Harpreet Singh (via Allogeneic Cell Therapies Summit)

TCR play­er Im­mat­ics com­bines with Per­cep­tive’s blank check op­er­a­tor, scoop­ing $252M and gain­ing a list­ing on Nas­daq

Per­cep­tive Ad­vi­sors’ blank check com­pa­ny has inked a deal — and it’s land­ing right in the mid­dle of a glob­al pan­dem­ic that’s roil­ing the in­dus­try.

Their Arya Sci­ences ven­ture, which com­plet­ed an IPO in the fall of 2018, will now com­bine with TCR play­er Im­mat­ics — a biotech with roots in Ger­many and Hous­ton. That gives Im­mat­ics $148 mil­lion sit­ting in Arya’s cof­fers plus $104 mil­lion in added fund­ing from a group of in­vestors led by Per­cep­tive.

If every­body on both sides of the aisle sticks with this deal, ex­ist­ing share­hold­ers will wind up with 61% of the stock in the com­bined op­er­a­tion. And Im­mat­ics will go pub­lic with a mar­ket cap of $634 mil­lion and the biotech will start trad­ing as $IMTX.

Im­mat­ics will al­so re­main in the hands of CEO Harpreet Singh, who’s been ad­vanc­ing their work on cre­at­ing new cell ther­a­pies that can go af­ter sol­id tu­mors.

There have been hun­dreds of SPACs — Spe­cial Pur­pose Ac­qui­si­tion Com­pa­nies, of­ten called a blank-check com­pa­ny — out over the years, es­pe­cial­ly dur­ing the big wave of IPOs we’ve been see­ing ahead of the pan­dem­ic. But not in the biotech field. Some of the ex­ecs at Chardan put to­geth­er a maid­en biotech SPAC — dubbed Chardan Health­care Ac­qui­si­tion Corp, or CHAC — that wound up opt­ing for Solomon’s Is­raeli mi­cro­bio­me out­fit Bio­mX last fall.  Per­cep­tive Ad­vi­sors’ $125 mil­lion Arya Sci­ences Ac­qui­si­tion Corp came to­geth­er close to 2 years ago. Each of these SPACs comes with a 2-year shelf life, so the time was tick­ing away for Per­cep­tive to do some­thing now.

For its part, Per­cep­tive has been do­ing a lot of deals, in­clud­ing back­ing Chris Garabe­di­an’s Xon­toge­ny in the Boston/Cam­bridge hub.

Un­lock­ing ESG strate­gies for growth with Gilead Sci­ences

RBC Capital Markets explores what is material in ESG for biopharma companies with the ESG leads at Gilead Sciences. Gilead has long focused on sustainability but recognized a more robust framework was needed. Based on a materiality assessment, Gilead’s ESG strategy today focuses first on drug access and pricing, while also addressing D&I and climate change. Find out why Gilead’s board is “acutely aware” of the contribution that ESG makes to firm’s overall success.

On the hunt for the next Mod­er­na, in­vestors have pumped 'plat­form plays' with cash. Can any­thing slow the run­away train?

It didn’t take an expert to see that mRNA platforms could be huge.

Julie Sunderland partnered with both Moderna and BioNTech about a decade ago while she was running program-related investments for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — and even then the potential for their platforms was obvious despite some well-founded concerns about whether the next-gen tech would ever cross the finish line.

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Ken Frazier, Merck CEO (Bess Adler/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Mer­ck­'s Keytru­da blazes a path in first-line cer­vi­cal can­cer, mak­ing good on drug­mak­er's push for ear­li­er pa­tients

In the years since I/O wonder drug Keytruda’s initial approval, Merck has struck an aggressive clinical trial program, which is now firmly focused on earlier lines of therapy. The drugmaker has scored some success there so far, and now it’s earned one of its biggest wins yet.

Keytruda plus chemotherapy with or without background Avastin significantly extended patients’ lives over those dosed with a placebo control in first-line patients with persistent, recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer, according to top-line data from the Phase III KEYNOTE-826 study revealed Tuesday.

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Kimberly Smith, ViiV via Youtube

They went from dai­ly to once every two months. But how much longer act­ing can HIV meds be? Vi­iV en­lists Halozyme's tech to find out

It wasn’t easy navigating the manufacturing and controls issues that had led the FDA to reject ViiV Healthcare’s first pitch for the once-monthly HIV regimen cabotegravir and rilpivirine. But even as Kimberly Smith was knee-deep in sorting out those problems and putting together a new package that finally won the regulators over this January, her business development team kept looking for things that would take them to the next level.

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Neu­rona Ther­a­peu­tics is dash­ing to the clin­ic with its cell ther­a­py for epilep­sy — but first, an­oth­er ven­ture round

Six years ago, a band of neuroscientists from the University of California, San Francisco combined decades of research and jumped into the hunt for an off-the-shelf cell therapy. Now, that team is sprinting toward the clinic with a treatment for epilepsy — but first, it’s making a pit stop at the venture well.

Neurona Therapeutics unveiled a $41.5 million round on Tuesday morning, bringing the San Francisco-based biotech’s total raise to $135 million. The cash will be used to advance the company’s pipeline, including an upcoming Phase I/IIa for its lead candidate, NRTX-1001, in chronic focal epilepsy.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) with reporters in the Senate Subway (Graeme Sloan/Sipa via AP Images)

Top Wyden pri­or­i­ty for drug price re­forms: Medicare ne­go­ti­a­tions

As the Biden administration tries to wrangle the details of its infrastructure bill, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) took a concrete step forward on drug pricing reforms on Tuesday and unveiled five principles for such reforms, including providing Medicare with the ability to negotiate prices.

“Allowing the Secretary of HHS to negotiate the price Medicare will pay creates a much needed mechanism to achieve fairer prices when the market has failed to do so,” Wyden wrote.

Pier Vincenzo Colli, Alfasigma CEO (C. Romagnoli, Alfasigma archive)

Al­fasig­ma snares EU rights to blood clot­ting an­ti­body on the hunt for pa­tients tak­ing As­traZeneca's Bril­in­ta

Two years after Phase I data generated promise for bentracimab as the first drug to stop bleeding in patients that were prescribed AstraZeneca’s much-hyped stroke and heart attack drug Brilinta, PhaseBio has licensed it out to a European partner.

PhaseBio sold European rights for the uncontrolled bleeding monoclonal antibody to Italian biotech Alfasigma. That company will market the drug in 49 countries across Europe and other markets, PhaseBio said in a press release.

End­points News is now 5 years old. Here's how you can sup­port us for the next phase of growth

Endpoints News turned five years old over the weekend. I wanted to mark the happy occasion by extending our deepest gratitude to Endpoints’ premium subscribers while outlining several other ways to support us as we go broader and get bigger this year and beyond.

Same as any business, we’ve got to create value and get paid for delivering it. So if you depend on Endpoints to stay abreast on biopharma developments, we depend on you too.

Emma Walmsley, GlaxoSmithKline CEO (Credit: Fang Zhe/Xinhua/Alamy Live News)

Ac­tivist in­vestor El­liott in talks with oth­er Glax­o­SmithK­line in­vestors about re­plac­ing Em­ma Walm­s­ley, spin­ning off vac­cine busi­ness — re­port

As Emma Walmsley reveals details this Wednesday about the upcoming split of GlaxoSmithKline’s pharma and consumer units, some tough questions may be coming her way.

Elliott Management, the activist investor that’s previously threatened an attack on GSK (but eventually backed off), is floating more radical changes like replacing the CEO, further breaking up the company and spinning out the vaccine unit, or reviewing the focus on cancer drugs, the Financial Times reported.

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