Marc Casper, Thermo Fisher CEO (Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Ther­mo Fish­er wa­gers on ear­ly can­cer di­ag­nos­tics in $2.6B cash deal for mul­ti­ple myelo­ma test mak­er

Al­ways on the look­out for the next thing to buy, Ther­mo Fish­er Sci­en­tif­ic has set­tled on an on­col­o­gy di­ag­nos­tic play­er for its lat­est ac­qui­si­tion.

The life sci­ences con­glom­er­ate is shelling out $2.6 bil­lion (£2.25 bil­lion) to ac­quire The Bind­ing Site Group from a group of pri­vate eq­ui­ty in­vestors, in­te­grat­ing a suite of di­ag­nos­tic as­says and in­stru­ments for blood can­cers and im­mune sys­tem dis­or­ders in­to its spe­cial­ty di­ag­nos­tics busi­ness.

In par­tic­u­lar, Ther­mo Fish­er high­light­ed The Bind­ing Site’s tests for mul­ti­ple myelo­ma di­ag­no­sis and mon­i­tor­ing as a stand­out prod­uct.

With a broad mis­sion of serv­ing sci­ence, Ther­mo Fish­er has been steadi­ly bring­ing small­er bio­phar­ma ser­vice providers un­der its um­brel­la, from in­stru­ments to con­tract re­search or­ga­ni­za­tions to man­u­fac­tur­ers to com­pan­ion di­ag­nos­tics — even as it kept ex­pand­ing in­ter­nal ca­pa­bil­i­ties and open­ing new man­u­fac­tur­ing sites. Last De­cem­ber, it com­plet­ed its largest deal to date: a $17.4 bil­lion buy­out of the CRO PPD. Weeks lat­er, it al­so bagged Pe­pro­Tech, a man­u­fac­tur­er of re­com­bi­nant pro­teins.

When asked about the deal pipeline dur­ing a Q2 call, CEO Marc Casper re­spond­ed:

Yes. So from a cap­i­tal de­ploy­ment per­spec­tive, I re­al­ly want­ed to do the deep­er dive on the progress of PPD, and we did a large ac­qui­si­tion in De­cem­ber, right? And the first thing we have to demon­strate is that we’re great own­ers and op­er­a­tors of the busi­ness­es that are part of the fam­i­ly, and that’s al­ways our No. 1 pri­or­i­ty, and that busi­ness is per­form­ing great. And we have an ac­tive pipeline.

And when I think about how val­u­a­tions have come in many sec­tors, that cre­ates op­por­tu­ni­ties, right? So we’re ac­tive­ly en­gaged as we al­ways are, and we’re well-po­si­tioned to cap­i­tal­ize on the M&A op­por­tu­ni­ties that will be out there in the land­scape.

Just days ago, Casper re­it­er­at­ed the im­por­tance of “strate­gic M&A” to his cap­i­tal de­ploy­ment strat­e­gy.

Ther­mo Fish­er ex­pects The Bind­ing Site to con­tribute $220 mil­lion of rev­enue in 2022 — mod­est rel­a­tive to its own pro­jec­tion of $43.8 bil­lion over­all — but ex­ecs are ea­ger to bring what they say is a “large and ded­i­cat­ed” group of cus­tomers on board.

“The Bind­ing Site is ex­treme­ly well-re­spect­ed by re­searchers and clin­i­cians alike for its pi­o­neer­ing di­ag­no­sis and mon­i­tor­ing so­lu­tions for mul­ti­ple myelo­ma,” Casper said in a state­ment. “We al­so know ear­ly di­ag­no­sis and well-in­formed treat­ment de­ci­sions for mul­ti­ple myelo­ma can make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in pa­tient out­comes.”

Head­quar­tered in Birm­ing­ham, UK, The Bind­ing Site was for­mer­ly owned by a group led by the pri­vate eq­ui­ty firm Nordic Cap­i­tal. It em­ploys 1,100 em­ploy­ees glob­al­ly.

Has the mo­ment fi­nal­ly ar­rived for val­ue-based health­care?

RBC Capital Markets’ Healthcare Technology Analyst, Sean Dodge, spotlights a new breed of tech-enabled providers who are rapidly transforming the way clinicians deliver healthcare, and explores the key question: can this accelerating revolution overturn the US healthcare system?

Key points

Tech-enabled healthcare providers are poised to help the US transition to value, not volume, as the basis for reward.
The move to value-based care has policy momentum, but is risky and complex for clinicians.
Outsourced tech specialists are emerging to provide the required expertise, while healthcare and tech are also converging through M&A.
Value-based care remains in its early stages, but the transition is accelerating and represents a huge addressable market.

FDA ad­vi­sors unan­i­mous­ly rec­om­mend ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval for Bio­gen's ALS drug

A panel of outside advisors to the FDA unanimously recommended that the agency grant accelerated approval to Biogen’s ALS drug tofersen despite the drug failing the primary goal of its Phase III study, an endorsement that could pave a path forward for the treatment.

By a 9-0 vote, members of the Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee said there was sufficient evidence that tofersen’s effect on a certain protein associated with ALS is reasonably likely to predict a benefit for patients. But panelists stopped short of advocating for a full approval, voting 3-5 against (with one abstention) and largely citing the failed pivotal study.

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Alaa Halawa, executive director at Mubadala’s US venture group

The ven­ture crew at Mubadala are up­ping their biotech cre­ation game, tak­ing care­ful aim at a new fron­tier in drug de­vel­op­ment

It started with a cup of coffee and a slow burning desire to go early and long in the biotech creation business.

Wrapping up a 15-year discovery stint at Genentech back in the summer of 2021, Rami Hannoush was treated to a caffeine-fueled review of the latest work UCSF’s Jim Wells had been doing on protein degradation — one of the hottest fields in drug development.

“Jim and I have known each other for the past 15 years through Genentech collaborations. We met over coffee, and he was telling me about this concept of the company that he was thinking of,” says Hannoush. “And I got immediately intrigued by it because I knew that this could open up a big space in terms of adding a new modality in drug discovery that is desperately needed in pharma.”

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Sanofi, Re­gen­eron boast PhI­II win with Dupix­ent in COPD, clear­ing first bar for ex­pan­sion

Dupixent, the blockbuster anti-inflammatory drug from Sanofi and Regeneron, has cleared a high-stakes Phase III study in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the companies announced Thursday morning.

If they hold up in a second, identical trial, the data pave the way for Dupixent to become the first biologic to treat patients whose COPD remains uncontrolled despite being on maximal standard-of-care inhaled therapy — the patient population studied in the pivotal program. The companies had spotlighted this as a key readout as they look to expand the Dupixent franchise and explore its full potential.

Genen­tech to stop com­mer­cial man­u­fac­tur­ing at Cal­i­for­nia head­quar­ters

Genentech is halting commercial manufacturing at its California headquarters — and laying off several hundred employees.

The move is the result of a decision Genentech made in 2007 to relocate manufacturing operations from its South San Francisco headquarters location to other facilities or move the work to CDMOs, said Andi Goddard, Genentech’s SVP of quality and compliance for pharmaceutical technical operations, in an interview with Endpoints News. Genentech has made changes in capabilities and invested more in technology, so it doesn’t need as many large-scale manufacturing facilities as it did in the past, she said.

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Chat­G­PT with phar­ma da­ta de­buts for med­ical meet­ings, be­gin­ning with AACR

What do you get when you combine ChatGPT generative AI technology with specific pharma and clinical datasets? A time-saving tool that can answer questions about medical conference abstracts and clinical findings in seconds in one new application from ZoomRx called FermaGPT.

ZoomRx is debuting a public version of its generative AI product specifically for medical conferences beginning this week for the upcoming American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting that runs April 14-19.

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In­cyte wins ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval for PD-1 in rare skin can­cer

Incyte touted an accelerated approval for its PD-1 retifanlimab in a rare skin cancer on Wednesday, roughly a year and a half after the drug suffered a rejection in squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal (SCAC).

Retifanlimab, marketed as Zynyz, was approved for metastatic or recurrent locally advanced Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), a fast-growing skin cancer typically characterized by a single, painless nodule. It’s roughly 40 times rarer than melanoma, according to the nonprofit Skin Cancer Foundation — but incidence is growing, particularly among older adults, Incyte said in its announcement.

A new study finds that many patient influencers are sharing prescription drug experiences along with health information.

So­cial me­dia pa­tient in­flu­encers ‘danc­ing in the gray’ of phar­ma mar­ket­ing, more clar­i­ty need­ed, re­searcher says

It’s no surprise that patient influencers are talking about their health conditions on social media. However, what’s less clear is what role pharma companies are playing, how big the patient influencer industry is, and just how is information about prescription drugs from influencers relayed — and received — on social media.

While University of Colorado associate professor Erin Willis can’t answer all those questions, she’s been researching the issue for several years and recently published new research digging into the communication styles, strategies and thinking of patient influencers, many of whom partner with pharma companies.

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Vas Narasimhan, Novartis CEO (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP)

No­var­tis pulls the plug on UK-based car­dio­vas­cu­lar study

Novartis is calling off a UK-based trial for Leqvio in the primary prevention of cardiovascular events in patients with high cholesterol, the company confirmed on Wednesday.

The Swiss pharma giant made the decision after “careful evaluation,” a spokesperson told Endpoints News via email. The trial, dubbed ORION-17, was planned in partnership with England’s National Health Service (NHS) and was part of the company’s strategy to establish Leqvio as a standard of care in cardiovascular disease management.