Two major M&A deals announced today could boost hopes for a spike in dealmaking activity.
In the biggest deal so far this year, Sanofi is set to acquire the blood disorders company Bioverativ— a spin-out from Biogen—for $11.6 billion. Through the deal, Sanofi will gain Eloctate for the treatment of haemophilia A and Alprolix for the treatment of haemophilia B.
And following a string of recently announced immuno-oncology deals, Celgene announced it will buy Juno Therapeutics for $9 billion. Juno has a substantial pipeline of CAR-T therapies, including some such as JCAR017 that the company hopes could soon reach the market, in the wake of Novartis’s Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) and Gilead’s Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel). Like Celgene, Gilead bought into CAR-T therapies, through its $11.9 billion acquisition of Kite Pharma last year. Separately, Pfizer announced last week that it will collaborate with Gilead to trial Yescarta in combination with its 4-1BB agonist utomilumab in certain blood cancers.
In another immuno-oncology partnership, Forty Seven has teamed up with Roche’s Genentech unit to conduct trials of its CD47-targeted antibody Hu5F9-G4 with the PDL1 blocker Tecentriq (atezolizumab) in bladder cancer and acute myeloid leukemia. This is the second collaboration that Forty Seven has establish for Hu5F9-G4, just months after a deal with Merck KGaA to test it in combination with its PDL1 blocker Bavencio (avelumab).
Finally, in an early-stage oncology partnership, Merck KGaA will work with Cancer Research UK’s commercial partnership team and the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in a multi-project collaboration and licensing deal to discover and develop new cancer therapies and biomarkers. The deal gives Merck rights to move the successful candidates into clinical development, with royalty and milestone payments being paid to Cancer Research and the ICR.