PwC pre­dicts 'flur­ry' of $5B to $15B biotech deals in 2023

PwC’s phar­ma in­dus­try trends analy­sis is here — and the au­dit com­pa­ny is pre­dict­ing sev­er­al neg­a­tives amid mod­est ex­pec­ta­tions for M&A, cov­er­ing every­thing from high in­fla­tion and ris­ing cap­i­tal costs to in­creased FTC scruti­ny, just to name a few.

The re­port rec­om­mends lead­ers fo­cus on four key ar­eas: dig­i­tiz­ing the val­ue chain, “get­ting fit for growth” by re­think­ing where they al­lo­cate funds, find­ing ways to adapt to pres­sure on drug pric­ing and “win­ning” in M&A.

No­tably, PwC pre­dicts a “flur­ry” of small­er biotech deals.

“We con­tin­ue to ex­pect that deals in the $5 bil­lion to $15 bil­lion range will be the mar­ket sweet spot but see the po­ten­tial for one or more deals in the $20 bil­lion to $40 bil­lion range be­fore year-end,” the re­port says. “In trans­ac­tions, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and life sci­ences com­pa­nies may al­so need to strike the right com­bi­na­tion of ac­quir­ing in-line/Phase III prod­ucts to meet near-term port­fo­lio needs with longer-term (Phase I and II) val­ue cre­at­ing pipeline as­sets.”

Dig­i­ti­za­tion and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence will con­tin­ue to be a ma­jor part of the phar­ma space as well.

Ac­cord­ing to PwC, “this is the year” for in­vest­ing in dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy: AI in re­search, tech in pro­duc­tion, au­toma­tion in HR and fi­nance and on-de­mand fi­nan­cial in­sights. 53% of fi­nance chiefs are look­ing in­to dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion in da­ta, AI and the cloud.

“No dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion pro­gram can de­liv­er its full po­ten­tial with­out at­ten­tion to the core en­ter­prise re­source plan­ning (ERP) sys­tems. In to­day’s fast-paced, com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment, busi­ness and dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion are in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked to ERP ca­pa­bil­i­ties,” the re­port reads.

AI has been de­ployed at var­i­ous lev­els and with in­creas­ing fre­quen­cy in re­cent years: As­traZeneca part­nered with Lon­don’s Benev­o­len­tAI to bring new drugs in­to its port­fo­lio us­ing the biotech’s AI and ma­chine learn­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and BioN­Tech re­cent­ly bought out its AI part­ner, In­staDeep, for an ini­tial cash and stock con­sid­er­a­tion of about £362 mil­lion, or $440 mil­lion.

“In 2023, chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cers (CIOs) and chief da­ta of­fi­cers (CDOs) will con­tin­ue to have an es­sen­tial role in dri­ving the dig­i­ti­za­tion of the val­ue chain in ways that are in­no­v­a­tive, cost-ef­fec­tive and se­cure,” ac­cord­ing to PwC’s re­port.

PwC al­so pre­dicts rip­ple ef­fects from the pas­sage of the In­fla­tion Re­duc­tion Act passed last year, which al­lows Medicare drug price ne­go­ti­a­tions for the first time in 2026, caps se­niors’ drug ex­pens­es to $2,000 per year and se­niors’ in­sulin costs at $35 per month, and re­makes Medicare Part D to pro­vide less-ex­pen­sive cov­er­age.

The new leg­is­la­tion will be a ma­jor part of com­pa­nies’ 2023 plan­ning.

“With new pric­ing pres­sures start­ing in 2023 through Medicare in­fla­tion­ary re­bates, Part D plan re­design com­ing in 2025 and price ne­go­ti­a­tion start­ing in 2026, the way man­u­fac­tur­ers be­gin to ad­just in 2023 will po­ten­tial­ly pro­vide a crit­i­cal foun­da­tion for the rest of the decade,” PwC pre­dicts.

Am­gen lays off about 300 work­ers, cit­ing 'in­dus­try head­wind­s'

Amgen has laid off about 300 employees, a company spokesperson confirmed to Endpoints News via email Sunday night.

Employees posted to LinkedIn in recent days about layoffs hitting Amgen last week. The Thousand Oaks, CA-based biopharma, which employs about 24,000 people, said the reduction “mainly” impacted US-based workers on its commercial team.

Drug developers of all sizes, including small upstarts and pharma giants, have let employees go in recent months as the biopharma market drags through a quarters-long winter doldrum.

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Bob Bradway, Amgen CEO (Stephen Lam/Reuters)

Am­gen launch­es the first US Hu­mi­ra biosim­i­lar at two dif­fer­ent list prices

The bizarre dynamics of the US prescription drug market were on full display once again this morning as Amgen announced that it would launch the first US biosimilar for Humira, the best-selling drug of all time, at two completely different list prices.

One price for Amgen’s Amjevita (adalimumab-atto) will be 55% below the current Humira list price, which is about $84,000 per year, and another at a list price 5% below the current Humira list price, but presumably (pharma companies don’t disclose rebates) with high rebates to attract PBMs and payers.

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Dirk Thye, Quince Therapeutics CEO

Af­ter piv­ot­ing from Alzheimer's to bone con­di­tions, biotech piv­ots again — and halves its head­count

When troubled public biotech Cortexyme bought a private startup named Novosteo and handed the keys to its executive team, the company — which changed its name to Quince Therapeutics — said it would shift its focus from an unorthodox Alzheimer’s approach to Novosteo’s bone-targeting drug platform.

Less than a year later, Quince is pivoting again.

The biotech has decided to out-license its bone-targeting drug platform and its lead drug, NOV004, and instead look for clinical-stage programs to in-license or acquire, according to a press release.

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Boehringer In­gel­heim touts pre­ven­tion re­sults in rarest form of pso­ri­a­sis

Boehringer Ingelheim uncorked some positive results suggesting that Spevigo can help prevent flare-ups in patients with a severe form of psoriasis, months after the drug was approved to treat existing flares.

Spevigo, an IL-36R antibody also known as spesolimab, met its primary and a key secondary endpoint in the Phase IIb EFFISAYIL 2 trial in patients with generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP), Boehringer announced on Monday. While the company is keeping the hard numbers under wraps until later this year, it said in a news release that it anticipates sharing the results with regulators.

As­traZeneca, No­vo Nordisk and Sanofi score 340B-re­lat­ed ap­peals court win over HHS

AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi won an appeals court win on Monday, as the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit found that the companies cannot be forced to provide 340B-discounted drugs purchased by hospitals from an unlimited number of community and specialty pharmacies.

“Legal duties do not spring from silence,” the decision says as the court makes clear that the federal government’s interpretation of the “supposed requirement” that the 340B program compels drugmakers to supply their discounted drugs to an unlimited number of contract pharmacies is not correct, noting:

Ap­peals court toss­es J&J's con­tro­ver­sial 'Texas two-step' bank­rupt­cy case

A US appeals court has ruled against Johnson & Johnson’s use of bankruptcy to deal with mounting talc lawsuits, deciding that doing so would “create a legal blind spot.”

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a previous bankruptcy court decision on Monday, calling for the dismissal of a Chapter 11 filing by J&J’s subsidiary LTL Management.

Faced with more than 38,000 lawsuits alleging its talc-based products caused cancer, J&J spun its talc liabilities into a separate company called LTL Management back in October 2021 and filed for bankruptcy, a controversial move colloquially referred to as a “Texas two-step” bankruptcy. Claimants argued that the strategy is a misuse of the US bankruptcy code — and on Monday, a panel of judges agreed.

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New York City in­vests $20M in­to biotech 'in­no­va­tion space' at the Brook­lyn Navy Yard

New York City is investing $20 million in biotech this year in the form of a 50,000-square-foot “innovation space” at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, complete with offices, research laboratories and events and programming space to grow biotech startups and companies.

Mayor Eric Adams said during his State of The City Address last Thursday that there will be an “emphasis” on making more opportunities for women and people of color to further diversify the industry. The City first reported the news.

Richard Gonzalez, AbbVie CEO (Chris Kleponis/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

Up­dat­ed: $100B+ in sav­ings? Why the in­com­ing Hu­mi­ra biosim­i­lars will take time to catch on

The 20-year reign of AbbVie’s best-selling biologic of all time — the autoimmune disease biologic Humira (adalimumab) that has brought in upwards of $200 billion during its monopoly — is coming to an end tomorrow with the launch of Amgen’s biosimilar Amjevita.

The launch comes more than four years after Europe saw the exact same competition, leading to steep discounts in price, higher uptake, and big cost savings across the board.

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A new Genentech 'MS Visibility' campaign video features Black women living with or connected to MS talking about their experiences. (Genentech)

Roche’s Genen­tech de­buts next it­er­a­tion of MS cam­paign, high­lights ex­pe­ri­ences in Black com­mu­ni­ty

Roche’s Genentech is tackling diversity in multiple sclerosis again, this time with a focus on the Black community. Its “MS Visibility” effort, debuted in 2021, is now adding to the awareness campaign with new work that includes a set of videos featuring discussions among Black women and healthcare professionals.

“They’re incredibly inspiring Black women living with or connected to MS and they’re having just honest conversation about their experience and the unique barriers that their community faces,” said Jennifer Kim, head of neuroimmunology at Genentech marketing.

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