Inventiva SA is getting $10 million up front and the possibility of $231 in clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones by exclusively licensing its nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) candidate, lanifibranor, to Hepalys Pharma Inc. to sell in Japan and South Korea, two massive markets for the indication.
Everest Medicines Ltd. is in-licensing Kezar Life Sciences Inc.’s phase II autoimmune disease candidate, zetomipzomib in a deal worth $132 million for greater China, South Korea and southeast Asia rights. Kezar’s lead molecule zetomipzomib (KZR-616) is a first-in-class, selective immunoproteasome inhibitor with broad therapeutic potential across multiple autoimmune diseases.
Merck KGaA has entered deals that could bring U.K. artificial intelligence companies Benevolentai Ltd. and Exscientia plc more than $1.2 billion. Oxford, U.K.-based Exscientia and Merck will collaborate to find three small-molecule candidates in oncology, neuroinflammation and immunology. Exscientia is getting $20 million up front and could bring in $674 million in milestones payments.
Peptidream Inc. and Genentech Inc., a Roche Holding company, signed a deal worth up to $1 billion to discover and develop macrocyclic peptide-radioisotope (peptide-RI) drug conjugates. Peptidream, of Kawasaki, Japan, will use its peptide discovery platform system technology to discover, optimize and develop macrocyclic peptide candidates for use as peptide-RI drug conjugates against targets of interest to Genentech. Genentech will pay Peptidream an up-front payment of $40 million and up to $1 billion in potential development, regulatory, and commercial-based milestones. In addition, Peptidream is eligible to receive tiered royalties on net sales (ex-Japan) of any products arising from the collaboration.
Biopharma deal values through August are down 13.05% year-over-year, while the number of deals has fallen by 18.51% compared to 2022. M&A value, meanwhile, is down just 3.6% from last year. Through August, 2023 saw 885 biopharma deals worth $111.87 billion, compared to 1,086 deals totaling $128.66 billion in the same period in 2022. The first eight months of 2021 saw 1,386 deals worth $121.22 billion, 1,381 deals valued at $129.96 billion in 2020 and 1,051 deals worth $111.93 billion in 2019.
Insilico Medicine Inc. struck an out-licensing deal with Exelixis Inc. for its small-molecule USP1-inhibitor candidate called ISM-3091, the company said on Sept. 12, standing to gain $80 million in up-front payments.
Moderna Inc. has more than COVID-19 vaccines in the hopper, and the company aims to add still more oomph by way of an oncology deal with Immatics NV that could be worth more than $1.7 billion for the latter, which banks $120 million up front and stands to collect research funding as well.
Verge Genomics Inc. has entered a second big AI deal with a large drug company. Privately held Verge will receive up to $42 million, including up-front, equity and near-term payments from Alexion, Astrazeneca Rare Disease, to identify multiple targets for rare neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases. The deal could top out at $840 million. There also is potential for downstream royalties.
In its second big pharma deal to date, Shape Therapeutics Inc. drew Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. to the table in a potential $1.5 billion-plus collaboration initially aimed at developing gene therapies for ocular diseases. The multitarget agreement, which includes options for additional targets and tissue types, will combine Shape’s AI-driven adeno-associated virus (AAV) platform and Otsuka’s expertise in ophthalmology to develop intravitreally delivered AAV therapies.