DUBLIN – Curevac AG has entered a global alliance with Bayer AG to accelerate its efforts to bring a third, desperately needed mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine to market. The vaccine in question, CVnCoV, began a pivotal phase IIb/III trial on Dec. 14.
Pixium Vision SA and Second Sight Medical Products Inc. have inked a definitive agreement through which the former will become the controlling shareholder of the newly combined company. The transaction also will result in the creation of a new entity that will focus on cortical stimulation through Orion. Second Sight is developing that product, which bypasses the diseased eye and could provide a new form of vision.
Pointing to his company’s work on “the next frontier in small molecules,” Ribometrix Inc. CEO Mike Solomon said the potential $1 billion-plus deal with Roche Holding AG offers evidence of big pharma’s mounting interest. Expertise in RNA folds helped Ribometrix nail down an agreement with Basel, Switzerland-based Roche’s Genentech arm that brings $25 million up front and potential milestone payments beyond $1 billion, as the pair discovers and develops RNA-targeted small-molecule therapeutics. Genentech gains exclusive rights to several predefined targets, including an exclusive global license for the development and commercialization of molecules.
LONDON – Family-owned Angelini Pharma is to buy Swiss startup Arvelle Therapeutics GmbH for $960 million, acquiring full European rights to the epilepsy drug cenobamate. The first tranche, of $610 million, will be paid following the EMA’s recommendation to approve cenobamate, which is expected at either the January or February meeting of the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use.
Flowonix Medical Inc. and Swk Holdings Corp. closed a $33 million financing that included $10 million in debt facility from Swk in addition to $23 million in a series B round led by returning investor Farallon Capital Management with support from several new investors. The financing will replace approximately $7.5 million in prior venture debt from Hercules Capital. It will also fund development of new products, entry into new disease markets, production expansion, and partnerships with pharmaceutical companies.
HONG KONG – Votis Subdermal Imaging Technologies Ltd. is developing a diagnostics solution that could prevent the loss of feet among India’s impoverished due to affects of peripheral artery disease (PAD). The company has entered an agreement with India’s Ii Ventures Pte. Ltd. (iiV) to develop a system to screen the largely rural Indian population for PAD.
Hologic Inc., which focuses on women’s health, said Jan. 4 that it has completed the acquisition of Somatex Medical Technologies GmbH for roughly $64 million. Based in Berlin, Somatex focuses on minimally invasive devices for tumor diagnostics, biopsy and interventional specialties. Somatex’s portfolio includes biopsy site markers and localization technologies, including Trumark markers. The company was previously owned by E-Med Solutions GmbH, a group of investors led by German private equity firm Westlake Partners.
And just like that, it’s over. Bristol Myers Squibb Co. on Jan. 1 confirmed what many suspected, that FDA approval for lisocabtagene maraleucel (liso-cel) did not happen by the Dec. 31 deadline, thereby automatically terminating the contingent value rights (CVR) agreement issued as part of its acquisition of Celgene Inc.
HONG KONG – With the sale of a group of noncore assets to a little-known Chinese company, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. took another step in a multibillion-dollar string of divestitures that is part of a plan to cut debt and focus on five key business areas. Takeda announced on Dec. 21 the sale of a portfolio of noncore prescription drugs marketed in China to Hasten Biopharmaceutic Co. Ltd. (China).