PerkinElmer buys out British gene edit­ing play­er for $383M, boost­ing its di­ag­nos­tics and ge­nom­ic ca­pa­bilites

PerkinElmer, the Mass­a­chu­setts-based di­ag­nos­tics and life sci­ences com­pa­ny, has a new ac­qui­si­tion, and it comes with a near­ly $400 mil­lion price tag.

The com­pa­ny an­nounced Mon­day that it has pur­chased UK gene edit­ing biotech Hori­zon Dis­cov­ery Group for $383 mil­lion in cash. In to­tal, the deal is worth about $368 mil­lion and will close some­time with­in the first three months of next year.

Hori­zon’s price rep­re­sent­ed a near­ly 110% pre­mi­um on Fri­day’s clos­ing price, and the com­pa­ny’s shares soared Mon­day on the Lon­don Stock Ex­change to meet that lev­el. PerkinElmer’s $PKI rise was more mut­ed as com­pa­ny stock ticked up­ward about 2.5% in ear­ly Mon­day trad­ing.

With Hori­zon in the fold, PerkinElmer said it will now bring in gene edit­ing and gene mod­u­la­tion tools to its au­to­mat­ed life sci­ences dis­cov­ery and ap­plied ge­nomics ca­pa­bil­i­ties. In turn, that will al­low the com­pa­ny to bet­ter meet the re­search de­mands of sci­en­tists in the aca­d­e­m­ic and bio­phar­ma are­nas.

PerkinElmer al­so has the goal of ex­pand­ing its pres­ence in pre­ci­sion med­i­cine, it said, and is aim­ing to ex­plore next gen­er­a­tion cell en­gi­neer­ing and cus­tomized cell lines with Mon­day’s deal.

Pri­or to the deal, PerkinElmer’s di­ag­nos­tics ca­pac­i­ties in­clud­ed high con­tent screen­ing and in vi­vo imag­ing, along with mi­croflu­idics, ro­bot­ic liq­uid han­dling tech­nolo­gies and se­quenc­ing li­brary prepa­ra­tion kits. By bring­ing Hori­zon on board, the com­pa­nies can of­fer their prod­ucts across dif­fer­ent geno­typ­ic and phe­no­typ­ic ap­proach­es, they said, help­ing re­searchers speed up de­ci­sion-mak­ing and stream­lin­ing work­flows.

Hori­zon comes to the ta­ble with CRISPR and RNAi base edit­ing plat­forms and Mon­day’s deal is the cul­mi­na­tion of a two-year re­struc­tur­ing. Orig­i­nal­ly, the biotech had planned on sub­mit­ting a dual-list­ing for the Nas­daq, but giv­en its small­er size rel­a­tive to oth­er com­pa­nies, Hori­zon felt it was par­tic­u­lar­ly vul­ner­a­ble to mar­ket volatil­i­ty, per its an­nounce­ment of the deal. Ul­ti­mate­ly, PerkinElmer’s takeover of­fer proved too good to turn down.

PerkinElmer has been busy through­out the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic, de­vel­op­ing mul­ti­ple dif­fer­ent test­ing kits for the dis­ease. The com­pa­ny has re­ceived two EUAs thus far, one in May for a sero­log­i­cal an­ti­body test and one last week to al­low sam­ple pool­ing for its nu­cle­ic acid de­tec­tion kit. Both of these tests are fa­cil­i­tat­ed in clin­i­cal lab set­tings. The an­ti­body test has 99% speci­fici­ty and 100% sen­si­tiv­i­ty af­ter 21 days fol­low­ing the on­set of symp­toms, PerkinElmer says.

US reg­u­la­tors have en­cour­aged com­pa­nies to en­gage in sam­ple pool­ing as the pan­dem­ic has pro­gressed. The pool­ing method al­lows labs to mix sev­er­al sam­ples to­geth­er and test the pooled sam­ple to­geth­er, in­creas­ing the num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als that can be test­ed with­out ex­pend­ing ad­di­tion­al re­sources.

So­cial: Kristof­fer Trip­plaar/Sipa via AP Im­ages

Un­lock­ing ESG strate­gies for growth with Gilead Sci­ences

RBC Capital Markets explores what is material in ESG for biopharma companies with the ESG leads at Gilead Sciences. Gilead has long focused on sustainability but recognized a more robust framework was needed. Based on a materiality assessment, Gilead’s ESG strategy today focuses first on drug access and pricing, while also addressing D&I and climate change. Find out why Gilead’s board is “acutely aware” of the contribution that ESG makes to firm’s overall success.

Hervé Hoppenot, Incyte CEO (Jeff Rumans)

ODAC echoes FDA con­cern over In­cyte PD-1, as Paz­dur sig­nals broad­er shift for ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval

After the FDA lambasted their PD-1 ahead of an adcomm earlier this week, Incyte ran into new trouble Thursday as ODAC panelists voted against an accelerated OK by a wide margin.

Members of the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee recommended with a 13-4 vote to defer a regulatory decision on Incyte’s retifanlimab until after more data can be collected from a placebo-controlled trial. The PD-1 therapy is due for a PDUFA date in late July after receiving priority review earlier this year.

What con­tro­ver­sy? Eli Lil­ly plots Alzheimer's BLA fil­ing lat­er this year as FDA taps more an­ti-amy­loid drugs as break­throughs

The FDA is keeping the good news coming for Alzheimer’s drug developers. And Eli Lilly is taking them up on it.

Amid continued controversy around whether Biogen’s new flagship drug, Aduhelm, should have been approved at all — and swelling, heated debates surrounding its $56,000 price tag — the agency had no issue handing them and their Japanese partner Eisai a breakthrough therapy designation for a second anti-amyloid beta antibody, lecanemab, late Wednesday.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 110,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

On heels of Aduhelm ap­proval, Bris­tol My­ers jumps back in­to Alzheimer's race

Bristol Myers Squibb last put major resources behind an Alzheimer’s drug nearly a decade ago, when their own attempt at targeting amyloid flamed out in mid-stage studies. They invented another molecule, a Tau-targeted antibody, but jettisoned it to Biogen in 2017 as they dropped out of neuroscience altogether.

But on Thursday, the New York pharma announced they were getting back in the game. Bristol Myers exercised an $80 million option to bring a tau-targeted antibody from Prothena into a Phase I study. The opt-in, which Bristol Myers triggered ahead of analyst expectations, opens the door for another $1.7 billion in milestones down the road.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 110,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Alexis Borisy (file photo)

EQRx and Ex­sci­en­tia, a pair of self-styled dis­rup­tors, team up to over­turn the drug pric­ing ap­ple cart

The biotech industry has seen no shortage of innovation in recent years, but in one area — drug pricing — the field has been anything but innovative. Now, two brash startups taking different roads to upset the drug pricing model will partner up to create a sort of “super-disruptor.”

EQRx and UK-based AI specialist Exscientia will team up on a discovery-through-commercialization collaboration the partners hope will work better than the sum of its parts to bring cheaper medicines to patients faster, the companies said Thursday.

New FDA doc­u­ments show in­ter­nal dis­sent on Aduhelm ap­proval

In a lengthy review document and a pair of memos from top officials, the FDA released on Tuesday night its most detailed argument yet for approving Biogen’s intensely controversial Alzheimer’s drug aducanumab.

The documents amount to an agency attempt to quench the firestorm their decision kindled, as outside advisors members resigned and experts warned that an unproven drug now could stretch Medicare’s budget to a breaking point. Ultimately, the documents show how CDER director Patrizia Cavazzoni and Office of New Drugs director Peter Stein both concurred with FDA neuroscience head Billy Dunn on the accelerated approval while the staff at FDA’s Office of Biostatistics did not think an approval was warranted.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 110,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Karen Flynn, Catalent

Q&A: When the pan­dem­ic struck, Catal­en­t's CCO had just joined the team

Karen Flynn came aboard Catalent’s team just in time.

The company was going through a surge of changes, and she had been brought over from her role as CCO of West Pharmaceutical Services to serve in the same capacity for the New Jersey-based CDMO. Then a few months later, the pandemic was in full-force.

Since then, Catalent’s been in hyper-expansion mode. In early May, it acquired Promethera’s Hepatic Cell Therapy Support SA subsidiary and its 32,40-square-foot facility in Gosselies, Belgium. Prior to that, the company acquired Belgian CDMO Delphi Genetics, wrapped up the expansion of an already-existing site in Madison, WI and added an ultra-low temperature freezer partner in Sterling. As Emergent has botched millions of doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, the company has swooped in to move that production to its Maryland plant as well.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 110,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Richard Pazdur (vis AACR)

FDA en­cour­ages in­clud­ing in­cur­able can­cer pa­tients in tri­als, re­gard­less of pri­or ther­a­pies

The FDA on Thursday called to include those with incurable cancers (when there is no potential for cure or for prolonged/near normal survival) in appropriate clinical trials, regardless of whether they have received existing alternative treatments.

Historically, many cancer clinical trials have required that participating patients previously received multiple therapies, according to Richard Pazdur, director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence.

Roche sev­ers ties with 4D Mol­e­c­u­lar Ther­a­peu­tics over blind­ness gene ther­a­py, mark­ing an­oth­er set­back for the field

Roche is turning its nose up over a gene therapy program targeting an inherited form of night blindness, signaling the latest setback for such treatments in eye-related diseases.

As the space continues to reel from Biogen’s major Phase III flop last week, Roche is handing back rights to a program from 4D Molecular Therapeutics, the biotech announced Thursday morning. The termination of the licensing agreement will be effective as of Sept. 16, 4DMT said.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 110,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.