Friday, October 30, 2009

Deals of the Week: Trick or Treat!

(Top row, L-R: Wyeth, Genentech, Schering-Plough;
Middle: Sepracor, CV Therapeutics, NitroMed;
Bottom: ImClone, Alpharma, Barr Labs)

Knock knock! Can a ghost biopharma get some friggin' candy here?

Terribly sorry, didn't mean to frighten you. We weren't sure whether ghosts--scary or otherwise--fit into what's acceptable Halloween attire. It's so hard to tell these days. A helpful guide reprinted in today's NYT from a California school:

A memo about costume appropriateness sent home recently by Riverside Drive’s principal made the following points:

¶They should not depict gangs or horror characters, or be scary.

¶Masks are allowed only during the parade.

¶Costumes may not demean any race, religion, nationality, handicapped condition or gender.

¶No fake fingernails.

¶No weapons, even fake ones.

¶Shoes must be worn.
Oh California, how you've come a long way since that Halloween scene in ET. Presumably anything financial-crisis, VC fundraising, or swine related is also off limits. Not to mention any member of the Congressional 'gangs' (sorry kids, no Chuck Grassley or Olympia Snowe costumes this year! Inexplicably still OK? Joe Lieberman). Also, Cliff Lee costumes have been banned in NY.

Here's wishing you some fun trick-or-treating this weekend. The deals below don't carry weapons and always wear their shoes, and win IVB's weekly costume contest, for they are ...

Sanofi-Aventis/Micromet: Sanofi is paying $12 million up-front to take a bite of Micromet's BiTE technology platform. The two companies' discovery deal sees Micromet going after an antigen on the surface of carcinoma cells and shepherding the discovery program through Phase I clinical development, where Sanofi takes over. Development and regulatory milestons could total $241 million for Micromet, which can earn further milestones and royalties on world wide product sales. The biotech's platform--bi-specific T-cell engagers--recruits the body's T-cells to recognize and kill tumor cells potently and consistently. Sanofi joins Micromet BiTE partners Bayer Schering, Merck-Serono and MedImmune.--CM

PPD/Unnamed Spinout: Contract research organization PPD announced plans Oct. 27 to split into two companies. The CRO business will remain as the parent company, and PPD's compound partnering unit--which takes risks more typically associated with a drug development business--will spin-out into an as-yet unnamed separate public company. The new firm, to be established by mid-2010, will start with a $100 million financial stake from PPD and the portfolio of assets it already has acquired. In the meantime, it’s business as usual for the unit, PPD CEO David Grange said, and the sitll-intact company anticipates acquiring two more compounds before the end of '09. While no CEO or head of business development has been named yet for the newco, which will employ a core group of PPD personnel. The assets that the spinout will take with it from PPD include royalty rights and sales-based milestones for Janssen-Cilag’s Priligy, a treatment for premature ejaculation that has been approved in five EU nations plus Mexico and South Korea; rights to regulatory and sales-based milestones plus royalties to Takeda’s experimental diabetes drug alogliptin; a dermatology program acquired in the purchase of Magen BioSciences this past April; and a experimental statin licensed from Ranbaxy Laboratories. Read our extended take--along with a discussion of PPD's other announcements this week including a $100 million investment in Celtic Pharma Therapeutics--in "The Pink Sheet" Daily.--Joseph Haas

Cephalon/BioAssets Development Corp.: Though an acquisition is not definite yet, on Oct. 26 Cephalon announced that it doled out $30 million upfront for the option to buy the privately held biotech BioAssets Development Corp. The acquisition depends entirely on the outcome of BioAssets' ongoing Phase II trial of etanercept (Enbrel) for sciatic pain, due next year. That study should help Cephalon gauge the potential for its own anti-TNF (CEP-37247) in sciatic pain, Cephalon Chief Financial Officer and Executive VP Kevin Buchi said in an interview, and buying BioAssets would give the specialty pharma the necessary IP around using anti-TNFs in that indication. Exercising the option would provide BioAssets backers with additional undisclosed cash and the potential to earn development, regulatory and sales milestone payments. --Carlene Olsen

GSK/SuperGen: GlaxoSmithKline added to its option-based alliance total this week, signing a deal with oncology specialist SuperGen to discover and develop cancer drugs based on epigenetic targets. The arrangement is GSK’s sixth option-alliance so far this year, though far from the largest in terms of upfront cash. Under the terms of the five-year deal, GSK will pay SuperGen $5 million upfront, including a $3 million common stock investment, plus up to $375 million in development and commercial milestones. SuperGen is also eligible for tiered royalties into the double-digits based on net sales of any drugs resulting from the collaboration. SuperGen says its okay with an option deal for the program, given that it is one the company already had up and running, and the investment offers a chance to keep the research moving forward. The Dublin, Calif.-based company has been studying epigenetics for a decade, since acquiring decitabine – the drug that eventually became Dacogen – in 1999. --Jessica Merrill

Medivation/Astellas: Medivation has been here before and apparently likes the terrain. In a deal similar to last year’s partnership with Pfizer on Dimebon, Medivation will receive $110 million up front to collaborate with Astellas Pharma on the development and commercialization of Phase III prostate cancer candidate MDV3100. Like the September 2008 deal in which Medivation partnered its Alzheimer’s disease candidate, the Astellas deal for MDV3100 includes significant bio bucks and gives Medivation the option to co-promote the drug in the US. Medivation could earn up $335 million in development and regulatory milestones, along with up to $320 million in commercial milestones. The companies will share US development and commercialization costs, as well as profits, equally, with Astellas responsible for full development and commercialization costs outside the US. Medivation will receive tiered double-digit royalties on ex-U.S. sales of the drug. In an investor call Oct. 27, Medivation CEO David Hung said the deal’s structure will further “our strategic goal of becoming a fully integrated U.S. specialty pharmaceutical company while retaining significant economic participation in MDV3100’s ultimate commercial success.” Medivation chose Astellas because of its global experience marketing urology drugs such as Flomax and Vesicare. ‘3100 is currently being studied in late-stage, castration-resistant prostate cancer patients who did not respond or no longer respond to therapy with docetaxel. Down the road, the two companies hope to expand the drug’s label to earlier-stage prostate cancer.—JH

image from flickr user peasap used under a creative commons license


Anonymous said...

Correction: PPD invested $100 million in Celtic Therapeutics, not Celtic Pharma.

Chris Morrison said...

yes, my mistake & thanks for pointing that out. i can't imagine why it's hard to confuse the two!