Spero strikes $125M roy­al­ty deal for cU­TI drug; French firm launch­es $100M ear­ly biotech fund

French in­vest­ment firm Ad­vent France Biotech­nol­o­gy (AFB) an­nounced to­day the first clos­ing of its sec­ond fund for a to­tal of $102 mil­lion.

In­vestors and par­tic­i­pants in AFB’s fund in­clud­ed the Eu­ro­pean In­vest­ment Fund (EIF) and the Fonds na­tion­al d’amorçage 2 (the French Seed Fund 2), which is man­aged on be­half of the French State by Bpifrance. Oth­er par­tic­i­pants in­clud­ed cor­po­rate ven­ture funds such as Boehringer In­gel­heim’s ven­ture fund.

This new fund will be ded­i­cat­ed to ear­ly-stage in­vest­ments in Eu­ro­pean life sci­ences com­pa­nies with a fo­cus on France.

AFB will con­tin­ue to work close­ly with Eu­ro­pean re­search in­sti­tu­tions and with Eu­ro­pean ven­ture cap­i­tal part­ners to se­lect and back en­tre­pre­neurs and ear­ly-stage com­pa­nies with the po­ten­tial to de­liv­er first- or best-in-class ther­a­peu­tics, the com­pa­ny said in a pre­pared state­ment.

The fund plans to se­lect and fi­nance two star­tups be­fore the end of this year.

“We firm­ly be­lieve that ear­ly-stage fi­nanc­ing is crit­i­cal for the life sci­ences in­dus­try, where the needs are huge and still not met, es­pe­cial­ly in France,” said AFB man­ag­ing part­ner and chair­man Alain Huriez in a state­ment. “This sec­ond fund shows the rel­e­vance of our po­si­tion­ing as en­tre­pre­neur-in­vestors in life sci­ences, con­firmed by the re­newed sup­port of our lim­it­ed part­ners.”

Mass­a­chu­setts biotech en­ters deal with in­vest­ment firm for up to $125 mil­lion on cU­TI drug

Spero Ther­a­peu­tics is en­ter­ing a rev­enue in­ter­est fi­nanc­ing agree­ment with in­vest­ment firm Health­Care Roy­al­ty Part­ners for up to $125 mil­lion for its com­pli­cat­ed Uri­nary Tract In­fec­tion, or cU­TI oral can­di­date.

Spero in­tends to use the pro­ceeds from the agree­ment and ex­ist­ing cash on hand to pre­pare for the an­tic­i­pat­ed launch of oral cU­TI can­di­date tebipen­em HBr, al­so known as Tebi, ac­cord­ing to a pre­pared state­ment.

As part of the agree­ment, Spero will re­ceive $50 mil­lion from Health­Care Roy­al­ty Part­ners by Oct. 21. If the FDA ap­proves Tebi for a cU­TI in­di­ca­tion, Spero will re­ceive an ad­di­tion­al $50 mil­lion, plus an ad­di­tion­al $25 mil­lion up­on an undis­closed com­mer­cial mile­stone.

In ex­change for the po­ten­tial $125 mil­lion, the in­vest­ment firm will re­ceive tiered roy­al­ty on ap­plic­a­ble rev­enue gen­er­at­ed by Tebi and oth­er prod­ucts mar­ket­ed by Spero un­til the amount paid back to Health­Care Roy­al­ty Part­ners® is 2.5 times the to­tal in­vest­ment amount fund­ed.

“We look for­ward to tebipen­em HBr’s an­tic­i­pat­ed NDA fil­ing and reg­u­la­to­ry re­view, along with the ad­vance­ment of Spero’s broad­er clin­i­cal-stage pipeline,” said Health­Care Roy­al­ty Part­ners chair­man and CEO Clarke Futch in a state­ment.

Is­rael’s Geneti­ka+ fin­ished $10 mil­lion Se­ries A for com­pa­ny ex­pan­sion

Is­raeli biotech Geneti­ka+ an­nounced this morn­ing that they closed a $10 mil­lion Se­ries A VC round led by Boston-based Grey­Bird Ven­tures.

Oth­er com­pa­nies such as Meron Cap­i­tal, Jump­speed Ven­tures, and B Cap­i­tal Group joined in on the round.

The biotech, which fo­cus­es on per­son­al­ized treat­ments for neu­ro­log­i­cal and psy­chi­atric dis­eases, will fo­cus its fund­ing on ex­pand­ing clin­i­cal tri­als, in­creas­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and es­tab­lish­ing a clin­i­cal lab in Boston, MA.

No­var­tis an­nounces progress to­ward cli­mate goals

No­var­tis shared progress against its En­vi­ron­men­tal, So­cial and Gov­er­nance (ESG) tar­gets at its eighth an­nu­al ESG in­vestor event host­ed to­day. More specif­i­cal­ly, No­var­tis dis­cussed the com­pa­ny’s more ma­te­r­i­al ESG top­ics, in­clud­ing ac­cess to med­i­cines, pa­tient health and safe­ty, in­no­va­tion and eth­i­cal stan­dards.

Some of the spe­cif­ic goals No­var­tis said the com­pa­ny tar­get­ed in­clud­ed re­duc­ing their car­bon emis­sions by more than 28% since 2016, and pledg­ing $20 mil­lion in col­lab­o­ra­tion with HB­CUs to ad­dress health dis­par­i­ties in the US.

Vas Narasimhan

“ESG is cen­tral to the No­var­tis strat­e­gy and is crit­i­cal to de­liv­er­ing on our pur­pose to reimag­ine med­i­cine to im­prove and ex­tend peo­ple’s lives. Cou­pled with our in­spired, cu­ri­ous and un­bossed cul­ture, we be­lieve ESG ef­forts on our most ma­te­r­i­al top­ics will help dri­ve our over­all per­for­mance as a com­pa­ny and de­liv­er long-term val­ue for our stake­hold­ers,” said No­var­tis CEO Vas Narasimhan.

Ire­land’s Iterum meets with FDA on re­sub­mit­ting NDA for in­ves­ti­ga­tion­al uU­TI can­di­date

Irish biotech Iterum Ther­a­peu­tics said to­day in a state­ment that they held a Type A meet­ing with the FDA in Q3 2021 to dis­cuss the steps re­quired for po­ten­tial re­sub­mis­sion of the New Drug Ap­pli­ca­tion (NDA) for their drug su­lopen­em et­zadrox­il/probenecid (oral su­lopen­em) for the treat­ment of un­com­pli­cat­ed Uri­nary Tract In­fec­tions, or uU­TI.

Back in Ju­ly, Iterum re­ceived a Com­plete Re­sponse Let­ter from the FDA want­i­ng more da­ta to sup­port the ap­proval of oral su­lopen­em for the treat­ment of adult women with a uU­TI.

“We had a suc­cess­ful meet­ing with the FDA and have es­tab­lished var­i­ous po­ten­tial paths for­ward to ad­dress the re­quest in the CRL for ad­di­tion­al da­ta in sup­port of our NDA,” said Iterum CEO Corey Fish­man. “We are cur­rent­ly eval­u­at­ing the op­ti­mal de­sign for an ad­di­tion­al Phase III uU­TI study to be con­duct­ed pri­or to the po­ten­tial re­sub­mis­sion of the NDA. We con­tin­ue to be­lieve in the abil­i­ty of su­lopen­em to treat the grow­ing prob­lem of mul­ti-drug re­sis­tant UTIs in the com­mu­ni­ty.

Adap­tive Phage Ther­a­peu­tics re­ceives $8 mil­lion more in bac­te­rio­phage de­vel­op­ment from DoD

Mary­land biotech Adap­tive Phage Ther­a­peu­tics was award­ed an ad­di­tion­al $8 mil­lion from the US De­part­ment of De­fense for con­tin­ued de­vel­op­ment of their bac­te­rio­phage ther­a­py Phage­Bank for the treat­ment of in­fec­tious dis­eases. The new fund­ing brings the to­tal con­tract award­ed to APT to more than $31 mil­lion.

“We are thank­ful for the op­por­tu­ni­ty to col­lab­o­rate with the U.S. mil­i­tary to cre­ate po­ten­tial­ly life­sav­ing ther­a­pies for our na­tion’s ser­vice mem­bers,” said APT CEO and co-founder Greg Mer­ril in a pre­pared state­ment.

The biotech had closed a $40+ mil­lion Se­ries B back in May for their work on bac­te­rio­phages against drug-re­sis­tant bac­te­r­i­al in­fec­tions.

IDC: Life Sci­ences Firms Must Em­brace Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion Now

Pre-pandemic, the life sciences industry had settled into a pattern. The average drug took 12 years and $2.9 billion to bring to market, and it was an acceptable mode of operations, according to Nimita Limaye, Research Vice President for Life Sciences R&D Strategy and Technology at IDC.

COVID-19 changed that, and served as a proof-of-concept for how technology can truly help life sciences companies succeed and grow, Limaye said. She recently spoke about industry trends at Egnyte’s Life Sciences Summit 2022. You should watch the entire session, free and on-demand, but here’s a brief recap of why she’s urging life sciences companies to embrace digital transformation.

Tom Barnes, Orna Therapeutics CEO

UP­DAT­ED: 'We have failed to fail': Mer­ck gam­bles $250M cash on a next-gen ap­proach to mR­NA — af­ter punt­ing its big al­liance with Mod­er­na

Merck went in deep on its collaboration with Moderna on new mRNA programs, and dropped them all over time, including their RSV partnership. But after writing off what turned out as one of the most successful infectious disease players in the business, Merck is coming in this morning with a new preclinical alliance — this time embracing a biotech that hopes to eventually outdo the famously successful mRNA in a new run at vaccines and therapeutics.

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Bayer's first DTC ad campaign for chronic kidney disease drug Kerendia spells out its benefits

Bay­er aims to sim­pli­fy the com­plex­i­ties of CKD with an ABC-themed ad cam­paign

Do you know the ABCs of CKD in T2D? Bayer’s first ad campaign for Kerendia tackles the complexity of chronic kidney disease with a play on the acronym (CKD) and its connection to type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Kerendia was approved last year as the first and only non-steroidal mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist to treat CKD in people with type 2 diabetes.

In the TV commercial launched this week, A is for awareness, B is for belief and C is for cardiovascular, explained in the ad as awareness of the connection between type 2 and kidney disease, belief that something can be done about it, and cardiovascular events that may be reduced with treatment.

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James Mock, incoming CFO at Moderna

Mod­er­na taps new CFO from PerkinElmer af­ter for­mer one-day CFO oust­ed

When Moderna hired a new CFO last year,  it didn’t expect to see him gone after only one day. Today the biotech named his — likely much more vetted — replacement.

The mRNA company put out word early Wednesday that after the untimely departure of then brand-new CFO Jorge Gomez, it has now found a replacement in James Mock, the soon-to-be former CFO at diagnostics and analytics company PerkinElmer.

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Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF’s supply division

GSK lands first-ever UNICEF con­tract for malar­ia vac­cine worth $170M

GSK has landed a new first from UNICEF the first-ever contract for malaria vaccines, worth up to $170 million for 18 million vaccine doses distributed over the next three years.

The vaccine, known as Mosquirix or RTS,S, won WHO’s backing last October after a controversial start, but UNICEF said these doses will potentially save thousands of lives every year.

“We hope this is just the beginning,” Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF’s supply division, said. “Continued innovation is needed to develop new and next-generation vaccines to increase available supply, and enable a healthier vaccine market. This is a giant step forward in our collective efforts to save children’s lives and reduce the burden of malaria as part of wider malaria prevention and control programmes.”

Paul Perreault, CSL Behring CEO

CSL CEO Paul Per­reault de­ter­mined to grow plas­ma col­lec­tion af­ter full-year sales dip

As the ink dries on CSL’s $11.7 billion Vifor buyout, the company posted a dip in profits, due in part to a drop in plasma donations amid the pandemic.

However, CEO Paul Perreault assured investors and analysts on the full-year call that the team has left “no stone unturned” when assessing options to grow plasma volumes. The chief executive also spelled out positive results for the company’s monoclonal antibody garadacimab in hereditary angioedema (HAE), though he isn’t revealing the exact numbers just yet.

Joe Jonas (Photo by Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

So­lo Jonas broth­er car­ries Merz's new tune in Botox ri­val cam­paign

As the lyrics of his band’s 2019 pop-rock single suggest, Joe Jonas is only human — and that means even he gets frown lines. The 33-year-old singer-songwriter is Merz’s newest celebrity brand partner for its Botox rival Xeomin, as medical aesthetics brands target a younger audience.

Merz kicked off its “Beauty on Your Terms” campaign on Tuesday, featuring the Jonas brother in a video ad for its double-filtered anti-wrinkle injection Xeomin.

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Marisol Peron, Genmab SVP of communications and corporate affairs

Gen­mab launch­es cor­po­rate cam­paign am­pli­fy­ing its ‘knock your socks off’ an­ti­bod­ies

Genmab often talks about its “knock-your-socks-off” antibodies — and now the term is getting its own logo and corporate campaign.

The teal and purple logo for the acronym KYSO — Genmab pronounces it “ky-so” — debuts on Wednesday and comes on the heels of Genmab’s newly announced 2030 vision. That aspiration aims to expand Genmab’s drug development beyond oncology to include other serious diseases, while also doubling down on its own drug development.

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Joel Dudley, new partner at Innovation Endeavors (Bosch Health Campus)

For­mer Google CEO’s VC is mak­ing a big­ger push in­to the biotech world, hir­ing promi­nent Ther­a­nos skep­tic

Venture capital firm Innovation Endeavors has mainly had its focus on investments across the tech space, but it has been slowly turning its attention to the biotech world. Now, a new partner is coming into the fold showing that its interest in biotech is likely to grow further.

The Silicon Valley-based company, which is headed up by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, has brought on Joel Dudley as a partner. According to Dudley’s LinkedIn page, he is joining Innovation Endeavors after serving as the chief science officer of biotech startup Tempus Labs since 2020.

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