Generate Biomedicines Inc.’s deal with Amgen Inc. provides the former with $50 million up front plus later payments that could put the value of the pact at about $1.9 billion, as the pair goes about discovering and creating protein therapeutics for five clinical targets. The tie-up ranges across several therapeutic areas and multiple modalities. Amgen has an option to nominate up to five more programs at added cost, and will take part in a future financing round for Generate.

European biotech investment up 20% to $15.2B in 2021

DUBLIN – A strong performance in the final quarter of 2021 pushed equity investment in European biotech firms engaged in discovering and developing therapeutics to a new record of $15.193 billion, a 19.8% increase on last year’s total of $12.682 billion. European biotech firms have now set a new investment benchmark for each of the past five years.

Care of delivery: Entos strikes a $450M deal with Lilly

Drug delivery is at the heart of Entos Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s new deal with Eli Lilly and Co. Entos' platform uses a proteolipid vehicle formulation to deliver molecular payloads, intact and unmodified, directly into target cells. Lilly acquired exclusive rights to the platform for researching, developing and commercializing candidates that target the central and peripheral nervous systems. Indianapolis-based Lilly will pay Entos $50 million, a figure that includes an equity investment. Entos is also eligible for up to $400 million in developmental and commercial milestone payments for each program in the collaboration. Royalties also are part of the package for Entos. It’s the second recent major deal for Entos. In November, the company agreed to create candidates for Biomarin Pharmaceutical Inc.

Onk closes $21.5M series A for cord blood-derived NK cell therapy

LONDON – Natural killer (NK) cell therapy specialist Onk Therapeutics Ltd. has raised $21.5 million in a series A, enabling it to move three lead programs into proof-of-concept animal testing and to progress manufacturing and scale-up of its cord blood-derived cells. At the same time, the company will apply its expertise and broad intellectual property in the NK field to optimize cord blood and induced pluripotent stem cell NK cells for out-licensing to partners to add their own T-cell engagers. Closing the series A “really gives us an opportunity to move through some really important value drivers for the company, many of which will be as soon as the first half of this year,” said Chris Nowers, CEO.

3Sbio licenses out global rights of PD-1 inhibitor to Syncromune

3Sbio Inc.’s subsidiary, Sunshine Guojian Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., has licensed out the global rights of its anti-PD-1 antibody candidate, 609-A, to Florida-based Syncromune Inc. in a deal the company said is worth up to “hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars,” and includes an up-front cash payment, milestone payments and royalties based on total sales. “609-A is the first innovative drug product of 3Sbio to go overseas,” said Lou Jing, chairman of 3Sbio. “This transaction will not only bring cash flow and income to the company, but it will also have a positive impact on 609-A’s future cooperation with foreign countries and domestic clinical research and registration approval,”

US CDC endorses ACIP booster guidance

Within hours of a Jan. 5 vote on COVID-19 boosters for adolescents, U.S. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky endorsed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendation that all adolescents aged 12-17 years should receive a booster dose five months after their primary series. The recommendation applies to the Pfizer Inc.-Biontech SE COVID-19 vaccine as it’s the only one authorized in the U.S. for use in adolescents. The recommendation follows the FDA’s Jan. 3 decision to expand its emergency use authorization (EUA) for the vaccine to be used as a booster in adolescents. With the CDC also recommending a third dose for children, aged 5 to 11, who are immunocompromised, the next step likely will be boosters for that age group. Meanwhile, Pfizer and Biontech continue to work on the data needed for an EUA for the vaccine in babies and toddlers.

Antabio joins French consortium to tackle antibiotic resistance, as US mulls new funding model

It’s been seven years since economist Jim O’Neill began his review on antimicrobial resistance, commissioned by the U.K. government to find ways to encourage development of badly-needed new antibiotics. Since then, the pandemic has produced radical changes in society and forced pharma to refocus its R&D priorities at short notice. But COVID-19 has also raised awareness about the devastating effect that rogue pathogens can pose to society and there are now serious moves to prevent a global catastrophe caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria.

PTO stands up pilot program for patent subject matter eligibility

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has been scrambling to adjust to recent developments in case law for patent subject matter eligibility, and the latest PTO response is a pilot program for new patent applications. Under the pilot, filers would have additional time to respond to examiner questions about subject matter eligibility, a measure that may help makers of drugs, devices and diagnostics secure the intellectual property protection that is vital to their continued survival.

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