Business Cocktail

Aurobindo takes top generic spot in Portugal with €135M deal for Generis Farmacêutica

India’s Aurobindo Pharma, which has been building its presence around the world, has struck a new deal to buy a generics manufacturer and plant in Portugal which it says will make it the largest generics manufacturer in that country.  Aurobindo will pay about €135 million to buy Generis Farmacêutica and a handful of subsidiaries from Magnum Capital Partners. In addition to producing for the Portuguese market, the Indian drug maker will use the facility to supplement its European production. Generis is projected to have sales of about €64.8 million for 2016. Aurobindo projects that it can extract about €2 million in savings from its combined operations in 2018 and €5 million in 2019.

Valeant unloads Dendreon and skin care brands for $2.1B in turnaround cash

Valeant is using the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference to make a big statement about its arduous turnaround, which is largely focused on paying down its $30 billion debt burden. The company announced a couple of long-awaited asset sales that will yield $2.1 billion in cash. Valeant plans to unload its equity interest in cancer drug maker Dendreon, which has had a troubled history of its own, as well as its skincare brands CeraVe, AcneFree and AMBI. Valeant agreed to offload those skincare brands to cosmetics giant L’Oréal for $1.3 billion in cash. The three products have annualized revenues of $168 million, and demonstrates the “progress” Valeant is making “in reshaping our product portfolio and driving value for our shareholders.” The company will use the proceeds to repay debt.

France’s Ipsen strikes $1B deal in big push in U.S. oncology

Ipsen has reached an agreement to buy the underperforming pancreatic cancer drug of U.S.-based Merrimack Pharmaceuticals in a deal that could top $1 billion. Ipsen, which has been building its U.S. presence for several years, will pay Merrimack $575 million in cash when the deal closes, which is expected by the end of the quarter, and up to $450 million in additional milestone payments. For that, Ipsen gets the U.S. rights to current and future uses of Onivyde, as well as the licensing agreement with Shire for rights to the drug outside the U.S. It also gets Merrimack’s U.S. manufacturing operations and will take on about 100 employees, mostly in manufacturing, but also a few commercial employees as well as some in R&D. Ipsen will also add Merrimack’s generic version of ovarian cancer drug Doxil.

Takeda shells out $5.2B for Ariad, Iclusig and its fledgling med brigatinib

Takeda just snapped up a deal with Ariad Pharmaceuticals, a cancer-focused drug maker with a marketed product to bring in current revenue and a pipeline that offers near-term prospects. In a deal valued at $5.2 billion, Takeda plans to shell out $24 per share for Ariad and its leukemia drug Iclusig and its late-stage ALK-inhibiting lung cancer drug brigatinib, now under priority review at the FDA. With the patent on its blockbuster multiple myeloma med Velcade expiring this year, Takeda reportedly set aside $15 billion last fall to make deals, focusing on cancer, gastrointestinal disorders and neurological diseases. Its new Crohn’s disease drug, Entyvio, has taken off quickly, as has its top seller’s intended successor, Ninlaro, but the company needs more than a couple of products to make up the Velcade difference in the near term. Ariad is an obvious fit with Takeda Oncology, with its expertise in blood cancers and desire to branch out into different forms of the disease.

Angina Pectoris: Manifestation of Coronary Artery Disease

Angina Pectoris is the most common and disabling cardiovascular disorder syndrome of precordial discomfort caused due to transient myocardial ischemia. A large number of people suffering from myocardial ischemia have developed Angina Pectoris. According to National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, approximately 7 million people are affected by this disorder. Prevalence of Angina Pectoris has increased with increase in age, and approximately 60% of the patients with Angina Pectoris die before 55 years of age.

Angina Pectoris is caused coronary atherosclerosis which involves the narrowing of arteries due to the accumulation of fatty acids. It progresses slowly over time and is difficult to recognise. Medications and surgical procedures are recommended for treating Angina Pectoris by preventing myocardial infarction and death to improve survival rates of patients. Several medications such as nitrates, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers and lipid-lowering drugs are used for relieving the symptoms. Coronary artery bypass surgery and Angioplasty are used as surgical procedures for treating Angina Pectoris.

In terms of research and development of therapeutics, GoNitro (nitroglycerin) sublingual powder had been approved in June 2016 by USFDA for prophylaxis of angina pectoris due to coronary artery disease. GoNitro is the first and only short-acting nitrate in a stabilised crystal granule. Several other drugs such as Caduet, Ranexa, Nitrostat, Tiazac and Posicor have also been approved. Increased in market size of Angina Pectoris is estimated due to increasing in a number of patients undergoing treatment for Angina Pectoris, rising demand for target specific and tailored drugs for angina pectoris treatment, geriatric population, launch of new drugs, rapidly increase in lifestyles associated changes including smoking, prolonged stress and physical inactivity.

Major players such as Ablynx, Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim, GenVec, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, Kuhnil Pharmaceutical and Resverlogix Corp. are developing new drugs which are expected to be approved in coming years. Researchers are developing several emerging therapies such as spinal stimulation, echocardiography, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, trans-myocardial laser revascularization for the treatment of Angina Pectoris. These therapies aim at providing greater efficacy, reduced trauma and better patient safety as compared to existing therapies. Thus, these emerging therapies would help in replacing the limitations of existing therapies.

Insight by:
Diksha Wadhwa
Associate Analyst

Science Events of the Year

  1. On 11 February, researchers announced that they had finally sensed the ripples in the structure of space-time known as gravitational waves — capping a decades-long quest.
  2. A tumultuous US presidential campaign ended in a surprise victory for Republican businessman Donald Trump in November. Researchers struggled to understand how a Trump administration would treat science — in part, because it did not feature prominently on the campaign trail.
  3. In March, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s flagship Hitomi X-ray astronomy satellite failed just weeks after launch. Investigators determined that a software error had caused the spacecraft to rotate out of control and break apart. In July, NASA’s Juno probe arrived at Jupiter, but problems with its main engine delayed the rocket firing that would have shrunk its orbit into a tighter ellipse around the planet.
  4. The development of new applications for the genome-editing tool CRISPR–Cas9 continued apace. On 28 October, a patient with lung cancer at West China Hospital in Chengdu became the first person to be treated with cells edited using CRISPR–Cas9. As part of a clinical trial, researchers disabled a gene that normally holds a cell’s immune system in check, in the hope that the edited cells would mount an immune response against the cancer.
  5. Representatives of a record 174 countries and the European Union gathered on Earth Day, 22 April, to sign the international climate agreement forged in Paris in December 2015.
  6. In February, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that clusters of birth defects linked to outbreaks of Zika virus in Brazil constituted a global public-health emergency.
  7. In January, a computer program beat a world-class human player at the ancient game of Go for the first time. But the ultimate showdown was in March, when the artificial intelligence (AI), called AlphaGo, trounced Lee Sedol — one of the world’s top players.
  8. In September, researchers working in a Mexican clinic reported the birth of the first healthy baby conceived through assisted-reproduction techniques that mix DNA from three people. A baby in China was also reportedly born using the same technique. And in October, a clinic in Ukraine announced that two previously infertile women had conceived through a similar procedure. On 15 December, following scientists’ advice, the United Kingdom’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said that the technique was ready for clinical use, which could start as soon as 2017.


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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Scenario

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive life-threatening lung disease which leads to airflow limitation and interferes with normal breathing. According to World Health Organization, approximately 64 million people are affected by COPD worldwide. World Health Organization estimates Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) to be the fourth commonest cause of death by 2030 after ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and HIV/AIDS. Prevalence of COPD is increasing with an increase in ageing population and number of smoking people.

There are approximately 18 drugs such as Advair, Spirivia, Symbicort, Foster, Brovana, Rayos and Bevespi Aerosphere approved for the treatment of COPD. Among them, Advair is a block buster drug with sales of USD 4604.18 million in 2015. Global market of COPD is estimated to increase from USD 11.19 Billion in 2015 to USD 27.89 Billion by 2023. Several factors such as launch of emerging therapies like triple therapies, pharmacogenomic therapy and target lobe volume reduction therapy, increasing prevalence, improvements in diagnostic techniques and advancement of personalized treatments are stimulating the growth of COPD market. Major players such as Medimmune, Astrazeneca, Pearl therapeutics and Cheisi Farmaceutici are developing drugs which are expected to be launch in coming years.

Despite of availability of effective treatment, the prevalence rate of COPD has increased. Currently, approved drugs have limited efficacy with no effects on progression of COPD. Detrimental effects of these anti-inflammatory therapies have been observed among patients. Thus, there is a need of substantial efforts for finding new treatments for COPD.

Diksha Wadhwa
Associate Analyst