Boom­ing Re­gen­eron gets the green light for a ma­jor ex­pan­sion

Rapid­ly grow­ing Re­gen­eron $REGN just got the OK from its home­town of­fi­cials to move for­ward with a ma­jor ex­pan­sion that would dou­ble the com­pa­ny’s pres­ence in Green­burgh, NY.

The plan in­cludes 1-mil­lion-square-feet of new space on a 100-acre par­cel less than a mile from the com­pa­ny’s head­quar­ters. First an­nounced in 2015, Re­gen­eron now has site-plan ap­proval from the town for the ex­pan­sion, mak­ing the prop­er­ty one step clos­er to be­ing “shov­el ready.”

Con­struc­tion of the new cam­pus would be done in phas­es, and could be­gin quite quick­ly to meet the needs of the boom­ing Re­gen­eron, a spokesper­son told Hud­son Val­ley’s Jour­nal News. Re­gen­eron, which is Green­burgh’s largest em­ploy­er, plans to put up nine new build­ings of R&D space on the site.

“The po­ten­tial ex­pan­sion will fur­ther ce­ment the growth of this biotech clus­ter in the town of Green­burgh, Westch­ester Coun­ty and New York state and builds up­on the vi­sion laid out by the town board in the town of Green­burgh’s com­pre­hen­sive plan,” said Green­burgh’s town su­per­vi­sor Paul Fein­er in a state­ment.

The ex­pan­sion was spurred by Re­gen­eron’s fast growth, with climb­ing rev­enues and boom­ing head­count. Ear­li­er this month, Re­gen­eron, which has a $42 bil­lion mar­ket cap, saw rev­enues in­crease 23% dur­ing the third quar­ter, dri­ven large­ly by a 12% boost to US sales from its $5 bil­lion fran­chise drug Eylea.

But Eylea may soon have com­pe­ti­tion to con­tend with. No­var­tis RTH258 (brolu­cizum­ab) has been tout­ed as a po­ten­tial ri­val to Eylea, with Phase III da­ta that brings No­var­tis close to FDA ap­proval. No­var­tis’ soon-to-be CEO Vas Narasimhan said their drug “was con­sis­tent­ly su­pe­ri­or to Eylea,” in a con­fer­ence call with re­porters ear­li­er this month. Con­sid­er­ing Re­gen­eron took in $953 mil­lion in US sales on Eylea in Q3, a com­peti­tor could sig­nif­i­cant­ly cut in­to its to­tal rev­enues.

Re­gen­eron, of course, has more than Eylea to bank on. Just this year, Re­gen­eron and its part­ner Sanofi got FDA ap­proval for two joint­ly-ap­proved drugs: Kevzara to treat RA (which out­per­formed Hu­mi­ra in late-stage tri­als), and Dupix­ent to treat atopic der­mati­tis. And then there’s Re­gen­eron’s pipeline, which in­cludes sev­er­al hope­fuls, in­clud­ing cemi­plimab, a PD-1 in­hibitor that just got break­through ther­a­py sta­tus.

Brent Saunders [Getty Photos]

UP­DAT­ED: Ab­b­Vie seals $63B deal to buy a trou­bled Al­ler­gan — spelling out $1B in R&D cuts

Brent Saunders has found his way out of the current fix he’s in at Allergan $AGN. He’s selling the company to AbbVie for $63 billion in the latest example of the hot M&A market in biopharma.

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Sanofi/Re­gen­eron mus­cle ahead of a ri­val No­var­tis/Roche team, win first ap­proval in key rhi­nos­i­nusi­tis field

Re­gen­eron and their part­ners at Sanofi have beat the No­var­tis/Roche team to the punch on an­oth­er key in­di­ca­tion for their block­buster an­ti-in­flam­ma­to­ry drug Dupix­ent. The drug team scored an ac­cel­er­at­ed FDA ap­proval for chron­ic rhi­nos­i­nusi­tis with nasal polyps, mak­ing this the first such NDA for the field.

An­a­lysts have been watch­ing this race for awhile now, as Sanofi/Re­gen­eron won a snap pri­or­i­ty re­view for what is now their third dis­ease in­di­ca­tion for this treat­ment. And they’re not near­ly done, build­ing up hopes for a ma­jor fran­chise.

Af­ter rais­ing $158M, this up­start's founders have star back­ers and plans to break new ground in gene ther­a­py

Back in 2014, Stephanie Tagliatela opted to take an early exit out of her PhD program after working in Mark Bear’s lab at MIT, where she specialized in the synaptic connections between neuronal cells in the brain. She never finished that PhD, but she and fellow MIT student Kartik Ramamoorthi — who was on the founding team at Voyager — came away with some ideas for a gene therapy startup.

Today, fully 5 years later, she and Ramamoorthi are taking the wraps off of a $104 million mega-round designed to take the cumulative work of their preclinical formative stage for Encoded Therapeutics into human studies. They’ve now raised $158 million since starting out in Illumina’s incubator in the Bay Area, and they believe they are firmly on track to do something unique in gene therapy.

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Novotech CEO Dr. John Moller

Novotech CRO Award­ed Frost & Sul­li­van Best Biotech CRO Asia-Pa­cif­ic 2019

Known in the in­dus­try as the Asia-Pa­cif­ic CRO, Novotech is now lead CRO ser­vices provider for the grow­ing num­ber of in­ter­na­tion­al biotechs se­lect­ing the re­gion for their stud­ies.

Re­flect­ing this Asia-Pa­cif­ic growth, Novotech staff num­bers are up 20% since De­cem­ber 2018 to 600 in-house clin­i­cal re­search peo­ple across a full range of ser­vices, across the re­gion.

Novotech’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties have been rec­og­nized by an­a­lysts like Frost & Sul­li­van, most re­cent­ly with the pres­ti­gious Asia-Pa­cif­ic CRO Biotech of the year award for best prac­tices in clin­i­cal re­search for biotechs for the fifth year. See oth­er awards here.

Richard Gonzalez testifying in front of Senate Finance Committee, February 2019 [AP Images]

Ab­b­Vie's $63B buy­out spot­lights the re­turn of ma­jor M&A deals — de­spite the back­lash

Big time M&A is back. But for how long?

Over the past 18 months we’ve now seen three major buyouts announced: Takeda/Shire; Bristol-Myers/Celgene and now AbbVie/Allergan. And with this latest deal it’s increasingly clear that the sharp fall from grace suffered by high-profile players which have seen their share prices blasted has created an opening for the growth players in big pharma to up their game — in sharp contrast to the popular bolt-on deals that have been driving the growth strategy at Novartis, Merck, Roche and others.

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Two biotech uni­corns swell pro­posed IPOs, eye­ing a $600M-plus wind­fall

We’ve been wait­ing for the ar­rival of Bridge­Bio’s IPO to top off the wave of new biotech of­fer­ings sweep­ing through Nas­daq at the end of H1. And now we learn that it’s been sub­stan­tial­ly up­sized.

Ini­tial­ly pen­ciled in at a uni­corn-sized $225 mil­lion, the KKR-backed biotech has spiked that to the neigh­bor­hood of $300 mil­lion, look­ing to sell 20 mil­lion shares at $14 to $16 each. That’s an added 5 mil­lion shares, re­ports Re­nais­sance Cap­i­tal, which fig­ures the pro­posed mar­ket val­u­a­tion for Neil Ku­mar’s com­pa­ny at $1.8 bil­lion.

No­var­tis holds back the copy­cat brigade's at­tack on its top drug fran­chise — for now

A fed­er­al judge has put a gener­ic chal­lenge to No­var­tis’ block­buster mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis drug Gilenya on hold while a patent fight plays out in court.

Judge Leonard P. Stark is­sued a tem­po­rary in­junc­tion ear­li­er this week, forc­ing My­lan, Dr. Red­dy’s Lab­o­ra­to­ries and Au­robindo Phar­ma to shelve their launch plans to al­low the patent fight to pro­ceed. He ruled that al­low­ing the gener­ics in­to the mar­ket now would per­ma­nent­ly slash the price for No­var­tis, even if it pre­vails. 

Top an­a­lyst finds a sil­ver lin­ing in Ab­b­Vie’s $63B Al­ler­gan buy­out — but there’s a catch

Af­ter get­ting beat up on all sides from mar­ket ob­servers who don’t much care for the lat­est mega-deal to ar­rive in bio­phar­ma, at least one promi­nent an­a­lyst now is start­ing to like what he sees in the num­bers for Ab­b­Vie/Al­ler­gan.

But it’s go­ing to take some en­cour­age­ment if Ab­b­Vie ex­ecs want it to last.

Ab­b­Vie’s mar­ket cap de­clined $20 bil­lion on Tues­day as the stock took a 17% hit dur­ing the day. And SVB Leerink’s Ge­of­frey Porges can see a dis­tinct out­line of an up­side af­ter re­view­ing the fun­da­men­tals of the deal.

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While Ako­rn works to re­vive its for­tunes, the FDA hits it with an­oth­er warn­ing let­ter

Ako­rn just can’t dig it­self out of its hole.

The spe­cial­ty gener­ic drug­mak­er has re­ceived yet an­oth­er warn­ing let­ter from the FDA this year. With­out dis­clos­ing any specifics, the Lake For­est, Illi­nois-based drug­mak­er on Wednes­day said the US reg­u­la­tor had is­sued the let­ter, cit­ing an in­spec­tion of its Som­er­set, New Jer­sey man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ty in Ju­ly and Au­gust of 2018. The com­pa­ny’s shares $AKRX dipped about 1.7% to $4.65 be­fore the bell.