Deal-Making

Q3 saw $1.5bn in biotech IPOs, and no slowdown in sight

The biotech sector saw the largest capital investment over the past quarter and life sciences’ momentum has far from peaked, says accounting firm CohnReznick. In the past financial quarter, life sciences and biotech initial public offerings (IPOs) pulled in $1.5 billion (€1.3 billion) in capital investment. According to national professional services and accounting firm CohnReznick, the sector was the number one industry for IPOs, with 20 deals taking place in the quarter, representing 30-35% of all deals. “There has been…

High Octane: Lonza buys 80% of ‘game-changing’ cell therapy tech partner

Lonza has acquired a controlling stake in its partner Octane Biotech and will incorporate the closed and automated Cocoon processing tech into its autologous cell therapy offering. Contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Lonza has collaborated with Octane Biotech for the past three years to develop the Cocoon manufacturing system. But this week, the Swiss CDMO purchased additional equity to hold a controlling stake of 80% in the firm, with an option for outright ownership. “Owning a controlling stake ensures…

Deal-making digest: IDT’s $80m US contract, WuXi’s strategic partership

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded IDT Biologika a ten-year contract to make biologics and vaccines worth up to $80 million. IDT Biologika has been contracted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services – to provide process development, manufacturing and characterization of vaccine and biologic products. The German drug and vaccine maker will receive…

Roche ups cell therapy interest through SQZ expansion deal

Roche has expanded its partnership with SQZ Biotechnologies to codevelop therapeutics derived from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in a deal worth up to $1 billion. In 2015, Swiss Biopharma Roche partnered with SQZ to use its B cell engineering technology in the development of cell therapies for cancer. This week, the firm has expanded the partnership to jointly develop and commercialize products based on antigen presenting cells (APCs) created by the SQZ platform. “SQZ entered into a first collaboration…

MaSTherCell wins Iovance deal as commercial cell therapy demand increases

Cell therapy CDMO MaSTherCell will produce late-stage clinical supply of an adoptive cell therapy for Iovance Biotherapeutics from its facility in Belgium. Iovance has selected MaSTherCell S.A., a cellular therapy-focused contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) and subsidiary of Orgenesis, to manufacture an adoptive cell therapy using its tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) product as it goes into late-stage trials in Europe. The manufacturing will take place from MaSTherCell’s plant based in Belgium, which according to a spokesperson from the CDMO…

Merck drops Lantus biosimilar, blames pricing and production cost concerns

Merck & Co. has ended the commercialization of Lusduna, a version of Sanofi’s Lantus (insulin glargine), and will pay Samsung Bioepis a termination fee of around $155 million. In 2014, Merck & Co. (known as MSD outside of North America) entered into an agreement with Korean biosimilar maker Samsung Bioepis to commercialize an insulin glargine candidate for the treatment of patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The product, Lusduna, formerly MK-1293, was approved in Europe in January 2017…

BMS invests in Compugen, grants access to Opdivo for combo trial

Compugen has gained access to top-selling programmed death-1 (PD-1) inhibitor Opdivo (nivolumab) through collaboration and a $12 million investment from Bristol-Myers Squibb. Israeli early-phase biotech Compugen’s candidate COM701, a first-in-class therapeutic antibody targeting PVRIG, will be investigated in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s monoclonal antibody (MAb) Opdivo (nivolumab) after signing a clinical partnership with the big pharma firm. “We discovered PVRIG as immune checkpoint proteins using our computational target discovery platform. We prioritized this target among the marketable other internal programs…

Biosimilar round-up: Deal-breaking, approvals, and patents

Mundipharma acquires Cinfa; Sandoz resolves dispute with AbbVie; FDA favours Celltrion and Teva’s rituximab. Welcome to the heady world of biosimilars. First up is an acquisition in the biosimilars space, with Cambridge, UK-based Mundipharma bolstering its portfolio through the purchase of Spanish drugmaker Cinfa Biotech. Financial have not been divulged, but Mundipharma gains immediate access to Pelmeg, a biosimilar which is looking to take a slice of the global $4.5 billion pegfilgrastim market. Pelmeg received recommendation for approval on September…

Turning over a new Leaf? Plant-based expression as a disruptor

Plant-based protein expression offers high yields and easy harvesting but has been held back by a lack of funding and the ubiquity of mammalian and bacterial systems, says Leaf Expression Systems. UK-based contract biopharmaceutical development firm Leaf Expression Systems has appointed Simon Saxby, a former executive at contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) Recipharm and Cobra, as its CEO. Leaf Expression Systems offers the production of proteins, antibodies and vaccines through its Hypertrans expression system, based on tobacco plants. Saxby’s immediate focus…

Want investment and innovation? Call yourself a ‘biopharma’ firm

With consistent year-on-year growth of around 12%, biopharma is the ‘favored child’ of the drug industry, says BioPlan Associates’ Eric Langer. At the first BIOLive event at CPhI Worldwide in Madrid this week, Eric Langer, president and managing partner at BioPlan Associates, told delegates innovation and sales revenue have driven the divide between the biopharma (large molecule) and the traditional small molecule pharma industries. “Today’s market is around $250 billion in biopharma sales, and this is still an emerging market…