GSR Ventures, a venture firm focused on early stage digital health companies, forecasts a much brighter investment picture for 2023 following a hard reset in 2022, said GSR Partner Sunny Kumar in an interview with BioWorld at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.
Upcoming catalysts from Annexon Biosciences Inc. put some joy into shares as the firm talked up its prospects during the recent J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, where attendees heard Jan. 8 about the news ahead with C1q protein complex inhibitor ANX-005 in Huntington’s disease (HD) as well as progress in Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), and more. The stock (NASDAQ:ANNX) enjoyed a 43% stock boost in the days after JPM, rising from $4.79 on Jan 8 to $6.84 on Jan. 13.
An already-intrigued Wall Street appreciated Relay Therapeutics Inc.’s Jan. 10 update during the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference (JPM), where the company detailed progress across its development efforts, including those with RLY-4008, an oral small-molecule inhibitor of fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2), in the works for patients with FGFR2-altered cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) and other cancers. Shares of the Cambridge, Mass.-based firm (NASDAQ:RLAY) ran up by about 38%, or $6, in the five days ahead of Jan. 13. The stock closed Jan. 17 at $20.45, down 32 cents.
Dexcom Inc. appears poised for a very strong year with multiple new products, including the long-awaited G7, having recently received regulatory green lights in the U.S. and Europe. In addition, recommendations to expand coverage of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) for individuals with type 2 diabetes promise to open the market to millions of new patients. Dexcom CEO Kevin Sayer provided new details and updated guidance at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francsico earlier this week and the company released preliminary results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2022.
After long years of painstaking work, the commercialization of cell and gene therapies picked up pace in 2022, with multiple approvals. More progress is expected in 2023, with several firsts in the offing and products for larger patient populations reaching the market.
Trex Bio Inc., which kicked off 2022 with a big pharma partnership, is back at it again, starting the new year with a potential $1.1 billion agreement with original backer Eli Lilly and Co. targeting immune-mediated diseases. Under the terms, Trexbio gets $55 million up front, with Lilly picking up an exclusive worldwide license for candidates from three programs.
Parties to Astrazeneca plc’s potential $1.8 billion takeover of Cincor Pharma Inc. are keeping mum about contingent value rights included in the deal for baxdrostat, the phase III-bound aldosterone synthase targeter in the works to treat hypertension and chronic kidney disease. Another acquisition that captured headlines as the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference launched in San Francisco: the $1.4 billion-plus agreement whereby Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A. will take ownership of Amryt Pharma plc. And there was more, as Ipsen SA pledged $952 million to make Albireo Pharma Inc. its own.
Merck & Co. Inc., building on a year-old deal with Aligos Therapeutics Inc., has moved to in-license an early stage nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) oligonucleotide program Aligos had previously advanced independently. The amended deal also gives Merck the right to add a new NASH target to the partnership, in addition to those already part of the agreement. With Aligos eligible to receive up to $460 million in development and commercialization milestones as well as tiered royalties on net sales per target, its rewards could reach $1.38 billion.
The deals continued to flow during day two of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. Privately held Arrakis Inc., which specializes in aiming at small-molecule RNA targets, primarily cancers, has signed onto a collaboration with Amgen Inc. that could bring in billions in future payments should it hit all the milestones and program options are exercised. Dren Bio Inc., meanwhile, will collaborate with Pfizer Inc. to develop bispecific antibodies for oncology targets. Dren could receive more than $1 billion in the deal that includes a $25 million in cash up-front payment from Pfizer.
A raft of potentially high-value drug development collaborations, most for gene and RNA therapies, led the first day of the 40th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference Monday. Pfizer Inc. enlisted Beam Therapeutic Inc. to advance in vivo base editing programs for up to $1.35 billion, while Bayer AG tapped Mammoth Biosciences Inc.’s in vivo CRISPR systems expertise in a potential $1 billion-plus deal. Selecta Biosciences Inc. inked a new $1.1 billion partnership with Ginkgo Bioworks Inc. to develop next-generation gene therapy capsids, while Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. agreed to pay Stoke Therapeutics Inc. as much as $967 million to develop RNA-based medicines. Work on new mRNA vaccines and therapies is also proceeding, with both Pfizer and Biontech SE announcing new collaborations in the space.