Once a rarity, billion-dollar deals are now coming fast and furious. Now three have appeared in only a few days. Gene therapy developer Voyager Therapeutics Inc. and Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. continued a longstanding partnership by agreeing to develop treatments for neurological diseases and for three new programs with rare CNS targets. Cytomx Therapeutics Inc. and Moderna Inc. entered a deal worth a potential $1.24 billion to Cytomx for generating and developing treatments in oncology and non-oncology. In the third deal, Royalty Pharma plc acquired an interest in Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s royalty in Biogen Inc.'s Spinraza (nusinersen) and Novartis AG's pelacarsen for up to $1.125 billion.
A drug that Novartis AG discontinued in fragile X syndrome in 2014 after it failed in two phase II/III trials has been in-licensed by neuroscience specialist Stalicla SA, which plans to revive the prospects of the glutamate receptor antagonist by applying its precision medicine technology to identify likely responders.
Parties to Astrazeneca plc’s potential $1.8 billion takeover of Cincor Pharma Inc. are keeping mum about contingent value rights included in the deal for baxdrostat, the phase III-bound aldosterone synthase targeter in the works to treat hypertension and chronic kidney disease. Another acquisition that captured headlines as the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference launched in San Francisco: the $1.4 billion-plus agreement whereby Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A. will take ownership of Amryt Pharma plc. And there was more, as Ipsen SA pledged $952 million to make Albireo Pharma Inc. its own.
Baxter International Inc. wasted no time in tackling its New Year’s resolution to trim down the business. On Friday morning, the company revealed details around the divestitures it foreshadowed in its third quarter 2022 earnings call with the announcement that it planned a tax-free spin off its Renal Care and Acute Therapies businesses into an independent, publicly traded company within the next 12 to 18 months.
Fate Therapeutics Inc. is making big changes. The company told Janssen Biotech Inc. it was not interested in continuing the collaboration and option agreement cut in 2020 that could have brought Fate up to $3 billion. Fate also is halting four solid tumor natural killer (NK) cell programs to concentrate on two of its NK cell programs and two T-cell programs, all while reducing headcount to 220 employees in the first quarter of 2023.
Zimmer Biomet Holdings Inc. (ZBH) agreed to acquire Embody Inc. for $155 million at closing with an additional $120 million in contingent milestone payments over the next three years. The deal includes Embody’s entire portfolio of collagen-based regenerative solutions for soft tissue injuries. The transaction is expected to close in February.
Wuxi Biologics (Cayman) Inc. is providing an exclusive license to GSK plc for a preclinical bispecific T-cell engaging antibody along with the option of three additional bi- and multispecific TCE antibodies developed by Wuxi. In exchange, Wuxi will receive an up-front payment of $40 million and up to $1.46 billion in additional payments for research, development, regulatory and commercial milestones across the four TCE antibodies. Wuxi Biologics, of Shanghai, is also eligible to receive tiered royalties on net sales.
Hadasit Medical Research Services and Development Ltd. and BIRAD – Research & Development Company Ltd. have inked a development deal with Immix Biopharma Inc. for tissue specific therapeutics based on their jointly developed anti-B-cell maturation antigen CAR T cells targeting plasma cell technology.
Eli Lilly and Co., through its wholly owned subsidiary Prevail Therapeutics Inc., is delving more deeply into gene therapies. In a new collaboration, Prevail will use privately held Capsida Biotherapeutics Inc.’s adeno-associated virus engineering platform, coupling the tech with Prevail’s gene therapies to target causes of CNS diseases.
Belharra Therapeutics Inc., an early stage firm which is pioneering a new approach to chemoproteomics, has already found an influential backer for the distinctive way it systematically probes the interactions between small-molecule ligands and the proteins to which they bind.