Deal-Making

Amgen takes $2.7bn stake in BeiGene to up presence in China

Amgen will look to commercialize several of its biologics and advance 20 oncology candidates in China as it acquires roughly 20% of local drugmaker BeiGene. During Amgen’s third quarter 2019 financial call this week, CEO Bob Bradway noted his firm’s excitement of having recently launched its first product in China – cardiovascular disease monoclonal antibody Repatha (evolocumab). “We expect this to become an important market for us through time,” he told investors. Days later, and the biopharma firm has struck…

Avacta teams with ADC Therapeutics on Affimer conjugates

Avacta Group and cancer drug developer ADC Therapeutics SA have entered into a collaboration agreement. The partnership – financial terms of which were not made public – will develop drugs combining ADC Therapeutics’ pyrrolobenzodiazepine-based cytotoxic warheads with Avacta’s Affimer targeting platform. ADC Therapeutics will cover all Avacta’s costs during the project. The firm also has the right to obtain exclusive licenses to the Affimer proteins for clinical development and commercialization. Matt Vincent, Avacta’s VP of Therapeutics Business Development, told us:…

Cesca and HealthBanks jump on the CAR-TXpress in cell banking JV

Cesca Therapeutics and HealthBanks Biotech say their cell processing tech and banking JV will target CDMOs and immunology researchers. Under the agreement Cesca’s subsidiary ThermoGenesis will grant the newly formed joint venture – to be called ImmuneCyte Life Sciences – an exclusive license to its CAR-TXpress technology. The system is used to isolate blood components in a cGMP compliant manner. According to Cesca it is 16 times more efficient than ficoll gradient centrifugation-based cell processing methods. In addition to offering…

Chinese CMC: CMAB to make bi-functional antibody for BJ

BJ Bioscience has contracted CMAB Biopharma to provide research, development and manufacturing services for a candidate therapeutic antibody called BJ-005. Under the deal, CMAB will conduct CMC development and manufacturing to support the planned submission of an IND for the candidate drug in China and the US. No further details about BJ-005 were provided. According to BJ Biosciences’ website the drug is a bi-functional antibody intended for the treatment of “cancer.” On the firm’s pipeline page the timing for IND…

Danaher offloads assets to Sartorius for $750m; GE buy pushed back to 2020

Sartorius will add biomolecular characterization, chromatography hardware and resins, and microcarriers in the deal, dependent on the closure of Danaher’s acquisition of GE Healthcare’s Biopharma business. Earlier this year, Danaher Corporation announced its intention to increase its presence in the bioprocessing space through the full biopharma portion of GE Healthcare’s Life Sciences business for approximately $21.4 billion (€19.2 billion). The GE business unit will, once the deal closes, become the latest subsidiary of Danaher, which boasts Pall Corporation, Sciex, and…

Combigene teams with Cobra and NBR on epilepsy gene therapy

Cobra Biologics will produce the AAV viral vector for Combigene’s epilepsy gene therapy from its facilities in Keele, UK. Nordic gene therapy company Combigene’s CG01 candidate is based on an adeno-associated viral vector (AAV) which administers a combination of neuropeptide Y (NPY) and its receptor Y2 directly to the part of the brain where epileptic seizures begin. The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and the manufacturing process was developed at the…

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…