Looking ahead to potential commercialization of its late-stage tau PET imaging agent, Aprinoia Therapeutics Inc. has chosen to go public via a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Ross Acquisition Corp. II in a deal that has an equity value of $280 million. The funding is aimed at getting candidate 18F-APN-1607 to the market in China.
CAR T specialist Carsgen Therapeutics Holdings Ltd. out-licensed commercial rights for its B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) CAR T therapy, CT-053, in mainland China to Huadong Medicine Co Ltd. in a deal worth up to $152 million.
While it made a sturdy effort as biopharma companies opted for licensing deals over M&As in 2022, the year did not surpass 2021 in deal values, falling about 3.5% short. Lackluster M&A values dropped to their lowest levels in five years and were down by 35.6% compared with 2021.
Proposed mergers with Chinese companies will likely be subject to increased scrutiny from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) as evidenced by the temporary hold placed on the merger between F-star Therapeutics Ltd. and Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd.’s Invox Pharma Ltd. that was announced in June 2022.
Since the advent of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, the space has steadily grown hotter, a situation on which Anima Biotech Inc. has capitalized by way of a potential $580 million-plus deal with Abbvie Inc. to deploy mRNA biology modulators for three targets across oncology and Immunology.
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.
Once a rarity, billion-dollar deals are now coming fast and furious. Now three have appeared in only a few days. Gene therapy developer Voyager Therapeutics Inc. and Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. continued a longstanding partnership by agreeing to develop treatments for neurological diseases and for three new programs with rare CNS targets. Cytomx Therapeutics Inc. and Moderna Inc. entered a deal worth a potential $1.24 billion to Cytomx for generating and developing treatments in oncology and non-oncology. In the third deal, Royalty Pharma plc acquired an interest in Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s royalty in Biogen Inc.'s Spinraza (nusinersen) and Novartis AG's pelacarsen for up to $1.125 billion.
A drug that Novartis AG discontinued in fragile X syndrome in 2014 after it failed in two phase II/III trials has been in-licensed by neuroscience specialist Stalicla SA, which plans to revive the prospects of the glutamate receptor antagonist by applying its precision medicine technology to identify likely responders.
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.