Lilley buys Loxo Oncology for $8 billion
Last Update: 2021-02-26
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's annual J.P. Morgan healthcare conference in San Francisco has already begun: Lilly and the company opened this morning with an $8 billion deal to buy Loxo Oncology. The deal limits a series of cancer-focused partnerships announced on the eve of the meeting.
A series of small molecules were obtained through Loxo and Lilley to address specific genetic factors of cancer. The acquisition includes the recently approved treatment Vitrakvi, a TRK fusion inhibitor that in November 2018 became the first small molecule approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the genetic characteristics of cancer patients, not their tumors. In addition to winning this so-called tissue adnaulycity approval, Vitrakvi is also known for its fast-track entry into the market - it moved from the first clinical trial to approval in just three and a half years.
Through this transaction, Lilly also obtained several compounds on its way to market, including RET inhibitors that may be FDA-flagged next year, BTK inhibitors in phase I/II studies, and subsequent TRK fusion inhibitors. Tumors that are resistant to Vitrakvi.
But even before most biotech executives boarded flights to San Francisco, the company was rolling out deals that had become the logo of the annual industry event. Preparations for the Conference included large-scale mergers and significant investments in new technologies and models.
On Thursday, January 4, 3-Bristol-Myers Squibb took everyone's eye by announcing a $74 billion acquisition of Celgene. If the large merger is closed, it will create a leader in oncology by combining BMS's cancer combination focused on tumors with the blood cancer combination of new-based biopharmaceuticals.
On Friday, other big pharmaceutical companies joined the fight. Together, they are investing nearly $1 billion in short-term funding to acquire new models or technologies that could crack difficult drug-causing targets.
Genentech has announced its first foray into cell therapy. As part of Roche, the company is paying $300 million to a new biotech company to jointly develop T-cell therapies for patients with new antigens, proteins made from tumors rather than normal cells. Genentech will manufacture these highly personalized treatments.
Another big cancer deal, Sanofi, will increase interest in messenger RNA (mRNA) treatments by investing $91.5 million in BioNTech in Germany. The two groups will develop cancer immunotherapy consisting of mRNA that encodes cytokines. It injects tumors to stimulate the immune system to spot and attack them. The partnership is based on an agreement reached in 2015 in which BioNTech is developing up to five mRNA cancer immunotherapy therapies and earning up to $300 million from Sanofi.
Meanwhile, Jazz Pharmaceuticals has announced a partnership with Codiak Biosciences to develop a five-goal cancer treatment. Codiak, which will be funded with $56 million in the agreement, pioneered exosomes, tiny vesicles naturally released from cells, as a delivery container for cancer treatment drugs.
In addition to licensing technology, some companies have established cancer-focused partnerships with academic centers. For example, GE Healthcare and Vanderbilt University Medical Center will jointly develop diagnostic tools that enable oncologists to select the safest and most effective cancer immunotherapy for a particular patient. In addition to analyzing data from immunotheratized Vanderbilt cancer patients, the partners hope to develop PET imaging tracer to monitor tumor response to the drug.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has signed a five-year cancer drug development agreement with Hong Kong-based Ascentage Pharma. MD Anderson's leukemia researchers will help clinically study Ascentage's apoptosis targeting small molecules and tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
The deal is not limited to developing cancer drugs. Johnson and Johnson has invested $20 million in start-up Locus Biosciences, which is designing phage therapy to treat respiratory and other organ system infections. The treatment uses a natural bactericidal virus called phage to fight infection. Locus uses CRISPR-Cas3 systems to cut bacterial DNA by designing them to power its phages.
Biogen has invested heavily in new small molecule methods for dealing with severe neurological diseases. In a potential $415 million deal, Biogen and C4 Therapeutics will jointly develop protein degradation agents for neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Although conventional small molecules usually inhibit protein function, degradation agents force bad-behavior proteins to be labeled as cell waste bins.
In addition, Biogen will work with Skyhawk Therapeutics to develop ways to regulate small molecules that are spliced by RNA, or to stitch together RNA fragments to form protein code. Skyhawk received $74 million in advance for the treatment of neurological diseases, including multiple sclerosis and spinal muscular dystrophy. (Compiled by this web)
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