Jim Tananbaum, Foresite Capital CEO (Business Wire)

The SPAC boom con­tin­ues to churn out heavy cap­i­tal, as Fore­site prices its $175M blank check com­pa­ny and 2 oth­ers file

Hav­ing re­turned to the SPAC well last month in the hopes of rid­ing last year’s boom, Fore­site’s sec­ond blank check com­pa­ny priced ear­li­er this week.

Known as FS De­vel­op­ment II, the Jim Tanan­baum out­fit an­nounced Wednes­day it had raised $175 mil­lion in an up­sized of­fer­ing, and priced at $10 per share. The pub­lic de­but comes about sev­en months af­ter Tanan­baum launched his first SPAC, and on­ly four months af­ter that SPAC went pub­lic in a re­verse merg­er with Gem­i­ni Ther­a­peu­tics.

Tanan­baum’s Gem­i­ni deal has proved some­what fruit­ful thus far, as the com­pa­ny is up 25% in the four months since its merg­er. At the time, he had been look­ing for a spe­cif­ic type of com­pa­ny with a ge­net­ics-dri­ven plat­form, and found one in Gem­i­ni. The com­pa­ny spe­cial­izes in tai­lor-mak­ing treat­ments for sub­pop­u­la­tions of pa­tients with mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion based on their ge­net­ic vari­ants.

The S-1 of­fered few de­tails on po­ten­tial tar­gets for the new SPAC be­yond the lan­guage that’s be­come com­mon­place in these types of com­pa­nies. Tanan­baum will have two years to find a part­ner, but if the mar­ket trend con­tin­ues he won’t near­ly need that much time.

Though it’s a quick re­turn to Wall Street for Fore­site, oth­er firms have moved quick­er. Per­cep­tive Ad­vi­sors raised a $130 mil­lion SPAC in June and re­turned be­fore the end of Ju­ly to raise an­oth­er $125 mil­lion. By that point, the firm was ev­i­dent­ly near­ing a deal for the first SPAC, which an­nounced a half-bil­lion-dol­lar merg­er with Cerev­el Ther­a­peu­tics on Ju­ly 30.

Fore­site’s new SPAC comes amid a wave of in­vestors rais­ing cap­i­tal for these blank check com­pa­nies, de­spite most end­ing up wait­ing sev­er­al months be­fore com­plet­ing their merg­ers. And the pric­ing comes in a week where two oth­er high-pro­file VCs an­nounced their SPACs. Promi­nent Sil­i­con Val­ley firm Khosla Ven­tures is seek­ing to raise $1.2 bil­lion for three blank check com­pa­nies at once, while Ed­uar­do Bra­vo is tak­ing the SPAC boom to Eu­rope with a $100 mil­lion promise.

On top of that, an­oth­er two SPACs filed just Thurs­day evening, with Fal­con Edge Cap­i­tal’s Rick Ger­son look­ing to raise $200 mil­lion in a hold­ing com­pa­ny and Acu­tus Med­ical’s Scott Huen­nekens seek­ing a $175 mil­lion raise. Even bil­lion­aire Richard Bran­son is hop­ping in­to the game, tak­ing 23andMe pub­lic ear­li­er this month as it seeks to build out its GSK-part­nered drug de­vel­op­ment busi­ness.

The vast rais­es and bur­geon­ing num­ber of SPACs them­selves have come as an­a­lysts are start­ing to won­der just how long this boom can last. Pri­vate in­vestor Brad Lon­car has writ­ten about the SPAC boom on Twit­ter, in­clud­ing when Fore­site first filed its hold­ing com­pa­ny.

A new era of treat­ment: How bio­mark­ers are chang­ing the way we think about can­cer

AJ Patel was recovering from a complicated brain surgery when his oncologist burst into the hospital room yelling, “I’ve got some really great news for you!”

For two years, Patel had been going from doctor to doctor trying to diagnose his wheezing, only to be dealt the devastating news that he had stage IV lung cancer and only six months to live. And then they found the brain tumors.

“What are you talking about?” Patel asked. He had never seen an oncologist so happy.

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David Ricks, Eli Lilly CEO (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Eli Lil­ly set to in­vest $2.1B in home state man­u­fac­tur­ing boost

Eli Lilly is looking to expand its footprint in its home Hoosier State by making a major investment in manufacturing.

The pharma is investing $2.1 billion in two new manufacturing sites at Indiana’s LEAP Lebanon Innovation and Research District in Boone County, northwest of Lilly’s headquarters in Indianapolis.

The two new facilities will expand Lilly’s manufacturing network for active ingredients and new therapeutic modalities, including genetic medicines, according to a press release.

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US sees spike in Paxlovid us­age as Mer­ck­'s mol­nupi­ravir and As­traZeneca's Evusheld are slow­er off the shelf

New data from HHS show that more than 162,000 courses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 antiviral Paxlovid were administered across the US over the past week, continuing a streak of increased usage of the pill, and signaling not only rising case numbers but more awareness of how to access it.

In comparison to this week, about 670,000 courses of the Pfizer pill have been administered across the first five months since Paxlovid has been on the US market, averaging about 33,000 courses administered per week in that time.

Pfiz­er and CD­MOs ramp up Paxlovid man­u­fac­tur­ing with Kala­ma­zoo plant ex­pan­sion lead­ing the way

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve, pharma companies and manufacturers are exploring how to step up production on antivirals.

Pfizer is planning to expand its Kalamazoo-area facility to increase manufacturing capabilities for the oral Covid-19 antiviral Paxlovid, according to a report from Michigan-based news site MLive. The expansion of the facility, which serves as Pfizer’s largest manufacturing location, is expected to create hundreds of “high-skilled” STEM jobs, MLive reported. No details about the project’s cost and timeline have been released, but according to MLive, Pfizer will announce the details of the expansion at some point in early June.

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FDA spells out the rules and re­stric­tions for states seek­ing to im­port drugs from Cana­da

The FDA is offering more of an explanation of the guardrails around its program that may soon allow states to import prescription drugs in some select circumstances from Canada, but only if such imports will result in significant cost reductions for consumers.

While the agency has yet to sign off on any of the 5 state plans in the works so far, and PhRMA’s suit to block the Trump-era rule allowing such imports is stalled, the new Q&A guidance spells out the various restrictions that states will have to abide by, potentially signaling that a state approval is coming.

Simba Gill, CEO of Evelo Biosciences

While down 87% YOY, Evelo gets Flag­ship and oth­ers to in­fuse new cap­i­tal for come­back hope

Just four years after Flagship spinout Evelo Biosciences went public in an IPO worth $85 million, the biotech has seen its share price tank from $13 a share this time last year (ultimately reaching a peak of over $17) to now under $1.50. And today, it looks like Flagship still thinks the fledging biotech, in a down market, is still worth something after initial pre-IPO backing from the likes of Google’s GV, Celgene, Mayo Clinic and Alexandria Venture.

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Peter Thompson, Terremoto Biosciences interim CEO

For­mer Prin­cip­ia team looks to shake up co­va­lent small mol­e­cules again, this time at 'earthquake' scale

Terremoto Biosciences goes back a long ways, in a sense, to about a dozen years ago when Principia Biopharma was founded by UCSF professor Jack Taunton. Peter Thompson initially helmed the biotech.

The company helped expand covalent small molecule inhibitors beyond oncology and into autoimmune disease by targeting cystine. But that amino acid is uncommon in a lot of proteins, offering fewer drug targets than, say, lysine, which is present in most proteins of interest. So, over the years, Taunton went back to the drawing board to check out that second amino acid.

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Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla at the World Economic Forum (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP Images)

All about ac­cess: Pfiz­er moves to a non-prof­it mod­el for drug sales in 45 low­er-in­come coun­tries

Leading the way to increase access to cheaper drugs worldwide, Pfizer said Wednesday it will provide all current and future patent-protected medicines and vaccines available in the US or EU on a not-for-profit basis to about 1.2 billion people in 45 lower-income countries.

Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda are the first five countries to sign on to this accord, which will also seek to blaze new paths for quick and efficient regulatory and procurement processes to reduce the usual delays in making new medicines and vaccines available in these countries.

Almirall is tapping artificial intelligence on behalf of its sales force for insights and efficiencies. (via Shutterstock)

Almi­rall rolls out sales rep ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence sys­tem, cut­ting pre-call prep and 'wind­shield time'

Dermatology specialty pharma Almirall is making its sales reps smarter. Not with extra training or educational courses, but instead with artificial intelligence tools.

It began a soft launch of a sales rep AI and machine learning platform it calls Polaris last August in one of its 7 US coverage regions. The platform from Aktana gathers information from across Almirall internal sources and external ones – such as claims and prescribing data – to generate insights for reps. Now, instead of spending hours prepping for a sales call, Polaris can generate details about a physician’s preferences, past behaviors and prescription habits for reps in minutes, said Almirall head of commercial operations Vincent Cerio.

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