Quo­tient, buoyed by Covid-19 work, buys Ar­ci­no­va in ef­fort to build end-to-end CD­MO brand

Flush with cash from Covid-19 work, con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ers are hav­ing their own M&A mi­ni-boom. Now, a UK-based man­u­fac­tur­ing ser­vices firm is snag­ging an­oth­er com­pa­ny head­quar­ter on the Isles, look­ing to set up an end-to-end of­fer­ing for cus­tomers.

Mark Egerton

Not­ting­ham drug de­vel­op­er and man­u­fac­tur­ing ac­cel­er­a­tor Quo­tient an­nounced plans this week to buy Ar­ci­no­va, an­oth­er con­tract de­vel­op­er with over four decades in the in­dus­try.

Quo­tient said the move will fur­ther ex­pand the com­pa­ny’s ser­vice port­fo­lio by in­te­grat­ing drug sub­stance, prod­uct and test­ing abil­i­ties un­der the same um­brel­la, ac­cord­ing to a re­lease. This, CEO Mark Egerton said, will fur­ther im­prove the com­pa­ny’s one-year drug de­vel­op­ment time­line sav­ings al­ready avail­able through Quo­tient’s pri­ma­ry tech­nol­o­gy, Trans­la­tion­al Phar­ma­ceu­tics.

“I’d like to con­grat­u­late the Ar­ci­no­va team on build­ing an ex­cit­ing busi­ness, and I am thrilled to be join­ing forces,” he said in a state­ment. “Both busi­ness­es are sim­i­lar in cul­ture and as­pire to help cus­tomers ac­cel­er­ate mol­e­cules from can­di­date se­lec­tion through de­vel­op­ment and on to com­mer­cial launch.”

Quo­tient has been buoyed in re­cent months by CD­MO work in Covid-19 ther­a­peu­tics, most no­tably an Au­gust part­ner­ship with ANA Ther­a­peu­tics. The biotech in De­cem­ber was bought by Neu­roBo, and ANA001 (or niclosamide cap­sules), re­mains in a clin­i­cal tri­al for pos­si­ble de­vel­op­ment as a treat­ment for the res­pi­ra­to­ry virus.

Ian Shott

Ar­ci­no­va’s 160 em­ploy­ees will now join the fold at Quo­tient, which Ar­ci­no­va ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Ian Shott said aligns well with the goals the com­pa­ny has had since its in­cep­tion.

“We set out to build a unique or­ga­ni­za­tion that ac­cel­er­ates the de­vel­op­ment of new med­i­cines for pa­tients in need,” Schott said. “We are de­light­ed to move on to the next stage with Quo­tient as the per­fect part­ner for Ar­ci­no­va.”

Fi­nan­cial terms of the sale weren’t dis­closed, but as part of the ac­qui­si­tion, Ar­ci­no­va’s mi­nor­i­ty eq­ui­ty part­ner BGF will leave the busi­ness.

Tar­get­ing a Po­ten­tial Vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of Cer­tain Can­cers with DNA Dam­age Re­sponse

Every individual’s DNA is unique, and because of this, every patient responds differently to disease and treatment. It is astonishing how four tiny building blocks of our DNA – A, T, C, G – dictate our health, disease, and how we age.

The tricky thing about DNA is that it is constantly exposed to damage by sources such as ultraviolet light, certain chemicals, toxins, and even natural biochemical processes inside our cells.¹ If ignored, DNA damage will accumulate in replicating cells, giving rise to mutations that can lead to premature aging, cancer, and other diseases.

Steve Cutler, Icon CEO (Icon)

In the biggest CRO takeover in years, Icon doles out $12B for PRA Health Sci­ences to fo­cus on de­cen­tral­ized clin­i­cal work

Contract research M&A had a healthy run in recent years before recently petering out. But with the market ripe for a big buyout and the Covid-19 pandemic emphasizing the importance of decentralized trials, Wednesday saw a tectonic shift in the CRO world.

Icon, the Dublin-based CRO, will acquire PRA Health Sciences for $12 billion in a move that will shake up the highest rungs of a fragmented market. The merger would combine the 5th- and 6th-largest CROs by 2020 revenue, according to Icon, and the merger will set the newco up to be the second-largest global CRO behind only IQVIA.

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Fol­low biotechs go­ing pub­lic with the End­points News IPO Track­er

The Endpoints News team is continuing to track IPO filings for 2021, and we’ve designed a new tracker page for the effort.

Check it out here: Biopharma IPOs 2021 from Endpoints News

You’ll be able to find all the biotechs that have filed and priced so far this year, sortable by quarter and listed by newest first. As of the time of publishing on Feb. 25, there have already been 16 biotechs debuting on Nasdaq so far this year, with an additional four having filed their S-1 paperwork.

Tom Barnes (Orna)

The mR­NA era is here. MPM be­lieves the fu­ture be­longs to oR­NA — and Big Phar­ma wants a seat at the ta­ble

If the ultra-fast clinical development of Covid-19 vaccines opened the world’s eyes to the promises of messenger RNA, the subsequent delays in supply offered a crash course on the ultra-complex process of producing them. Even before the formulation and fill-finish steps, mRNA is the precious end product from an arduous journey involving enzyme-aided transcription, modification and purification.

For Bristol Myers Squibb, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Gilead’s Kite and Astellas, it’s time to rethink the way therapeutic RNA is engineered.

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Tal Zaks, Moderna CMO (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi, via still image from video)

CMO Tal Zaks bids Mod­er­na a sur­prise adieu as biotech projects $18.4B in rev­enue, plots post-Covid ex­pan­sion

How do you exit a company after six years in style? Developing one of the most lucrative and life-saving products in pharma history is probably not the worst way to go.

Tal Zaks, Moderna’s CMO since 2015, will leave the mRNA biotech in September, the biotech disclosed in their annual report this morning. The company has already retained the recruitment firm Russell Reynolds to find a replacement.

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Ken Frazier, Merck CEO (Bess Adler/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Mer­ck takes a swing at the IL-2 puz­zle­box with a $1.85B play for buzzy Pan­dion and its au­toim­mune hope­fuls

When Roger Perlmutter bid farewell to Merck late last year, the drugmaker perhaps best known now for sales giant Keytruda signaled its intent to take a swing at early-stage novelty with the appointment of discovery head Dean Li. Now, Merck is signing a decent-sized check to bring an IL-2 moonshot into the fold.

Merck will shell out roughly $1.85 billion for Pandion Pharmaceuticals, a biotech hoping to gin up regulatory T cells (Tregs) to treat a range of autoimmune disorders, the drugmaker said Thursday.

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Avid Bioser­vices, with re­cent IPO and Covid-19 part­ner­ship in hand, launch­es 2nd phase of fa­cil­i­ty ex­pan­sion

California’s Avid Bioservices now has two simultaneous expansion projects underway as the CDMO’s projections for customer demand sparked the launch this week of the second phase of building out its Myford facility.

Avid expects construction on the second phase, which will be known as its Myford South facility to take 18 to 24 months to complete at a cost of roughly $45 million to $55 million, it said in a press release.

Joe Biden (Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Biden wants a re­view of the API sup­ply chain. Will that par­lay in­to an ef­fort to 'on­shore' drug man­u­fac­tur­ing?

When former President Donald J. Trump was voted out of office Nov. 2, his gung-ho effort to “onshore” drug manufacturing was left mostly up in the air. Joe Biden has been mostly mum on whether he would continue that effort, but a new executive order could provide a clue — at least in a few months.

In an order signed Wednesday, Biden demanded a 100-day governmental review of key supply chains, including for active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) used in American drugs.

S&P ex­pects steady ero­sion in Big Phar­ma's cred­it pro­file in 2021 as new M&A deals roll in — but don't un­der­es­ti­mate their un­der­ly­ing strength

S&P Global has taken a look at the dominant forces shaping the pharma market and come to the conclusion that there will be more downgrades than upgrades in 2021 — the 8th straight year of steady decline.

But it’s not all bad news. Some things are looking up, and there’s still plenty of money to be made in an industry that enjoys a 30% to 40% profit margin, once you factor in steep R&D expenses.