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.

Big Phar­ma's Twit­ter ex­o­dus; Mer­ck wa­gers $1.35B on buy­out; $3.5M gene ther­a­py; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

As you start planning for #JPM23, we hope you will consider joining Endpoints News for our live and virtual events. For those who are celebrating Thanksgiving, we hope you are enjoying the long weekend with loved ones. And if you’re not — we’ll see you next week!

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Rob Davis, Merck CEO

Up­dat­ed: No Seagen here: 'Do more' means a small $1.35B pur­chase of Ima­go for Mer­ck

Merck is making an acquisition, the Big Pharma announced before Monday’s opening bell. No, Seagen is not entering the fold, as had been speculated for quarters.

Folding under Merck’s wings will be Pfizer-backed Imago BioSciences. For nearly a year, Merck CEO Rob Davis has been saying the pharma giant needs to “do more” on the business development front after its 2021 $11.5 billion acquisition of Acceleron.

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Paul Perreault, CSL Behring CEO

CSL lands FDA ap­proval for he­mo­phil­ia B gene ther­a­py, sets $3.5M list price

The FDA has approved the world’s first gene therapy for hemophilia B, ushering into the market a treatment that’s historic in both what it promises to do and how much it will cost.

CSL will be marketing the drug, Hemgenix, at a list price of $3.5 million — which sets a new record for the most expensive single-use gene therapy in the US.

In a statement provided to Endpoints News, the Australian company noted that the current costs of treating people with moderate to severe hemophilia B can be significant over a lifetime. By some estimates, healthcare systems could spend more than $20 million per person.

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Elon Musk (GDA via AP Images)

Biggest drug com­pa­nies halt­ed Twit­ter ad buys af­ter Lil­ly in­sulin spoof

Almost all of the drug industry’s biggest advertisers cut their spending on Twitter to zero or near-zero over the last two weeks amid worries about impersonation of their brands by pranksters and the future of the social media company.

Among 18 of the biggest pharmaceutical advertisers in the US market, 12 cut their Twitter ad spending to nothing for the week beginning Nov. 14, according to Pathmatics, which tracks data on prescription drug ad spending as well as general corporate advertising. The list of drugmakers cutting spending to zero includes Merck, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer and others.

Alzheimer’s drug bites the dust; Re­struc­ture, re­struc­ture, re­struc­ture; Land­mark di­a­betes OK; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

Being in the news business can give one a warped sense of time — it feels like quite a while since we published some of these stories below. But next Saturday’s Endpoints Weekly will definitely be shorter, as we take off Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving. We will still have the abbreviated edition in your inbox at the usual time.

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Peter Hecht, Cyclerion CEO

Cy­cle­ri­on board quick­ly nix­es CEO Pe­ter Hecht's un­ortho­dox pitch for low cash re­serves

It’s been less than two months since Cyclerion laid out a new R&D strategy around its lead drug in mitochondrial diseases, one that triggered the company to lay off close to half of its employees and explore licensing deals for the rest of the pipeline. But CEO Peter Hecht apparently has other plans in mind.

Hecht, who led Ironwood for close to 20 years before spinning out Cyclerion, disclosed in an SEC filing Monday that a “newly-formed private company” that he “may have or may acquire an interest” submitted a proposal to Cyclerion the day prior to purchase Cyclerion’s CNS assets, including CY6463 and CY3018 — the top two programs listed in the pipeline.

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Image: Shutterstock

MIT re­searchers re­veal DNA "Paste" tech be­hind lat­est gene edit­ing start­up

MIT scientists have developed a tool that they say can insert large gene sequences where they want in the genome.

In a paper published Thursday in Nature Biotechnology, MIT fellows Omar Abudayyeh, Jonathan Gootenberg and colleagues detail a technology they call PASTE, which they say can potentially be used to insert long strands of DNA and treat genetic diseases caused by many different mutations, such as cystic fibrosis and Leber congenital amaurosis, a rare eye disorder that causes blindness.

J&J's Spra­va­to pulls a PhI­II win against Sero­quel XR in treat­ment-re­sis­tant de­pres­sion

A day before Thanksgiving, J&J’s Janssen has a new cut of Phase III Spravato data to be grateful for.

The pharma giant announced on Wednesday that its nasal spray, also known as esketamine, beat extended-release quetiapine, previously sold by AstraZeneca as Seroquel XR, in treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Of 676 adults, a significantly higher number of patients on Spravato were able to achieve remission and avoid relapse after 32 weeks, according to J&J.

Dermavant Sciences' first consumer TV ad for its Vtama psoriasis med shows people ready for a new topical treatment.

Roivant’s Der­ma­vant de­buts first-ever TV com­mer­cial for pso­ri­a­sis cream Vta­ma

Dermavant Sciences has been marketing its first product, psoriasis med Vtama, to dermatologists for months, but on Tuesday it rolled out its first consumer campaign. The debut DTC effort including a streaming TV commercial encourages patients to a “Topical Uprising” in a nod to Vtama being a topical cream.

In the new commercial, a swell of people discards scarves and jacket coverings, gathering in the street to converge on a pharmacy to demand a steroid-free prescription. A moment of levity follows when a pharmacist says, “You know you can just talk to your doctor, right?” The gathered crowds collectively says, “Oh.”

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