Architectural rendering of the OmniaBio facility at Hamilton’s McMaster Innovation Park (CNW Group/Invest Ontario)

On­tario antes up $580M for C&G ther­a­py plant in Hamil­ton

In 2017, a plan that could use $252 mil­lion to trans­form the home of On­tario’s ju­nior hock­ey team, the Hamil­ton Bull­dogs, was out­lined, but lat­er rec­om­mend­ed against by city staff.

Fast for­ward to this week, when it seems that no mat­ter how im­por­tant the Bull­dogs are to the com­mu­ni­ty, the gov­ern­ment is mak­ing a bet that cell and gene ther­a­py man­u­fac­tur­ing could be even more im­por­tant. On­tario’s gov­ern­ment un­veiled plans for a $580 mil­lion new cell and gene ther­a­py man­u­fac­tur­ing cen­ter set to be built just a 10-minute dri­ve from the sta­di­um. And the gov­ern­ment is foot­ing $40 mil­lion worth of the bill.

The site will be built at the Mc­Mas­ter In­no­va­tion Park, and cre­ate at least 250 new jobs by 2024. Om­ni­aBio will work on cures for can­cer, car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, Parkin­son’s dis­ease and di­a­betes. There will be two build­ings, and the site is tak­ing the place of an old au­to­mo­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing cen­ter. The site will start to be op­er­a­tional by 2024, and it will al­low

“This is a fac­to­ry – it’s not a re­search lab, it’s not clin­i­cal stage ac­tiv­i­ty – so when you think about how to in­dus­tri­al­ize, how you go to that next scale, Hamil­ton is the per­fect lo­ca­tion,” Om­ni­aBio chair­man Michael May said to CHCH News at the event’s ground­break­ing. “Cell and gene ther­a­py is the med­i­cine of the fu­ture. We want to make sure we an­chor this in­no­va­tion with the right strat­e­gy to­ward man­u­fac­tur­ing.”

In­vest On­tario will give a $40 mil­lion loan, in ad­di­tion to an over­all in­vest­ment of $580 mil­lion for the project, and pro­vide “non-fi­nan­cial sup­port” as well, and in­clude help with tal­ent scout­ing and lo­cal skill de­vel­op­ment part­ner­ships.

“This is the kind of val­ue-added, strate­gic in­vest­ment that our gov­ern­ment is proud to cham­pi­on – cre­at­ing skilled jobs, ad­vanc­ing our health­care and dri­ving in­no­va­tion,” Min­is­ter of Eco­nom­ic De­vel­op­ment Vic Fedeli said.

Om­ni­aBio spun out of the Toron­to-based Cen­tre for Com­mer­cial­iza­tion of Re­gen­er­a­tive Med­i­cine and builds up­on its ex­ist­ing client base. The com­pa­ny’s ul­ti­mate goal is to in­crease its bio­man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­i­ty six-fold. Om­nia us­es AI to ex­plore pa­tient-spe­cif­ic da­ta, iden­ti­fy­ing the best dis­ease sub­groups to tar­get and de­sign­ing pa­tient-spe­cif­ic treat­ment op­tions.

“Om­ni­aBio Inc. will be a game-chang­er for On­tario and Cana­da. It will pro­vide miss­ing in­fra­struc­ture to al­low On­tario and Cana­di­an cell and gene com­pa­nies to re­main here, while al­so at­tract­ing for­eign com­pa­nies,” May said in a state­ment. “Cell and gene ther­a­py is Cana­da’s op­por­tu­ni­ty to be glob­al lead­ers in life sci­ences. In­vest­ing in man­u­fac­tur­ing is a key dri­ver, and we’re grate­ful to In­vest On­tario for its lead­er­ship and fore­sight.”

CCRM inked a deal to­ward the end of 2021 with Cam­bridge-based im­muno-on­col­o­gy com­pa­ny Exacis Bio­ther­a­peu­tics to man­u­fac­ture mR­NA-en­gi­neered nat­ur­al killer cell prod­ucts.

Al­so near­by in On­tario is iP­SC spe­cial­ist Cen­tu­ry Ther­a­peu­tics. The com­pa­ny’s Hamil­ton space fo­cus­es on tar­get­ing glioblas­toma brain can­cer. On­tario makes up more than 50% of the Cana­di­an life sci­ence sec­tor.

M&A: a crit­i­cal dri­ver for sus­tain­able top-line growth in health­care

2021 saw a record $600B in healthcare M&A activity. In 2022, there is an anticipated slowdown in activity, however, M&A prospects remain strong in the medium to long-term. What are future growth drivers for the healthcare sector? Where might we see innovations that drive M&A? RBC’s Andrew Callaway, Global Head, Healthcare Investment Banking discusses with Vito Sperduto, Global Co-Head, M&A.

15 LGBTQ lead­ers in bio­phar­ma; Paul Stof­fels’ Gala­pa­gos re­vamp; As­traZeneca catch­es up in AT­TR; 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.

A return to in-person conferences also marks a return to on-the-ground reporting. My colleagues Beth Synder Bulik and Nicole DeFeudis were on-site at Cannes Lions, bringing live coverage of pharma’s presence at the ad festival — accompanied by photos from Clara Bui, our virtual producer, that bring you right to the scene. You can find a recap (and links to all the stories) below.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 144,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

David Loew (Ipsen)

Ipsen snags an ap­proved can­cer drug in $247M M&A deal as an­oth­er bat­tered biotech sells cheap

You can add Paris-based Ipsen to the list of discount buyers patrolling the penny stock pack for a cheap M&A deal.

The French biotech, which has had plenty of its own problems to grapple with, has swooped in to buy Epizyme $EPZM for $247 million in cash and a CVR with milestones attached to it. Epizyme shareholders, who had to suffer through a painfully soft launch of their EZH2a inhibitor cancer drug Tazverik, will get $1.45 per share along with a $1 CVR tied to achieving $250 million in sales from the drug over four consecutive quarters as well as an OK for second-line follicular lymphoma by 1 Jan. 2028.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 144,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

AstraZeneca's new Evusheld direct to consumer campaign aims to reach more immunocompromised patients.

As­traZeneca de­buts first con­sumer cam­paign for its Covid-19 pro­phy­lac­tic Evusheld — and a first for EUA drugs

AstraZeneca’s first consumer ad for Evusheld is also a first for drugs that have been granted emergency use authorizations during the pandemic.

The first DTC ad for a medicine under emergency approval, the Evusheld campaign launching this week aims to raise awareness among immunocompromised patients — and spur more use.

Evusheld nabbed emergency authorization in December, however, despite millions of immunocompromised people looking for a solution and now more widespread availability of the drug.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 144,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

De­spite a slow start to the year for deals, PwC pre­dicts a flur­ry of ac­tiv­i­ty com­ing up

Despite whispers of a busy year for M&A, deal activity in the pharma space is actually down 30% on a semi-annualized basis, according to PwC’s latest report on deal activity. But don’t rule out larger deals in the second half of the year, the consultants said.

PwC pharmaceutical and life sciences consulting solutions leader Glenn Hunzinger expects to see Big Pharma companies picking up earlier stage companies to try and fill pipeline gaps ahead of a slew of big patent cliffs. Though a bear market continues to maul the biotech sector, Hunzinger said recent deals indicate that pharma companies are still paying above current trading prices.

Joe Wiley, Amryt Pharma CEO

Am­ryt Phar­ma sub­mits a for­mal dis­pute res­o­lu­tion to the FDA over re­ject­ed skin dis­ease drug

The story of Amryt Pharma’s candidate for the genetic skin condition epidermolysis bullosa, or EB, will soon enter another chapter.

After the Irish drugmaker’s candidate, dubbed Oleogel-S10 and marketed as Filsuvez, was handed a CRL earlier this year, the company announced in a press release that it plans to submit a formal dispute resolution request for the company’s NDA for Oleogel-S10.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images)

Phar­ma-friend­ly sen­a­tor calls on FDA for a third time to show patent pro­tec­tions should­n't be blamed for high drug prices

North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis made a name for himself in the 2020 election cycle as the darling of the pharma industry, accepting hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions, even from the likes of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

Those contributions have led Tillis to attempt to re-write patent laws in pharma’s favor, a move which failed to gain steam in 2019, and request for a third time since January that the FDA should help stop “the false narrative that patent protections are to blame for high drug prices.”

EMA signs off on 3 drugs re­cent­ly re­ject­ed by FDA, in­clud­ing Bio­Mar­in's new he­mo­phil­ia gene ther­a­py

The EMA’s human medicines committee on Friday recommended three new drugs for approval or conditional approval, even as their US counterparts have rejected these three for various reasons.

In a major move, CHMP offered a thumbs-up to a conditional marketing authorization for the first gene therapy to treat severe hemophilia A, although the agency cautioned that it’s so far unknown how long the effects of infusion will last.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 144,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Joe Papa (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

Joe Pa­pa re­signs as chair of Bausch Health as bil­lion­aire John Paul­son takes over

Joe Papa, chair of Bausch Health, officially resigned on Thursday and the board appointed billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson as the new chair, effective immediately.

The specialty pharma company sought to make clear that Papa’s abrupt departure “was not due to any dispute or disagreement with the Company, its management or the Board on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 144,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.