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Biotech Business – Covering News from the Industry

We’re back with our second installment of Excedr’s monthly news roundup. We’ve tailored this particular roundup to focus on fundraising, M&A, IPOs, and more. We’ve also published a second round of our newsletter focused solely on cutting-edge research and study so you can access the news that matters most to you. 

Interested in other blog posts? Our blog covers different topics that include lab equipment and the affordability of leasing.

Monthly Business News Roundup

In hindsight, this year will be seen as an incredibly successful one for the biotechnology sector, with free-flowing cash, wide-open public markets, and early promise. September brought us a plethora of successful funding rounds, a couple headline-worthy M&As, and a historic open letter from a group of biotech CEOs.

Grifols buys out Alhakest shares for $146M, adding to comprehensive portfolio

Plasma giant Grifols is acquiring the remaining shares of Alahkest, valued at $146 million. Grifols, who announced the development of their own product earlier in June, will gain access to the company’s four product candidates, moving them further into proteome R&D. They plan on using the blood plasma they have been collecting since April to produce a safe treatment that will provide people with passive immunity to COVID-19. Alkahest researches the therapeutic use of plasma proteins in combating diseases that develop with age, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons, and is excited to be pairing with Grifols, seeing them as a mutual partner in the field of developing innovative medicines for age-related disease. Biospace covers the announcement.

Recursions Pharmaceuticals acquires another highly successful round of funding, pulling in $239 million

Near the beginning of September, Crunchbase covered the news that Recursions Pharmaceuticals, a biotech based in Salt Lake City focused on industrializing drug discovery, received $239 million in Series D equity financing. The funding round was led by Leaps by Bayer, the impact investment arm of Bayer AG. It’s expected that the collaboration will leverage Recursion’s purpose-built AI-guided drug discovery platform and Bayer’s exhaustive scientific expertise and small molecule compound library to discover and develop treatments for a variety of fibrotic diseases. The investment comes after Recursion was able to generate $121 million in a Series C funding round in 2019. In total, the biotech has been able to raise $465 million since it launched.

Korro Bio bags more than $90M in Series A funding

Korro Bio was able to raise a significant chunk of change in venture capital through series A funding earlier this month, as reported by FierceBiotech. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology firm hopes to use the $91.5 million to treat disorders through RNA editing, a cutting-edge approach that makes changes to the molecular messengers that create proteins implicated in various illnesses. The company now plans on asking the FDA permission to test on humans after seeing successful results in animals. A successful run with the OPERA RNA platform could mean a new era in RNA editing therapies is on the way.

Gilead agrees to acquire Immunomedics for a massive $21B, banking on the success of an antibody-drug conjugate

Gilead Sciences and pharmaceutical company Immunomedics have agreed on a buyout earlier this month. Gilead will acquire the company at $88 per share, adding up to a $21 billion valuation. Immunomedics is the developer of recently FDA approved antibody-drug conjugate Troveldy, which is used for the treatment of adult patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer who have received at least two prior therapies for metastatic disease. Gilead believes its commercial, medical, regulatory, and manufacturing expertise will help with Troveldy’s accelerated development. Furthermore, the Immunmedics acquisition will bring a cornerstone product to Gilead’s oncology portfolio, and immediately increase revenue growth.

Illumina to buyout Grail for $8B, launching new ear of cancer detection

Grail, the liquid biopsy company that spun out of Illumina in 2015, filed for an IPO earlier this month in order to finance the launch of its first product, Galleri. Rather than let Grail go public, Illumina has agreed to an $8 billion deal to acquire the company. The news was announced in a press release from Grail earlier this month. The deal puts Illumina in a position to be a leading player in a market that relies on next-generation sequencing to detect cancer. Although some analysts have met the deal with doubts, sighting that competition with customers may become an issue. Nonetheless, Illumina believes that the acquisition will usher in a new era of early cancer detection. Instead of just providing the tools, they will begin selling the tests as well.

Dyne Therapeutics, focused on providing life-changing treatments, goes public and strikes big

Dyne Therapeutics, a muscle disease company based in Waltham, Mass. announced the closing of its IPO earlier this month at $19 a share, adding up to an approximately $268 million. Back in August, before the decision to go public, the company completed an incredibly successful funding round, pulling in $115 million, which raised their total acquired private funding to $167.7 million since their inception three years ago, a notable achievement. Dyne promptly moved to add on more through the announcement of an IPO. Their initial goal of $100 million, which has become almost a standard for biotech companies this year, was easily reached, and marks yet another biotech startup to receive serious public backing this year. The fervent interest in biotechs is markedly different from investment in tech companies.

Roche agrees to definitive agreement with Inflazome, pays $449M upfront

Reported by Pharmaceutical-Technology, Roche, the Swiss multinational healthcare company, recently completed a share purchase agreement with Irish biotech Inflazome for an upfront payment of $449 million earlier this month. Inflazome, which was founded in 2016, is in the midst of developing an inflammasome inhibitor, NLRP3, that can be taken orally. Inflazome is excited about the deal, citing their belief in Roche’s capabilities to produce the inhibitors quickly and effectively. The move is yet another opportunity for Roche to expand on its already exhaustive pharmaceutical portfolio.

Biotech CEOs call for more transparency, less government interference in open letter from BIO

Earlier this month, FiercePharma covered a serious and historic call for action from a group of biotech CEOs, who released COVID-19 guidelines in an open letter organized by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. The group includes CEOs from Pfizer, BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and other big-name pharmaceutical players. All parties involved agreed upon ethically and scientifically-driven guidelines, and published the open letter amid growing concerns from the American public over the politicization of the pandemic. The call asks that every company involved in the race for a vaccine to adhere to regulatory scientific standards and principles, despite outside pressures. Many believe the FDA is being subjected to political influence, turning the vaccine development process into a  political battle rather than a scientific engagement. BIO’s letter is a historic pledge from the biotechnology community, emphasizing the need for political neutrality from the FDA, a neutrality it has consistently maintained over the decades. The collective and unprecedented reaction has come about due to the level of political involvement in the race for a vaccine as the election looms over us. BIO hopes that the guidelines can lead to better data transparency, as well as continued FDA independence.