Jack Khattar, Supernus CEO

Su­per­nus ex­pands its port­fo­lio of Parkin­son's drugs with a $400M+ buy­out

Su­per­nus is mark­ing its ex­pan­sion in­to the Parkin­son’s dis­ease are­na, strik­ing a deal to buy out Adamas Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals in a deal worth more than $400 mil­lion.

A year af­ter swoop­ing in on its first Parkin­son’s ac­qui­si­tion, the two com­pa­nies an­nounced that they had reached an agree­ment for Su­per­nus to pay up to $9.10 per share in cash as part of the ac­qui­si­tion — close to $450 mil­lion.

“This ac­qui­si­tion rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant step to fur­ther build a strong and di­verse Parkin­son’s dis­ease port­fo­lio, and aligns with our fo­cus of ac­quir­ing val­ue-en­hanc­ing, clin­i­cal­ly-dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed med­i­cines to treat CNS dis­eases,” said Su­per­nus CEO Jack Khat­tar in a state­ment.

This is not the bio­phar­ma’s first for­ay in­to CNS drugs and ther­a­pies. Just last year, the Mary­land phar­ma paid $300 mil­lion to pick up US WorldMeds’ CNS port­fo­lio of Apokyn, My­obloc and Xada­go, along with an apo­mor­phine in­fu­sion pump. Su­per­nus made head­lines ear­li­er this year when the FDA ap­proved the com­pa­ny’s AD­HD non-stim­u­lant treat­ment Qel­bree.

This lat­est ac­qui­si­tion pro­vides Su­per­nus with two more prod­ucts to mar­ket and sell: Go­cov­ri — an FDA-ap­proved treat­ment for off-time and dysk­i­ne­sia in Parkin­son’s pa­tients re­ceiv­ing lev­odopa ther­a­py, along with Parkin­son’s treat­ment Os­molex.

The deal goes down like this: $8.10 per share that must be paid at clos­ing, with two con­tin­gent val­ue rights (CVRs) col­lec­tive­ly worth $1.00 per share in cash. That brings the to­tal val­ue to $9.10 per share in cash.

The first CVR, worth $0.50 per share, is on­ly payable up­on reach­ing $150 mil­lion in an­nu­al (de­fined as four con­sec­u­tive quar­ters) net sales of Adamas’ Go­cov­ri be­tween now and the end of 2024. The sec­ond $0.50 CVR gets paid out once Su­per­nus sees $225 mil­lion in an­nu­al net sales of Go­cov­ri by the end of 2025. For con­text, net sales of Gov­ocri in all of 2020 and the first half of 2021 were $71.2 mil­lion and $37.7 mil­lion, re­spec­tive­ly.

While CVRs can be prof­itable, they can al­so be risky for in­vestors — as Cel­gene in­vestors can at­test to af­ter los­ing their pay­outs at the be­gin­ning of the year, af­ter one of their drugs failed to hit its sched­ule for an ap­proval.

Adamas’ stock price soared af­ter the an­nounce­ment, with $ADMS cross­ing $8 in a 73% jump af­ter the bell on Fri­day.

This new deal is ex­pect­ed to close by ear­ly next year, ac­cord­ing to Su­per­nus.

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.

Martin Landray, Protas CEO (Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News)

Those big bil­lion-dol­lar PhI­II stud­ies? Mar­tin Lan­dray says they can be done for a tiny frac­tion of the cost

Martin Landray knows what controversy in clinical drug development feels like, from first-hand experience.

Landray was the chief architect of RECOVERY, a study that pitted a variety of drugs against Covid-19. And he offered some landmark data that would help push dexamethasone out into broader use as a cheap treatment, while helping ice hydroxy’s reputation as a clear misfire.

“Lots of people told us we shouldn’t use it,” Landray says about dexamethasone and Covid-19. “It was dangerous. We shouldn’t even do a trial. They also cared about hydroxychloroquine and lots of people said we shouldn’t do a trial because it must be used. I’ve got the letters from both sets of people.”

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Geoffrey Porges, new Schrödinger CFO

Long­time an­a­lyst Ge­of­frey Porges de­parts SVB to lead fi­nances at a drug dis­cov­ery shop

Geoffrey Porges has ended his two-decade run as a biotech analyst, as the former SVB Securities vice chair began as CFO of Schrödinger on Thursday.

The long-running analyst, who previously headed up vaccines marketing at Merck before the turn of the millennium, will lead the financial operations of the 700-employee company as Schrödinger broadens its focus from a drug discovery partner to also building out an in-house pipeline, with clinical trial No. 1 set to begin next quarter.

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FDA ap­proves one of the prici­est new treat­ments of all time — blue­bird's gene ther­a­py for be­ta tha­lassemia

The FDA on Wednesday approved the first gene therapy for a chronic condition — bluebird bio’s new Zynteglo (beti-cel) as a potentially curative treatment for those with transfusion-dependent thalassemia.

The thumbs-up from the FDA follows a unanimous adcomm vote in June, with outside experts pointing to extraordinary efficacy, with 89% of subjects with TDT who received beti-cel having achieved transfusion independence.

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James Sabry, Roche global head of pharma partnering

Roche, Genen­tech plunk down $60M up­front to part­ner with Chi­nese phar­ma on PRO­TAC-based prostate can­cer drug

Roche and Genentech are always on the hunt for deals, and on Thursday they found their newest partner.

The pair will team up with the Chinese pharma company Jemincare to push forward a new program for prostate cancer, the companies announced. Roche is ponying up $60 million upfront to get its hands on the candidate and promising up to $590 million in biobucks, plus royalties, down the line.

In return, Genentech will get a worldwide license to develop the program, known as JMKX002992, and bring it to market.

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Andrew Hopkins, Exscientia CEO

Ex­sci­en­tia ter­mi­nates Bay­er pact half a year ear­ly, col­lect­ing small por­tion of €240M promised

Bayer and Exscientia are winding down their three-year collaboration, leaving the big German pharma to take the AI-designed compounds born out of the pact further.

London-based Exscientia revealed in its Q2 update that the partners have “mutually agreed to end” their collaboration, which kicked off in early 2020, after recently achieving a drug discovery milestone. In an SEC filing, Exscientia said it terminated the pact on May 30, about six months early.

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.”

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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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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