Bid­ding war erupts for Shire as Take­da is stiff-armed on a $62.5B of­fer and Al­ler­gan jumps in

A bid­ding war for Shire $SH­PG has erupt­ed.

Shire has re­ject­ed three sep­a­rate bids from Take­da in re­cent weeks, in­clud­ing a third of­fer valu­ing the com­pa­ny at $62.5 bil­lion. And right on the heels of a state­ment from Shire, Al­ler­gan an­nounced it is now get­ting in­to the act and start­ing takeover talks with Shire.

Brent Saun­ders

Al­ler­gan $AGN CEO Brent Saun­ders — a top deal­mak­er in bio­phar­ma — ev­i­dent­ly wants to see if he can pull off the kind of ma­jor M&A move that would trans­form his com­pa­ny as well. Meet­ing the rules of a UK-re­lat­ed takeover, Al­ler­gan says it has made no of­fer but will have to de­clare its in­ten­tions by May 17.

In a state­ment re­leased Thurs­day morn­ing, Shire said that Take­da had start­ed the bid­ding March 29 at £28 per share in new Take­da shares with £16 per share in cash, or a to­tal of £44. By the third of­fer on April 13 that had edged up to £28.75 per share in new Take­da shares and £17.75 per share in cash worth a to­tal of £46.50 a share, or £44 bil­lion ($62.5 bil­lion).

Shire’s shares shot up 8% as the news cir­cu­lat­ed.

Shire has re­ject­ed all of the of­fers as in­suf­fi­cient, but it al­so dis­patched its rep­re­sen­ta­tives to Take­da to see if they were will­ing to come up with some­thing that might be ac­cept­able. The lat­est deal would give Shire share­hold­ers 51% of the eq­ui­ty in a new­ly merged com­pa­ny. In a state­ment, Shire not­ed:

Fol­low­ing the Board meet­ing on 14 April 2018 which re­ject­ed the Third Pro­pos­al, at the Board’s re­quest Shire’s ad­vis­ers en­tered in­to a di­a­logue with Take­da’s ad­vis­ers to dis­cuss whether a fur­ther, more at­trac­tive, pro­pos­al may be forth­com­ing and to un­der­stand the ba­sis on which such a pro­pos­al would be made.

Flem­ming Orn­skov

Take­da sig­naled to the mar­kets ear­li­er that it was in­ter­est­ed in mount­ing a takeover of Shire, which re­spond­ed by sell­ing off on­col­o­gy as­sets in an at­tempt to make it­self less ap­peal­ing. Take­da, though, shows plen­ty of ea­ger­ness as CEO Christophe We­ber seeks to trans­form the com­pa­ny in­to a glob­al play­er with a ma­jor R&D cen­ter in the Boston/Cam­bridge area.

Shire CEO Flem­ming Orn­skov, mean­while, has been the sub­ject of some bru­tal an­a­lyst re­views as in­vestor dis­con­tent over the fi­nan­cial di­rec­tion of the com­pa­ny in the wake of the Bax­al­ta buy­out and some ma­jor ad­vances by ri­vals for its fran­chise ther­a­pies.

Im­age: Christophe We­ber, Take­da CEO. AP IM­AGES

Deborah Dunsire. Lundbeck

UP­DAT­ED: Deb­o­rah Dun­sire is pay­ing $2B for a chance to leap di­rect­ly in­to a block­buster show­down with a few of the world's biggest phar­ma gi­ants

A year after taking the reins as CEO of Lundbeck, Deborah Dunsire is making a bold bid to beef up the Danish biotech’s portfolio of drugs in what will likely be a direct leap into an intense rivalry with a group of giants now carving up a growing market for new migraine drugs.

Bright and early European time Monday morning the company announced that it will pay up to about $2 billion to buy Alder, a little biotech that is far along the path in developing a quarterly IV formulation of a CGRP drug aimed at cutting back the number of crippling migraines patients experience each month. In a followup call, Dunsire also noted that the company will likely need 200 to 250 reps for this marketing task on both sides of the Atlantic. And analysts were quick to note that the dealmaking at Lundbeck isn’t done, with another $2 billion to $3 billion available for more deals to beef up the pipeline.

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Scott Gottlieb, AP Images

Scott Got­tlieb has a new board po­si­tion to add to the re­sume — and this one is fo­cused on a fa­vorite sub­ject

Scott Gottlieb has another position to add to his lengthy roster of boards and advisory roles in the wake of his departure from the helm of the FDA.

He’ll be joining the advisory board of FasterCures, a think tank which former junk bond king Michael Milken set up to help drive more drugs to the market, looking to accelerate drug R&D. That’s a subject close to the heart of Gottlieb, who blazed a trail at the FDA focused on hustling up the process. That helped endear him to the industry, making him one of the most popular commissioners in FDA history.

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Karyopharm lines up $150 mil­lion cash in­jec­tion to back con­tro­ver­sial drug launch

Karyopharm has entered into a royalty agreement worth up to $150 million to back the launch of their multiple myeloma drug — recently approved by the FDA over the objections of a majority of the agency’s outside experts.

The deal with HealthCare Royalty Partners, worth $75 million now and $75 million once certain regulatory and commercial milestones have been reached, will fund the commercialization of Karyopharm’s oral SINE compound Xpovio (selinexor) for patients with multiple myeloma who have already had at least four prior therapies. The money will help Karyopharm as it markets its newly approved drug and pushes through clinical trials testing the drug on refractory multiple myeloma patients with one to three therapies and patients with treatment-resistant diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. It will give Karyopharm a cushion through mid-2021.

Af­ter a run of CT­LA-4 com­bo fail­ures, sci­en­tists spot­light a way to make it work — in se­lect pa­tients

CTLA-4/PD-(L)1 combinations have been one of the El Dorados of oncology, its promise forever behind that next hill but apparently unattainable after a series of pivotal clinical failures. But researchers at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Technical University of Munich think they may know how to fix what’s wrong and boost the drive to next-gen cancer combos.

In a preclinical animal research program, researchers found that within a cell, checkpoints rely on a specific molecule — RNA-sensing molecule RIG-I — to work. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it has already been identified as a target for boosting immune responses and was subject to at least one Phase I/II trial. Pfizer in December allied itself with Kineta with $15 million upfront and $505 million in potential milestones to develop RIG-I immunotherapies, and three years ago Merck purchased German upstart Rigontec for $137 million upfront and over $400 million in potential milestones for the same purpose.

It’s fi­nal­ly over: Bio­gen, Ei­sai scrap big Alzheimer’s PhI­I­Is af­ter a pre­dictable BACE cat­a­stro­phe rais­es safe­ty fears

Months after analysts and investors called on Biogen and Eisai to scrap their BACE drug for Alzheimer’s and move on in the wake of a string of late-stage failures and rising safety fears, the partners have called it quits. And they said they were dropping the drug — elenbecestat — after the independent monitoring board raised concerns about…safety.

We don’t know exactly what researchers found in this latest catastrophe, but the companies noted in their release that investigators had determined that the drug was flunking the risk/benefit analysis.

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Pur­due Phar­ma files for bank­rupt­cy as first step in $10B opi­oid set­tle­ment

It’s settled. Purdue Pharma has filed for bankruptcy as part of a deal that would see the OxyContin maker hand over $10 billion in cash and other contributions to mitigate the opioid crisis — without acknowledging any wrongdoing in the protracted epidemic that’s resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

The announcement came two weeks after news of a proposed settlement surfaced and largely confirm what’s already been reported.

Lisa M. DeAngelis, MSKCC

MSK picks brain can­cer ex­pert Lisa DeAn­ge­lis as its next CMO — fol­low­ing José Basel­ga’s con­tro­ver­sial ex­it

It’s official. Memorial Sloan Kettering has picked a brain cancer expert as its new physician-in-chief and CMO, replacing José Baselga, who left under a cloud after being singled out by The New York Times and ProPublica for failing to properly air his lucrative industry ties.

His replacement, who now will be in charge of MSK’s cutting-edge research work as well as the cancer care delivered by hundreds of practitioners, is Lisa M. DeAngelis. DeAngelis had been chair of the neurology department and co-founder of MSK’s brain tumor center and was moved in to the acting CMO role in the wake of Baselga’s departure.

Penn team adapts CAR-T tech, reengi­neer­ing mouse cells to treat car­diac fi­bro­sis

After establishing itself as one of the pioneer research centers in the world for CAR-T cancer therapies, creating new attack vehicles to eradicate cancer cells, a team at Penn Medicine has begun the tricky transition of using the basic technology for heart repair work.

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Tal Zaks. Moderna

The mR­NA uni­corn Mod­er­na has more ear­ly-stage hu­man da­ta it wants to show off — reach­ing new peaks in prov­ing the po­ten­tial

The whole messenger RNA field has attracted billions of dollars in public and private investor cash gambled on the prospect of getting in on the ground floor. And this morning Boston-based Moderna, one of the leaders in the field, wants to show off a few more of the cards it has to play to prove to you that they’re really in the game.

The whole hand, of course, has yet to be dealt. And there’s no telling who gets to walk with a share of the pot. But any cards on display at this point — especially after being accused of keeping its deck under lock and key — will attract plenty of attention from some very wary, and wired, observers.

“In terms of the complexity and unmet need,” says Tal Zaks, the chief medical officer, “this is peak for what we’ve accomplished.”

Moderna has two Phase I studies it wants to talk about now.

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