Deal-Making

Gilead adds ‚Äėcornerstone‚Äô cancer drug in $21bn Immunomedics buyout

Gilead Sciences is¬†acquiring Immunomedics in a $21 billion deal, the latest in a string of transactions to bolster its cancer drug portfolio. The acquisition announced Sunday comes five months after Morris Plains, New Jersey-based¬†Immunomedics won FDA approval for cancer drug Trodelvy (sacitizumab govitecan). The regulatory decision covers triple negative breast cancer but the drug, projected to become a blockbuster seller, is also being evaluated in other types of cancer. According to deal terms announced Sunday, Foster City, CA-based Gilead has…

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‚Äôs 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. The candidate¬†lags behind other candidates…

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. ‚ÄúSNAP columns are high precision, glass columns used with HPLC/FPLC systems for development of purification processes and lab scale chromatography,‚ÄĚ Astrea told this publication. The range will complement Astrea‚Äôs bioprocess offering, which…

Cryoport strikes second acquisition in a week with $320m MVE buy

The addition of cryogenic freezer systems firm MVE Biological Solutions will boost Cryoport‚Äôs position in the temperature-controlled cell and gene therapy logistics space. Cryoport, a temperature-controlled supply chain services firm for the life sciences, has agree to buy MVE Biological Systems for $320 million with the deal expected to close by the end of the year. MVE is a subsidiary of Chart Industries and will bring Cryoport a greater presence in the cell and gene therapy services space, broadening its…

CDMO deals and investments from AGC, Avid, and Fujifilm

New deals inked by AGC Biologics, Avid Bioservices, and Therapure, while Fujifilm breaks ground in Texas. Welcome to Friday‚Äôs CDMO round-up. AGC Biologics has been contracted by Japan‚Äôs Ono Pharmaceutical for the manufacture of clinical materials. Details are scant but the agreement marks the latest deal announced by the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) in recent months. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, AGC has been named as one of the manufacturers of Novavax‚Äôs COVID-19 vaccine candidate NVX-CoV2373; recently said…

Charles River boosts cell therapy offering with $38m Cellero buy

The addition of cellular product supplier Cellero will complement last year‚Äôs acquisition of HemaCare says Charles River Laboratories. In December 2019, contract research organization (CRO) Charles River Laboratories expanded its services into the cell therapy space through the $380 million acquisition of HemaCare. The deal brought Charles River human primary cells as well as a core offering of leukapheresis ‚Äď the separation of white cells from blood samples. Fresh from the purchase, Charles River said it was eyeing up further…

J&J boosts autoimmune disease pipeline with $6.5bn Momenta buy

Johnson & Johnson is acquiring Momenta Pharmaceuticals in a¬†$6.5 billion deal¬†that brings the pharma giant a slate of experimental autoimmune disease therapies, including a potential blockbuster antibody drug in late-stage development for a rare type of anemia. Momenta develops treatments for diseases driven by autoantibodies ‚Äď antibodies produced by the immune system that spark dozens of rare autoimmune disorders. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech‚Äôs lead drug candidate, nipocalimab, is in a pivotal clinical trial testing it in warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia…