The deals collection - March 2019

We bring together recent therapy and technology features, based upon some of March's largest biopharma deals.

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The biggest deal of March landed right at the end of the month. In a partnership potentially worth almost $7 billion, Daiichi Sankyo and AstraZeneca will collaborate on the development of the Daiichi’s HER2-targeting antibody–drug conjugate [Fam-] trastuzumab deruxtecan (DS-8201) as both a monotherapy and combination therapy in HER2-expressing cancers. AstraZeneca is committing $1.35 billion in upfront payments and a further $5.5 billion in potential sales and regulatory milestone payments.

2019’s strong run of cell/gene therapy deals continued into March with the announcement of two major M&As. For a potential sum of $1.7 billion, Thermo Fisher is to acquire Brammer Bio, which specializes in the contract development and manufacturing of viral vectors. And Biogen announced its intention to acquire Oxford University spin-out Nightstar Therapeutics for $877 million. Nightstar is developing gene therapies for retinal disorders, and its lead candidate NSR-REP1 is in phase 3 trials for choroideremia.

And finally, Alexion Pharmaceuticals had a busy month, signing two deals in two days. On 20 March, Alexion teamed up with Affibody in a development deal including a $25 million upfront payment and up to $625 million in milestones to co-develop ABY-039, an antibody mimetic targeting rare IgG-mediated autoimmune diseases. The next day, Alexion signed a deal with Zealand Pharma to develop up to four peptide-based therapies for complement-mediated diseases, involving a $25 million upfront payment, a $15 million equity investment in Zealand Pharma and up to $610 million in regulatory and sales milestones for the first target. Zealand will lead the joint preclinical research efforts, with Alexion taking the lead from IND filing onwards. 

Go to the profile of Raveena Bhambra

Raveena Bhambra

Editor, BioPharma Dealmakers , Nature Research

Hello all, I am the Editor of BioPharma Dealmakers, a quarterly publication that assists companies in identifying potential partners in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry and appears in both Nature Biotechnology and Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. I am very passionate about the biopharma industry and have over 15 years of experience of working in the field, specifically in dealmaking, partnering and licensing. In my previous roles I have conducted partner searches identifying both products/technologies and partners for clients, and have edited and written dealmaking-focused reports.

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