Amgen buying Five Prime in $1.9B bid to bolster oncology portfolio, expand Asia reach
Amgen moved to buy Five Prime Therapeutics. The deal, for $38 per share in cash, an equity value of about $1.9 billion, centers on Five Prime’s lead asset, bemarituzumab, a Phase 3-ready anti- FGFR2b antibody. The deal comes about four months after data from the Phase 2 FIGHT trial showed a survival benefit for bemarituzumab. The study evaluated the candidate in HER2-negative, FGFR2b-positive gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancer patients.
Amgen is planning a Phase 3 trial of bemarituzumab, which will likely be an expanded version of the FIGHT trial, with modified FOLFOX6 as background chemotherapy. Bemarituzumab had followed the biotech’s FGF ligand trap FP-1039 and CSF-1R inhibitor cabiralizumab into human testing. The former was partnered with GSK and was studied for NSCLC and mesothelioma, but the pharma returned its rights in 2016.
A November 2017 readout for cabiralizumab in solid tumors disappointed investors, and the mAb later failed a Phase 2 trial in combination with Opdivo nivolumab to treat pancreatic cancer.
Takeda exercises its option to buy Maverick and its T-cell engagers
Takeda is exercising its option to buy privately held Maverick Therapeutics for a pre-negotiated up-front payment plus development and regulatory milestones of up to $525 million. Costs include Maverick’s debt and the $125 million equity stake Takeda placed in Maverick when the two began their 2017 collaboration.
The original deal included developing T-cell engager treatments and the right to buy Maverick after five years had passed. Maverick is well on the path Takeda helped set as the company has a candidate in a Phase 1/2 study for treating EGFR-expressing solid tumors and another entering the clinic later in 2021 for treating B7H3-expressing solid tumors.
Kazia out-licenses its ovarian cancer drug to Swedish Oasmia Pharma for $4 million upfront
Sydney-based Kazia Therapeutics has out-licensed its ovarian cancer drug, Cantrixil (TRX-E-002-1), to Sweden’s Oasmia Pharmaceutical in a deal worth up to $46 million. Oasmia will pay $4 million up front, and development milestones worth up to $42 million and double-digit sales royalties.
In exchange, Oasmia will have exclusive global development rights to Cantrixil in all indications, starting with ovarian cancer. A Phase 2 study with Cantrixil is expected to begin in 2022.
After Phase 3 failure, Bio-Thera drops batansine technology in favor of new ADC platform
Days after taking the unusual step, for a Chinese company, of terminating a couple of clinical programs, Bio-Thera Solutions said it still plans to continue R&D in ADCs with a new technology platform. Bio-Thera ended the development of Phase 3-stage HER2-ADC candidate BAT-8001 and Trop2 ADC BAT-8003 due to the flawed drug-linker batansine.
Bio-Thera is committed to working on ADCs but decided to abandon the batansine technology. The company plans to advance multiple new candidates from its new ADC platform into clinical studies in 2022.
T cell therapeutics Achilles completed its IPO raising $176 million
Achilles Therapeutics briefly traded above its $18 IPO price before ceding ground in its first day of trading, settling to $16.55 in trading at the end of the IPO day. The clinical T cell therapeutics developer raised $175.5 million through the sale of 9.8 million shares; the price valued the biotech at $731.2 million. Top shareholder Syncona holds a 27% stake, worth roughly $200 million based on the IPO price.