Deal-Making

Axovant looks to CDMO Yposkesi for gene therapy scale up

Axovant Sciences has selected French CDMO Yposkesi as a strategic partner to help bring its neurologic and neuromuscular gene therapy candidates through the clinic. Contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Yposkesi will utilize its adeno-associated virus (AAV) and lentiviral vector production capabilities to service the strategic agreement with Axovant. Swiss biotech Axovant has a pipeline of gene therapies targeting neurological and neuromuscular diseases. Financial details have not been divulged, but Alain Lamproye, CEO of Yposkesi, said it is a straight…

Small molecule M&A round-up: Roche buys Jecure, Arsanis and X4 merge

Bored of biologics? Tired of T-cells? Well BioProcess Insider takes a look at some of the big developments in the small molecule world. First up in this compendium is Swiss pharma giant Roche. The firm has acquired San Diego, California-based Jecure Therapeutics through its Genentech division. While Genentech is synonymous with biologics, Jecure’s business focuses on small-molecule therapeutics for the treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and liver fibrosis. Its lead candidate is an inhibitor of Nucleotide-binding oligomerization (NOD)-like Receptor Family…

GE plans purification platform production plant post Puridify purchase

GE Healthcare will open a biomanufacturing center in Stevenage, UK to support production of its fiber-based purification platform, which it acquired last year. In November 2017, bioprocessing equipment and consumables vendor GE Healthcare acquired Puridify – a spin-out from University College London, UK – for an undisclosed fee. The deal added early-stage tech platform FibroSelect, consisting of a nanofiber-based material to which ligands are attached to activate the platform for purification of biologics. A year on and the firm has…

EU gives conditional nod for Takeda Shire megamerger

The European Commission (EC) has approved Takeda’s $62 billion acquisition on the proviso the firm divests Shire’s inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) candidate. In May, Japanese firm Takeda struck a deal to acquire Ireland-headquartered rare diseases biopharmaceutical company Shire for $62 billion (€54 billion). Six months on, the merger is one step closer after receiving approval under the EU Merger Regulation, on the condition of divesting Shire’s IBD candidate SHP647. “We can today approve the merger between Shire and Takeda, but…

LG Chem teams with Cue Biopharma in $405m plus oncology deal

LG Chem Life Sciences will offer up its biomanufacturing experience and potentially add downstream capabilities for Cue Biopharma’s biologic candidates under terms of the strategic partnership. Korean chemical company LG Chem’s life science business and Massachusetts-based Cue Biopharma have entered into a multi-target strategic collaboration to develop multiple candidates using the Immuno-STAT biologic platform. Cue’s Immuno-STAT biologics are designed for targeted modulation of disease-associated T cells and lead candidate CUE-101 targets human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers. Under terms of the deal,…

Lonza and Sartorius rejig cell culture media deal

Lonza says cell culture media is no longer simply a consumable but a critical part of the biomanufacturing process as it modifies its supply deal with Sartorius. In December 2012, contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Lonza teamed up with bioprocessing equipment and consumables supplier Sartorius Stedim Biotech (SSB) for the supply and distribution of media and buffers used in the manufacture of protein-based therapeutics and vaccines. A shift in the arrangement now sees supply continue but under non-exclusive terms,…

BioLife eyes up M&A in ‘fragmented’ regenerative med supply space

The cell and gene therapy tool supplier space is ripe for consolidation says BioLife Solutions, which is evaluating several acquisition targets. For the third quarter 2018, regenerative medicine consumables and tools firm BioLife reported sales of its biopreservation media product of $5.3 million (€4.7 million), up 79% year-on-year. With the firm also turning a profit of $1.2 million for the period, CEO Michael Rice spoke about the scaling-up opportunities to take advantage of the continued demand from the cell and…

Biogen pays $670m to (nearly) match Samsung BioLogics in share of Bioepis

Biogen has upped its stake in Korean biologics and biosimilar developer Samsung BioLogics from 5.4% to 50%, minus one share. Samsung Bioepis was founded in 2012 and has since been one of a handful of drugmakers to see regulatory success with biosimilar products both in Europe and the US. A joint venture between Korean contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Samsung BioLogics and biopharma firm Biogen, the former has until now been the dominant stakeholder, holding 94.6% of the firm.…

Singapore swing: Lonza transfers Tracon Ab to single-use plant

CDMO Lonza has produced the first 2,000 L batch of Tracon Pharmaceuticals’ antibody TRC105 from its Singapore facility after transferring production from the UK. Californian biopharma firm Tracon has been using Swiss contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Lonza for the manufacture of its lead candidate TRC105 (carotuximab) since the pre-clinical phase of development. The candidate is an antibody to endoglin – a protein overexpressed on proliferating endothelial cells that is essential for angiogenesis, the process of new blood vessel…

GSK selects Hitachi to make T-cell therapy

Hitachi Chemical Advanced Therapeutics Solutions (HCATS) will make clinical batches of GlaxoSmithKline’s T-cell receptor therapy targeting NY-ESO-1 from its New Jersey site. The three-year agreement will see HCATS manufacture clinical batches of GSK’s T-cell receptor therapy targeting New York esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 1 (NY-ESO-1). The SPEAR (Specific Peptide Enhanced Affinity Receptor) T‑cell therapy is one of a number of cancer immunotherapies being codeveloped between GSK and Oxford, UK-based Adaptimmune, in a collaboration inked in 2014. The clinical production of…