Lanny Sun, Full-Life Technologies CEO

With ops span­ning Bel­gium and Chi­na, Full-Life inks $245M buy­out to beef up ra­dio­phar­ma pipeline

From the day they in­cor­po­rat­ed Full-Life Tech­nolo­gies just over a year ago, Lan­ny Sun and his co-founders knew they want­ed to in-li­cense and ac­quire promis­ing ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal pro­grams that would fit right in­to the sup­ply chain and lo­gis­tics net­work they’re build­ing.

They’ve now found the tar­get. Full-Life has put to­geth­er a $245 mil­lion deal to buy out Fo­cus-X Ther­a­peu­tics, a tiny start­up work­ing out of New Jer­sey.

As Sun told it, the main draw of the deal is a pair of lead pro­grams that Fo­cus-X brings to the ta­ble: a pep­tide tar­get­ing PS­MA (prostate spe­cif­ic mem­brane anti­gen) for metasta­t­ic cas­tra­tion re­sis­tant prostate can­cer; and an­oth­er hit­ting NTSR-1 (neu­rotensin re­cep­tor type 1) for pan­cre­at­ic can­cer.

“We’ve got a great busi­ness de­vel­op­ment team” led by CFO Julie Wu, he added, “and their en­tire job is to en­sure that we meet with low-pro­file peo­ple who are do­ing great sci­ence.”

While both pro­grams from Fo­cus-X are still pre­clin­i­cal, just like the rest of Full-Life’s pipeline, they are rel­a­tive­ly more ad­vanced. Work­ing with in­ves­ti­ga­tors in Chi­na, Fo­cus-X has an imag­ing study for the PS­MA pro­gram un­der­way in Chi­na.

Hong-hoi Ting

Sun ex­pects to start clin­i­cal tri­als for those can­di­dates in 2023, with six more pro­grams to come from Fo­cus-X.

The ven­ture in­vestor and biotech en­tre­pre­neur said he be­came in­ter­est­ed in ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals as he watched the as­cent of com­pa­nies like Ad­vanced Ac­cel­er­a­tor Ap­pli­ca­tions and En­do­cyte. The idea of us­ing nu­clear pow­er — guid­ed specif­i­cal­ly to tu­mors by binders that hit can­cer-spe­cif­ic pro­teins — is “re­fresh­ing.” And the clin­i­cal da­ta have been “game chang­ing.”

Nicholas Wong

“I love the sim­plic­i­ty of the modal­i­ty,” he said.

Gor­dian Ven­tures, where he’s a part­ner and chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer, helped launch the com­pa­ny and Cheng­wei Cap­i­tal pro­vid­ed the $10 mil­lion seed round. Se­quoia Chi­na and a slate of oth­er Chi­nese in­vestors in­fused $37 mil­lion more ear­li­er this year.

Ravi Chari

Af­ter bring­ing in­dus­try vet­er­an Hong-hoi Ting and Nicholas Wong on board as co-founders, Sun round­ed out the team with Wu as CFO and Philippe van Put as gen­er­al man­ag­er in Eu­rope. CSO Ravi Chari is an ex­pert in an­ti­body-drug con­ju­gates, a space that Sun be­lieves that ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals can one day draw par­al­lels to.

High-pro­file in­vest­ments from No­var­tis, Bay­er and a num­ber of VC shops that have backed oth­er star­tups clear­ly share the ex­cite­ment. The biggest pain point, ac­cord­ing to Sun, lies in sup­ply and lo­gis­tics, which is par­tic­u­lar­ly chal­leng­ing with some­thing with such a short shelf life.

De­pend­ing on which source you con­sult, he not­ed, the cur­rent sup­ply-de­mand ra­tio for ra­dioiso­topes is some­where be­tween one to 50 or one to 100. And even when a drug­mak­er se­cures the sup­ply, it must ef­fi­cient­ly get the ac­tini­um to a clin­i­cal site — and one day, com­mer­cial sites — with­in 9.9 days, which is the half-life of ac­tini­um.

“So just con­stant op­er­a­tional bur­den, right, or op­er­a­tional needs of pur­chase and sup­ply, and pur­chase and sup­ply. As you can imag­ine, once you get to Phase II, Phase III or com­mer­cial, I mean, you’re look­ing at hope­ful­ly, hun­dreds of sites that you’re do­ing this every six to 10 days,” he said.

Full-Life is head­quar­tered in Shang­hai, where the crew han­dles re­search as well as ad­min­is­tra­tive, fi­nance and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment func­tions. But the plan is to pro­duce ra­dioiso­topes and make ra­di­oli­gand ther­a­pies out of them in Bel­gium, where it cur­rent­ly has around 15 full-timers, and is build­ing a pro­duc­tion and lo­gis­tics cen­ter there.

“If you look at ra­dioiso­tope pro­duc­tion, I mean, Bel­gium is re­al­ly a pow­er­house,” Sun said, point­ing to the con­gre­ga­tion of mul­ti­ple top pro­duc­ers and a whole ecosys­tem of ear­ly-stage dis­cov­ery and clin­i­cal trans­la­tion.

The goal is to be mak­ing ac­tini­um in-house around 2024 to 2025, even if Full-Life will main­tain some re­la­tion­ship with ven­dors, es­pe­cial­ly when it comes to oth­er types of ra­dioiso­topes.

Am­gen lays off about 300 work­ers, cit­ing 'in­dus­try head­wind­s'

Amgen has laid off about 300 employees, a company spokesperson confirmed to Endpoints News via email Sunday night.

Employees posted to LinkedIn in recent days about layoffs hitting Amgen last week. The Thousand Oaks, CA-based biopharma, which employs about 24,000 people, said the reduction “mainly” impacted US-based workers on its commercial team.

Drug developers of all sizes, including small upstarts and pharma giants, have let employees go in recent months as the biopharma market drags through a quarters-long winter doldrum.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

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

Bob Bradway, Amgen CEO (Stephen Lam/Reuters)

Am­gen launch­es the first US Hu­mi­ra biosim­i­lar at two dif­fer­ent list prices

The bizarre dynamics of the US prescription drug market were on full display once again this morning as Amgen announced that it would launch the first US biosimilar for Humira, the best-selling drug of all time, at two completely different list prices.

One price for Amgen’s Amjevita (adalimumab-atto) will be 55% below the current Humira list price, which is about $84,000 per year, and another at a list price 5% below the current Humira list price, but presumably (pharma companies don’t disclose rebates) with high rebates to attract PBMs and payers.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 157,800+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Dirk Thye, Quince Therapeutics CEO

Af­ter piv­ot­ing from Alzheimer's to bone con­di­tions, biotech piv­ots again — and halves its head­count

When troubled public biotech Cortexyme bought a private startup named Novosteo and handed the keys to its executive team, the company — which changed its name to Quince Therapeutics — said it would shift its focus from an unorthodox Alzheimer’s approach to Novosteo’s bone-targeting drug platform.

Less than a year later, Quince is pivoting again.

The biotech has decided to out-license its bone-targeting drug platform and its lead drug, NOV004, and instead look for clinical-stage programs to in-license or acquire, according to a press release.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 157,800+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Credit: Shutterstock

New York City in­vests $20M in­to biotech 'in­no­va­tion space' at the Brook­lyn Navy Yard

New York City is investing $20 million in biotech this year in the form of a 50,000-square-foot “innovation space” at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, complete with offices, research laboratories and events and programming space to grow biotech startups and companies.

Mayor Eric Adams said during his State of The City Address last Thursday that there will be an “emphasis” on making more opportunities for women and people of color to further diversify the industry. The City first reported the news.

Boehringer In­gel­heim touts pre­ven­tion re­sults in rarest form of pso­ri­a­sis

Boehringer Ingelheim uncorked some positive results suggesting that Spevigo can help prevent flare-ups in patients with a severe form of psoriasis, months after the drug was approved to treat existing flares.

Spevigo, an IL-36R antibody also known as spesolimab, met its primary and a key secondary endpoint in the Phase IIb EFFISAYIL 2 trial in patients with generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP), Boehringer announced on Monday. While the company is keeping the hard numbers under wraps until later this year, it said in a news release that it anticipates sharing the results with regulators.

As­traZeneca, No­vo Nordisk and Sanofi score 340B-re­lat­ed ap­peals court win over HHS

AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi won an appeals court win on Monday, as the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit found that the companies cannot be forced to provide 340B-discounted drugs purchased by hospitals from an unlimited number of community and specialty pharmacies.

“Legal duties do not spring from silence,” the decision says as the court makes clear that the federal government’s interpretation of the “supposed requirement” that the 340B program compels drugmakers to supply their discounted drugs to an unlimited number of contract pharmacies is not correct, noting:

Ap­peals court toss­es J&J's con­tro­ver­sial 'Texas two-step' bank­rupt­cy case

A US appeals court has ruled against Johnson & Johnson’s use of bankruptcy to deal with mounting talc lawsuits, deciding that doing so would “create a legal blind spot.”

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a previous bankruptcy court decision on Monday, calling for the dismissal of a Chapter 11 filing by J&J’s subsidiary LTL Management.

Faced with more than 38,000 lawsuits alleging its talc-based products caused cancer, J&J spun its talc liabilities into a separate company called LTL Management back in October 2021 and filed for bankruptcy, a controversial move colloquially referred to as a “Texas two-step” bankruptcy. Claimants argued that the strategy is a misuse of the US bankruptcy code — and on Monday, a panel of judges agreed.

Charles Riv­er se­cures $50M ac­qui­si­tion of drug dis­cov­ery tech com­pa­ny

Over the past several years, Massachusetts-based contractor Charles River Laboratories has been busy on the M&A front, with the latest, $50 million buyout coming Monday for a provider of high-throughput screening solutions for discovery research.

Chicago-based SAMDI Tech will now be folded into Charles River’s discovery and safety assessment division, Charles River announced.

The $50 million in cash is for the 80% of SAMDI that Charles River didn’t previously own. Other financial details on the deal were not disclosed.

Chad Mirkin, Flashpoint co-founder

‘The field is at a flash­point’: New Chad Mirkin-found­ed biotech hopes to make more ef­fec­tive can­cer vac­cines

Following the success of the mRNA Covid vaccines, cancer vaccines are seeing renewed interest after years of middling results. But a group of researchers suggests that more attention needs to be paid not to what goes into those vaccines, but how the parts are put together.

In a recent paper published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, researchers led by Northwestern University’s Chad Mirkin describe how the placement of different antigens in a cancer vaccine impacts its efficacy. The paper builds on past work done by Mirkin’s lab that suggests the structure, or how the parts of a vaccine are arranged, impact a vaccine’s efficacy, not just its components.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 157,800+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.