Double acquisition, private money, affordable deals, and a surprising $70M launch
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Galapagos + CellPoint + AboundBio
Ipsen + Epizyme
About the Show
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, double acquisition, private money, cheap deals, and a surprising $70M launch.
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.
Galapagos Makes Double Acquisition
Galapagos NV has announced the double acquisition of CellPoint and AboundBio in a cash outlay of $131M and $14M respectively, with CellPoint eligible for an addition $105M in milestones down the line. The move comes as Galapagos continues to pass through a significant pivot under new leadership this year. The founding CEO retired (or possibly was strongly encouraged to retire) and was replaced in January with Paul Stoffels, formally the CSO of J&J. Now, a few months down the line, a series of moves are being made to secure the company’s future.
This is a clear step to expand out the pipeline and the fiscal opportunities of the organization. With the financial backing and partnership of Gilead they are attempting to add a more diversified CAR-T portfolio that basically builds stock perceptions in the mid-term and perhaps positions them for some form of capital raise. CellPoint’s value is around their CAR-T delivery and manufacturing pipeline. This should expedite and move in-house more of the cell therapy processes needed to scale while AboundBio’s human antibody libraries will be leveraged to generate more pre-clinical opportunities. At the same time they are expanding towards inhouse development and manufacturing capabilities, Galapagos has also returned rights of a dual chitinase inhibitor to Molecure. This minor culling of their portfolio and internal expanded capabilities are probably just the beginning of a series of pivots that will try to generate drive, hype, and ultimately short/mid-term shareholder value as Galapagos looks for more profitable cell therapy waters down the line.
Radius Goes Private for $890M
Radius Health has announced plans to go private in an $890M deal to sell and merge with a subsidiary of Gurnet Point Capital and Patient Square Capital. The deal see’s shares go at $10 each with a potential for an additional $1/share pending certain commercial milestones. Their portfolio includes a range of late-stage products for osteoporosis, breast cancer, and a cannabidiol oral solution focused on some rare neurological conditions. They also have an approved treatment for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. The phrasing around the deal celebrates that this provides immediate value to investors. The reality is that raising capital as a biotech is difficult. And if you want money now, you’ll have to sell where you can because investors have an opportunity to make high reward deals at relatively sane prices. Radius Health looks happy to take their chips and go home.
Ipsen Pulls in $247M Sweet Deal
On subject of relatively affordable prices, Ipsen has acquired Epizyme for $247M or $1.45/share, and up to an additional $1.00/share in milestones. The premium may sound amazing in this market at 144% compared to the last month average price, but the reality is low value biotech stocks are just in a tight place for capital raises. For comparison, Epizyme’s share’s peaked in January 2020 at $26.72/share. Their value has steadily declined since then, even in the midst of the biotech capital boom through 2021. Now Ipsen will pull together Epizyme’s late-phase oncology asset Tazemetostat targeting follicular lymphoma and epithelioid sarcoma along with their early phase portfolio. Epizyme has one approved medication, Tazverik, but with just $8.7M in sales in Q1 of 2022 and a net company loss of $55.5M for the quarter it was not sufficient to right their ship or increase their stock values. The much larger Ipsen will likely integrate some of these loss centers into more efficient delivery mechanisms while gaining value from the expanded portfolio. Their stocks closed as of recording just a few cents away from their January 1 value.
DEM Bio (Don’t Eat Me) Launches with $70M
DEM Bio has launched with $70M and the goal of treating breast cancer using CRISPR screening and macrophage biology to drive immuno-oncology treatments. Like many early-stage biotechnology companies this organization is pulling together key investors and exciting early-stage biology. The combination of multiple sophisticated technologies indeed opens up novel possibilities for creative products, but history suggests ventures like this often require significant time to actualize into clinical outcomes. But with names like Pfizer Ventures on the books, there are certainly fiscal investment from major players in seeing this technology to some level of maturity. It may well be that breakthrough biology has been leveraged in a remarkable and unpublished way and DEM Bio is capitalizing on that opportunity. However, this deal reminds me more of tech unicorn moonshots than the conservative pragmatic maneuvers that are dominating most of the current market. I thought it would be worth noting here as it provides surprising contrast to the types of deals we are broadly seeing.
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.