Repligen sees $150M Avitide acquisition as key to reaching gene therapy goals

Bioprocessing technologies company Repligen is acquiring Avitide, and its biologics purifying technology, in a $150 million cash and stock deal. Repligen said Avitide will help it meet growing demand for gene therapy solutions.

AbbVie makes another gene therapy move, paying $370M to partner with Regenxbio

AbbVie will take the lead on commercializing Regenxbio’s gene therapy in wet AMD and diabetic retinopathy. It’s AbbVie’s second major gene therapy deal this year, coming months after it committed $90 million to preclinical-stage Capsida Biotherapeutics.

Roche bets $300M on Adaptimmune tech for off-the-shelf cell therapies for cancer

Roche is partnering with Adaptimmune Therapeutics to develop allogeneic cell therapies based on Adaptimmune’s technology. In addition to these “off-the-shelf” products, the partners will also develop a personalized allogeneic cell therapy designed specifically for a patient’s cancer.

Asher Bio’s encouraging early data against rival cancer drug sparks $108M financing

Five months after raising $55 million to back a new technology and a promising lead cancer immunotherapy, Asher Biotherapeutics has reeled in $108 million more. CEO Craig Gibbs said investors were enticed by encouraging new data suggesting Asher Bio’s lead program is superior to a competitor’s.

Catalent sees $1B Bettera deal as a key to growth in nutrition and consumer health

Tie-ups of candy makers and nutritional product companies into a single firm called Bettera has culminated in a $1 billion acquisition by Catalent. The global contract manufacturing giant plans to leverage Bettera’s ability to produce gummies and chewables as a way to offer its customers new formulation options for nutraceutical products.

A biotech startup’s hunt for elusive disease targets scores $60M for drug R&D

Atavistik Bio is one of several companies discovering and developing drugs that work by allostery, binding to less obvious sites of a target protein. Acting CEO John Josey said the startup aims to stand apart with its focus on understanding metabolic interactions, a path less trodden by others in allosteric drug discovery.

ADC Therapeutics strikes a $325M royalty deal to fuel its cancer drug strategy

The royalty agreement with HealthCare Royalty Partners will support ADC Therapeutics’ plans to commercialize its newly approved cancer drug and develop the next one in its pipeline. The biotech’s drug Zynlonta is the first of its type approved by the FDA as a treatment for diffuse large cell B-cell lymphoma

Eli Lilly aims for the next-generation of protein degraders via Lycia R&D alliance

Eli Lilly is entering the field of protein-degrading drugs through a partnership with Lycia Therapeutics, a startup whose technology goes further than the first wave of such drugs. Lilly paid $35 million to begin the alliance, which spans up to five drugs.

Four biotech startup reel in $238M in financing to ramp up for clinical trials

Vigil Neuroscience led the way with a $90 million round of funding, one of four biotech companies to close Series B financing rounds in the past week. The fresh capital comes as each of the companies looks ahead to bringing their respective drugs into the clinic.

Illumina’s Grail buyout beats deadline, but legal and regulatory hurdles remain

In closing its Grail acquisition before U.S. and European regulators sign off, Illumina is taking a chance the deal will pass regulatory muster. It’s a potentially pricey gambit, as Illumina could face fines for its early action and there are no assurances that regulators will agree that the deal is not anticompetitive.

HiberCell’s Genuity buyout brings $100M, plus alliances with Ionis and AbbVie

Startup HiberCell has acquired Genuity Science, a marriage that brings together two companies that apply AI and machine learning to drug research. HiberCell says Genuity will help the company identify and validate new pathways in how cancer starts and progresses.

Sanofi’s mRNA strategy adds biggest piece yet with $3.2B Translate Bio buyout

Sanofi is acquiring Translate Bio, its messenger RNA R&D partner for the past three years, in a $3.2 billion deal. The pharmaceutical and vaccines giant said the acquisition will speed up development of partnered vaccine programs and spark work on new ones in areas such as cancer, immunology, and rare diseases.

Ipsen bets on Exicure’s tech as better way to deliver neuro drugs deep into the brain

Ipsen is shoring up its neuroscience pipeline via a deal that gives it the option to license drugs that Exicure is developing for Huntington’s disease and Angelman syndrome. The programs are based on Exicure’s proprietary technology that produces nucleic acid therapies capable of delivery deep into the brain.

AC Immune picks up Phase 2-ready drug for Parkinson’s in $58M deal with Affiris

AC Immune is bolstering the Parkinson’s disease portion of its drug pipeline with a deal to acquire a therapeutic vaccine that Affiris is developing for the disorder. Switzerland-based AC Immune plans to advance its new asset to Phase 2 testing.

Pfizer commits $1B to Arvinas for share of protein degrading breast cancer drug

Arvinas’ early clinical data for its targeted protein degradation drug for breast cancer drew partnering interest from several companies. Pfizer beat them all with a deal that pays the biotech $1 billion to share in the development and commercialization of this therapy.

Amylyx Pharmaceuticals raises $135M as ALS drug heads to pivotal clinical trial

An amyotrophic lateral sclerosis drug from Amylyx Pharmaceuticals is being prepared for Phase 3 clinical testing on track to begin later this quarter. To support that research, the biotech has raised $135 million in financing.

Frontier Medicines raises $88M for R&D, including potential rival to Amgen cancer drug

Cancer drug developer Frontier Medicines already has a research partnership with AbbVie. Now the preclinical-stage biotech has raised $88.5 million for its own pipeline, including a drug that could offer advantages over a recently approved Amgen cancer therapy.

Erasca’s IPO leads the way as three cancer biotechs raise $534M for clinical trials

Cancer drug developer Erasca, whose mission is to “erase cancer,” has raised $300 million from its IPO. The clinical-stage biotech addresses a single elusive cancer target; it has multiple programs taking multiple approaches, two of them in human testing and the rest on track to join them.

PAQ Therapeutics scores $30M to unleash “Pac Man” drugs on neuro disease

Startup PAQ Therapeutics is developing drugs work like Pac Man, gobbling up components of a cell associated with disease. The biotech has closed $30 million in financing to continue its research, with a neurodegenerative disorder as its lead disease target.

Eli Lilly gets glucose-sensing “smart insulin” via buyout of preclinical Protomer

Eli Lilly has Protomer Technologies, a preclinical startup developing next-generation insulin that senses blood glucose levels and adjusts its activity accordingly. The technology could eliminate the need for multiple insulin injections throughout the day.

Biogen reaches across globe and pays $125M to land its next new MS drug

By paying $125 million up front for rights to multiple sclerosis drug candidate orelabrutinib, Biogen secures a place among those companies trying to treat the disease by targeting a particular enzyme highly expressed in the central nervous system. But Biogen still has some catching up to do.

Eli Lilly looks to startup Verge Genomics to turn AI analysis into new ALS drugs

Eli Lilly is partnering with startup Verge Genomics in a move intended to add ALS drugs to its neuroscience pipeline. To date, Verge’s artificial intelligence technology has produced programs internal programs in ALS, Parkinson’s, and frontotemporal dementia.

Eli Lilly’s $15M investment deepens link to startup developing new class of RNA meds

Two months after Eli Lilly began an alliance with MiNA Therapeutics, a startup developing a new type of RNA therapy, the pharmaceutical giant is making a $15 million equity investment in its partner. MiNA is developing a new class of medicines called small activating RNA therapies.

CRO Parexel changes private equity hands again, this time for $8.5B

Four years after a private equity acquisition took Parexel private, the contract research organization is being acquired by two private equity firms for $8.5 billion. It’s the latest in a series of acquisitions to hit the CRO sector this year.

GSK adds neuro prospects, paying $700M to share R&D of Alector’s two lead drugs

GlaxoSmithKline is paying Alector $700 million up front to share in the development of the biotech’s two lead drugs, which offer potentially broad application in treating neurological disorders. Alector’s approach addresses the role immune cell dysfunction plays in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Apellis taps Beam’s base-editing tech to broaden autoimmune disease scope

Fresh off its first FDA approval, Apellis Pharmaceuticals is teaming up with Beam Therapeutics, a partnership that will use Beam’s base-editing technology to develop new therapies for complement system disorders. Apellis has committed to pay Beam $75 million to kick off the alliance.

GSK joins chase for hot cancer target, paying iTeos $625M in new alliance

GlaxoSmithKline is paying iTeos Therapeutics $625 million up front to share in the development of an antibody that targets the TIGIT protein, a hot target in cancer immunotherapy R&D. The deal comes less than a month after rival Bristol Myers Squibb inked its own deal securing rights to a TIGIT-targeting Agenus drug.

Pioneering a new realm of biology, startup Senda Bio expands financing to $98M

Senda Biosciences is developing drugs based on an understanding of intersystems biology—the way that humans interact with bacteria and plants. The startup, founded by Flagship Pioneering, has added $55 million to advance its three lead programs to clinical testing next year.

Auris Medical pivots from hearing loss drugs, joins red hot RNA therapies field

Auris Medical has acquired Trasir Therapeutics, a startup developing technology that expands the delivery of RNA medicines to tissues beyond the liver. Going forward, Auris will sell or spin off its programs in hearing disorders and allergies and focus exclusively on RNA therapies.

MorphoSys to buy Constellation Pharma in a $1.7B bet on epigenetic cancer drugs

MorphoSys is acquiring Constellation Pharmaceuticals and its late-stage myelofibrosis drug in a deal that values the epigenetics biotech at $1.7 billion. Germany-based MorphoSys will finance the acquisition with cash from a separate $2 billion deal with drug royalty acquirer Royalty Pharma.

Eying eczema, Amgen pays $400M to co-develop Phase 3-ready Kyowa Kirin drug

Amgen is paying Kyowa Kirin $400 million to share in the development of a drug that could offer a new approach to treating atopic dermatitis, a form of eczema. The deal comes months after Japan-based Kyowa Kirin reported positive preliminary Phase 2 data for its antibody.

IQVIA adds to growing lab biz with $198M deal for Myriad contract services unit

IQVIA is paying nearly $200 million to purchase a Myriad Genetics subsidiary that provides pharmaceutical contract services , a deal that will put the new acquisition in the company’s Q2 Solutions unit, The deal follows IQVIA’s April announcement that it had secured full ownership of Q2, which had been a joint venture with Quest Diagnostics.

Biogen teams up with Ginkgo Bioworks in gene therapy manufacturing pact

Biogen is reaching across the Charles River, striking up a gene therapy manufacturing alliance with synthetic biology firm Ginkgo Bioworks. Ginkgo will use its technology to accelerate and make more efficient the process of manufacturing the AAV viral vectors used in gene therapies.

Bayer’s BlueRock Therapeutics widens cell therapy scope to the eye under new pact

BlueRock Therapeutics, a Bayer subsidiary, is teaming up with Opsis Therapeutics and Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics in an R&D pact focused on developing stem cell therapies for eye diseases. BlueRock is paying its new partners $30 million up front to kick off the alliance.

Biogen adds to neuro drug pipeline with acquisition of stroke drug from TMS

Biogen paid $18 million to acquire a drug that TMS Co. of Japan tested in patients with acute ischemic stroke. The acquisition follows the report of preliminary mid-stage data showing the drug led to no cases of a potentially fatal complication associated with currently available stroke therapies.

Vertex Pharma inks another R&D alliance to expand its gene-editing ambitions

Vertex Pharmaceuticals is collaborating with Obsidian Therapeutics to develop up to five new gene editing therapies. Obsidian’s technology precisely controls protein expression, a capability the partners plan to apply to several undisclosed serious diseases.

Report: Fewer health system M&A deals in Q1 2021 offset by larger transactions

Though the number of merger and acquisition deals in the first quarter of 2021 fell below historical averages, the size of the deals was far bigger than the same period last year, a new report from Kaufman Hall shows. The total transacted revenue was $8.8 billion, the second-highest Q1 figure in the last five years.