An $11.6B yes, $11.7B delay, drop the A1C with GLP, and a billion bio-bucks
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Pfizer + Biohaven
BridgeBio + BMS
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Life Science Today is your source for stories, insights, and trends across the life science industry. Expect weekly highlights about new technologies, pharmaceutical mergers and acquisitions, news about the moves of venture capital and private equity, and how the stock market responds to biotech IPOs. Life Science Today also explores trends around clinical research, including the evolving patterns that determine how drugs and therapies are developed and approved. It’s news, with a dash of perspective, focused on the life science industry.
Welcome to Life Science Today, your source for stories, insights, and trends across the life science industry. I’m your host, Dr. Noah Goodson. This week, an $11.6B yes, $11.7B delay, drop the AIC with GLP, and a billion bio-bucks.
The views expressed on Life Science Today are those of the host and guests. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any organizations with which they are affiliated.
Pfizer $11.6B Acquisition
Pfizer has announced the $11.6B acquisition of Biohaven at $148.50/share. The move brings Biohaven’s commercial stage acute and episodic migraine medication sold as NURTEC ODT in the US and VYDURA in Europe, into Pfizer’s Internal Medicine portfolio. In addition to expanding US and international sales of existing products Pfizer will move forward with Biohaven’s late-stage additional migraine medication vazegepant which is deliver as a nasal spray, as well as 5 pre-clinical CGRP assets. Now this isn’t strictly a fully integrated acquisition. A New Biohaven, sans the previously listed key assets will be restarted with $275M in cash, rights to tiered royalties, and the ability to continue to pursue other avenues in their pipeline. So it’s sort of both the sale of a company and the restarting of a mid-clinical stage biotech in one fell swoop.
This is the second announced acquisition in the last month and is unlikely to be the last move Pfizer makes this year as they funnel COVID profits into new ventures.
CSL’s $11.7 Purchase of Vifor Slowed
Back in December in episode 81, we highlighted the announced acquisition of Vifor Pharma by CSL for $11.7B right after Vifor had made their own double acquisition. Now the conglomerate is facing antitrust delays. The resistance may underscore increased scrutiny by regulators more than concerns about the specific transaction. The Australian based CSL is waiting on feedback from the US, EU, and Switzerland boards and commissions and anticipates a delay in their previously anticipated June closing date as a result. There are not a lot of indicators suggesting concerted resistance to the deal, instead, it may be regulators showing pharma they’ll have to be cautious in consolidation. There is certainly push back against total market control in certain segments and how that can impact drug-pricing. For example, in March last year the FTC launched a working group to “to update their approach to analyzing the effects of pharmaceutical mergers.” FTC Chair Rebecca Kelly Slaughter further stated, “working hand in hand with international and domestic enforcement partners, we intend to take an aggressive approach to tackling anticompetitive pharmaceutical mergers.” With statements like this, and delayed actions on the CSL/Vifor merger, other companies could also face resistance. As they acquire both approved and soon-to-be approved migraine medications, perhaps the FTC will provide their own headache.
Eli Lilly Earns FDA Approval
Eli Lilly has earned FDA approval for their GLP and GLP-1 receptor agonist to treat type 2 diabetes. The therapy will be sold as Mounjaro and will likely be a big seller. We covered this pending approval just a couple of weeks ago and the impacts it could have on Novo Nordisk’s GLP agonist Wegovy. The key here is that Lilly is getting approval to directly treat diabetes through the changes in A1C, and the typical weight loss impacts are in fact additional benefit that seem likely to improve affinity for the medication. The combination of 30m Americas with type 2 diabetes, approved doses of 5, 10, or 15 mg and the packaging in an easy to use at home injector, positions it a likely best seller. But with some concerns of cancer formation in rats it will certainly be a medication with watching long-run for impact. Lilly shares were up 5% even in the generally bearish market, though the real change will likely come based on Q3/4 uptake as Mounjaro hits the market.
BridgeBio Gets BioBucks from BMS
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and BridgeBio announced a $1B Biobucks deal to develop and commercialize BBP-398, a SHP2 inhibitor targeting difficult oncology’s. The deal sees BMS approved therapy Opdivo co-developed for further use in combination with BridgeBio’s novel therapy with an initial target of solid tumors with a KRAS mutation. The deal brings in a mild $90M for BridgeBio, with the promise of more to come with regulatory, development, and milestone payments. That’s not the only move that Bridge is making to try and get back into some semblance of financial security. They’ve also sold off it’s Priority Review Voucher obtained in 2021 for $110M and punted the re payment of senior notes 2 years. They also laid off staff last month. Obviously this somewhat dilutes their value as assets go into fairly affordable biobucks deals, people say goodbye, debts are punted, and opportunities for priority review are sold. But considering they burned through $154M in the first quarter of 2022 with just north of $633M in the bank and no rescuing approvals on the immediate horizon, it was time to take more serious measures. If they are able, they will likely generate a series of partnerships around several other assets that will further dilute their operational costs. Obviously this is sub-optimal, but even commercial stage mature biotech’s have to restructure, and BridgeBio is lucky or strategic enough to have wiggle room to keep things going. All of this probably good news for pharma’s looking for cheaper deals. I’d guess we will see a fair number of biotech’s looking for biobucks developmental partnerships to carry them through as capital markets continue to synch on cash for series B/C/D and going public right now is not for the faint of heart. In the case of BridgeBio, they haven’t sold the farm – but they are certainly segmenting off some extra parcels to stabilize till more data emerge.
Note on 100
This was episode 100 of Life Science Today – to those of you still listening, and the thousands who download and supported the show. Thanks – it’s a real privilege to be here every week. If you think of it, give us a 5-star review on your favorite podcaster and share the show with a friend. I do this for free for you so truly, thank you for being here.
Thanks for joining me for Life Science Today, your source for stories, insights, and trends across the life science industry. Learn more at LifeScienceTodayPodcast.com. If you like what you hear, please tell a friend. Once again, I’m Dr. Noah Goodson, I’ll see you next week.