The number of biopharma deals and mergers and acquisitions completed are on a downward slide quarter-by-quarter, although when taken as a whole, the industry in 2019 has completed as many transactions and is hitting a higher deal value than the year before, while M&A values are up by 32%.
Reata Pharmaceuticals Inc. has agreed to pay former partner Abbvie Inc. $330 million plus royalties to reacquire ex-U.S. development, manufacturing and commercialization rights for the Nrf2 activators bardoxolone methyl and omaveloxolone, as well as other next-generation candidates in the class. Rights to certain Asian markets for bardoxolone remain licensed to Kyowa Kirin Co. Ltd.
Days after going public, Viela Bio Inc. nailed down a deal with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp. to develop and commercialize Viela's humanized anti-CD19 monoclonal antibody, inebilizumab, in nine Asia regions for the rare disease called neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), as well as other potential future indications.
HONG KONG – South Korean pharmaceutical company Chong Kun Dang Holdings recently invested KRW5 billion (US$4.1 million) in Biorchestra Co. Ltd., a Korean startup based in Daejeon that aims to develop Alzheimer's dementia treatment based on microRNA.
HONG KONG – Singapore's Aslan Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and South Korea's Bukwang Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. have jointly established a new company dedicated to the development of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) drug candidates. Named Jaguahr Therapeutics Pte. Ltd. – the unusual spelling a clear reference to "AhR" – it will be based in Singapore and will focus on developing immuno-oncology therapeutics for global markets based on the preclinical AhR antagonists in Aslan's early stage pipeline.
CEO Mark McKenna told BioWorld Asia that San Diego-based Prometheus Biosciences Inc. has "cracked the code" in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – progress underscored by the firm's deal with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, which brings an undisclosed up-front payment and as much as $420 million more if development, regulatory and commercial milestones are reached in three programs.
HONG KONG – South Korean biotech Bioleaders Co. Ltd., headquartered in Yong-in city, Gyeonggi-do, and Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science, based in Rehovot, recently founded a joint venture in Israel. With the new entity, they will accelerate the R&D of a Weizmann-developed approach targeting p53, a strong tumor suppressor that has proved difficult to drug.