RA Cap­i­tal, Hill­house join $310M rush to back Ever­est's climb to com­mer­cial heights in Chi­na

Mon­ey has nev­er been an is­sue for Ever­est Med­i­cines. With an es­sen­tial­ly open tab from their founders at C-Bridge Cap­i­tal, the biotech has gone two and a half years rack­ing up drug af­ter drug, bring­ing in top ex­ec af­ter top ex­ec, and is­su­ing clin­i­cal up­date af­ter up­date.

But now oth­er in­vestors want in — and they’re bet­ting big.

Ian Woo

Ever­est is clos­ing its Se­ries C at $310 mil­lion. The first $50 mil­lion comes from the Ji­ashan Na­tion­al Eco­nom­ic and Tech­no­log­i­cal De­vel­op­ment Zone; the re­main­ing C-2 tranche was led by Jan­chor Part­ners, with RA Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment and Hill­house Cap­i­tal as co-lead­ers. Decheng Cap­i­tal, GT Fund, Janus Hen­der­son In­vestors, Rock Springs Cap­i­tal, Oc­ta­gon In­vest­ments all joined.

The biotech might be best known for pay­ing $65 mil­lion up­front to grab Asian rights to Im­munomedics’ an­ti­body-drug con­ju­gate last April — a record for Chi­nese biotechs in-li­cens­ing West­ern drugs. But the oth­er as­sets in their pipeline would ring equal­ly, if not more, fa­mil­iar to a US au­di­ence: Are­na’s S1P re­cep­tor ag­o­nist etrasi­mod, Unit­ed Ther­a­peu­tics’ PAH drug ra­linepag, Tetraphase an­tibi­ot­ic Xer­a­va (er­ava­cy­cline), among oth­ers.

The idea, CFO Ian Woo pre­vi­ous­ly told End­points News, is to go for the crown jew­els of their biotech part­ners — and not the un­want­ed, shelved prod­ucts.

That ap­proach re­quires earn­ing the trust of part­ners, some­thing Ever­est has honed af­ter eight such deals.

Wende Chen

Pi­o­neered by the likes of Zai Lab and BeiGene, bridg­ing the med­ical gap be­tween the US and Chi­na has be­come a pop­u­lar strat­e­gy for do­mes­tic biotechs. Ever­est po­si­tioned it­self right up there with the lead­ers, in­clud­ing CStone and In­novent. The mar­ket’s big enough for al­most every­body with the ex­per­tise to iden­ti­fy the right in­di­ca­tions and pur­sue the op­ti­mal clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment path, they con­tend.

“We are well-po­si­tioned to ad­vance the clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment of our ro­bust ther­a­peu­tics pipeline, which spans a num­ber of im­por­tant dis­eases, and we look for­ward to build­ing a strong foun­da­tion on which we will grow our com­mer­cial busi­ness,” said Ker­ry Blan­chard, the Eli Lil­ly vet who was ap­point­ed CEO ear­li­er this year.

He is flanked in the C-suite by Ian Woo, pres­i­dent and CFO; and Wende Chen, chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer.

Two of the drugs Ever­est holds rights to have been ap­proved in the US. Im­munomedics’ breast can­cer ther­a­py Trodelvy was OK’d in April, trig­ger­ing $60 mil­lion in mile­stone pay­ment, and Ever­est was cleared for Chi­na tri­als that month. Around the same time, they nabbed ap­proval for an­oth­er, Xer­a­va, in Sin­ga­pore for com­pli­cat­ed in­tra-ab­dom­i­nal in­fec­tions.

Here’s a brief overview of the rest:

  • etrasi­mod (Are­na): oral mod­u­la­tor of the sphin­go­sine 1-phos­phate re­cep­tor (S1PR). In Phase III for ul­cer­a­tive col­i­tis
  • tani­bor­bac­tam (Ve­na­torx): in­jectable broad-spec­trum be­ta-lac­ta­mase in­hibitor. In Phase III for com­pli­cat­ed uri­nary tract in­fec­tions
  • ra­linepag XR (Unit­ed): ex­tend­ed re­lease ag­o­nist of the IP re­cep­tor. In Phase III for pul­monary ar­te­r­i­al hy­per­ten­sion
  • Ne­fe­con (Cal­lid­i­tas): oral for­mu­la­tion of budes­onide. In Phase III for IgA nephropa­thy
  • FGF401 (No­var­tis): re­versible-co­va­lent in­hibitor of FGFR4. In Phase Ib/II for he­pa­to­cel­lu­lar car­ci­no­ma
  • SPR206 (Spero): polymyx­in de­riv­a­tive de­signed to re­duce the kid­ney tox­i­c­i­ty that is seen clin­i­cal­ly with polymyx­in B and col­istin
Dr. Gabriel Kremmidiotis, Chief Scientific Officer (center) heads up the biotech ClinicReady team of scientific and medical affairs specialists with a 20-year track record. Dr. Jorgen Mould Avance Clinical Scientific Affairs Specialist (left) and Yvonne Lungershausen, Avance Clinical’s CEO.

How Clini­cReady by Aus­tralian CRO Avance Clin­i­cal de­liv­ers pre­clin­i­cal project man­age­ment and sci­en­tif­ic and reg­u­la­to­ry ad­vice to get biotechs in­to clin­ic faster.

Avance Clinical has formed a dedicated scientific and regulatory affairs service, ClinicReady by Avance Clinical, in response to increased demand from biotechs for preclinical study management and scientific and regulatory advice to take their products to first-in-human trials.

The highly regarded Avance Clinical scientific and regulatory team, which has been advising biotech clients on their drug development for more than 20 years, is now a dedicated ClinicReady service under the Avance Clinical banner.

Hans Schambye

Galec­to reaps $64M to bring lead drug across IPF fin­ish line, while mak­ing moves in NASH and be­yond

Back in 2018, Hans Schambye raised $90 million to kick off a late-stage trial that could put Galecto Biotech’s lead drug on the final stretch toward approval for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Two years later, he’s collected another $64 million to complete it.

The Copenhagen-based company has managed to continue recruitment for the 450-patient trial in spite of the pandemic, the CEO told Endpoints News, with data expected by the middle of 2022.

FDA chief Stephen Hahn on Capitol Hill earlier this week (Getty Images)

As FDA’s work­load buck­les un­der the strain, Trump again ac­cus­es the agency of a po­lit­i­cal hit job

Peter Marks appeared before a virtual SVB Leerink audience yesterday and said that his staff at FDA’s CBER is on the verge of working around the clock. Manufacturing inspections, policy work and sponsor communications have all been pushed down the to-do list so that they can be responsive to Covid-related interactions. And the agency’s objective right now? “To save as many lives as we can,” Marks said, likening the mortality on the current outbreak as equivalent to “a nuclear bomb on a small city.”

Mi­no­ryx and Sper­o­genix ink an ex­clu­sive li­cense agree­ment to de­vel­op and com­mer­cial­ize lerigli­ta­zone in Chi­na

September 23, 2020 – Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai (China) and Mataró, Barcelona (Spain)  

Minoryx will receive an upfront and milestone payments of up to $78 million, as well as double digit royalties on annual net sales 

Sperogenix will receive exclusive rights to develop and commercialize leriglitazone for the treatment of X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD), a rare life-threatening neurological condition

David Berry (Flagship)

Flag­ship's next big tech­no­log­i­cal bet? The cloud

Earlier this month, Flagship announced their big bet on the software half the industry is talking about, launching the AI and machine learning startup. Now, they and a couple other investors are gambling $100 million on a software that much of the public generally thinks of as a cool, IT afterthought: cloud computing.

The idea, says founder and Flagship partner David Berry, is one of scale: The sheer magnitude of biological data that you can store on cloud technology is unprecedented. And that size, when leveraged properly, can allow you to ask questions and form insights that are similarly unprecedented.

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Patrick Enright, Longitude co-founder (Longitude)

As its biotechs hit the pan­dem­ic ex­it, Lon­gi­tude rais­es $585M for new neu­ro, can­cer, ag­ing and or­phan-fo­cused fund

The years have been kind to Longitude Capital. This year, too.

A 2006 spinout of Pequot Capital, its founders started their new firm just four years before the parent company would go under amid insider trading allegations. Their first life sciences fund raised $325 million amid the financial crisis, they added a second for $385 million and then in, 2016, a third for $525 million. In the last few months, the pandemic biotech IPO boom netted several high-value exits from those funds, as Checkmate, Vaxcyte, Inozyme and Poseida all went public.

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Image credit: AP

The win­dow is wide open as four more biotechs join the go-go IPO class of 2020

It’s another day of hauling cash in the biopharma world as four more IPOs priced Friday and a fifth filed its initial paperwork.

The biggest offering comes from PMV Pharma, an oncology biotech focusing on p53 mutations, which raised $211.8 million after pricing shares at $18 apiece. Prelude Therapeutics, developing PRMT5 inhibitors for rare cancers, was next with a $158 million raise, pricing shares at $19 each. Graybug Vision raised $90 million after pricing at $16 per share for its wet AMD candidates, and breast cancer biotech Greenwich Lifesciences brought up the rear with a small, $7 million raise after pricing shares at $5.75.

J&J of­fers PhI/IIa da­ta show­ing its sin­gle-dose vac­cine can stir up suf­fi­cient im­mune re­sponse

Days after J&J dosed the first participants of its Phase III ENSEMBLE trial, the pharma giant has detailed the early-stage data that gave them confidence in a single-dose regimen.

Testing two dose levels either as a single dose or in a two-dose schedule spaced by 56 days in, the scientists from Janssen, the J&J subsidiary developing its vaccine, reported that the low dose induced a similar immune response as the high dose. The interim Phase I/IIa results were posted in a preprint on medRxiv.

Daniel O'Day, Gilead CEO (Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Play-by-play of Gilead­'s $21B Im­munomedics buy­out de­tails a fren­zied push — and mints a new biotech bil­lion­aire

Immunomedics had not really been looking for a buyout when the year began. Excited by its BLA for Trodelvy, submitted to the FDA in late 2019, executive chairman Behzad Aghazadeh started off looking for potential licensing deals and zeroed in on four potential partners, including Gilead, following January’s JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. Such talks advanced throughout the year, with discussions advancing to the second round in mid-August.

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