Deal-Making

Catalent jumps into ‘transformative’ gene therapy space with $1.2bn Paragon buy

Contract manufacturer Catalent has agreed to buy the gene therapy CDMO Paragon Bioservices for $1.2 billion. Paragon Bioservices, a private-equity backed biologics contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) focused on gene therapy and next-generation vaccines, will be acquired by fellow CDMO Catalent, the firms announced this morning. According to its website, 50% of Paragon’s current contracts are for gene therapy. The CDMO also supports vaccine products and has previously won contracts from clients including the US Department of Defense (DoD).…

ChromaCon buy and expansions tip YMC further into the biologics space

Japanese separation resins firm YMC has acquired ChromaCon AG, adding a range of continuous chromatography technologies to its ever-increasing large molecules purification portfolio. The deal, financials of which have not been released, saw YMS acquire 100% of ChromaCon shares and intellectual property rights. This includes patents around multi-column processing, the Contichrom benchtop instrument range of products and several license arrangements. “YMC Process Technologies already manufactures and markets GMP production skids embedding ChromaCon technology,” Philipp Anstätt, strategist aligning R&D and market…

RNAi: Regeneron pumps $800m into ‘potentially game-changing science’

Regeneron will look to develop RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics for eye and CNS diseases by teaming with and investing in Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. RNA interference (RNAi) therapies are a new class of drugs that work by inhibiting gene expression or translation by neutralizing targeted mRNA molecules. The first – and only – commercial RNAi therapy is Alnylam’s Onpattro (patisiran), approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last August for the treatment of the polyneuropathy of hereditary transthyretin-mediated (hATTR) amyloidosis…

Lonza goes live with microbiome CMO joint venture

Lonza says GMP know-how and drug delivery tech are core to its live biotherapeutics joint-venture formed with Chr. Hansen. The Swiss contractor and Danish bioscience firm set up the contract manufacturing organization (CMO) in April, citing biopharma interest as the driver. Live biotherapeutic products (LBPs), as the name suggests, are living organisms. Unlike probiotics used to try to improve general health, LBPs are drugs intended to treat or cure disease. “LBPs are regulated as drugs and have to go through…

Sangamo ‘excited’ about Thermo’s takeover of CDMO partner Brammer

Sangamo Therapeutics has secured access to large-scale AAV manufacturing through long-term partner Brammer Bio, a gene therapy CDMO set to be bought by Thermo Fisher. Sangamo Therapeutics has several gene therapy candidates moving through the clinic, including its own programs for inherited metabolic diseases and partnered programs in hematology with Pfizer and Sanofi. To support these, the firm has broadened out its manufacturing strategy by securing access to large-scale adeno-associated virus (AAV) manufacturing through an option agreement with contract development…

Samsung Bio to make $1bn worth of CytoDyn’s HIV antibody

CytoDyn has contracted Samsung BioLogics to produce the drug substance for its candidate leronlimab and says it will need at least two CMOs once the HIV inhibitor is approved. CytoDyn’s lead candidate leronlimab (PRO 140) has demonstrated antiviral activity and shown to significantly reduce viral burden in people infected with HIV in Phase II clinical trials. The fully humanized IgG4 monoclonal antibody blocks the predominant HIV (R5) subtype entry into T-cells by masking the required co-receptor, CCR5. The firm has…

AZ inks $6.9bn ADC deal with Daiichi Sankyo

AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo will co-develop cancer antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) DS-8201 in a deal worth up to $6.9 billion. AstraZeneca will pay $1.35 billion (€1.2 billion) upfront for rights to DS-8201 (trastuzumab deruxtecan). The UK firm will pay a further $5.5 billion if the drug achieves regulatory and sales targets. Under the agreement, Daiichi will manufacture DS-8201. AstraZeneca will help develop and sell the drug worldwide, except in Japan where Daiichi has exclusive rights. Spokesman Rob Skelding told us AstraZeneca’s…

Lonza adds to cell line arsenal with piggyBac from Transposagen

CDMO Lonza will use the non-viral, gene delivery piggyBac system to improve the titer of difficult-to-express proteins after acquiring the IP rights from Transposagen. The deal brings contract development and manufacturing organization Lonza the transposon-based technology. The platform uses an engineered hyperactive piggyBac transposase enzyme to insert expression vector cargos into the host cell genome and preferentially targets stable regions of the genome associated with highly expressed genes. “We acquired the IP rights to the piggyBac technology for bioprocessing,” Sarah…

Pfizer takes 15% stake in gene therapy firm Vivet

The deal, worth a potential $636 million, will help accelerate Pfizer’s adeno-associated virus (AAV) directed gene therapy portfolio, the firm says. Emerging French biotech firm Vivet Therapeutics has a gene therapy pipeline based on its adeno-associated virus (AAV) technologies with lead candidate VTX-801 preparing to enter the clinic as a potential treatment for Wilson disease. The firm will now benefit from support from Pfizer after the Big Pharma firm paid around €45 million ($51 million) to acquire a 15% equity…

Celgene deal: ‘Tremendous excitement’ at BMS despite shareholder jitters

After assessing over 70 opportunities, Bristol-Myers Squibb insists the proposed $74 billion acquisition of Celgene is the ‘right and best’ option for the firm. Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) announced in January it had entered into an agreement to buy Celgene for $74 billion (€65 billion) in what will be the largest megamerger ever in the biopharma space. The deal has been undermined by investor groups, which have described the proposed acquisition as “poorly conceived and ill-advised.” But speaking at the Cowen…