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MorphoSys and Incyte sign $900m deal for B-cell malignancies drug

Germany-based MorphoSys has announced it has signed a collaboration and license agreement with the US company Incyte to continue the global development and commercialisation of the former’s tafasitamab (MOR208) for B-cell malignancies.

According to the terms of the deal, MorphoSys will receive a $750m upfront payment and a $150m equity investment in new American Depository Shares at a premium share price from Incyte.

In addition, the German company will eligible to receive milestone payments of up $1.1bn, as well as tiered royalties on non-US net sales of tafasitamab.

The companies will co-commercialise tafasitamab in the US and share profits and losses equally, however MorphoSys will lead the commercialisation strategy. Outside of the US, Incyte will have exclusive commercialisation rights over the drug.

Focusing on development, Incyte will be responsible for 55% of associated costs, while MorphoSys will foot the remaining 45% of the development bill.

Tafasitamab is a humanised monoclonal antibody targeting CD19, an antigen expressed on the surface of B cells and so involved in B cell malignancies. MorphoSys submitted a biologics license application for the drug to the US Food and Drug Administration, and is expecting the drug to be approved in relapsed or refractory diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) this year.

The companies have agreed to continue focus drug’s development in the DLBCL space, but also study its efficacy and safety in CLL, follicular lymphoma (FL) and marginal zone lymphoma (MZL).

Incyte will cover 100% of future development costs outside of the US and will be responsible for all new FL and MZL studies, as well as studies that combine tafasitamab with its P13k-delta inhibitor parsaclisib (INCB50465). While MorphoSys will continue to be solely responsible for ongoing studies in non-Hodgkin lymphoma, CLL and relapsed or refractory and frontline DLBCL.

MorphoSys CEO Jean-Paul Kress said: “The global partnership with Incyte is an important step towards unlocking the full potential of tafasitamab and achieving our goal of rapidly bringing tafasitamab to patients inside and outside of the US."

Lilly to acquire Dermira for approximately $1.1bn

Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire biopharmaceutical firm Dermira for approximately $1.1bn in cash.

As agreed, Lilly will acquire all outstanding shares of Dermira for $18.75 per share.

The acquisition will boost Lilly’s dermatology portfolio with the addition of Qbrexza (glycopyrronium), an anticholinergic to treat excessive underarm sweating (primary axillary hyperhidrosis) in patients nine years and above.

BioNTech acquires T cell therapy-focused Neon for $67m

Pfizer signs oncology agreement with STR-focused eFFECTOR

San Diego-based eFFECTOR has signed an exclusive worldwide license and collaboration agreement with Pfizer in the oncology field. The collaboration focuses on the development of small molecule inhibitors of eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (elF4E), a previously undruggable oncogenic target.

According to the terms of the agreement, eFFECTOR will receive a $15m upfront payment from Pfizer. It will also receive $492m in research and development (R&D) funding, as well as development and sales milestone payments.

NeuroBo Pharmaceuticals complete Gemphire merger

Almirall signs option agreement to acquire Bioniz Therapeutics

Spanish drugmaker Almirall has signed an option agreement to acquire Bioniz Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company in California.

The move aligns with Almirall’s strategy to support its research and development pipeline and develop a treatment for onco-dermatology and immuno-dermatology. If executed, the acquisition will provide Almirall with full global rights of BNZ-1, a novel multicytokine inhibitor currently under phase 1 / 2 development, designed to block the activity of IL-2, IL-9 and IL1-15 cytokines.

Altavant Sciences acquires Onspira Therapeutics

Altavant Sciences has signed a definitive agreement to acquire private drug development firm Onspira Therapeutics. Specific financial details of the transaction are yet to be divulged by either company. However, Onspira’s shareholders received an upfront payment, eligible for milestone payments and royalties on net sales.

The acquisition, already closed, provides Altavant with rights over OSP-101, a novel inhaled interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) to treat bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS).

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