Tech conglomerate buys Medidata for $5.7B; Alexandria teams up with Columbia for second LaunchLabs; Sobi all in on emapalumab
→ Clinical trial software provider Medidata is getting acquired in a $5.8 billion deal. The all-cash buyer, Dassault Systemes, is a French technology company that’s historically focused on 3D design and engineering. “Life science is going to go through an accelerated digitization of its own processes, basically,” Dassault CEO Bernard Charles told CNBC. Having powered operations and data analysis for hundreds of biopharma companies, CROs and researcher centers, Medidata’s platform is poised to lead the virtual transformation in the industry, he added.
→ Swedish rare disease player Sobi is restructuring its operations to focus on hematology and immunology. Discovery, early research and partner R&D programs outside of those core areas are being axed, claiming 90 positions and a couple of projects that will now be divested. One of the stars of the pipeline will be Gamifant (emapalumab), an interferon gamma inhibitor it had licensed from Novimmune but now decides to acquire outright. The deal, which adds over $100 million to the $400 million original pact, also covers employees involved in the program as well as a priority review voucher.
→ Marquee biopharma real estate developer Alexandria is opening its second LaunchLabs in New York City, teaming up with Columbia University to incubate startups emerging from there and peer institutions. As with Alexandria LaunchLabs, member companies have access to office and lab space, mentorship and networking opportunities, as well as seed capital to get things going. The previous cohort of 20 startups have gone on to raise more than $300 million in financing, Alexandria said.
→ Denali has scored orphan drug and rare pediatric disease designations for its preclinical program DNL310. The drug is designed to replace the deficient IDS enzyme in patients with Hunter Syndrome using a recombinant form of IDS engineered to cross the blood-brain barrier using Denali’s signature tech. A Phase I/II is planned for next year.
→ Sorrento is weighing an IPO for Scilex, a reconfiguration of the biotech it acquired for $47.6 million back in 2016. After ZTlido was approved by the FDA, Sorrento merged Scilex with another subsidiary Semnur, which had a non-opioid corticosteroid gel in Phase III studies, envisioning a commercial company focused on pain management.
→ Desperate for a turnaround and still mired in drama with its ex-CEO, MiMedx has secured a three-year loan from Blue Torch Finance totaling $75 million. With the cash infusion, interim CFO Ed Borkowski said, execs can work on planning and completing the financial restatement.