Evoq Therapeutics LLC, a Michigan-based company developing a new technology for treating autoimmune disease, has signed a new license and collaboration agreement giving Amgen Inc. exclusive rights to selected programs in the area, undisclosed in number and indication. Valued at more than $240 million in up-front and milestone payments, the deal also includes potential royalties on sales of resulting therapies, Evoq said.
KSQ Therapeutics Inc.’s chief scientific officer, Frank Stegmeier, said that the CRISPRomics technology that drew Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. to the table allows, “for the first time, genome-scale functional screening [in vivo as well as in vitro] across multiple disease settings. It really takes the guessing game out of your drug target selection.” Working with “an encyclopedia of gene function,” he said, KSQ aims to identify prospects that can have monotherapy activity in PD-1-refractory solid tumors.
As a virtual 39th J.P. Morgan Annual Healthcare Conference begins, typically one of the biggest events of the year, biopharma dealmaking barreled ahead with five new deals Jan. 11 that could eventually hit $1.04 billion in total.
Steris plc has agreed to buy Cantel Medical Corp. for approximately $3.6 billion, in a cash and stock transaction that unites two key players in the infection prevention space. The combined company offers a number of synergies. Cantel’s medical portfolio is expected to bolster and expand Steris’ endoscopy offerings, with a full-suite of high-level disinfection consumables, capital equipment and services plus single-use accessories.
With several deals and M&As falling within the highest values on record, 2020 turned out to be a solid year for the biopharma industry. Expectations are optimistic moving into 2021, when the U.S. will welcome a new president and its citizens should reach herd immunity from COVID-19.
Biond Biologics Ltd. co-founder and CEO Tehila Ben-Moshe told BioWorld that “a relatively small group of scientists who are very motivated started with a very basic scientific idea, which we were able to take all the way into clinical trials in four years,” and draw the interest of Paris-based Sanofi SA in a checkpoint inhibitor with multi-cell effects. In its second major deal of the week, Sanofi is pledging $125 million up front and more than $1 billion more in potential development, regulatory and sales-related milestone payments to Biond, of Misgav, Israel.
LONDON – Enara Bio Ltd. has landed the first major deal around its dark antigen technology platform, signing up Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH in an agreement worth a potential €876 million (US$1.06 billion). Reaching that figure would require a product to make it to market. More immediately, Enara is getting an up-front payment, research and preclinical milestones for each of up to three tumor types explored in the partnership.
BEIJING – Beigene Ltd. out-licensed its anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody tislelizumab to Novartis AG in a deal worth up to $2.2 billion, including $650 million up front. Novartis gains rights to develop and commercialize tislelizumab in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the EU, the U.K., Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Russia and Japan.
While the first quarter may be a little slow as the winter COVID-19 surge continues to disrupt business, expect high capital reserves in med tech and life sciences to make 2021 a year for brisk deal activity, according to the 2021 Ernst & Young (EY) M&A Firepower report. In 2020, industry M&A activity fell to the lowest levels since 2014, but the multinational audit and consulting firm found that the industry now has record levels of deal capacity that it is poised to use to accelerate growth coming out of the pandemic.