Deal-Making

Big M&A: Alexion in $930m Achillion buy, UCB bids $2.1bn for Ra

In a big week for Big Pharma M&A, Alexion has agreed to buy Factor D inhibitor developer Achillion and UCB will add a late-stage FcRn targeting antibody through its acquisition of Ra Pharmaceuticals. Alexion Pharmaceuticals, which itself has been in the news recently as a potential target for M&A-hungry Amgen, announced today it has agreed to buy clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Achillion Pharmaceuticals for approximately $930 million (€842 million). The deal adds oral small molecule Factor D inhibitors to treat people…

CDMO focus: Strategic gene therapy deals and $250m sell-off

Lonza strengthens gene therapy partnership with Prevail; Paragon and Brammer evolving form hyperstacks over to iCELLis units for Sarepta; Mallinckrodt sells off Biovectra. Welcome to Bioprocess Insider’s CDMO round-up. First up in this contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) round-up is Swiss firm Lonza, which is upping its partnership with Prevail Therapeutics. Lonza has worked on the process development of Prevail’s two lead gene therapy programs since 2018 and will now take the partnership to the next stage, using a…

Cellectis selects Lonza for off-the-shelf CAR-T manufacture

CDMO Lonza will make clinical batches of an allogeneic CAR-T cell candidate from its facility in the Netherlands for French firm Cellectis. Cellectis has a range of ‘UCART’ off-the-shelf chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies in development for hematological malignancies, based on its TALEN gene-editing technology. To support this, the French biopharma has selected Swiss contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Lonza to supply clinical materials from its facility in Geleen, added to its cell and gene therapy network through…

BWB startup pitch: Biopharm America’s got talent

Secure health data services firm Bowhead Health has won a startup pitch competition run jointly by the Xcelerate and Biopharm America conferences. Bioprocess Insider brought live commentary of the event at Biotech Week Boston. Presided over by seasoned journalist Mike Ward from the EBD Group, twelve participants – well, eleven as one didn’t show – pitched their startup healthcare focused companies in four-minute slots on stage at Biotech Week Boston. Last week’s event, a collaboration between Xconomy’s Xcelerate conference and…

Lundbeck adding migraine ‘blockbuster’ and Ab capabilities in $2bn Alder buy

Danish biopharma Lundbeck says it expects to launch the potential blockbuster migraine biologic eptinezumab early next year after agreeing to buy Alder BioPharmaceuticals. The cash deal, expected to close in Q4 2019, is worth $1.95 billion (€1.78 billion) and falls into Lundbeck’s “expand and invest growth strategy” announced by the Danish biopharma firm in February 2019, aimed at expnding its breadth in brain disease therapies and rebuilding its pipeline. Since then the firm acquired Abide Therapeutics, adding a serine hydrolases…

Lonza to make ‘NET’ antibody for Citryll

Citryll BV has partnered with CDMO Lonza to help develop and supply final drug product for its Neutrophil Extracellular Trap (NET) biology targeting antibody candidate. Under terms of the deal, financials of which have not been divulged, Swiss contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Lonza will provide Dutch biotech firm Citryll in silico preclinical services used to assess manufacturability and immunogenicity, and final drug product in finished format for clinical material. Citryll’s candidate CIT-013 is a tACPA therapeutic antibody targeting…

MilliporeSigma buys data platform to bolster its Biopharma 4.0 offering

MilliporeSigma has bought the rights to the ProcessPad platform from Simplyfeye Softwares, adding the latest “building block” to its BioContinuum Platform. The ProcessPad platform from Simplyfeye Softwares Private Limited brings MilliporeSigma a data management and analytics solution capable of capturing development, scale-up, commercial and process data on a single platform as well as analyzing quantitative and qualitative batch manufacturing data. Financial details around the acquisition were not disclosed, but Michael Felo, director of Integrated Solutions Marketing, BioContinuum Platform, at MilliporeSigma,…

Vertex looks to stem cell islets for diabetes in $950m ‘toolbox’ deal

Vertex has acquired Semma Therapeutics adding a program using pluripotent stem cell-derived islets as a potentially treatment for type 1 diabetes. While Semma is yet to have brought a therapy into the clinic, the Massachusetts-based firm has created a process it claims can produce stem cell-derived islets (SC-islets) starting from human pluripotent stem cells capable of developing into any cell type in the body. Its lead candidate has completed preclinical proof-of-concept studies demonstrating evidence of the potential of such technology…

Batavia selects CHO platform for Zika Ab on the Horizon

A collaboration led by Batavia Biosciences will use Horizon Discovery’s CHO cell technology in the development of an antibody against Zika. Batavia Biosciences, working with Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and IDBiologics, is looking to develop a therapy based on a Zika virus neutralizing antibody that was discovered three years ago. Accessing Horizon Discovery’s GS knockout Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) K1 cell line expression system will allow the development of high yield antibody-expressing cell lines, Batavia CEO Menzo Havenga told…

Novartis to take on Biogen with Tysabri biosimilar pact

Novartis division Sandoz has teamed with Polpharma for the commercialization rights to a Phase III biosimilar of Biogen’s multiple sclerosis monoclonal antibody Tysabri (natalizumab). The deal sees Sandoz enter into an agreement with Polpharma Biologics to commercialize and distribute worldwide the Polish biopharma firm’s natalizumab program, currently in Phase III trials. The molecule is being developed as a biosimilar of the relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) monoclonal antibody Tysabri, which pulled in $1.86 billion (€1.7 billion) for Biogen in 2018. “Polpharma…