Astrazeneca plc is beefing up its cell therapy capabilities in immuno-oncology by acquiring Neogene Therapeutics BV for an initial outlay of $200 million. There’s up to $120 million more on the table for undisclosed milestones and what the companies called a “non-contingent consideration.” Even without the additional earnouts, the deal represents a profitable return for Neogene’s shareholders. The Amsterdam-based firm had raised $110 million in a series A round in 2020, which represented the largest A round in Europe that year. Since then, it has started to move its first program, an autologous engineered T-cell receptor (TCR) T-cell therapy directed against up to five neoantigens, toward a phase I trial in patients with solid tumors.
C4X Discovery Holdings plc has outlicensed its once daily oral NRF2 (Nuclear factor-erythroid factor 2-related factor 2) activator to Astrazeneca plc in a deal with a potential value of $402 million. Of that, $2 million is being paid up front, with a further $14 million in preclinical milestones, which C4X CEO Clive Dix expects to trigger within the next two years.
As IPOs have slowed significantly in 2022, so have the debuts of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) targeting the life sciences industry, primarily due to two looming threats. This time a year ago, BioWorld had tracked 60 IPOs of SPACs searching for biopharma or med-tech targets and nearly 30 SPACs that had secured acquisitions. For 2022, there are 21 SPACs currently searching, and only two of those went public this year. As for completed M&As involving SPACs, there have been 17 this year and another nine that are pending.
Tenacia Biotechnology Co. Ltd. has acquired exclusive greater China rights to certain formulations of Marinus Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s seizure therapy, ganaxolone (Ztalmy), in a deal worth up to $266 million. Under the terms, Shanghai-based Tenacia now has the rights to develop and commercialize current oral and intravenous dose formulations of ganaxolone in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. It also gained the right to the first negotiation for a new formulation of the drug in the future.
Biotheus Inc. out-licensed Chinese rights to its preclinical EGFR/MET bispecific antibody, PM-1080, to Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd. for ¥50 million (US$359,150) up front and up to ¥1.42 billion in future development, regulatory and commercialization milestones, plus tiered sales-based royalties.
Tenacia Biotechnology Co. Ltd. has acquired exclusive greater China rights to certain formulations of Marinus Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s seizure therapy, ganaxolone (Ztalmy), in a deal worth up to $266 million.
Merck & Co. Inc. is adding to its hematology assets in the takeover of Imago Biosciences Inc. for $36 per share, an arrangement with an equity value of about $1.35 billion. Shares of Imago (NASDAQ:IMGO) took flight as Wall Street learned of the deal, ending the day at $35.59, up $18.19, or 104%. Imago is working on new drugs for myeloproliferative neoplasms and other bone marrow diseases. Lead candidate bomedemstat (IMG-7289), an orally available inhibitor of the epigenetic enzyme lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1), is undergoing phase II trials for the treatment of essential thrombocythemia, myelofibrosis and polycythemia vera, along with other indications.
Evolent Health Inc. agreed to acquire Magellan Specialty Health from Centene Corp. in a deal worth up to $750 million. The companies also reported a strategic partnership to continue and expand Centene’s relationship with Magellan Specialty Health.