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.

Secretary of health and human services Alex Azar speaking in the Rose Garden at the White House (Photo: AFP)

Trump’s HHS claims ab­solute au­thor­i­ty over the FDA, clear­ing path to a vac­cine EUA

The top career staff at the FDA has vowed not to let politics overrule science when looking at vaccine data this fall. But Alex Azar, who happens to be their boss’s boss, apparently won’t even give them a chance to stand in the way.

In a new memorandum issued Tuesday last week, the HHS chief stripped the FDA and other health agencies under his purview of their rule making ability, asserting all such power “is reserved to the Secretary.” Sheila Kaplan of the New York Times first obtained and reported the details of the September 15 bulletin.

Samit Hirawat (Bristol Myers Squibb)

Af­ter bruis­ing re­jec­tion, blue­bird and Bris­tol My­ers Squibb land ide-cel pri­or­i­ty re­view. But will it mat­ter for the CVR?

With the clock all but up, the FDA accepted and handed priority review to Bristol Myers Squibb and bluebird bio’s BCMA CAR-T, keeping a narrow window open for Celgene investors to still cash in on the $9 CVR from the $63 billion Celgene merger.

The acceptance comes five months after the two companies weres slammed with a surprise refuse-to-file that threatened to foreclose the CVR entirely. Today’s acceptance sets the FDA decision date for March 27, 2021 – or precisely 4 days before the CVR deadline of March 31. Given the breakthrough designation and strong pivotal data — 81.5% response rate, 35.2% complete response rate — priority review was largely expected.

#ES­MO20: Push­ing in­to front­line, Mer­ck and Bris­tol My­ers duke it out with new slate of GI can­cer da­ta

Having worked in parallel for years to move their respective PD-1 inhibitors up to the first-line treatment of gastrointestinal cancers, Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb finally have the data at ESMO for a showdown.

Comparing KEYNOTE-590 and CheckMate-649, of course, comes with the usual caveats. But a side-by-side look at the overall survival numbers also offer some perspective on a new frontier for the reigning checkpoint rivals, both of whom are claiming to have achieved a first.

Zai Lab hauls in $761M from Hong Kong IPO to push Ze­ju­la, more bud­ding can­di­dates in Chi­na — re­port

Zai Lab is set to net more than $761 million from its secondary listing in Hong Kong after pricing the IPO at $72.51 (HKD$562) — just a hair below its Nasdaq closing price on Monday, Bloomberg and Nikkei Asian Review reported.

A pioneer in bringing Western drugs to China, co-founder and CEO Samantha Du has more than tripled Zai Lab’s market cap in the three years it’s been public in the US. The HKEX listing is designed to fund R&D and commercialization for the current portfolio while fueling new in-licensing pacts, the biotech wrote in a filing.

Tae Han Kim, Samsung Biologics CEO (SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics nets $330M+ deal from As­traZeneca ahead of 'Su­per Plan­t' con­struc­tion

Just a few weeks after announcing plans to construct a $2 billion “Super Plant,” Samsung Biologics is keeping its foot on the gas.

The Korean CDMO has inked a $330.8 million manufacturing contract with AstraZeneca, the companies announced Monday evening, providing the British drugmaker the ability to expand production capabilities in the Asia market. Per terms of the deal, the partnership could be increased to $545.6 million.

Francesco De Rubertis

Medicx­i's David Grainger and Francesco De Ru­ber­tis pump €200M in­to six com­pa­nies and what they say is a first-of-its kind fund

In what they’re billing as a first for biotech, David Grainger, Francesco De Rubertis and their team at Medicxi have put down a €200 million to sweep up stakes in six companies from their predecessor VC and pump new money into them.

Medicxi didn’t disclose which companies it was investing in but the portfolio draws from Index Ventures Life VI, one of the last funds the Medicxi team launched while they were still part of the multinational, tech-focused VC firm Index Ventures. That team kept advising Index on their life sciences portfolio even after they spun out to form their own firm in the middle of 2016.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 90,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Scripps reach­es $10M set­tle­ment with gov­ern­ment over al­le­ga­tions NIH grants weren't prop­er­ly ac­count­ed for

Scripps Research Institute has settled a case with the Justice Department alleging claims of misappropriated funds, the US attorney for the district of Maryland announced late last week.

Prosecutors said the institute improperly used NIH-funded research grants for non-grant related activities, including working on new grant applications, teaching activities and other administrative tasks. As part of the settlement, Scripps has agreed to pay $10 million.

UP­DAT­ED: Two wild weeks for Grail end in $8B Il­lu­mi­na buy­out

Grail’s whirlwind two weeks have ended in the wealthy arms of its former founder and benefactors.

Illumina has shelled out $8 billion to reacquire the closely-watched liquid biopsy startup they spun out just 5 years ago and sold off much of its shares just 3 years ago. The deal comes nearly two weeks after the well-heeled startup filed for a potentially massive IPO — one that was disrupted just a week later when Bloomberg reported that Illumina was in talks to buy their former spinout for up to $8 billion.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 90,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Roche vaults to the front of the NL­RP3 clin­i­cal race, pay­ing $448M up­front to bag In­fla­zome

Roche is going all in on NLRP3.

The pharma giant is putting down $448 million (€380 million) upfront to snatch Novartis-backed Inflazome, which makes it a clinical player in the space overnight.

Dublin and Cambridge, UK-based Inflazome is the second NLRP3-focused biotech Roche has acquired in less than two years, and although no numbers were disclosed in the Jecure buyout, this is almost certainly a much larger deal.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 90,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.