Amid negotiations with the U.S. government for smallpox drug Tembexa (brincidofovir), Chimerix Inc. is selling the recently approved medical countermeasure to biodefense specialist Emergent Biosolutions Inc. for a $225 million up-front payment. Chimerix CEO Mike Sherman hailed the move as making “great strategic sense” for both companies and providing Chimerix a solid balance sheet to support its oncology pipeline. Investors, however, were less enthused, sending the company’s shares (NASDAQ:CMRX) falling 60% at midday, as the company also reported FDA feedback indicating lead oncology program ONC-201 might not be eligible for accelerated approval, as previously expected.

Valneva shares fall after Europe scraps order for 60M COVID shots

Valneva SE’s share price plummeted May 16 after the European Commission decided to terminate an advance purchase agreement for millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate VLA-2001 because of delays in development. The company’s shares (Paris:VLA) fell more 19% to €9.67 (US$10.04) after the company said it would reconsider its financial guidance for 2022.

Apollo pledges up to €1 billion to European VC Sofinnova

Apollo Global Management Inc. is taking a minority equity interest in European life sciences venture capital firm Sofinnova Partners, pledging to commit of up to €1 billion (US$1.04 billion) in managed capital to Sofinnova’s investment coffers. The move will “meaningfully increase” Apollo’s presence in life sciences, the companies said, while boosting the growth of Sofinnova.

Kriya brings in a $270M series C as it hones its gene therapy pipeline

Kriya Therapeutics Inc. has raised a $270 million series C financing to further develop its pipeline of gene therapies for treating cancer, ophthalmological problems, and rare and chronic diseases. The company has greatly expanded its employee roster since its $80 million series A in May 2020 and scaled its learning-enabled tech and cloud computing abilities. The CEO is co-founder Shankar Ramaswamy, a former Axovant Sciences Inc. executive. He is the brother of Roivant Sciences founder and CEO Vivek Ramaswamy. The financing was led by Patient Square Capital, with participation from Bluebird Ventures, Cam Capital, Dexcel Pharma, Foresite Capital, JDRF T1D Fund, Lightswitch Capital, Narya Capital, QVT and Transhuman Capital.

Astrazeneca widens hunt for epigenetic drugs in second Proteros deal

Astrazeneca plc has signed up for more of the heavy-duty structure-based drug discovery services Proteros Biostructures GmbH specializes in, by signing an extension to their existing collaboration agreement. Not quite 12 months ago, the two firms entered an early stage discovery deal focused on finding small-molecule inhibitors to an undisclosed epigenetic cancer target, which was worth up to €62 million (US$64.6 million) in research, development and commercial milestones, plus tiered royalties on potential product sales.

Also in the news

Abbvie, Affimed, Akebia, Alvotech, Angion, Aprea, Aruvant, Astazeneca, Atamyo, Athenex, Atrin, Atyr, Avillion, Bioage, Biofrontera, Blade, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol Myers Squibb, C4, Catamaran, Cellectis, Celmatix, Codexis, Cugene, Eli Lilly, Elicio, Faron, Galera, Gedeon Ritcher, Graphite, Immunicum, Inhibrx, Inmagene, Inventiva, Jaguar, Junshi, Kriya, Merck, Mitsubishi, Neoleukin, Orna, Orphazyme, Otsuka, Pharnext, Phasebio, Phio, Point, Precision, Prota, Puretech, Recode, Recordati, Respirerx, Rocket, Sanofi, Scilex, Scpharmaceuticals, Sifi, Som, Surrozen, Synairgen, Travere, Urovant, Valneva, Zenas, Zentalis