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.
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.
Bluebird Bio Inc. CEO Nick Leschly conceded that it’s “hard for folks on the outside looking in” to understand why the firm would cleave its severe genetic disease (SGD) and oncology efforts into two independently traded public companies, but said the Cambridge, Mass.-based firm is making the change by the end of this year in order “to make sure we can basically fall down and get back up and learn everything we can in the most disciplined manner,” he said.
DUBLIN – Sanofi SA is paying $1.1 billion up front and up to $350 million more in potential clinical development and regulatory milestones to acquire antibody developer Kymab Ltd. The deal adds to Sanofi’s pipeline first-in-class OX40-ligand blocker KY-1005, which recently hit the primary endpoints of a phase IIa trial in atopic dermatitis, as well as a second clinical-stage asset, KY-1044, an ICOS agonist in development for solid tumors. It also brings Sanofi a new antibody discovery platform, comprising several transgenic mouse strains, which collectively encode all the building blocks required to produce fully human antibodies.
Forge Therapeutics Inc. spinout Blacksmith Medicines Inc. said Eli Lilly and Co. has committed up to $300 million in milestone payments to back its creation of five new immuno-oncology and inflammation-focused medicines targeting human metalloenzymes.
Chimerix Inc., which already has COVID-19 and smallpox therapeutics in clinical trials, has acquired privately held Oncoceutics Inc., bringing ONC-201, a small-molecule dopamine receptor D2 antagonist and caseinolytic protease agonist for treating recurrent gliomas harboring the H3 K27M mutation, into the fold.
Just a week into 2021 and Hologic Inc. is planning another acquisition. The company announced that it has agreed to acquire the molecular diagnostics testing company Biotheranostics Inc. for roughly $230 million cash up front. This comes on the heels of completing the acquisition of Somatex Medical Technologies GmbH for about $64 million. The acquisition of San Diego-based Biotheranostics is expected to close in February 2021, pending antitrust clearance.
Perkinelmer Inc. is aiming to boost its infectious disease testing footprint with the acquisition of Oxford Immunotec Global plc for $591 million in cash. The purchase, reported Thursday, will allow Perkinelmer to expand its current offerings with solutions for tuberculosis (TB) detection. Perkinelmer shares (NYSE:PKI) hit a high of $162.16 Thursday morning, before closing at $160.53 – up 2.66% from the Wednesday’s close of $156.37.
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.