Wall Street is hoping AstraZeneca will buy its way out of its current conundrum. The pharma jumped off the proverbial patent cliff last year and is expected to slide for the foreseeable future. Analysts' model for a turnaround of the beleaguered British pharma is Sanofi, with its aggressive acquisition strategy executed by CEO Chris Viehbacher starting in 2009.
Medicago: The vaccine company got a $15 million loan from an undisclosed major pharmaceutical company with which it is negotiating a partnership. The deal would include co-promotion rights to Medicago vaccines in certain markets. If the deal goes through, the loan will be applied as part of an upfront payment. In that case, Medicago will not pay any interest on the loan. The biotech plans to start a Phase IIa trial of its quadrivalent seasonal flu vaccine with interim data expected in mid-2013. Medicago has an existing alliance with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma to develop a rotavirus vaccine and at least two additional vaccine candidates. - Stacy Lawrence
OcellO/Merus: The deal between the Dutch companies gives Merus access to OcellO’s 3D cell culture-based screening platform to profile Merus’ bispecific antibodies to treat cancer. Details of the deal remained undisclosed. Merus is a preclinical company; its lead candidate is partnered with Novartis. It’s been around since 2004 and has brought in more than $30 million in venture financing and corporate deals. OcellO was founded in 2011 and is based on 3D screening technology developed at Leiden University. - S.L.