean $CERU. Blasted by a recent trial failure, the Waltham, MA-based biotech is picking up a $5 million upfront to use its nanoparticle drug conjugate tech with several of Novartis’s drug candidates. The deal also includes potential milestones on up to five targets. Cerulean’s shares blasted up 60%, breaking out of perilous penny stock territory this morning. Cerulean has also struck a deal to sell shares to Aspire Capital Fund under a stock purchase agreement.

Geoffrey Porges, Leerink

Geoffrey Porges, Leerink

You can include Leerink’s Geoffrey Porges among the group of analysts who have been seriously unimpressed with Celgene’s GED-0301. New Crohn’s data has left a group of critics wondering what Celgene was making such a fuss about. Says Porges: “We have always been cautious regarding the opportunity of GED-0301 in Crohn’s disease, despite the initial impressive phase II data published at the end of 2014, and these data are consistent with that view. GED-0301 appears to provide some benefit to patients, and as an oral agent with a benign safety profile (assuming confirmation with extended exposure), will likely gain some use (depending on price) as a first-line agent and an initial alternative to biologics – perhaps to be used on top of other 1L agents like the aminosalicylates.”

The Wellesley, MA-based clinical trials software company 4G Clinical raised $5 million in Series A1 financing led by Boston-based Schooner Capital. That money brings its total to $7.5 million.

Copenhagen-based Ascendis has raised $112 million to help fund development of a new growth hormone.

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