Erasca Inc. agreed to give Novartis AG $20 million cash up front and company shares (NASDAQ:ERAS) worth $80 million for an exclusive global license to naporafenib, a pan-RAF inhibitor for treating RAS/MAPK pathway-driven tumors, Erasca’s sweet spot. Erasca CEO Jonathan Lim told investors Dec. 9 that the therapy is complementary to the company’s portfolio, which includes 11 development programs targeting the pathway.
Arcellx Inc. signed a deal that could be worth almost $4 billion with Gilead Sciences Inc.’s unit Kite Pharma Inc. to push forward Arcellx's lead late-stage candidate CART-ddBCMA for relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. The arrangement brings $225 million up front plus an equity investment of $100 million, along with as much as $3.9 billion in milestone payments. Arcellx CEO Rami Elghandour said the firm sorted through a number of suitors interested in the program. Data at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting “catalyzed a number of discussions and a broad set of interests. We felt of the possibilities out there, [Kite/Gilead is] the partner of choice in this space.”
In a massive deal that is one of the year’s biggest, Akeso Inc. signed a collaboration and license deal with Summit Therapeutics Inc. to out-license its bispecific antibody, ivonescimab (AK-112), for development and commercialization in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan.
Six months after a merger deal fell through, leaving the company to face possible bankruptcy, Therapeuticsmd Inc. agreed to license U.S. commercialization rights for its women’s health care products to Australian firm Mayne Pharma Group Ltd. in exchange for $140 million up front plus milestone and royalty payments.
Ryvu Therapeutics SA is banking €40 million (US$41.3 million) as an initial payment from a two-pronged alliance with Biontech SE, which involves a multitarget small-molecule research collaboration in immunotherapy and a license agreement for Ryvu’s portfolio of Sting agonists.
Horizon Therapeutics plc shares (NASDAQ:HZNP) jumped 27.3% to $100.29 after the company disclosed being in "highly preliminary" discussions about takeover interests expressed by Amgen Inc., Janssen Global Services LLC and Sanofi SA. The companies have until Jan. 10, 2023, to report whether they intend to make an offer or not.
Astrazeneca plc is beefing up its cell therapy capabilities in immuno-oncology by acquiring Neogene Therapeutics BV for an initial outlay of $200 million. There’s up to $120 million more on the table for undisclosed milestones and what the companies called a “non-contingent consideration.” Even without the additional earnouts, the deal represents a profitable return for Neogene’s shareholders. The Amsterdam-based firm had raised $110 million in a series A round in 2020, which represented the largest A round in Europe that year. Since then, it has started to move its first program, an autologous engineered T-cell receptor (TCR) T-cell therapy directed against up to five neoantigens, toward a phase I trial in patients with solid tumors.
C4X Discovery Holdings plc has outlicensed its once daily oral NRF2 (Nuclear factor-erythroid factor 2-related factor 2) activator to Astrazeneca plc in a deal with a potential value of $402 million. Of that, $2 million is being paid up front, with a further $14 million in preclinical milestones, which C4X CEO Clive Dix expects to trigger within the next two years.
As IPOs have slowed significantly in 2022, so have the debuts of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) targeting the life sciences industry, primarily due to two looming threats. This time a year ago, BioWorld had tracked 60 IPOs of SPACs searching for biopharma or med-tech targets and nearly 30 SPACs that had secured acquisitions. For 2022, there are 21 SPACs currently searching, and only two of those went public this year. As for completed M&As involving SPACs, there have been 17 this year and another nine that are pending.