Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Deals of the Week Lovingly Massacrees the Classics

This post is called Deals of the Week, and it's about deals, and the week, but Deals of the Week is not the name of the blog, that's just the name of the post. And that's why I called the post Deals of the Week.

Now it all started four Thanksgivings ago; it was four years ago on Thanksgiving, when Chris Morrison and I started writin' a blog about deals, but not every day, just once a week. And writin' about deals once a week, you know it's a lot of work. (Hint. Hint.)

And there's a lot of garbage you gotta sift through, but we decided it would be a friendly gesture on behalf of readers. So we trolled around the Internet with our shovels and rakes and other implements of destruction (a.k.a. EBI's Strategic Transactions database) looking for deals to analyze. But then a big bad editor (also known as Officer Roger) said why are you doin' that? We are closed on Thanksgiving.

And we had never heard of a blog closed on Thanksgiving before (we don't get out much) so with tears in our eyes we drove off into the sunset looking for another place to dump our garbage -- I mean our deals.

We didn't find one. So we wrote our post anyway, went back and had a Thanksgiving Day that couldn't be beat, went to sleep, and didn't get up until the next morning when we got a call from Officer Roger... And it's been a recurring feature here at IVB ever since.

But fortunately, not another case of American blind justice since we always arrive at the truth of the matter and it doesn't even require 27 eight-by-ten color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one.

In honor of the day, we hope you consider joining the IN VIVO Blog Movement. All you've got to do is walk into the office wherever you are, just walk in and say ,"You can get anything you want at IN VIVO Blog." And walk out.

You know if one person, just one person does it, they might think he's really sick and they won't take him... And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day (okay, we'd really like 1000) walking in, quoting a line from IN VIVO Blog and walking out?

And friends, they might think its a movement. And that's what it is, the IN VIVO Blog Movement.

Remember Deals of the Week? (This is a post about Deals of the Week.)

Without further ado, we bring you this week's installment. Feel free to sing along in four-part harmony. With feeling. Cuz'...

You can get anything you want at IN VIVO Blog.
You can get anything you want at IN VIVO Blog.
Log right in, it's a click away.
Just a finger tap. You don't have to pay.
You can get anything you want at IN VIVO Blog. (Excepting Roger.)

Alice parody by Ellen Licking, Arlo Guthrie's original here (or catch it on Thursday -- we'll be listening to WMMR at 2p). Happy Thanksgiving from EBI's IN VIVO Blog.

Algeta/Ablynx: Ablynx and Algeta hope that by linking their cutting-edge technologies in a joint feasibility study they can make a quantum leap in cancer therapy innovation. Their 12-month “targeted radiotherapy” project entails Ablynx generating a nanobody that will deliver Algeta’s alpha-particle emitting radio therapeutic thorium-227 against an undisclosed cancer target. Algeta will also provide the linker technology for the conjugate. Financial terms were not disclosed. Ablynx’s nanobody will deliver the thorium radiotherapeutic payload to a cancer cell, where the high energy of the alpha particle emitted by the attached thorium would kill the tumor tissue at a distance of a few cell diameters while sparing the remaining body. The therapeutic principle is akin to that of antibody-drug conjugates, such as Roche’s T-DM1, where a chemotherapeutic is selectively targeted to cancer cells to kill the malignant cell while sparing healthy tissues.--Sten Stovall

Pfizer/Cystic Fibrosis Foundation: Following up on the January approval of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s Kalydeco (ivacaftor), the first drug to address the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis, Pfizer Inc. and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation are teaming up in a $58 million, six-year extension of an existing R&D alliance to bring additional root-cause-focused drugs into clinical development for cystic fibrosis. Maryland-based CFF is partnered with multiple companies, including Vertex and Genzyme Corp., to help fund CF drug development. CFF President and CEO Ronald Beall says the foundation will invest about $114 million in medical science efforts in 2013, with about $80 million of that going to support drug-discovery and development. Pfizer’s work in CF stems from its 2010 acquisition of FoldRx Pharmaceuticals Inc., a biotech that focused on developing oral therapeutics for protein-misfolding-related conditions. That buyout was part of the world’s largest pharma’s move into drugs for orphan and rare diseases. The goal of the Pfizer/CFF agreement, announced Nov. 19, is to bring one or more drug candidates addressing mutations of the Delta F508 protein, a misfolding defect implicated in roughly 90% of CF cases, into the clinic.--Joseph Haas

Paladin Labs/Ativa Pharma: Montreal-based Paladin Labs is expanding its Mexican operations with the acquisition of Guadalajara-based Ativa Pharma. The deal, announced Nov. 19, will give the specialty pharmaceutical company an established distribution network in the country and an existing team that is familiar with the Mexican regulatory authorities. Paladin estimates that the Mexican pharmaceutical market could be worth $8.1 billion. The company will be introducing several of its own products to the market, including Travelan, a traveller’s diarrhea prevention; Abstral for breakthrough cancer pain; and Tostran for hypogonadism. The company will also seek approval for several compounds already in Ativa’s pipeline. Paladin expects that the first regulatory approvals and commercial launches will begin in the second half of 2013. The company would not reveal any financial details pertaining to the acquisition.--Lisa LaMotta

Shire/Boston Children’s Hospital: Shire PLC is expanding its presence in rare diseases, an area that already makes up about one-third of the company’s business, through a collaboration with the Boston Children’s Hospital. Announced Nov. 20, the three-year agreement will focus on developing treatments for pediatric diseases with high unmet medical needs. The partnership will leverage Shire’s commercial expertise in the area, as well as Boston Children’s Hospital’s understanding of pediatric disease and its clinical network. In exchange for an option to license any products that emerge from the collaboration, Shire will make an undisclosed upfront payment to fund specific programs. The Hospital will receive milestone payments and royalties upon commercialization of any products.--Lisa LaMotta

NeuroVive/Sihuan: The importance of China as a growing market for pharmaceuticals was underscored Nov. 20 when NeuroVive, a tiny Swedish biotech, forged its first product development agreement, with Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings, one of the largest domestic pharmaceutical companies in China. The deal also is the first Sihuan has entered into with a non-Chinese pharmaceutical company. Sihuan will conduct clinical trials in China on NeuroVive's two investigational tissue repair products, CicloMulsion and NeuroSTAT, which have potential in the treatment of acute cardiovascular and neurological conditions, respectively. CicloMulsion, a formulation of cyclosporine A found in initial studies to protect mitochondria from destruction during trauma, is in a Phase II/III study in Europe, and NeuroSTAT, another cyclosporine A formulation, is about to start a Phase IIa study. Sihuan is paying just $7.5 million in upfront and milestone payments initially, reflecting Sihuan's funding of the Chinese development work and its pioneering nature, but will pay a 10% royalty on any sales. At the same time, the alliance will go some way to validate NeuroVive's research focus on mitochondrial medicine. The Chinese market for acute cardiovascular and neurological conditions is currently worth around RMB 2 billion ($321 million) annually.--John Davis

Wright Medical/BioMimetic: Wright Medical Group gains a near-term commercial opportunity in regenerative medicines with the acquisition of BioMimetic Therapeutics Inc. for what could amount to $380 million. Under the deal announced Nov. 19, Wright Medical will pay $190 million down in cash and stock, plus up to $190 million more in milestone payments. BioMimetic’s key product is the Augment bone graft, which is under review by FDA as a replacement for autologous bone graft in foot and ankle fusion procedures. The product could receive PMA approval “between late April next year and … the end of the year,” Wright Medical CEO Robert Palmisano said during a Nov. 19 analyst call announcing the deal. Wright is obviously confident in the approvability of Augment, despite FDA’s initial “not approvable” determination in January. BioMimetic submitted a PMA amendment in June responding to questions raised by the agency. FDA’s Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Devices advisory panel had narrowly supported approval at a May 2011 meeting. Augment is a synthetic alternative to autologous bone graft, made of recombinant human platelet-derived growth factor (rhPDGF-BB) and beta-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP) granules, which form a scaffold to support cell attachment. The two components are mixed during surgery and applied directly to the surgical site during open orthopedic procedures. Besides Augment, BioMimetic also markets its Augmatrix biocomposite bone graft substitute line of products for orthopedic indications. -- Sue Darcy 

BASF/Pronova BioPharma: German chemical firm BASF casts a voluntary cash offer of NOK4.845 million ($846 million) to hook omega-3 fatty acid maker Pronova BioPharma ASA on Nov. 21. While some Pronova investors were disappointed with the 24% premium offer of NOK12.5 per share, according to media reports, BASF said it already has irrevocable pre-acceptance commitments from shareholders representing approximately 60% of Pronova’s share capital. It needs at least 90% of the total shares for the deal to move forward, the firm says in a release. BASF says closure of the deal, which is expected in the first quarter of 2013, “immediately” would give BASF “a leading position in the global market for omega-3 fatty acids,” when combined with its prior acquisition of omega-3 fatty acid maker Equateq Ltd. The deal would give Pronova, which makes the omega-3 heart prescription drug Lovaza for GlaxoSmithKline PLC, enhanced manufacturing capabilities through BASF’s global platform and resources, the Norwegian firm says in a Nov. 21 release. The deal reflects industry’s growing interest in omega-3s, which also led to the recent acquisition by Royal DSM NV of Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd. in May.--Elizabeth Crawford

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