Regeneron's Schleifer: American public companies should fund 'infrastructure bank'; Sherlock closes $49M round for CRISPR diagnostic work
→ The candid chief of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals $REGN Leonard Schleifer made a provocative suggestion to remedy the burgeoning US infrastructure crisis, citing research that emphasizes the issue is not just financial, but indeed a public health and safety hazard. For the next three years, he asserted in an NYT op-ed on Tuesday, “every American public company [should] be required to issue 1 percent of its equity in the form of new stock to a newly formed infrastructure ‘bank.’ Given that American public companies have a collective market capitalization of about $30 trillion, this would raise about $1 trillion in three years.”
He predicted his suggestion may not garner the enthusiasm of some companies or their shareholders. But this is hardly a burden, he argued, “given that 1 percent represents a typical daily fluctuation in many companies’ stock prices. And last year American public companies shelled out about $800 billion just to buy back their own stock.”
→ The Broad investigator Feng Zhang and the CRISPR experts who joined him in launching Sherlock Biosciences have closed out their launch round for the Cambridge, MA-based company. Zhang and his group raised $31 million from the A round, with Northpond Ventures, Baidu Ventures and Open Philanthropy Project in the syndicate. The raise gives Zhang $49 million in committed capital to work with. They’re using CRISPR and synthetic biology tech to develop molecular diagnostics.
→ Alder BioPharmaceuticals finally has a foot in the FDA door as the agency accepted their migraine drug for review. A latecomer to the CGRP party, eptinezumab is administered intravenously once every quarter — a standout quality according to little Alder, which faces daunting competition from Novartis/Amgen, Teva and Eli Lilly. If all goes well, the market will find out if they’re right early 2020.
→ London-based Autolus Therapeutics $AUTL has won an FDA orphan drug designation for its autologous T cell therapy targeting acute lymphoblastic leukemia. AUTO3 is genetically modified to express two chimeric antigen receptors — both CD19 and CD22 — and designed to address antigen escape, “a common cause of relapse” in pediatric ALL patients.