Friday, December 17, 2010

DOTW's 12 Deals Of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, IN VIVO gives to you an earn-out in a pear tree
On the second day of Christmas,
IN VIVO gives to you two consumer deals
On the third day of Christmas,
IN VIVO gives to you regional alliances
On the fourth day of Christmas,
IN VIVO gives to you hostile deals now friendly
On the fifth day of Christmas,
IN VIVO gives to you ON-CO-LO-GY
On the sixth day of Christmas,
IN VIVO gives to you biotech spin-offs
On the seventh day of Christmas,
IN VIVO gives to you biobucks a plenty
On the eighth day of Christmas,
IN VIVO gives to you eight pharma partners
On the ninth day of Christmas,
IN VIVO gives to you platform biologics
On the tenth day of Christmas,
IN VIVO gives to you billion dollar skin care
On the eleventh day of Christmas,
IN VIVO gives to you a new eye care unit

On the twelfth day of Christmas, IN VIVO...needs a break. Please read (instead)...

MedImmune/Evotec: Big pharma’s love affair with primary care is on the wane, making cardiovascular deals as rare as partridges in pear trees. But it’s a different story for metabolic disease, where drug makers see large opportunity in growing waistlines. Think Merck’s take-out of SmartCells or Sanofi’s spate of alliances to build itself into an end-to-end solutions provider. Now comes news that AstraZeneca's biologics group MedImmune is aligning with Evotec in a broad R&D deal centering on regeneration of insulin-producing beta cells. As with most early stage alliances, the deal is heavy on the back-end payments, with the German biotech due €5 million upfront and up to €254 million in milestones down the road. But should Evotec deliver the goods, it would prove a nifty return on the biotech's acquisition of DeveloGen, a deal completed less than three months ago for up to €14 million in cash and stock, plus potential earn-outs. It's DeveloGen's metabolic target discovery platform that MedImmune is tapping into, and it adds a third alliance to the subsidiary's portfolio. Meanwhile, MedImmune and parent AstraZeneca are looking to fill a hole in their pipeline. -- Alex Lash

Reckitt Benckiser/Para Pharmaceuticals: Reckitt Benckiser Group pushed further into the consumer health business and India on Dec. 14 when the household cleaning products maker announced its £460 million ($727.3 million) acquisition of India’s Para Pharmaceuticals from private equity group Actis and minority shareholders. The acquisition, which is 31 times Para’s EBITDA, gives Reckitt access to one of India’s most popula cold-and flu-remedies, D’Cold. Still that’s a steep price to pay to boost exposure in an emerging market, where Reckitt already sells Dettol, Durex and Disprin. (At that price, IN VIVO blog thinks Para should throw in at least two turtle doves.) The company’s consumer healthcare unit now accounts for one-quarter of sales and will become increasingly more important since its household cleaning division faces pressure from competition like Procter & Gamble.—Lisa LaMotta

GlaxoSmithKline/Maxinutrition: As part of its pre-Christmas shopping spree, Glaxo says no to French Hens, but yes to muscle shakes, acquiring U.K. sports nutrition firm Maxinutrition Group Holdings for £162 million. The deal diversifies Glaxo’s Nutritional Healthcare business, adding the smaller player’s line of protein-rich body building, weight management, and endurance products onto the big drug maker’s carbohydrate business Lucozade and Horlicks (also known internally as a @calcium micronutrients business"). GSK's Nutritional Healthcare sales were already on a tear climbing 12% to $408.6 million for the third quarter of 2010. But with this new triumvirate, the pharma sees a recipe for growth. It can leverage the selling power of Horlicks while tapping into the sports nutrition business, a sector still growing strong in established markets that, globally, could be worth nearly $5 billion. – Dan Schiff

Ramius/Cypress: It took four calling birds, but Cypress Bioscience finally got a buyout offer from Ramius that was music to its ears. On Dec. 15, the San Diego biotech announced it had accepted a $255 million takeover offer from Ramius. The deal values Cypress at $6.50 per share, 63% more than Ramius’ $4-per-share offer in July. When Ramius launched its pursuit, it ripped Cypress management in an open letter, blasting the company’s decision to license a schizophrenia drug from Israel’s BioLineRx and declaring its 2008 acquisition of diagnostics company Proprius a failure. Since then, Ramius has incrementally increased its offer, including a $6.00 per share deal that Cypress’s board rejected. The parties finally agreed on the $6.50-a-share price, and agreed to extend the tender offer in order to complete the deal. Cypress garners most of its revenue from fibromyalgia drug Savella (milnacipran), and completed small-money deals in August to acquire rights to an autism drug from Marina Biotech and a smoking cessation product from Alexza Pharmaceuticals.—Paul Bonanos

Sanofi-Aventis/Merck Serono: ON-CO-LO-GY! In the drug world, viable cancer drugs are definitely as valuable as five golden rings. But as the recent U.S. regulatory decision around Avastin in metastatic breast cancer shows, incremental efficacy against an unmet medical need ain’t enough any more. Some companies are trying to overcome wily tumor cells by combining targeted therapies that work via different mechanisms into a single agent. And as the Dec. 17 alliance between Sanofi-Aventis and Merck Serono shows, they are willing to forge ties with competitors (excuse me, external parties) if that’s what it takes. According to the deal’s terms, Sanofi contributes two novel small molecule kinase inhibitors (both incidentally inlicensed from Exelixis in 2009): a PI3 kinase/ mTOR inhibitor SAR245409, and a class I PI3K inhibitor, SAR245408. Merck Serono, meanwhile, supplies its MEK inhibitor, MSC1936369B. (All three molecules are currently being studied in independent Phase I trials.) Here’s how the sharing works: Sanofi will conduct trials combining Merck’s MEK with its PI3K/mTOR inhibitor, while Merck will study the other PI3K blocker in combination with its medicine, and both drug companies will fund their own studies. Beyond breathy prose about “personalizing and stratifying cancer care” and maximizing the portfolio, details about the collaboration were vague, meaning what happens after Phase I, and importantly how the financials will be sorted, remain mysteries. Structurally – and therapeutically – the deal is almost an exact duplicate of the 2009 tie-up between Merck & Co. Inc. and AstraZeneca. (No word if an overly long airport security queue also played a role in this most recent alliance, however.) -- EFL

Xention/Provesica: Rather than divide its focus between two largely unrelated programs, UK-based Xention and its investors have elected to divide and conquer, spinning out the biotech's overactive bladder program into a new, separate company called Provesica. Two of Xention’s stakeholders, Forbion Capital Partners and Seroba Kernal, have supplied not six geese-a-laying but something much more important: cold hard cash to the tune of £4 million ($6.2 million). Beyond setting up an independent Provesica, the money will support Phase II trials of its lead compound, a vanilloid TRP (transient receptor potential) receptor antagonist, which affects the detrusor muscle in the bladder. Xention, which recently raised £8 million in Series D funding, will continue to advance its atrial fibrillation program, aimed at developing inhibitors to selectively block ion channels in the heart’s atria but not its ventricles. In conjunction with the spin-off, Xention has restructured, with holding company Xention Pharma Ltd. operating an R&D subsidiary.—PB

GlaxoSmithKline/Impax: GlaxoSmithKline, which now faces generic competition for its only Parkinson’s disease drug, Requip, swam back into that space Dec. 16, inking a co-development and commercialization deal with Impax Pharmaceuticals for the smaller firm’s lead program, IPX066. (Seven swans were apparently optional.) GSK will pay $11.5 million upfront along with up to $175 million in potential milestones and tiered, double-digit royalties on sales of IPX066, an extended-release combination of levodopa and carbidopa now in Phase III, in exchange for worldwide rights outside the U.S. and Taiwan. Impax, the CNS-focused, branded drugs division of generic player Impax Laboratories, will continue to make and supply the medicine to GSK. Impax completed a Phase III trial (APEX-PD) in early-stage Parkinson’s earlier this year with strong results and expects data from a second Phase III study (ADVANCE-PD) in patients with advanced Parkinson’s in the second quarter of next year. An NDA filing could come as soon as end of 2011.—Joseph Haas

Adimab/Lilly, Adimab/Genentech, Adimab/HGSI: On the eighth day of Christmas Adimab dispensed with the 8 maids-a-milking (and drug development too) and focused on the cream of the crop: its platform. At a time when most biotechs can’t monetize their platforms through discovery stage deals, privately-held, yeast-based antibody discovery biotech Adimab (alongside DOTY nominee Ablexis) remains the rare bird. Adimab watchers shouldn’t be surprised the company has inked more deals – three of them actually, with the likes of Lilly, Genentech and Human Genome Sciences. Nor do these recent deals stray far from the company’s previous single-target antibody discovery alliances, which emphasize non-exclusivity around a target and pay the biotech undisclosed financials that include an upfront, plus milestones and royalty payments. Why is Adimab the belle of the antibody discovery ball? “Our technology platform is not only faster than conventional antibody technology but it yields more relevant therapeutic leads with a higher probability of success,” CEO Tillman Gerngross, PhD, told us for a piece we did earlier this week in “The Pink Sheet” DAILY. The upshot of all Adimab’s dealmaking is that the cash-flow positive biotech (it announced two milestone payments to go along with the three deals this week) is restructuring to an LLC to return cash to shareholders in a tax-efficient way. – Chris Morrison

Mitsubishi Tanabe/Anaphore: At least one lady (if not nine) is surely dancing on the news of Mitsubishi’s R&D tie-up with Anaphore, a San Diego-based biotech developing trimeric proteins called Atrimers. Anaphore’s CEO Katherine Bowdish tells sister publication “The Pink Sheet” DAILY, “this first partnership does a great job of validating our technology platform.” It’s certainly a nice first and Mitsubishi’s willingness to contribute research funding is a decided plus, but Anaphore isn’t going to win any DOTY nominations based on the deal terms – a $5 million upfront, $110 million in milestones, and tiered royalties on sales of any products resulting from the option-style collaboration, which could be expanded to up to three targets. Still the tie-up, focused in auto-immune disease, is a reminder that drug makers remain interested in accessing novel technologies, especially if said platforms can create medicines against intractable drug targets or are inaccessible because of preexisting IP. Anaphore is especially interested in creating novel proteins that bind receptors in the so-called TNF super-family. The biotech’s most advanced candidate, the still preclinical ATX3105, antagonizes the interleukin-23 receptor, which plays a role in autoimmune disorders. -- Shirley Haley & EFL

Galderma/Q-Med: Lords a leaping! Leading Swiss dermatology company Galderma’s $967 million bid for medical implant manufacturer Q-Med will roughly double the acquirer’s sales and substantially increase its presence in aesthetic dermatology, a sub-segment of dermatology that is growing worldwide. Galderma, a joint venture of Nestle and L’Oreal, sells prescription and non-prescription dermatology products worldwide and is the largest manufacturer of topical dermatology therapies in the U.S. Q-Med makes dermal fillers including Restylane, which competes against Allergan’s successful Botox. The deal is non-traditional in that it offers different terms for the majority shareholder, Lyftet, which owns 47.5% of Q-Med, and the remaining shareholders. Bengt Agerup, Lyftet’s CEO, has already agreed to accept an irrevocable offer of 58.94 SEK in upfront cash, with up to 16.02 SEK in additional payments if certain development and business milestones are met. The remaining Q-Med shareholders would receive a flat cash payment of 75 SEK per share. Q-Med investors will have between Jan. 4, 2011 and Jan. 25, 2011 to tender their shares.—Wendy Diller

Novartis/Alcon: On Dec. 15, Novartis AG finally acquired the remaining 23% of eye care company Alcon Inc. that the Swiss-pharma giant didn’t already own. Alas, the announcement, which requires Novartis to pay independent shareholders the same average share price it doled out to Nestle, came without much fanfare. (In what was surely an oversight given the months it took to finalize the transaction, there were no pipers piping or drummers drumming.) The deal, which is a stock swap, will cost Novartis another $12.9 billion, driving the total price of the Alcon acquisition to $51.6 billion. In dollar terms, that rivals the mega-mergers of Pfizer/ Wyeth, Merck/Schering and Roche/Genentech. Is an ophtho company worth that much? The beauty of a deal is always in the eye of its beholder, but this particular therapeutic sector is enjoying a renaissance. Ophthalmologists are a technically savvy bunch, so having a strong device presence will likely help Novartis leverage its existing ophthalmics medicine business, which along with consumer-focused CIBA Vision and Alcon will be folded into a new eye care unit run by Alcon CEO Kevin Buehler. – Lisa LaMotta & EFL

No comments: