Just days after Hifibio Therapeutics Inc. closed a $75 million series D financing, Fibrogen Inc. has agreed to pay the antibody specialist $25 million up front and as much as $1.1 billion in milestones for rights to multiple preclinical programs for autoimmune diseases and cancer. The deal includes exclusive rights to Galectin-9 programs, in which the lead asset is expected to enter clinical development in the first quarter of 2023, and options to license all assets in Hifibio's CXCR5 and CCR8 programs.
Jacobio Pharmaceuticals Group Co. Ltd. has received a milestone payment of $20 million from Abbvie Inc. for dosing the first two patients in the U.S. for a global phase I/IIa study of JAB-3312 in combination with pembrolizumab and binimetinib, taking another step forward in the global SHP2 race.
Viiv Healthcare Group has continued its quest for patient-friendly long-acting HIV drugs, signing a potential $740 million deal with Halozyme Therapeutics Inc. to develop injections that could be dosed more than six months apart.
Gene therapy specialist Uniqure N.V. said Tuesday that, with confidence inspired by new 52-week data on its investigational hemophilia B therapy, etranacogene dezaparvovec, it plans to submit a BLA for the program with partner CSL Behring LLC in first quarter of 2022. Uniqure meanwhile has moved to acquire Corlieve Therapeutics SAS and its lead program to treat temporal lobe epilepsy, the most common form of focal epilepsy. The acquisition, worth up to €250 million (US$297.3 million) for Corlieve, includes €46.3 million cash up front.
Intellia Therapeutics Inc. CEO John Leonard said the deal with Blackstone Life Sciences and Cellex Cell Professionals GmbH will create a new CAR T-cell therapy enterprise that bears “a German background with a strong American accent.” Blackstone committed $250 million to launch an autologous and allogeneic universal CAR T-cell therapy firm that will put together Intellia’s allogeneic cell platform plus CRISPR cell engineering with expertise from CAR T specialist Gemoab GmbH, a subsidiary of Cellex.
While biopharma deals are very much in line with the early pandemic months of 2020, mergers and acquisitions are telling a different story – one in which values are down by 76%. As of June 22, BioWorld has recorded 956 deals, including licensings, collaborations and joint ventures, valued at $80.2 billion in 2021, as well as 59 completed M&As worth $29.1 billion. In comparison with the same timeframe in 2020, the volume of both deals and M&As is down slightly by about 10 deals each, but the lack of high-value M&As, or mega-mergers worth more than $10 billion, has placed 2021 far behind last year. Deal values, however, are up by 4%.
The agreement between gout player Horizon plc and RNAi expert Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Inc. could result in a subcutaneously given, infrequently dosed fix for the disease that takes aim at xanthine dehydrogenase. “They brought us the target – it wasn’t something we were developing,” said Arrowhead CEO Christopher Anzalone, but the Pasadena, Calif.-based firm’s research on hepatocyte-directed therapies provides confidence.
Jacobio Pharmaceuticals Group Co. Ltd. has received a milestone payment of $20 million from Abbvie Inc. for dosing the first two patients in the U.S. for a global phase I/IIa study of SHP2 inhibitor JAB-3312 in combination with PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab and MEK inhibitor binimetinib, taking another step forward in the global SHP2 race.
A co-research agreement between Ubix Therapeutics Inc. and Debiopharm International SA aimed at creating a new antibody degraducer conjugates drug modality to treat cancer will combine Ubix’s Degraducer molecule with Debiopharm’s antibody-drug conjugate linker Multilink to specifically target cancer cells.
Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (BMS) and Eisai Co. Ltd. inked a potential $3.1 billion agreement to co-develop and co-commercialize the antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) MORAb-202 for advanced solid tumors. Eisai’s first ADC, MORAb-202 pairs the company’s anti-folate receptor alpha (FRα) antibody with the Tokyo-based firm’s anticancer agent eribulin using an enzyme cleavable linker. It is characterized as a potential best-in-class candidate and is under investigation for tumors that include endometrial, ovarian, lung and breast cancers in two studies: a phase I effort in Japan and a phase I/II experiment in the U.S. The companies plan to enter the registrational stage of development as early as 2022.