Deal-Making

Pfizer to make Vivet’s Wilson disease gene therapy for Phase I/II trial

Pfizer will make a candidate gene therapy for the liver condition Wilson disease under an agreement with Vivet Therapeutics. The US pharmaceutical firm will make supplies of the candidate – known as VTX-801 – for a Phase I/II clinical trial due to start early next year. Wilson disease is characterized by the accumulation of copper in tissue. It is an inherited disorder caused by mutations in the gene encoding the ATP7B copper transporter. VTX-801 is an AAV liver tropic capsid…

From flu jabs, to mAbs, to COVID collabs: BioNTech nabs Novartis plant and labs

BioNTech is buying Novartis’ facility in Marburg, Germany to support the manufacture of its mRNA vaccine candidate against COVID-19. Financial details of the acquisition have not been divulged, but the GMP facility in Marburg (about 50 miles north of Frankfurt) will be used to increase manufacturing capacity for BNT162b2, a Phase III messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine in development with Pfizer against COVID-19. The Novartis facility houses equipment to produce recombinant proteins, and cell and gene therapies – as well as…

Samsung Bio adds another Big Pharma customer with $331m AstraZeneca deal

AstraZeneca will grow its production network into Asia-Pacific through a contract with Korean CDMO Samsung Biologics for large-scale drug substance manufacturing. Anglo-Swedish pharma firm AstraZeneca is teaming with contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Samsung Biologics in a long-term deal worth an initial $330.8 million, though this could rise to $545.6 million. The specific products to be made at Samsung Biologics’ site in Incheon, South Korea have not been disclosed but AstraZeneca has numerous biologics commercially available and a number…

Lilly turns to Amgen to up COVID-19 antibody production

Amgen will provide manufacturing capacity to support scale-up of monoclonal antibody candidates being developed by Eli Lilly against COVID-19. Financial details of the deal have not been divulged but bringing fellow Big Pharma firm Amgen on board will “significantly increase the supply capacity available for Lilly’s potential COVID-19 therapies,” the firms said in a statement. “Increasing the manufacturing capacity for our neutralizing antibodies through this collaboration with Amgen is a crucial next step, and together we hope to be able…

Exelixis: Deals with NBE and Catalent bring multi-pronged ADC approach

The antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) space has evolved significantly from its first-generation of products says Exelixis, which is increasing its presence in the sector through a pair of deals. “Exelixis has a long history of success in small molecule drug discovery and development, rooted in an approach that focuses on understanding cancer biology and applying our expertise and technology to build therapies that address it,” Peter Lamb, chief scientific officer at Exelixis, told this publication. Cabometyx (cabozantinib), Cometriq (cabozantinib), Cotelic (cobimetinib)…

Thermo-stability could give DNA vaccine advantage in COVID-19 race, says Inovio

Inovio says the long shelf life and tolerance to heat of its DNA vaccine candidate could set it apart from the mRNA, protein, and viral-based COVID-19 vaccines in development. Inovio’s COVID-19 vaccine INO-4800 is composed of synthetic, circular DNA plasmids that encode parts of the viral protein. The candidate is in Phase I trials but Inovio is looking to initiate Phase 2/3 studies later this month, subject to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance. While the candidate has been…

Bridgewest gains CDMO biz through Pfizer pegfilgrastim plant buy

Bridgewest Group will manufacture products for previous owner Pfizer among others after acquiring a microbial manufacturing plant in Adelaide, Australia. Bridgewest Group has made numerous investments in life sciences companies, but the acquisition of the Pfizer facility in Adelaide by subsidiary Bridgewest Australia Holdings marks the first expansion into the contract biologics space. Previous investments include antibody developer BioAtla and third-party pharma services firm BioDuro. According to Ian Wisenberg, CEO of Bridgewest Australia Biotech, the biologics contract development and manufacturing…

VMIC to help Oxford Biomedica up capacity for AstraZeneca AZD1222 deal

Oxford Biomedica will make extra production suites at its Oxbox facility available to AstraZeneca to service an expanded coronavirus vaccine manufacturing agreement. AstraZeneca originally hired UK-based contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Oxford Biomedica for the commercial production of the vector-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222 in May. Last week, the Anglo-Swedish biopharmaceutical firm paid an additional £15 million ($20 million) upfront to reserve up to three more manufacturing suites for 18 months. The deal can be extended by mutual agreement.…

Adios AveXis: Novartis embeds $8.7bn acquisition into gene therapy rebrand

Gene therapy developer AveXis will be known as Novartis Gene Therapies, more than two years after being acquired by the Swiss biopharma giant. In May 2018, Novartis spent $8.7 billion to acquire gene therapy technology and therapy developer AveXis. Since then, Novartis has supported the commercialization of its spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) single-dose therapy Zolgensma (onasemnogene abeparvovec), while investing heavily into the bolt-ons manufacturing capabilities. In February, AveXis/Novartis opened a $115 million gene therapy production plant in Durham, North Carolina.…

Astrea buys filtration firm ELS and hints at more acquisitions

Astrea Bioseparations has acquired Essential Life Solutions (ELS) adding a chromatography column portfolio and operations in the US. The deal, financial details of which have not been divulged, closed last week bringing Astrea the SNAP brand of chromatography column products for research and small-scale purification of biological products. “SNAP columns are high precision, glass columns used with HPLC/FPLC systems for development of purification processes and lab scale chromatography,” Astrea told this publication. The range will complement Astrea’s bioprocess offering, which…