Jul 6

The Business Cocktail

Stada’s €5.3B buyout Sinks, brings in new CEO and CFO

After failing to win the shareholder support needed to complete a €5.32 billion buyout, Stada is changing key executives. The company announced the resignations of CEO Matthias Wiedenfels and CFO Helmut Kraft following a board meeting on Tuesday and quickly appointed new management. A former Boehringer Ingelheim exec, Engelbert Coster Tjeenk Willink will serve as interim CEO, Stada said on Tuesday. The company tapped Bernhard Düttmann, who has served as CFO at chemicals firm Lanxess and skin care company Beiersdorf, for its top financial post on an interim basis. The executive changes are the latest in a dramatic run for Stada. After months of buyout talk, Stada agreed in May to a buyout by investment firms Bain and Cinven at €66 a share. But that proposed deal failed to win enough shareholder support in last week’s vote.

Pfizer takes 30 cents and flees from its failing Brazilian generics venture

It wasn’t so long ago that Big Pharma identified Brazil as one of the hottest emerging markets for drugs, an opportunity Pfizer took the lead in pursuing. Part of that effort was a $240 million deal for 40% of the generics maker Laboratório Teuto Brasileiro. But the 2010 joint venture never lived up to expectations, and that $240 million has evaporated. The company has accepted a payment of 1 real—the equivalent of 30 cents—to relinquish its stake to the heirs of Laboratório Teuto’s founder. Pfizer confirmed the deal, first reported by Reuters, via email. “Since 2010, both companies have worked together to improve access to medicines in Brazil,” a spokesman for Pfizer said. “Pfizer arrived at this decision as a result of a desire to focus resources on ensuring the success of its existing portfolio and pipeline.” The transaction ends a year’s worth of effort by Pfizer to offload the Brazilian generics business. Reports emerged last summer that Pfizer and the heirs of Teuto’s founder, Walterci Melo, had brought in Goldman Sachs Group and Grupo BTG Pactual to look into a sale. Among the names bandied about as potential acquirers were generics giants Teva and Mylan. Some investment banks also reportedly expressed interest, including Advent International.

GlaxoSmithKline, Exscientia ink AI-based drug discovery deal worth up to $42M

GlaxoSmithKline has inked a drug discovery collaboration with Exscientia, which automates drug design with its artificial intelligence-based platform. Under the agreement, Dundee, U.K.-based Exscientia will receive research payments from GSK, which could total up to £33 million ($42.7 million). The pair will use GSK’s pharma know-how and Exscientia’s AI-enabled platform to discover small molecules to treat up to 10 targets chosen by GSK, according to a statement. The disease-related targets will span several therapeutic areas and the pair aims to discover preclinical candidates. Exscientia stands to collect up to $42.7 million in milestone payments if all 10 projects are advanced. Exscientia’s AI-based platform designs new molecules and assesses them for their potency, selectivity, and ability to bind to specific targets. It uses a rapid “design-make-test” cycle to quickly alter candidates toward the desired criteria.

Biotech Firm Trillium hunts for new partners

Trillium Therapeutics is sharpening its focus and seeking new partners as it looks over its pipeline with an eye to the future. Tiny Toronto-based Trillium has been pursuing CD47, a molecule found on the surface of many tumors that guards against their destruction. The idea is that this scrambles a key immune response that helps guard a range of tumor types by preventing a process called phagocytosis, in which the cancer cells are devoured by a phagocyte. Over a year ago, it kick-started a Phase 1 test in relapsed or refractory hematologic malignancies, but the biotech said it had looked over its early-stage work and would change things up. For one early medication, the brain-penetrant, second-generation, covalent EGFR inhibitor TTI-2341, the biotech said it had benchmarked the drug against two approved EGFR inhibitors in lung cancer, and concluded it “appears to be a viable and competitive drug candidate for the treatment of brain cancers and brain metastases.”

Clementia files for $115M IPO to fund late-phase trials in ultrarare genetic bone diseases

Clementia Pharmaceuticals has filed to raise $115 million in an IPO. The Canadian biotech wants the cash to bankroll late-phase trials of an oral retinoic acid receptor gamma agonist it licensed from Roche. Montreal, Canada-based Clementia intends to use the IPO money to take the former Roche drug, palovarotene, through two phase 3 trials in fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). If the data are good, Clementia plans to file for approval and make palovarotene the go-to drug for the 800 people diagnosed with the ultra rare bone formation disease. Patients with FOP suffer from pain, disability, and early death as a result of bones forming in their muscles, tendons and ligaments. C, ementia estimates FOP affects 9,000 people globally. Funded by a $60 million mezzanine round led by New Enterprise Associates, Clementia has tested palovarotene in a 40-patient phase 2 trial. That study failed to deliver statistically significant results but nonetheless emboldened Clementia to move into phase 3. The decision was underpinned by data suggesting palovarotene cut formation of new extraskeletal bone by 50%. In patients who did grow new bone, the mean volumes were around 70% lower than in the placebo group.

 

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