As the earnings season comes to an end, the focus is back on pipeline updates from biotech players. Quite a few companies came out with important news this week. Biotech bigwig, Gilead Sciences, Inc., (GILD - Free Report) is all set to acquire immuno-oncology company, Forty Seven. Biogen (BIIB - Free Report) has entered into a collaboration deal with Sangamo (SGMO - Free Report) . Alnylam (ALNY - Free Report) gets approval for Givlaari in Europe.
Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories:
Gilead to Buy Forty Seven: Gilead Sciences, Inc. will acquire a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company, Forty Seven, Inc. , for $95.50 per share in cash or approximately $4.9 billion. The acquisition will add Forty Seven’s investigational lead product candidate, magrolimab, to Gilead’s immuno-oncology research and development portfolio. Magrolimab is a monoclonal antibody in clinical development for the treatment of several cancers, including myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), for which new, transformative medicines are urgently needed. The acquisition, expected to close in the second quarter of 2020, should bolster Gilead’s efforts to develop its oncology portfolio.
Alnylam’s Givlaari Gets Approval in Europe: Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced that the European Commission has approved Givlaari (givosiran) for the treatment of acute hepatic porphyria (AHP) in patients aged 12 years or older. The drug will be available as a subcutaneous injection. The approval in Europe was in the cards as the drug had received a positive recommendation from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Agency in January 2020. The approval was based on impressive data from the phase III ENVISION study, which showed that treatment with Givlaari resulted in a 74% reduction in the rate of porphyria attacks. The FDA already approved Givlaari in November last year for the same indication.
Biogen Collaborates With Sangamo: Biogen entered into a global licensing collaboration agreement with Sangamo Therapeutics, Inc. The companies are collaborating to develop and commercialize ST-501 for tauopathies, including Alzheimer’s disease; ST-502 for synucleinopathies, including Parkinson’s disease; and a third undisclosed neuromuscular disease target. Additionally, Biogen has exclusive rights to nominate up to nine additional undisclosed neurological disease targets over a target selection period of five years. The companies will leverage Sangamo’s proprietary zinc finger protein (ZFP) technology delivered via adeno-associated virus (AAV) to modulate the expression of key genes involved in neurological diseases. Biogen will pay Sangamo an upfront fee of $350 million, including a license fee and an equity investment in the Sangamo stock. Sangamo is also eligible to receive up to $2.37 billion in potential milestones as well as royalties on potential net commercial sales.
Biogen currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Biohaven Gets FDA Approval for Migraine Drug: Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Ltd. (BHVN - Free Report) announced that the FDA has approved Nurtec ODT (rimegepant) for the acute treatment of migraine in adults. The FDA approval was based on results from the pivotal phase III clinical study (Study 303) and the long-term, open-label safety study (Study 201). Results showed that Nurtec ODT achieved statistical significance on the regulatory co-primary endpoints of pain freedom and freedom from most bothersome symptom (MBS) at two hours post the dose compared to placebo. Per the company, Nurtec is the first and only calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonist available in a fast-acting orally disintegrating tablet (ODT).
Incyte & MorphoSys Get Antitrust Clearance: Incyte Corporation (INCY - Free Report) and MorphoSys AG announced that their collaboration and license agreement for the further development and global commercialization of the latter’s investigational candidate, tafasitamab (MOR208), has received antitrust clearance. This triggers a $750-million upfront payment to be received by MorphoSys from Incyte. Additionally, Incyte will make an equity investment of $150 million in new American Depositary Shares (ADS) in MorphoSys within the defined timelines. The FDA recently accepted MorphoSys' Biologics License Application (BLA) for tafasitamab in combination with lenalidomide for the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (r/r DLBCL) and granted Priority Review.
The Nasdaq Biotechnology index lost 0.51% in the last five trading sessions. Among the biotech giants, Gilead gained 5.86% during this period. Over the past six months, shares of Biogen have gained 45.23%. (See the last biotech stock roundup here: Biotech Stock Roundup: MRNA Surges, Pipeline Updates From INCY, HRTX & NGM Bio).
What's Next in Biotech?
Stay tuned for more pipeline updates.
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