Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., said it completed its tender offer to purchase all outstanding shares of common stock of Five Prime Therapeutics Inc., of South San Francisco, for $38 per share in cash. The acquisition, valued at about $1.9 billion, gives Amgen rights to bemarituzumab, a phase III-ready program in gastric cancer.
Astrazeneca plc, of Cambridge, U.K., said its proposed acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boston, has cleared U.S. Federal Trade Commission review. The deal, which values Alexion at about $39 billion, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.
Bold Therapeutics Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, reported in vitro research conducted by collaborators at the University of British Columbia and Western University showing that BOLD-100 consistently reduced viral concentrations in multiple COVID-19 variants, including the highly prevalent B.1.1.7 variant originally identified in the U.K. The work confirms and expands upon prior research demonstrating that BOLD-100 has strong antiviral activity against COVID-19 in a range of preclinical in vitro models. BOLD-100 is designed to selectively inhibit stress-induced up-regulation of GRP78, a master chaperone protein that plays a critical role in viral replication.
Brooklyn Immunotherapeutics Inc., of Brooklyn, N.Y., said it paid $1 million toward the acquisition of a license for mRNA gene editing and cell therapies technology from Factor Biosciences Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and Novellus Therapeutics Inc., also of Cambridge, and extended through May 21, 2021, its option exercise period for entering a related license agreement with the two firms. If a license agreement is completed, it would allow Brooklyn to utilize an extensively patented process to seek to develop gene edited compounds using mRNA, which preclinical data suggest to be more efficient, non-immunogenic and non-mutagenic, for treatment of several solid tumor and liquid indications, sickle cell anemia, as well as a number of additional inherited disorders. If Brooklyn does not enter the license agreement by May 21, 2021, it will be entitled to be reimbursed for the $1 million payment.
Gigagen Inc., of South San Francisco, a subsidiary of Grifols, said research published in Nature Biotechnology describes its technology for production of a class of antibody drug called recombinant hyperimmune globulins, which include COVID-19 therapy GIGA-2050. The article demonstrates that GIGA-2050 comprises more than 12,000 antibodies against natural SARS CoV-2 variants. Additionally, the publication shows proofs-of-concept for other polyclonal drugs, including a Zika hyperimmune, a high-potency spike-in intravenous immunoglobulin-mixture for primary immune deficiency and a recombinant version of ATG for transplant tolerance. The data also demonstrate the drugs can be produced with exceptionally high batch-to-batch consistency.
The special purpose acquisition company GX Acquisition Corp., of New York, said it is seeking approval from shareholders to amend its charter in a bid to allow for more time to complete a planned merger with Celularity Inc., of Florham, Park, N.J. Plans for the combination were first announced in January and, under GX's current charter, need to be completed by May 23. However, GX's board is concerned there may not be enough time to address SEC comments on the proxy statement/prospectus filed in connection with the transaction by that time. Shareholder support for the charter amendment could extend the date by which GX needs to complete the combination to July 31, it said.
Immutep Ltd., of Sydney, said it received a AU$1.155 million (US$893,603) cash rebate from the Australian Federal Government’s R&D tax incentive program. The cash rebate provided in respect of expenditure incurred on eligible R&D activities conducted in the 2020 fiscal year, mainly related to the company’s TACTI-mel and TACTI-002 clinical study using its lead compound eftilagimod alpha, conducted in Australia. Immutep will apply the funding toward furthering its current active clinical trial programs for eftilagimod alpha, a soluble LAG-3 fusion protein, which is being explored for use in cancer and infectious disease.
Peptron Inc., of Seoul, South Korea, and Qilu Pharmaceutical Ltd., of Jinan, China, said they entered an exclusive licensing agreement for the manufacturing, development and commercialization of Peptron's PAb-001-ADC, an antibody-drug conjugate product containing the anti-MUC1 monoclonal antibody PAb-001, effective as of March 26, 2021. Under the terms, Peptron grants Qilu an exclusive global right and license to develop, manufacture, sell and commercialize PAb-001-ADC for the treatment of cancers. The drug is entering IND-enabling studies and has potential in multiple solid and hematological malignancies.
Portage Biotech Inc., a Westport, Conn.-based immuno-oncology company, plans to voluntarily delist its common shares from the Canadian Securities Exchange. "Since Portage's shares began trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market in February 2021, the majority of active trading has shifted to Nasdaq," the company said. Nasdaq-listed shares in the company fell 7.25% to $26.99 on April 16.
Relay Therapeutics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., is buying Waltham, Mass.-based ZebiAI Inc. for $85 million up front, composed of $20 million in cash and $65 million in Relay common stock (NASDAQ:RLAY). Relay called ZebiAI "a pioneer in applying massive experimental DNA encoded library data sets to power machine learning for drug discovery." Stockholders in privately held ZebiAI are also eligible to receive up to an additional $85 million in platform and program-related milestone payments, payable in Relay common stock. Additionally, if Relay enters partnering or collaboration agreements related to ZebiAI's platform, ZebiAI stockholders are eligible to receive 10% of the payments received within the next three years, up to an aggregate cap of $100 million.
Zogenix Inc., of Emeryville, Calif., reported findings from a study designed to assess caregivers’ perspectives on long-term seizure- and non-seizure-related benefits of Fintepla (fenfluramine) in patients with Dravet syndrome at the American Academy of Neurology meeting. Among the data presented include the most commonly reported non-seizure-related improvements in the areas of cognition (76%), alertness (68%), education (65%), problem solving (56%), speech (48%), sleep quality (47%), motor function (46%) and mood (41%).