The deals collection - Summer 2019

July and August saw a handful of high-value deals during what is usually a quiet time for dealmaking. In the most valuable deal in this period and also one of the largest this year, Amgen paid Celgene $13.4 billion for Otezla, an oral psoriasis therapy.

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Oct 10, 2019
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July and August saw a handful of high-value deals during what is usually a quiet time for dealmaking. In the most valuable deal in this period and also one of the largest this year, Amgen paid Celgene $13.4 billion for Otezla, an oral therapy for psoriasis that is currently Celgene’s third highest-selling drug, with sales of $1.6 billion in 2018. Otezla was apparently sold in order to satisfy competition concerns related to the ongoing $74 billion acquisition of Celgene by Bristol-Myers Squibb, which is also developing oral drugs for psoriasis. Amgen, meanwhile, needed a boost to its pipeline to compensate for upcoming patent expiries.

 Also targeting inflammatory disorders, Gilead made the second largest deal of the summer with its $5.1 billion investment in Galapagos. The deal involved an equity investment of $1.1 billion, taking Gilead’s stake from 12% to 22%, with a $3.95 billion upfront payment being committed to the development and commercialization of Galapagos’ portfolio, including its most advanced drug candidate filgotinib for rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

 Boehringer Ingelheim bolstered its inflammatory drug pipeline by licensing in a NASH-targeted biologic that combines glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) activity from Yuhan Corporation, based in South Korea. The deal, which includes an upfront payment of $40 million and $830 million in milestone payments, is the second deal between Yuhan and a big pharma company this year, following a similar deal with Gilead in January for the co-development of two candidates for the treatment of fibrosis due to NASH.

 Boehringer Ingelheim continued its deal spree with its acquisition of cancer immunotherapy company Amal Therapeutics for $366 million. AMAL Therapeutics has developed a cancer vaccine technology platform known as KISIMA, which provided its lead candidate ATP128, a chimeric recombinant protein vaccine in development for stage IV colorectal cancer. Also aiming to boost its oncology pipeline, AbbVie acquired MavuPharma for an undisclosed sum in July. MavuPharma is developing drug candidates to target the STING pathway, which can activate the innate immune response against cancer cells.

  Wrapping the summer deals up, Bayer announced that it would acquire cell therapy-engineering company BlueRock Therapeutics for ~$600 million. BlueRock are developing cell therapies in neurology, cardiology and immunology using its induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology platform, and its lead candidate is expected to enter clinical development for Parkinson’s disease this year. 

Go to the profile of Raveena Bhambra

Raveena Bhambra

Editor, BioPharma Dealmakers , Nature Publishing Group

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 12 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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