David Veitch, Basilea CEO

Swiss phar­ma Basilea sheds yet an­oth­er on­col­o­gy pro­gram as an­ti-in­fec­tives piv­ot plows for­ward

Act­ing on its plans to dis­card its on­col­o­gy pipeline, Swiss com­pa­ny Basilea Phar­ma­ceu­ti­ca has de­cid­ed to sell its can­cer drug BAL0891 to Ko­re­an biotech Sil­la­Jen for $14 mil­lion up­front.

Basilea had an­nounced its de­ci­sion to ditch its on­col­o­gy pipeline in Feb­ru­ary, as a part of a re­or­ga­ni­za­tion of its R&D pipeline around an­ti-in­fec­tives, in­clud­ing its two ap­proved drugs in that space. Tues­day’s sale will al­so fetch Basilea ad­di­tion­al mile­stone pay­ments of up to $320 mil­lion and tiered roy­al­ties on net sales.

Adesh Kaul

“This trans­ac­tion marks an im­por­tant step on our path to be a fo­cused an­ti-in­fec­tives com­pa­ny,” said Basilea’s CFO Adesh Kaul in a press state­ment.

Basilea had ini­tial­ly in-li­censed the drug in 2018 from a Dutch com­pa­ny called NTRC Ther­a­peu­tics. Un­der this col­lab­o­ra­tion, NTRC was el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive mile­stones up to CHF 170 mil­lion ($175 mil­lion) and roy­al­ties.

Since then, Basilea hand­held the drug in­to get­ting an IND from the FDA in 2021, al­low­ing it to start a Phase I clin­i­cal tri­al. While Basilea had planned to ini­ti­ate the tri­al in the first quar­ter of 2022, it is un­clear how that will progress with the new Sil­la­Jen deal in place.

Mean­while, Basilea has al­so de­cid­ed to sell the in­tel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty rights from the NTRC deal to Sil­la­Jen, ac­cord­ing to the press state­ment. Basilea, how­ev­er, will re­main re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing mile­stone and roy­al­ty pay­ments to NTRC.

BAL0891 is a mi­tot­ic check­point in­hibitor de­signed to push cells through mi­to­sis with­out ad­e­quate time for cor­rect chro­mo­some seg­re­ga­tion. This will, the biotech con­tends, re­sult in aber­rant tu­mor cell di­vi­sion lead­ing to tu­mor cell death. Pre­clin­i­cal stud­ies had shown po­ten­tial across mul­ti­ple can­cer types such as breast, gas­tric and col­orec­tal can­cer.

Basilea has been steadi­ly get­ting rid of its oth­er on­col­o­gy pro­grams as well. On Sept. 8, Basilea an­nounced it had sold its nov­el PARG in­hibitor dis­cov­ery pro­gram to the UK-based Nodus On­col­o­gy for CHF 242 mil­lion ($250 mil­lion). PARG is an en­zyme es­sen­tial in the re­pair of DNA dam­age, and its in­hi­bi­tion leads to an­ti-can­cer ef­fects.

The com­pa­ny al­so said it was not go­ing to ex­pand the stud­ies on its oth­er on­col­o­gy drug lisa­van­bu­lin. Along the same lines, Baselia al­so an­nounced it had de­cid­ed to scrap a li­cens­ing deal for one of its oth­er can­cer drugs, de­r­azan­ti­nib, and re­turn the rights to Mer­ck by the end of the year.

Basilea had said its re­struc­tur­ing plans would cut its op­er­at­ing ex­pens­es by rough­ly 30% in 2023, aim­ing to put the com­pa­ny on the path to prof­itabil­i­ty.

Biotech in­vestors and CEOs see two paths to growth, but are they equal­ly vi­able?

The dynamic in the biotech market has been highly volatile in the last few years, from the high peaks immediately after the COVID vaccine in 2021, to the lowest downturns of the last 20 years in 2022. This uncertainty makes calling the exact timing of the market’s turn something of a fool’s errand, according to Dr. Chen Yu, Founder and Managing Partner of TCG Crossover (TCG X). He speaks with RBC’s Noël Brown, Head of US Biotechnology Investment Banking, about the market’s road ahead and two possible paths for growth.

Benjamine Liu, TrialSpark CEO

Paul Hud­son and Tri­alSpark's mu­tu­al de­sire to speed up de­vel­op­ment con­verges in three-year, six-drug goal

A unicorn startup that originally set out to hasten clinical studies for biopharma partners dug further into its revised path of internal drug development by linking arms with Sanofi in a pact that the biotech’s CEO said originated from the top.

TrialSpark and the Big Pharma on Tuesday committed to in-licensing and/or acquiring six Phase II/Phase III drugs within the next three years.

“I’ve known Paul Hudson for a while and we were discussing the opportunity to really re-imagine a lot of different parts of pharma,” TrialSpark CEO Benjamine Liu told Endpoints News, “and one of the things that we discussed was this opportunity to accelerate the development of new medicines in mutual areas of interest.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Casey McPherson shows his daughters Rose (left) and Weston around Everlum Bio, a lab that he co-founded to spark a treatment for Rose and others with ultra-rare conditions. (Ilana Panich-Linsman)

Fa­ther starts lab af­ter in­tel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty is­sues stymie rare dis­ease drug de­vel­op­ment

Under bright lab lights, Casey McPherson holds his 6-year-old daughter, Rose. His free hand directs Rose’s gaze toward a computer screen with potential clues in treating her one-of-a kind genetic condition.

Gray specks on the screen show her cells that scientists reprogrammed with the goal of zeroing in on a custom medicine. McPherson co-founded the lab, Everlum Bio, to spark a treatment for Rose — and others like her. A regarded singer-songwriter, McPherson never imagined going into drug development.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Marc Dunoyer, Alexion CEO (AstraZeneca via YouTube)

Up­dat­ed: As­traZeneca nabs a small rare dis­ease gene ther­a­py play­er for 667% pre­mi­um

AstraZeneca is kicking off the fourth quarter with a little M&A Monday for a gene editing player recently overcoming a second clinical hold to its only program in human studies.

The Big Pharma and its subsidiary Alexion are buying out little LogicBio for $2.07 per share. That’s good for a massive 667% premium over its Friday closing price, when it headed into the weekend at 27 cents and just weeks after Nasdaq said LogicBio would have to delist, which has been put on hold as the biotech requests a hearing. It’s one of two biotech deals to commence October, alongside the news of Incyte buying a vitiligo-focused biotech.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Dave Marek, Myovant CEO

My­ovant board balks as ma­jor­i­ty own­er Sum­it­o­mo swoops in with a $2.5B deal to buy them out

Three years after Sumitomo scooped up Roivant’s 46% stake in the publicly traded Myovant $MYOV as part of a 5-company, $3 billion deal, they’re coming back for the whole thing.

But these other investors at Myovant want more than what the Japanese pharma company is currently offering to pay at this stage.

Sumitomo is bidding $22.75 a share for the outstanding stock, which now represents 48% of the company after Sumitomo bumped its ownership since the original deal with Roivant. Myovant, however, created a special committee on the board, and they’re shaking their heads over the offer.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Look­ing to push CAR-T in sol­id tu­mors, Bay Area biotech goes pub­lic in SPAC flip — with slight name change

SPACs might be slowly creeping back.

Monday evening, Estrella Biopharma said it was going public via a SPAC deal with TradeUP Acquisition Corp. The deal is set to close in the first half of 2023, and if all goes as planned, the public version of Estrella — dubbed Estrella Immunopharma — will be worth around $398.5 million.

The Bay Area biotech will also get around $45.4 million in cash, and TradeUp stockholders will get around 15% stock in the public biotech.

Al Sandrock, Voyager Therapeutics CEO

Af­ter 12 months of dig­ging, Pfiz­er opts for one of two Voy­ager cap­sids for gene ther­a­py

The path at Voyager Therapeutics keeps winding, and at the 12-month deadline, Pfizer has elected to only move forward with one of two capsids out of the preclinical biotech for the Big Pharma’s AAV gene therapies.

Last October, the Big Pharma and biotech linked arms on a deal that gave Pfizer the ability to hit the gas pedal on two capsids: one for a cardiac target and the other for a rare neurologic disease target.

Take­da to pull key hy­poparathy­roidism drug from the mar­ket en­tire­ly by end of 2024 af­ter years of man­u­fac­tur­ing woes

Takeda on Tuesday morning made an announcement that almost 3,000 people with the rare disease known as hypoparathyroidism were fearing.

Due to unresolved supply issues and manufacturing woes, Takeda said it will cut its losses and discontinue its hypoparathyroidism drug, known as Natpara (parathyroid hormone), halting all manufacturing of the drug by the end of 2024.

The decision to not re-commercialize Natpara will be a blow to not only the 2,400 people who were awaiting supplies of their reliable injection since 2019, but also the additional nearly 400 people who were accessing the drugs via the company’s Special Use Program as Takeda sought to resolve these manufacturing issues over the past five years.

Astel­las, Pan­th­er­na add or­gan to mR­NA tie-up; Rock­et launch­es sale of six fig­ures worth of stock

Astellas and Pantherna have expanded their November 2021 pact surrounding the latter’s mRNA platform to include a new target organ, the duo announced Tuesday morning, though they did not specify what that target is.

German biotech Pantherna is home to two platform technologies — one that designs mRNAs for non-vaccine therapies and another that designs LNPs. Astellas and Pantherna’s deal appears to mainly revolve around the first platform, which Astellas said it is using to research direct reprogramming, or turning cells from one kind into another without an intermediate stem cell phase.