Biopharmaceutical News Week 32


Acquisitions /mergers/joint-ventures


Shire acquires Foresight Biotherapeutics, an eye disease company in a deal worth $300 million.

… and made an unsolicited offer of $30 billion to acquire, Baxalta, the newly spun off drug company out of Baxter Laboratories. According to Shire management the combined companies would generate $20 billion in sales by 2020, with projected double-digit top-line growth. Adding Baxalta's hemophilia drugs to Shire's growing rare disease portfolio would also create an industry leader in rare diseases, a field with high barriers to entry.

…but Baxalta says no thank you “"As a new, publicly-traded entity only since July 1, we are just in the initial stages of implementing our growth strategy as a standalone company and our stock has not yet achieved a price level that appropriately reflects the company's value and prospects," Baxalta CEO Ludwig Hantson wrote in a letter to Flemming Ornskov, Shire’s CEO

IBM improves its Watson Health Cloud technology through the acquisition of Merge Healthcare, a medical imaging platform, for $1 billion.




AstraZeneca extends its partnership with Isis Pharmaceuticals to develop, antisense therapies for cardiovascular, renal and metabolic diseases. Under the terms of the deal Isis will receive $65 million upfront plus undisclosed milestones and royalties.


…and acquires exclusive global rights to develop manufacture and commercialize HTL-1071, a small molecule adenosine A2 receptor antagonist from Heptares Therapeutics for $500 million, including an upfront of $10 million. The asset will be evaluated by AstraZeneca in the broad immune-oncology field.

Sanofi extends its ongoing collaboration with Evotec in the field of diabetes to develop a beta cell replacement therapy based on human stem cells. Under the terms of the agreement, Evotec will receive an upfront payment of €3M, potential milestones of over €300M, research payments and royalties on commercial sales.

Merck enters into a collaboration with Codexis to use its biocatalyst technology for up to $26 million.

Qiagen Suzhou Translational Medicine (China) has entered a strategic partnership with Hangzhou Tigermed Consulting, a leading CRO in China, to accelerate new drug development and improve success rate for clinical trials.

Boston Scientific partners with Preventice Solutions to exclusively market cardiology-related diagnostic and monitoring products.


Approval of drugs, vaccines, diagnostics and devices


US FDA approves Aprecia’s anti-epileptic treatment, the first 3-D printed drug. The 3-D printing is a crucial part in which layer upon layer of a powdered form of the drug form small tablets, a structure that gives it a high degree of dissolvability.

Japan had the fastest drug approval in 2014. According to a report issued by the Centre for Innovation in Regulatory Science, Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency has shortened its drug-review process with a median approval time in 2014 of 306 days for new active substances. That figure compares with a median time of 343 days for the US FDA and 418 days for the European Medicines Agency.




Worldwide drug sales are expected to exceed $1.3 trillion in 2018. In 2014 drugs sales had crossed the $1 trillion figure. Experts now believe that with the massive launch of new specialty and anticancer drugs the worldwide pharma sales will top the $1.3 trillion sales in 2018 with a megagrowth in the United States. A recent report from IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics found that U.S. drug spending alone was up more than $43 billion last year, a record increase. Spending on prescription drugs hit $374 billion in 2014, on a record-setting volume of 4.3 billion prescriptions filled. That translated into a 13% jump overall and 10% per capita, compared with an overall increase of 3.2% in 2013, the IMS Health report notes.




  • 3rd Annual Nordic Life Science Days Partnering Conference on September 9-10 in Stockholm (Sweden)
  • BioPharm America 2015 on September 15-17 in Boston (USA)
  • Innovation Days on October 5-6 in Paris (France)
  • BIO Japan on October 13-16 in Yokohama (Japan)
  • BIO Latin America on October 14-16 in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
  • 15th Annual Biotech in Europe Forum for Global Partnering & Investment on September 29-30 in Basel (Switzerland)
  • BIO Europe 2015 on November 2-4 in Munich (Germany)
  • Biofit 2015 on December 1-2 in Strasbourg (France)


Author: Jean-Claude Muller, Special Advisor at I&IR,

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