Tillman Gerngross, Repligen

Till­man Gern­gross project out of Dart­mouth Col­lege ac­quired by Repli­gen

Hot off of his biotech uni­corn land­ing on the Nas­daq, an­oth­er project from the lab of Dart­mouth Col­lege en­gi­neer­ing pro­fes­sor Till­man Gern­gross has made news, as it’s been ac­quired by Repli­gen.

Avi­tide will now be owned by Repli­gen, the com­pa­ny an­nounced last Thurs­day, in a move made to boost its pro­teins busi­ness.

The deal moves Repli­gen in­to the world of affin­i­ty resin pu­rifi­ca­tion for gene ther­a­py, and com­ple­ments an es­tab­lished part­ner­ship with Nav­i­go GmbH, the com­pa­ny said in the press re­lease. Avi­tide de­vel­ops pu­rifi­ca­tion tech­nol­o­gy for pro­grams rang­ing from pre­clin­i­cal to com­mer­cial prod­ucts. Ear­li­er this month, Navio and Repli­gen col­lab­o­rat­ed to de­vel­op a lig­and that helps over­come chal­lenges as­so­ci­at­ed with the pu­rifi­ca­tion of pH sen­si­tive an­ti­bod­ies.

The deal is good for $150 mil­lion, $75 mil­lion of which is cash, while the oth­er half is based on earnest pay­ments over the next three years. Avi­tide is ex­pect­ed to bring in about $10 mil­lion in rev­enue in 2022, and the move is ex­pect­ed to be com­plet­ed dur­ing Q3 of 2021.

“We are ex­cit­ed to have the en­tire Avi­tide team join Repli­gen and look for­ward to ac­cel­er­at­ing the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of Avi­tide’s dis­cov­ery plat­form,” Repli­gen CEO Tony Hunt said in a press re­lease. “To­geth­er, we an­tic­i­pate bring­ing many new prod­ucts to mar­ket over the com­ing years, di­rect­ly ad­dress­ing the grow­ing need for affin­i­ty so­lu­tions in gene ther­a­py and oth­er emerg­ing modal­i­ties.”

War­ren Kett

Gern­gross and for­mer grad­u­ate stu­dents Kevin Isett who is now the pres­i­dent and CEO of Avi­tide and War­ren Kett found­ed the com­pa­ny in 2013 to de­vel­op pu­rifi­ca­tion tech­nol­o­gy. The com­pa­ny has been based out of the Dart­mouth Re­gion­al Tech­nol­o­gy Cen­ter in Lebanon, NH and has con­tracts with 18 dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies. This is Gern­gross’ sec­ond big sale, as he sold Gly­coFi, a com­pa­ny that us­es yeast cells to gen­er­ate hu­man pro­teins to treat au­toim­mune dis­ease, in 2006 to Mer­ck.

In 2020, Gern­gross cre­at­ed Ada­gio Ther­a­peu­tics to help de­vel­op an­ti­bod­ies for the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic. It went pub­lic last Au­gust, and be­fore the mar­ket opened Thurs­day, was list­ed for $44.92 on the Nas­daq. The com­pa­ny’s foun­da­tion is that the pan­dem­ic will nev­er re­al­ly end,

Back in 2017, Repli­gen merged with Spec­trum, which spe­cial­izes in fil­tra­tion and pu­rifi­ca­tion, for $359 mil­lion in cash and stock. Mean­while, a year be­fore that, Avi­tide an­nounced that it had com­plet­ed a Se­ries D fi­nanc­ing round, af­ter a $7.6 mil­lion round was not enough to take the com­pa­ny in­to prof­itabil­i­ty.

Avi­tide won’t be mov­ing down to Boston any­time soon, as the com­pa­ny will re­main in New Hamp­shire, a big win for the state’s biotech scene. Spokes­woman Son­dra New­man told the Val­ley News that the site will re­main ‘busi­ness as usu­al’ and all of the cur­rent em­ploy­ees will have the op­tion to stay on.

“We have no plans to close or con­sol­i­date op­er­a­tions,” she said in an email to the New Hamp­shire news­pa­per. “The cur­rent team and all em­ploy­ees are ex­pect­ed to stay on (all will have an of­fer to re­main with Repli­gen).”

Biotech and Big Phar­ma: A blue­print for a suc­cess­ful part­ner­ship

Strategic partnerships have long been an important contributor to how drugs are discovered and developed. For decades, big pharma companies have been forming alliances with biotech innovators to increase R&D productivity, expand geographical reach and better manage late-stage commercialization costs.

Noël Brown, Managing Director and Head of Biotechnology Investment Banking, and Greg Wiederrecht, Ph.D., Managing Director in the Global Healthcare Investment Banking Group at RBC Capital Markets, are no strangers to the importance of these tie-ups. Noël has over 20 years of investment banking experience in the industry. Before moving to the banking world in 2015, Greg was the Vice President and Head of External Scientific Affairs (ESA) at Merck, where he was responsible for the scientific assessment of strategic partnership opportunities worldwide.

No­var­tis' sec­ond at­tempt to repli­cate a stun­ning can­cer re­sult falls flat

Novartis’ hopes of turning one of the most surprising trial data points of the last decade into a lung cancer drug has taken another setback.

The Swiss pharma announced Monday that its IL-1 inhibitor canakinumab did not significantly extend the lives or slow the disease progression of patients with previously untreated locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer when compared to standard of-care alone.

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How Chi­na turned the ta­bles on bio­phar­ma's glob­al deal­mak­ing

Fenlai Tan still gets chills thinking about the darkest day of his life.

Three out of eight lung cancer patients who received a tyrosine kinase inhibitor developed by his company, Betta Pharma, died in the span of a month. Tan, the chief medical officer, was summoned to Peking Union Medical College Hospital, where the head of the clinical trial department told him that the trial investigators would be conducting an autopsy to see if the patients had died of the disease — they were all very sick by the time they enrolled — or of interstitial lung disease, a deadly side effect tied to the TKI class that’s been reported in Japan.

Ugur Sahin, AP Images

As pres­sure to share tech­nol­o­gy mounts, BioN­Tech se­lects Rwan­da for lat­est vac­cine site

BioNTech’s first mRNA-based vaccine site in Africa will call Rwanda home, and construction is set to start in mid-2022, the company announced Tuesday at a public health forum.

The German company signed a memorandum of understanding, after a meeting between Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Daniel Ngamije, Senegal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Aïssata Tall Sall, and senior BioNTech officials. Construction plans have been finalized, and assets have been ordered. The agreement will help bring end-to-end manufacturing to Africa, and as many as several hundred million doses of vaccines per year, though initial production will be more modest.

Vas Narasimhan, Novartis CEO (Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

With San­doz con­tin­u­ing to drag on No­var­tis, Vas Narasimhan says he may fi­nal­ly be ready for a sale or spin­off

After years of rehab work aimed at getting Sandoz in fighting trim to compete in a market overshadowed by declining prices, CEO Vas Narasimhan took a big step toward possibly selling or spinning off the giant generic drug player.

The pharma giant flagged plans to launch a strategic review of the business in its Q3 update, noting that “options range from retaining the business to separation.”

Analysts have been poking and prodding Novartis execs for years now as Narasimhan attempted to remodel a business that has been a drag on its performance during most of his reign in the CEO suite. The former R&D chief has made it well known that he’s devoted to the innovative meds side of the business, where they see the greatest potential for growth.

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No­var­tis dumps AveX­is pro­gram for Rett syn­drome af­ter fail­ing re­peat round of pre­clin­i­cal test­ing

Say goodbye to AVXS-201.

The Rett syndrome gene therapy drug made by AveXis — the biotech that was bought, kept separate, then renamed and finally absorbed by Novartis into its R&D division — has been dropped by the biopharma.

In Novartis’ third quarter financial report, the pharma had found that preclinical data did not support development of the gene therapy into IND-enabling trials and beyond. The announcement comes a year after Novartis told the Rett Society how excited it was by the drug — and its potential benefits and uses.

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Peter Nell, Mammoth Biosciences CBO

UP­DAT­ED: Jen­nifer Doud­na spin­out inks a Mam­moth CRISPR deal with Ver­tex worth near­ly $700M

When a company gets its start in gene editing pioneer Jennifer Doudna’s lab, it’s bound to make headlines. But three years in, the fanfare still hasn’t died down for Mammoth Biosciences. Now, the Brisbane, CA-based company is cheering on its first major R&D pact.

Mammoth unveiled a nearly $700 million deal with Vertex on Tuesday morning, good for the development of in vivo gene therapies for two mystery diseases. The stars of the show are Mammoth’s ultra-small CRISPR systems, including two Cas enzymes licensed from Doudna’s lab over the past couple years, Cas14 and Casɸ.

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Hamza Suria, AnaptysBio CEO

The biotech be­hind Glax­o­SmithK­line's PD-1 just scored a $250M cash deal for roy­al­ties

With Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb still dominating the PD-(L)1 space and the threat of lower-cost options coming from behind, is there still room for GlaxoSmithKline’s checkpoint inhibitor — the seventh to market — to make billions? For Sagard Healthcare Royalty Partners, the answer is yes.

Sagard has plumped down $250 million in cash to buy out the 8% royalty AnaptysBio owns on Jemperli sales below $1 billion.

FDA is much worse than its reg­u­la­to­ry peers at proac­tive­ly dis­clos­ing da­ta, re­searchers find

The European Medicines Agency and Health Canada continue to outpace the FDA when it comes to proactively releasing data on drugs and biologics the agency has reviewed, leading to further questions of why the American agency can’t be more transparent.

In a study published recently in the Journal of Law, Medicine, & Ethics, Yale and other academic lawyers and researchers found that between 2016 and April 2021, the EMA proactively released data for 123 unique medical products, while Health Canada proactively released data for 73 unique medical products between 2019 and April 2021. What’s more, the EMA and Health Canada didn’t proactively release the same data on the same drugs. In stark contrast, the FDA in 2018 only proactively disclosed data supporting one drug that was approved that year.

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