Biopharmaceutical News Week 10

Acquisitions /mergers/joint-ventures

Feb 26, 2015

Biota Pharmaceuticals to acquire French Anaconda Pharma for approximatively $47 million

Biota Pharmaceuticals (Atlanta, USA) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Anaconda Pharma, a privately-held company based in Villejuif, Paris, France. Anaconda’s is a spin-off of the Institut Pasteur. Its main asset consists of AP611074, a novel antiviral agent for the treatment of condyloma, or anogenital warts, as well as the orphan disease recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP), both of which are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6 and 11. Under the terms of the agreement, all of Anaconda Pharma's outstanding shares will be acquired for 3.5 million shares of Biota common stock (worth $9 million as of today) and $8.0 million in cash; the deal also includes additional contingent regulatory milestones of up to $30.0 million and royalties.

Pharmaceutical companies are moving into the device space

After the acquisition of Hospira by Pfizer last month, J&J confirms sale of Cordis unit to Cardinal Health for $1.9 billion and Mallinckrodt acquires Ikaria drug-device for $2.3B

March 2, 2015

Johnson & Johnson confirms the sale of Cordis, its vascular device unit for $1.944 billion

Johnson & Johnson confirms the sale of Cordis, its vascular device unit, to Cardinal Health (Dublin, OH, USA) for $1.944 billion. The deal should be completed by the end of the year. Cardinal will pay the acquisition in cash.

March 5, 2015

Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals (Dublin, Ireland) will acquire Ikaria (Hampton, NJ, USA) for $2.3 billion

Ikaria is a maker of drug device products to help newborns suffering from respiratory failure breathe better. Ikaria sells Inomax, a vasodilator in conjunction with ventilator support which is approved to treat hypoxic respiratory failure associated with pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs.

Boston Scientific acquires Endo’s men’s health device business for $1.6B

Boston Scientific acquires the men’s health business from Endo International for $1.6 billion. It will not include Endo’s women health device.

March 4, 2015

AbbVie acquires Pharmacyclics for $21 Billion

AbbVie (North Chicago, IL, USA) acquires Pharmacyclics (Sunnyvale, CA, USA) for approximately $21 billion in a transaction comprising a mix of cash and AbbVie equity. The acquisition will strengthen AbbVie presence in the oncology field and establish a leadership position in hematology oncology through Imbruvica (ibrutinib). Imbruvica® is a Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor approved for use in four indications to treat three different types of blood cancers including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, mantle cell lymphoma and Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia. The acquisition is expected to close in the middle of the year. The very high value of this acquisition sets a landmark for biotechnology companies with blockbuster potential drugs.

Business Sun Pharma buys Australia GSK’s opiates

business Sun Pharmaceutical (India) has agreed to buy Glaxo-SmithKline’s opiates business in Tasmania (Australia) and becomes one of the three owner that controls the production of the world’s largest legal supplier of pharmaceutical grade opiates.

March 4, 2015

BMS Partners Prostate Cancer Vaccine from Bavarian Nordic

Bavarian Nordic (Kvistgaard, Denmark) partners its prostate cancer vaccine, Prostvac, a recombinant viral vaccine to Bristol-Myers Squibb (New York City, USA) for a total value of $975 million. The product is currently in Phase 3 clinical development and had been previously acquired by Bavarian Nordic from US National Cancer Institute (NCI).

March 5, 2015

Novartis sells its RNAi assets to Arrowhead

Arrowhead Research (Pasadena, CA, USA) acquires Novartis’ RNA interference (RNAi) R&D portfolio and related patents and patent applications. The terms are structured around a payment of $10 million in cash and $25 million in Arrowhead stock. Novartis is eligible to receive milestones and single-digit royalties on sales.

March 5, 2015

Gates Foundation invests $52 million into German CureVac

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Seattle, WA, USA) invests $52 million in Curevac (Tübingen, Germany). The investment will support development of CureVac’s platform technology, an industrial scale GMP production facility as well as funding of several projects related to develop prophylactic vaccines based on the messenger RNA platform.

March 5, 2015

Merck and Eisai establish a clinical collaboration to combine cancer drugs

Merck & Co (Kenilworth, NJ, USA) and Eisai (Tokyo, Japan) have entered into a clinical collaboration to test the efficacy and the safety of combining Merck’s anti PD-1 pembrolizumab with Eisai’s lenvatinib (a pan kinase inhibitor) and eribulin (a microtubule dynamics inhibitor) in solid tumours and metastatic triple-negative breast cancers.

Cerenis files for IPO

Cerenis Therapeutics (Labège, Toulouse, France) has filed the paperwork for an IPO in Europe. Cerenis Therapeutics is a multinational biopharmaceutical company, dedicated to the discovery and development of novel HDL therapies for the treatment of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Approval of drugs, vaccines, diagnostics and devices

US FDA approves Actavis intrauterine device to prevent pregnancy

Actavis announced that is drug-delivering intrauterine contraception device, Liletta, was approved by the FDA. The T-shaped device delivers the drug levonorgestrel.

March 5, 2015

US FDA grants BMS Opdivo an approval in lung cancer 

The FDA has granted Bristol-Myers Squibb an ultraspeedy approval to use Opdivo for the treatment of advanced squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Opdivo is the second PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors approved in the US. Drugs at clinical stage

March 2, 2015

US FDA designates Oncolytics’ Reolysin a third orphan status

Oncolytic’s Biotech’s drug Reolysin (pelareorep) received orphan-drug status from the FDA for treating fallopian tube cancer. This designation marks the third orphan status granted to the drug by the FDA.


March 5, 2015

WHO announces start of Phase 3 trials for Merck-NewLink Ebola Vaccine in Guinea

According to a statement by the World Health Organization (WHO), Phase 3 trials of the experimental Ebola vaccine co-developed by Merck and NewLink Genetics will commence this week in Guinea. A "ring vaccination" strategy will be employed whereby everyone who has been in contact with a newly diagnosed Ebola patient will be vaccinated, an approach used to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. Trials of two vaccine candidates, Merck/NewLink and GlaxoSmithKline in Liberia appear to be working. No new cases have been reported for 13 days.


The Los Angeles Times reports the outbreak of superbug tied to endoscope devices in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

In news week8 we had indicated that the US FDA had warned doctors and hospitals that endoscope devices are contributing to the “drug resistant superbug” outbreak in hospitals. The Los Angeles Times now reports that a second Los Angeles hospital, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, revealed that four patients were infected with the deadly bacteria from a contaminated duodenoscope and 67 other people may have been exposed to it over the last six months. One of the four infected patients died.

March 6, 2015

 GSK is laying off 110 Chinese employees in response to local bribery

to a Reuters report GSK is laying off 110 Chinese employees in response to local bribery. The company said it has "increased our monitoring of expense claims and increased our compliance efforts" in response to the events.


  • Bio-Europe Spring 2015 on March 9-11 in Paris
  • Biomarkers Summit 2015 on March 18-20 in San Diego, CA
  • Bio Asia International Conference on March 24-25 in Tokyo

Author : Jean-Claude MULLER, Special Advisor, Innovation & International Relationship (I&IR)


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