Novartis AG just added muscle to its siRNA development effort by buying Dtx Pharma Inc. in an M&A deal that could total $1 billion. Novartis is getting a preclinical asset, DTx-1252, which just received the U.S. FDA’s orphan drug designation on June 8. Dtx is developing the siRNA candidate for treating the neuromuscular disease Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (CMT1A). Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis will pay Dtx $500 million up front and make payments of up to $500 million in milestones completions.
Dealmaking proved alive and well, with Sangamo Biosciences Inc. disclosing a tie-up worth as much as $1.19 billion with a subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Co., while Mirum Pharmaceuticals Inc. pledged to acquire for $445 million the bile-acid product portfolio owned by Travere Therapeutics Inc.
The biopharma industry experienced a notable decline in deal values and activity in June 2023, with a 48.51% decrease in deal values and a 43.62% decrease in the number of deals completed compared to the previous June. M&As, however, showed a remarkable 824.59% increase in value year over year in June, thanks to several billion-dollar transactions.
Neuren Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. have expanded their development and commercialization partnership for Daybue (trofinetide) beyond the U.S. to take the Rett syndrome treatment to the world in a deal valued at $527 million plus royalties.
Another collaboration between two biopharmaceutical companies in the Asia-Pacific region is adding fuel to an already heated fire for antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) development worldwide. Suzhou, China-headquartered Genequantum Healthcare Co. Ltd. and South Korea’s Aimed Bio Inc. recently announced extending an existing partnership to jointly develop five ADC investigative drugs.
There are at least two ways to look at biopharma deals and M&As in 2023. Through one vantage point, the volume of both, and the value of M&As, are at their lowest levels in at least five years – and deal values have declined by 8% compared with 2022. From another perspective, however, M&As appear to be picking up, and those same declining deal values in the first half of 2023 represent the third highest amount since 2017.
Rockwell Medical Inc. has acquired the hemodialysis concentrates business of Evoqua Water Technologies LLC for $11 million up front in cash plus two $2.5 million milestone payments at 12- and 24-months following the close of the deal.
To bolster its obesity treatment pipeline, Eli Lilly and Co. is buying Versanis Bio Inc. in a massive cash deal that could reach $1.92 billion. The total amount of the deal includes an up-front payment and development and sales milestone payments. Privately held Versanis, of Boston, brings to Lilly its lead asset bimagrumab, a monoclonal antibody that’s enjoying a resurgence since a failure in treating sarcopenia.
From Roche Holding AG to Novartis AG, bad news abounds for anti-TIGIT immunotherapies. In an SEC filing on July 11, Chinese oncology R&D firm Beigene Ltd. and Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis announced an end to their $1 billion deal to develop the former’s TIGIT immunotherapy ociperlimab, with the checkpoint inhibitor going back to Beigene.