It was a year of turmoil in Europe as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic shaped the fortunes of the life sciences industry in 2022. After years of tension, Russia’s attempt to annex Ukraine on Feb. 24 caused outrage and disruption and was unanimously opposed on humanitarian grounds by the life sciences and pharma industry.
Shares in Clovis Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ:CLVS) tumbled more than 71% after it warned it is facing bankruptcy with barely enough cash left to last until the end of 2022, debts of more than $3 billion, and dwindling revenues from its only approved cancer drug, Rubraca (rucaparib).
There are doubts about the future of GSK plc’s multiple myeloma drug Blenrep (belantamab mafodotin) after it failed to meet its goal of improving progression-free survival compared with standard chemotherapy in a confirmatory trial, placing its conditional approvals in the U.S. and Europe at risk.
Once pharma’s great hope to replace opioid painkillers, it looks like the end for nerve growth factor (NGF) inhibitors after Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. quietly axed fasinumab, the late-stage painkilling injection it was developing in partnership with Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp.
GSK plc has announced it has stopped early two pivotal phase III trials of its urinary tract infection drug, gepotidacin, for efficacy and is preparing regulatory filings for what could be the first new oral antibiotic for the disease in more than 20 years.
Black Friday is still weeks away, but Exelixis Inc. has gone shopping and inked two deals that together are potentially worth more than $1 billion, bolstering its pipeline with cancer drugs from Cybrexa Inc. and Sairopa B.V. Both deals are eye-catching, not just because of their potential value but also because of the technologies involved. Cybrexa’s drug is a peptide-drug conjugate, a class where only one drug is FDA approved and established, and Sairopa is working on an antibody targeting SIRPα, a potential next-generation immunotherapy.
Shares in Inventiva SA (Paris:IVAA) fell about 18% after development partner Abbvie Inc. quit development of the inflammatory disease drug cedirogant following an unfavorable readout from a phase II toxicology study. The companies had worked on the asset together for about a decade. Inventiva emerged from Abbott in 2012, before the healthcare giant split in 2013 to form pharma specialist Abbvie and Abbott Laboratories, focused on medical devices.
It’s a time of economic crisis and political upheaval in the U.K. But, according to the country’s pharma trade body, there’s another looming problem of access to clinical trials in the country, which is becoming less and less attractive as a place to conduct life sciences research.
U.K.-based seed investor Lifearc Ventures is celebrating a second major deal from its portfolio of companies after Abbvie Inc. bought the tiny former “garage startup" DJS Antibodies Ltd. for $255 million up front plus undisclosed milestone payments. DJS’ lead program is DJS-002, a potential first-in-class lysophosphatidic acid receptor 1 antagonist in preclinical studies for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and other fibrotic diseases.
Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc in-licensed regional rights to Zymeworks Inc.’s HER2- targeted bispecific antibody zanidatamab in a deal potentially worth $1.76 billion, plus royalties. Jazz wants to expand its oncology portfolio with the deal, which covers the U.S., Europe, Japan and all other territories except Asia Pacific markets previously licensed by Zymeworks to Beigene Ltd.