Lisa Sellers, Vector Laboratories

Vec­tor Labs de­cou­ples from Mar­a­vai, pop­ping up shop with pri­vate cap­i­tal, new CEO on board

Vec­tor Lab­o­ra­to­ries has been in busi­ness since the 1970s, de­vel­op­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­tein de­tec­tion to help study tis­sues and cells. Af­ter Tues­day, the team will do so as a stand-alone com­pa­ny flush with pri­vate cap­i­tal and head­ed by a new CEO.

Vec­tor an­nounced a $124 mil­lion cash buy­out backed by pri­vate eq­ui­ty firm Thomp­son Street Cap­i­tal Part­ners on Tues­day to fund its ex­pan­sion in pro­tein de­tec­tion. The mon­ey will help Vec­tor with fu­ture merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions, and help com­mer­cial­ize its la­bel­ing and de­tec­tion tech­nol­o­gy in its pipeline.

Be­fore, the com­pa­ny was a part of Mar­a­vai Life­Sciences, which ac­quired the group in 2016.

New CEO Lisa Sell­ers comes in­to the role af­ter be­ing a part of Vec­tor for the past year. She comes from 10X Ge­nomics, where she was the VP of mar­ket­ing, and be­fore that, Ther­mo Fish­er Sci­en­tif­ic, where she served as the se­nior di­rec­tor of mol­e­c­u­lar di­ag­nos­tics li­cens­ing. She spent years work­ing with poly­merase chain re­ac­tion, and has watched as her years of work on the tech­nol­o­gy has gone main­stream, as PCR tests are now a house­hold name, thanks to the pan­dem­ic.

The buy­out gives Vec­tor the flex­i­bil­i­ty of a well-fund­ed start­up, with an es­tab­lished pipeline in its back pock­et, that’s known to aca­d­e­mics and re­searchers al­ready.

“There’s go­ing to be so much more in­no­va­tion in this space in the next 50 years,” Sell­ers said. “Be­cause our prod­ucts are trust­ed, they’re al­ready in­te­grat­ed in­to (our cus­tomers) com­mer­cial prod­ucts …We’re not leav­ing our core, but we’re go­ing to in­vest in a great op­er­a­tional part­ner.”

In a state­ment, Thomp­son Street said:

We’re de­light­ed to have sup­port­ed Lisa and her team through this trans­ac­tion. The pro­tein de­tec­tion mar­ket has nev­er been so im­por­tant and in such de­mand. This is why we be­lieve that Vec­tor Lab­o­ra­to­ries is bet­ter po­si­tioned as a stand-alone pri­vate com­pa­ny. Now, it can ful­ly fo­cus on de­vel­op­ing and com­mer­cial­iz­ing new prod­ucts at a ve­loc­i­ty that can match the pace of de­mand in this mar­ket.

Why it Works: Man­u­fac­tur­ing a Vac­cine in a Mul­ti-Prod­uct Fa­cil­i­ty.

COVID-19 launched the pharmaceutical industry to the frontline in the battle against the fast-spreading global pandemic. The goal: distribute a safe, effective vaccine as quickly as possible. Major players in the vaccine market needed to partner with contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) to achieve the goal of mass vaccine quantities under expedited timelines. With CDMOs stepping up to play a critical role in the vaccine manufacturing process, multi-product CDMO facilities took the spotlight. Partnerships quickly formed as the race to save lives and fight a pandemic was on.

Habib Dable, Acceleron CEO

Days of heat­ed ru­mors cul­mi­nate in a re­port that Ac­celeron is in ad­vanced buy­out talks

Days of frothy rumors about possible M&A discussions at Acceleron were capped late Friday with a Bloomberg report asserting that the biotech company is in advanced talks for an $11 billion buyout deal.

Bloomberg was unable to identify any bidders in the deal, but speculation has been running rampant that the surging value of Acceleron stock had to be the result of leaks around the auction of the company. As of early Monday morning, we’re still awaiting the final word.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 118,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Merck CEO Rob Davis

Mer­ck emerges as lead bid­der in po­ten­tial Ac­celeron buy­out with deal pos­si­ble this week — re­port

With rumors swirling about a potential buyout of biotech Acceleron and its lead PAH drug sotatercept, market watchers have been keeping close tabs on industry movers and shakers due up for an expensive bolt-on. According to a new report, it appears Merck may be the one.

Merck is in “advanced talks” on a deal to acquire Cambridge, MA-based Acceleron in what previous reports pegged as a potential $11 billion buyout, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. A deal could come as early as this week, according to the Journal.

Alexander Lefterov/Endpoints News

The coro­n­avirus vac­cine that the world for­got could still help save it

Back at the beginning of the pandemic — back when we still called the virus “novel” and a single case in Washington state could make headlines — there emerged the story of the coronavirus vaccine that the world forgot.

It was an allegory for our pandemic ill-preparedness. At a time when the world had been caught so flat-footed, there were a pair of scientists who had seen the crisis coming, lab-coated Cassandras with an antidote if only the world had listened sooner.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Safe­ty fears force Pfiz­er to change piv­otal DMD gene ther­a­py tri­al pro­to­col

As one of the biggest players in an increasingly packed gene therapy space, Pfizer has taken an early lead over specialists like Sarepta in taking a Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) candidate into late-stage testing. But new safety fears have led Pfizer to scale back that trial, cutting out patients with certain genetic mutations.

Pfizer has amended its enrollment protocol for a Phase III test for gene therapy fordadistrogene movaparvovec in DMD after investigators flagged severe side effects tied to specific mutations, according to a letter the drugmaker sent to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, a patient advocacy group.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 118,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEO (John Thys, Pool via AP Images)

Covid-19 roundup: Pfiz­er/BioN­Tech sub­mit vac­cine da­ta to FDA for younger chil­dren; Doc­tors kept pre­scrib­ing hy­drox­y­chloro­quine

Pfizer and BioNTech said Tuesday they submitted to FDA positive data from a Phase II/III trial of their Covid-19 vaccine in children aged 5 to less than 12 years old.

A formal EUA submission for the vaccine in these children is expected to follow “in the coming weeks,” the companies said in a statement.

The trial of 2,268 healthy participants aged 5 to less than 12 years old showed the vaccine was safe and elicited robust neutralizing antibody responses using a two-dose regimen of 10 μg doses, which is one-third the dose that’s administered to adults.

From left to right: Mark Springel, Kristina Wang, Lin Ao, Soufiane Aboulhouda

George Church, his stu­dents, and top VCs go na­tion­wide with a biotech train­ing camp

One night last fall, Floris Engelhardt sat down in her Boston apartment and logged onto a Zoom call, armed with a comic and a vague idea about starting a biotech.

Engelhardt was joining a student-run “match night.” A postdoc at MIT’s Bathe BioNanoLab, where researchers use DNA and RNA like Lego blocks for nanometer-sized structures, Engelhardt wanted to find real-world applications for her work. She sketched out — literally — a plan to use DNA origami, a decade-old technique for precisely folding DNA, to make therapies.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 118,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Cyril Marcilhacy/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sanofi calls it quits on mR­NA Covid-19 shots, scrap­ping vac­cine from $3.2B Trans­late Bio buy­out

Sanofi is throwing in the towel on mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccines.

The French drugmaker will halt development on its unmodified mRNA Covid-19 shot despite what it said were positive Phase I/II results, a spokesperson told Endpoints News on Tuesday morning. Sanofi said the reason it’s stopping the Covid-19 mRNA program, developed in partnership with its new $3.2 billion acquisition Translate Bio, is because the market is too crowded.

Peter Marks (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP Images)

Tur­moil at CBER: Pe­ter Marks grabs con­trol of FDA's Of­fice of Vac­cines ahead of 2 key ca­reer leader de­par­tures

FDA’s top vaccine official Peter Marks is pulling the plug on a months-long transition for two top career vaccine officials who abruptly called it quits in late August.

Marion Gruber, director of the FDA’s Office of Vaccines Research & Review and 32-year veteran of the agency, her deputy director Phil Krause, announced their departures and then raised concerns with Covid-19 booster shots ahead of and during a recent Covid-19 booster vaccine advisory committee.