Shire says Take­da has come up with a new buy­out of­fer as re­ports spot­light a loom­ing hand­shake deal

Christophe We­ber

Shares of Shire are on the march back north this morn­ing fol­low­ing a re­port from Bloomberg that Take­da is with­in reach of a pre­lim­i­nary buy­out deal, which could come as ear­ly as to­day. And that piece was fol­lowed by a state­ment from Shire con­firm­ing that Take­da re­vised its of­fer for the com­pa­ny to­day — mark­ing its 5th pitch.

“The Board an­nounces that it has re­ceived a re­vised pro­pos­al from Take­da re­gard­ing a pos­si­ble of­fer for the Com­pa­ny on 24 April 2018,” Shire stat­ed. “The Board is con­sid­er­ing its po­si­tion. There can be no cer­tain­ty that any firm of­fer for the Com­pa­ny will be made nor as to the terms on which any firm of­fer might be made.”

Un­der UK M&A rules Take­da has un­til to­mor­row at 5 pm Lon­don time to make a bind­ing of­fer for the com­pa­ny.

Quot­ing sources fa­mil­iar with the talks, Bloomberg re­port­ed that Take­da has again tak­en some of the weight off the new shares be­ing of­fered and mov­ing it over to cash to help make the pack­age more ap­peal­ing. If they can agree on the ba­sic out­line, Take­da can then come in and for­mal­ize an of­fer — pro­vid­ed no oth­er bid­ders ap­pear.

The last bid upped the ante to £47.00 per share, with £21.00 in cash (to be paid in dol­lars) and £26.00 in shares.

Flem­ming Orn­skov

Shire stock jumped 5% as more in­vestors bought in­to the idea that Take­da CEO Christophe We­ber is de­ter­mined to make this buy­out hap­pen.

We­ber has been work­ing to bring over an­a­lysts to his side, ar­gu­ing that the buy­out would vault Take­da in­to the in­dus­try’s top ranks, build­ing its port­fo­lio of mar­ket­ed drugs and adding sub­stan­tial­ly to its pipeline. 

Nei­ther com­pa­ny gets high marks alone. Take­da shares have wilt­ed over the past year de­spite We­ber’s move to buy Ari­ad and the top-to-bot­tom re­vamp of R&D that con­cen­trat­ed its ef­forts in Cam­bridge/Boston and Japan. Shire CEO Flem­ming Orn­skov, mean­while, has had to deal with harsh re­views of the Bax­al­ta buy­out, which left the com­pa­ny sad­dled with debt at a time its core fran­chis­es — par­tic­u­lar­ly he­mo­phil­ia — face stiff and grow­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

Brent Saunders [Getty Photos]

UP­DAT­ED: Ab­b­Vie seals $63B deal to buy a trou­bled Al­ler­gan — spelling out $1B in R&D cuts

Brent Saunders has found his way out of the current fix he’s in at Allergan $AGN. He’s selling the company to AbbVie for $63 billion in the latest example of the hot M&A market in biopharma.

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Turned back at the FDA, Im­muno­Gen is ax­ing 220 staffers, sell­ing pro­grams and hun­ker­ing down for a new PhI­II gam­ble

After being stymied by FDA regulators who were unconvinced by ImmunoGen’s $IMGN desperation shot at an accelerated OK based on a secondary endpoint, the struggling biotech is slashing its workforce, shuttering R&D projects and looking for buyers to pick up some of its experimental cancer assets as it goes back into a new Phase III with the lead drug.

We found out last month that the FDA had batted back their case for an accelerated approval of their antibody-drug conjugate mirvetuximab soravtansine, which had earlier failed a Phase III study for ovarian cancer. Now the other shoe is dropping.

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Bridge­Bio takes crown for biggest biotech IPO of 2019, as fel­low uni­corn Adap­tive rais­es of­fer­ing size and price

Bridge­Bio Phar­ma and Adap­tive Biotech­nolo­gies have not just up­sized IPO of­fer­ings — the pair of uni­corns have al­so raised their of­fer­ing prices above the range, haul­ing in a com­bined $648.5 mil­lion.

Neil Ku­mar’s Bridge­Bio Phar­ma, found­ed in 2015, has a sta­ble of com­pa­nies fo­cused on dis­eases that are dri­ven by de­fects in a sin­gle gene — en­com­pass­ing der­ma­tol­ogy, car­di­ol­o­gy, neu­rol­o­gy, en­docrinol­o­gy, re­nal dis­ease, and oph­thal­mol­o­gy — and can­cers with clear ge­net­ic dri­vers. The start­up mill birthed a pletho­ra of firms such as Ei­dos, Navire, QED Ther­a­peu­tics and Pelle­Pharm, which func­tion as its sub­sidiaries.

As­traZeneca chal­lenges Roche on front­line SCLC af­ter seiz­ing an in­ter­im win — and Mer­ck may not be far be­hind

The crowded playing field in the PD-1/L1 marketing game is about to get a little more complex.

This morning AstraZeneca reported that its CASPIAN study delivered a hit in an interim readout for their PD-L1 Imfinzi combined with etoposide and platinum-based chemotherapy options for frontline cases of small cell lung cancer, a tough target which has already knocked back Bristol-Myers’ shot in second-line cases. The positive data  — which we won’t see before they roll it out at an upcoming scientific conference — give AstraZeneca excellent odds of a quick vault to challenging Roche’s Tecentriq-chemo combo, approved 3 months ago for frontline SCLC in a landmark advance.

“This is the first trial offering the flexibility of combining immunotherapy with different platinum-based regimens in small cell lung cancer, expanding treatment options,” noted AstraZeneca cancer R&D chief José Baselga in a statement.

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Richard Gonzalez testifying in front of Senate Finance Committee, February 2019 [AP Images]

Ab­b­Vie's $63B buy­out spot­lights the re­turn of ma­jor M&A deals — de­spite the back­lash

Big time M&A is back. But for how long?

Over the past 18 months we’ve now seen three major buyouts announced: Takeda/Shire; Bristol-Myers/Celgene and now AbbVie/Allergan. And with this latest deal it’s increasingly clear that the sharp fall from grace suffered by high-profile players which have seen their share prices blasted has created an opening for the growth players in big pharma to up their game — in sharp contrast to the popular bolt-on deals that have been driving the growth strategy at Novartis, Merck, Roche and others.

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Novotech CEO Dr. John Moller

Novotech CRO Award­ed Frost & Sul­li­van Best Biotech CRO Asia-Pa­cif­ic 2019

Known in the in­dus­try as the Asia-Pa­cif­ic CRO, Novotech is now lead CRO ser­vices provider for the grow­ing num­ber of in­ter­na­tion­al biotechs se­lect­ing the re­gion for their stud­ies.

Re­flect­ing this Asia-Pa­cif­ic growth, Novotech staff num­bers are up 20% since De­cem­ber 2018 to 600 in-house clin­i­cal re­search peo­ple across a full range of ser­vices, across the re­gion.

Novotech’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties have been rec­og­nized by an­a­lysts like Frost & Sul­li­van, most re­cent­ly with the pres­ti­gious Asia-Pa­cif­ic CRO Biotech of the year award for best prac­tices in clin­i­cal re­search for biotechs for the fifth year. See oth­er awards here.

Top an­a­lyst finds a sil­ver lin­ing in Ab­b­Vie’s $63B Al­ler­gan buy­out — but there’s a catch

After getting beat up on all sides from market observers who don’t much care for the latest mega-deal to arrive in biopharma, at least one prominent analyst now is starting to like what he sees in the numbers for AbbVie/Allergan.

But it’s going to take some encouragement if AbbVie execs want it to last.

AbbVie’s market cap declined $20 billion on Tuesday as the stock took a 17% hit during the day. And SVB Leerink’s Geoffrey Porges can see a distinct outline of an upside after reviewing the fundamentals of the deal.

Key to this bullish position is Porges’ belief that AbbVie can slice more than $2 billion in “synergies” post-merger while crediting the pharma giant with an industry-leading commercial team that can handle these new products — primarily Botox and medical aesthetics — even better than Allergan.

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Af­ter rais­ing $158M, this up­start's founders have star back­ers and plans to break new ground in gene ther­a­py

Back in 2014, Stephanie Tagliatela opted to take an early exit out of her PhD program after working in Mark Bear’s lab at MIT, where she specialized in the synaptic connections between neuronal cells in the brain. She never finished that PhD, but she and fellow MIT student Kartik Ramamoorthi — who was on the founding team at Voyager — came away with some ideas for a gene therapy startup.

Today, fully 5 years later, she and Ramamoorthi are taking the wraps off of a $104 million mega-round designed to take the cumulative work of their preclinical formative stage for Encoded Therapeutics into human studies. They’ve now raised $158 million since starting out in Illumina’s incubator in the Bay Area, and they believe they are firmly on track to do something unique in gene therapy.

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The top 15 mega-deals in bio­phar­ma: Ab­b­Vie and Bris­tol-My­ers ac­qui­si­tions stir fresh de­bate over what's too big to buy

The debate over what’s too big to buy in biotech is back. A number of top analysts went right after AbbVie’s rationale for the Allergan deal today, just as Bristol-Myers Squibb stirred immediate debate over the worth and wisdom of acquiring Celgene.

To help provide some added context to this discussion, we asked DealForma chief Chris Dokomajilar to look over the past decade of major M&A in biopharma to decipher the top 15 plays.

The new numbers, unadjusted for inflation, harken back to the days of the Pfizer-Wyeth buyout and Merck’s decision to absorb Schering-Plough — both triggered in 2009. The heat over those acquisitions made the big pharma mega-deal highly unpopular for most everyone — except Pfizer — as industry leaders swore off almost all but the handy bolt-on acquisition.

Until recently.

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