Category Archives: Biotechnology

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Some of the deals may be trendsetters not only in their own domain but also in the induatry as well. Looking ahead one can say in the wake of drug failures happenings across the belt of the pharmaceutical industry, the regulator’s cautionary approach in analysing drug efficacy, the investors’ not willing to shell out their precious wealth in a hurry, the patient’s not willing to enroll in clinical trials till they are promised shield/cover from adverse events and finally the governments’ not willing to reimiburse a new drug till it is completely efficacious, it becomes neccesary for the companies in clinical development adopt a partnering/deal approach.
Recent examples of the deals taking place today between Pharma, Biotechs and CRO’s across the globe are as follows:

Merck Teams Up With Parexel in Move into Biosimilars
Merck & Co. (MRK) formed an alliance with a contract research provider as part of its push to sell new versions of big-selling biotechnology drugs. Parexel International Corp. (PRXL) will provide clinical development services for so-called “biosimilar” candidates to Merck’s BioVentures unit. Biosimilars are intended to be close copies of biologics, which are large-molecule drugs derived from living cells, as opposed to traditional chemical-based, small-molecule drugs. A Merck BioVentures unit will be formed within Parexel; financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Sanofi-aventis enters into Two Research & Development Collaborations with the University of California, San Francisco
Sanofi-aventis (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) announced today that they have formed two research and development collaborations that join together leaders from academia and industry to more rapidly advance groundbreaking innovation from the lab to the patient. The first collaboration promotes innovative research in pharmacological science and in multiple therapeutic areas, such as oncology, aging, diabetes and inflammation. The second collaboration is an oncology partnership that will focus on project-based collaboration to accelerate the progression of research through the clinical proof of concept stage. Sanofi-aventis will be the first industry partner for UCSF’s Program for Breakthrough Biomedical Research (PBBR).

PPD, Inc. announced it has established a joint venture with Taijitu Biologics Limited (TBL) in the area of the discovery of novel biotherapeutics. The joint venture, named BioDuro Biologics, expands PPD’s capability to deliver unique, highly differentiated drug discovery services for biopharmaceutical companies across the globe.
PPD and TBL formed BioDuro Biologics to develop and commercialize an innovative technology platform for the discovery of first- and best-in-class monoclonal antibody therapies in collaboration with MAB Discovery GmbH in Munich, Germany. The joint venture will provide drug discovery services based on this technology platform to global biopharmaceutical companies, enabling them to discover best-in-class monoclonal antibodies against both novel and validated targets

Last year saw a wonderful wave of venture cash crashing into biotech coffers. The 2009 yearend numbers were up significantly from 2008, with more deals done (57 vs. 43) and investors shoveling 38 percent more into Series A, plus 36 percent more into Series B rounds.
R&D stage companies got more of the money than clinical stage deals, and original innovation was rewarded more than firms reducing technical risk through in-licensing or reformulation plays.
Sadly, the new decade isn’t following suit as yet. Biotechs raised an anemic $374 million in the first quarter, a 38 percent drop from first quarter 2009. That money flowed into just 22 deals this year, vs. 31 deals this time last year.

“India’s biotech industry bounced to high growth in fiscal 2009-10 to post revenues of $4 billion (Rs. 18,500 crore, a whopping 52 per cent over the previous fiscal. As against a decline of 18 per cent in 2008-09, the biotech industry has grown remarkably well in 2009-10 and we are on track to achieve $5 billion this fiscal (2010-11).
While the industry, spanning bio-pharma and agri-biotech, accounted for $3 billion (Rs. 14,400 crore), the equipment and ancillary segment contributed around $1 billion.
As the country’s biotech hub, Bangalore accounted for 27 per cent or $810 million (Rs, 3,888 crore), with exports contributing $750 million (Rs.3,650 crore). Of the 380 biotech firms across the country, 198 are located in Karnataka and 191 in Bangalore owing to rich human capital and cost advantage over peers overseas. ”

“Convincing investors today is a milestone task by itself and the European bio pharma is no exception to that rule. Some key findings according to a new research survey are:
Only 38% of European biopharmaceutical companies feel that they have the ability to influence market access stakeholders. (According to new research by software and healthcare data provider Cegedim Dendrite in its latest annual market access industry survey.)
77% of bio pharma companies across Europe say they are feeling the strain of the economic situation and see it as one of the key challenges affecting market access strategies.
88% out of nearly 200 European executives from marketing, market access, market research and sales departments within biopharmaceutical organizations told the survey last month that it is important that companies adapt their strategies in light of the economic situation and other contributing factors, and three quarters said they have the resources available to do so. However, 42% expressed a lack of faith in the ability to share information across the organization.
83% of the executives believe the main issue affecting the progression of their companies’ market access strategies is the challenge created by the shift from prescriber to payer, but just 38% of the companies feel they have the ability to influence market access stakeholders. ”

“With Astellas Pharma and OSI Pharmaceuticals haggling over price, which biotech/biotechs could be next on the buyout menu? Mega-mergers might have been all the rage in 2009; however, with few targets left, the focus will shift to smaller acquisitions.
Some of the major Pharma-Biotech deals which have taken place since the month of December 2006 till date have been captured. The maximum numbers of deals have occurred in the year 2008 and a total of 23 major deals have taken place in the last 4 years. The year 2008 was the mega year for Pharma biotech acquisitions post which market has taken a completely different look and there has been substantial reduction in the number of acquisition targets as well.

“The Year 2009 was rocked with a spree of 20 important biotechnology deals and 15 of them were on the US$ 50million mark. All of the 20bitech deals which took place were venture capital funded. The companies which have been involved in these deals are small and medium sized biotech and the deals have all been funded by venture capitalists in the USA. 5 Out of the 20 deals under consideration have been above the US$ 60 million mark. 2009 was an incredibly difficult year for biotech companies to raise venture funding, as the financial crisis caused firms to become more cautious with their money. But for companies with groundbreaking technology and exciting programs, there was still money to be had.
1. Clovis Oncology – $146.30 million
2. Zogenix – $70.96 million
3. BioVex Group – $70 million
4. Pacific Biosciences – $68 million
5. Hyperion Therapeutics – $68 million
6. Anacor Pharmaceuticals $50 million
6. Proteon Therapeutics $50 million
6. PTC Therapeutics $50 million
9. Virdante Pharmaceuticals – $47.75 million
10. Cempra Pharmaceuticals – $46 million
11. Complete Genomics – $45 million
11. SFJ Pharmaceuticals – $45 million
13. Amyris Biotechnologies – $41.75 million
14. Kolltan Pharmaceuticals – $40.50 million
15. Ironwood Pharmaceuticals – $40 million
15. Epizyme – $40 million
15. Adamas Pharmaceuticals – $40 million
15. Aileron Therapeutics – $40 million
15. Regado Biosciences – $40 million
20. GlycoMimetics – $38.98 million ”

“One of the hubs for oncology biotechnology today is San Francisco. The reasons for this are the availability of ideal infrastructure, qualified experts and the nearness of academic institutions coupled with good logistic connections.
Sunesis, Poniard, Bipar Sciences and Exelixis are some of the companies which are developing drugs in licensing agreements with Big Pharma like BMS, GSK, Sanofi- Aventis and Genentech. These are some of the potential companies in the San Francisco bay area (3 of them being listed) are active cancer compounds in Phase II and Phase III phases of drug development. ”

“The Biotech stocks are welcoming and initiating an interest of both big and small investors at the NYSE.
Some companies are having biotech drugs in pipeline which may or may not be of potential with a scientific perspective because some of the drug trials may be on and would be waiting the investor attention.
Most of the biotech stocks today are rated on their enterprise value. Despite the enterprise value of the stock inviting promising star ratings form the predictors, it remains to be seen how the sales performance of the biotech company or the declaration of favorable trial results makes a difference to the investor.
Needless to say speculation on enterprise value continues to attract the interest of the Pharma Industry or a private investor in particular> the investor would be particularly focused at market capitalization first and later at enterprise vale of the concerned biotech stock with preferably a “”promising”” pipeline.”

“Pharma majors worldwide today are looking for maintaining, sustaining, exploring and generating new sources of revenue and are in the process of revising their corporate strategies on an ongoing basis. As the clinical development pipelines takes a turn towards a not so promising turn on favorable clinical trial results, the focus is undoubtedly generics and other potential segments related to generics. Off patent anti- cancer drugs and biotech drugs are another area which big Pharma is looking to explore in the near future. The same is being “”visualized”” on an ongoing basis as well as on a “”priority basis”” .
If the off patent versions of biotech drugs of major biotech players are made available by Big Pharma, it needs to be seen that the generic drug arena has another area for emerging in a major way. If the same would be sold as “”off patent generic biotech”” drugs, it would need to be seen that the same would have to be “”evaluated””/””tested”” for their bio equivalence.
Outsourcing of these BA BE studies would be of interest to all those CRO’s which are already conducting BA BE studies for generic drugs. The studies could be termed as “”Biotech Bioequivalence studies.”” “

“Most of the Big pharma today is running out of innovation and is under serious pressure on its clinical development pipeline. They are left with no option but either starts early or invests on late stage which would help incur fewer costs by starting early and avoid the pitfalls in the middle of the development stage. Also by investing in trails which have come to the final phases of completion would avoid the cost pressure and also the risk pressure from the investors.
Today the Big pharma believes in licensing /strategic partnering/collaborations/Joint venture with smaller Bio Pharma/biotech not only to enrich the dried pipelines with a fresh input/ rigorous input .With the changing favors of the laws he governments in the USA and the EU towards major investment for the biotech, Big apharma has been the first to capitalize on this opportunity by tie ing up with the biotech regime. Some of the examples are: Alder Biopharmaceuticals stands to reap more than $1 billion from collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb for the development and commercialization of ALD518, a novel biologic that has completed phase 2a development for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Sanofi-aventis expanded its global collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to discover, develop, and commercialize fully-human therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.
Abbott Laboratories said it will pay Dutch biotech PanGenetics $190 million for the global rights to PG110, its fully humanized antibody to Nerve Growth Factor, expanding the company’s pain care portfolio and leveraging its expertise in biologics.
Japanese pharmaceutical powerhouse Astellas has entered into an agreement with privately-held Ironwood Pharmaceuticals to gain exclusive rights to develop and commercialize Ironwood’s investigational compound linaclotide in Japan, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand ”