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Sanofi agrees to acquire Principia Biopharma for $3.68bn

Sanofi has signed a definitive agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of US-based Principia Biopharma for around $3.68bn, or $100 per share, in cash.

Principia is a biopharmaceutical firm engaged in the development of therapies for immune-mediated diseases with unmet medical needs.

The company’s Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors will boost Sanofi’s research and development (R&D) efforts across autoimmune diseases area.

Principia BTK inhibitor portfolio is based on the company’s Tailored Covalency platform, used to design reversible covalent and irreversible covalent small molecule inhibitors.

BTK is related to the signalling pathways of innate and adaptive cell types of the immune system. Inhibition of these signalling processes could potentially halt inflammation and tissue destruction caused autoimmune diseases, as well as target certain underlying pathophysiology.

In 2017, Sanofi signed an exclusive, global licence agreement to develop and commercialise Principia’s BTK inhibitor ‘168 in multiple sclerosis and other central nervous system diseases.

The acquisition will help Sanofi expand the development programme of BTK inhibitor ‘168 to indications other than central nervous system diseases. Currently, the drug candidate is being assessed in a Phase IIb clinical trial for multiple sclerosis.

Also, Principia is evaluating oral BTK inhibitor Rilzabrutinib in a Phase III programme for the treatment of moderate to severe pemphigus, a rare autoimmune disease. Another Phase III programme for immune thrombocytopenia is planned for the end of this year. An ongoing Phase II programme is also ongoing for IgG4-related diseases.

A topical BTK inhibitor, PRN473, is undergoing Phase I trials for immune-mediated diseases that could be treated with localised application to the skin.

Boards of directors of both companies approved the acquisition. It is subject to customary closing conditions and should close in the fourth quarter of this year. After closing of the transaction, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sanofi will merge with Principia.

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SK bioscience partners with Novavax on Covid-19 vaccine

South Korea-based SK bioscience has entered a development and supply agreement for Novavax Covid-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373.

The company intends to supply the vaccine to global markets, including COVAX Facility. 

SK bioscience and Novavax also signed a letter of intent with the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare to facilitate equitable access to the vaccine worldwide, as well as in South Korea.

Biological E to manufacture Janssen’s Covid-19 vaccine

India-based pharmaceutical company Biological E has signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) unit Janssen Pharmaceutica to manufacture J&J’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Ad26.COV2.S.

Under the deal, Biological E will boost production capacities for drug substance and drug product of the vaccine candidate currently in Phase I/IIa clinical trials.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals agrees to acquire Pfenex for $516m

Ligand Pharmaceuticals has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire development and licensing biotechnology firm Pfenex in a deal valued at approximately $516m.

Under the agreement, Ligand will buy all outstanding shares of Pfenex for $12 per share in cash or $438m in equity value on a fully diluted basis.

Celleron licenses cancer drug emactuzumab from Roche

UK-based Celleron Therapeutics has entered an exclusive licensing agreement with Roche for global rights to the clinical development, manufacturing and commercialisation of cancer drug, emactuzumab.

The deal is part of Celleron’s focus on drug development for cancer patients.

Emactuzumab is an experimental monoclonal antibody that targets and decreases macrophages in the tumor tissue.

GeneCentric Therapeutics signs research alliance with Janssen

GeneCentric Therapeutics and Janssen Research & Development have formed a research alliance focused on RNA-based drug response biomarkers for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer.

The partners will leverage GeneCentric’s advanced RNA-based molecular profiling platform to gain better insights into potential signatures of disease progression and drug response to standard of care therapy.

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