Insights+ COVID-19 Deals (Part I): Biopharma Drug Development

 Insights+ COVID-19 Deals (Part I): Biopharma Drug Development

The recent emergence of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred global healthcare and life sciences companies, as well as government agencies, to partner at an unprecedented speed to develop vaccines, treatments, and tests.  This article covers last four months of deal data provided by Chris Dokomajilar of DealForma. During the last four months (upto 15 Apr 2020) around 131 deals were made, the breakup of deals are as follows:

  • 41 were done between biopharma companies,
  • 41 between biopharma and govt. organizations/foundations/consortium
  • 29 between biopharma and universities
  • 11 between biopharma/medical devices/diagnostics/digital health companies
  • 9 among universities and academic institutions

Our team at PharmaShots is compiling a series of articles for deals among biopharma and healthcare companies. This first part is on 20 deals by biopharma companies for the development of drug therapies for COVID-19. Watch this space for the next 20 deals by biopharma and healthcare companies for the development of vaccines and diagnostics for COVID-19.

Please contact shiwani@pharmashots.com to get this full detailed report including all 131 deals.

The following 20 deals are in alphabetical order

1.     AbCellera Partnered with Eli Lilly to Co-develop Antibody Therapies Targeting COVID-19

Deal Date: Mar 12, 2020

Deal Value: Undisclosed 

The agreement will leverage AbCellera’s rapid pandemic response platform, developed under the DARPA P3 program along with Eli Lilly’s development and manufacturing capabilities. The companies will equally share the initial development cost. Lilly will be solely responsible for the further unique antibody isolated from US patients who have recovered from COVID-19, which they will later screen to find the most effective in neutralizing SARS-CoV-2.

2.  Amgen Signed an Agreement with Adaptive Biotechnologies to Develop Therapies for COVID-19

Deal Date: April 2, 2020

Deal Value: Undisclosed 

The partnership leverages Adaptive’s immune medicine platform for the identification of virus-neutralizing antibodies in conjunction with Amgen’s expertise in immunology and novel antibody development. Adaptive extended its platform to discover antibodies from recovered COVID-19 patients, which will enable the company to identify antibodies from survivors of COVID-19. Amgen will leverage its expertise to select, develop, and manufacture antibodies designed to bind and neutralize SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, both companies have signed an MoU enabling the partners to commence work immediately.

3.  Biogen Partnered with Vir Biotechnology to Develop Antibodies Against COVID-19

Deal Date: Mar 12, 2020

Deal Value: Undisclosed

Biogen has partnered with Vir to develop and manufacture a mAb targeting SARS-CoV-2. Biogen will be responsible for cell line development, process development, and clinical manufacturing activities to advance the development of several mAbs targeting SARS-CoV-2, which were isolated from patients who survived SARS infection. Vir is also evaluating its antibodies as an effective treatment or prophylaxis against SARS-CoV-2.

4. CNS Pharmaceuticals Signed an Agreement with WPD Pharmaceuticals to Develop Therapies for COVID-19

Deal Date: Mar 23, 2020

Deal Value: $1M

CNS Pharmaceuticals to get exclusive rights for the development and commercialization of WP1122 to treat infection from multiple viruses, including coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. WPD will receive $0.225M up front, R&D funding, and is eligible for $0.775M in milestones on the completion of its Phase II study, plus 50% of the net sales in WPD’s licensed territories excluding Poland. Those territories include 29 countries in Europe and Asia. WPD in-licensed WP1122 and a portfolio from Moleculin Biotech in certain territories, and those licensing costs are reimbursable from the royalties in this deal. WP1122 is a prodrug of 2-DG (2-deoxy-D-glucose) and is targeted to treat COVID-19.

5.  Cytocom Signed a Development and Commercialization Agreement with Immune Therapeutics to Develop Therapies for COVID-19

Deal Date: Mar 20, 2020

Deal Value: Undisclosed 

Cytocom and Immune Therapeutics partnered to develop Lodonal and IRT-101 for targeting COVID-19. Additionally, the companies plan to gain Fast Track Approval for Lodonal to prevent and treat COVID-19. Immune’s ITX401 is a Phase III candidate targeted to treat pancreatic cancer and the company plans to initiate evaluation of safety and efficacy of Lodonal with Keytruda and Opvido in partnership with Cytocom.

6.  CytoDyn Signed a License Agreement with Longen China Group to Co-Develop Leronlimab (PRO 140)

Deal Date: Feb 12, 2020

Deal Value: Undisclosed 

CytoDyn granted Longen rights to co-develop and co-commercialize leronlimab (PRO 140) for the treatment of COVID-19 and oncology indications in China. Leronlimab is an IgG4 mAb that blocks CCR5, which has completed 9 clinical trials in 800+ patients and received the US FDA’s Fast Track Designation.

7. Cytovia Signed an Agreement with Macromoltek to Develop NK Immunotherapies Against COVID-19

Deal Date: Apr 7, 2020

Deal Value: Undisclosed 

Cytovia signed an agreement with Macromoltek to develop NK immunotherapies for the treatment of COVID-19. The partners will accelerate the development of new therapies by applying Macromoltek’s machine learning and AI-driven platform.

8.  Generation Bio Partnered with Vir Biotechnology to Develop mAbs Against COVID-19

Deal Date: Apr 7, 2020

Deal Value: Undisclosed 

Generation Bio and Vir partnered to utilize Generation Bio’s non-viral gene therapy platform for Vir’s current and future human mAbs against SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, the companies will combine Generation Bio’s platform with Vir’s neutralizing antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2. Generation Bio’s close-ended DNA (ceDNA) is a novel, cell-targeted lipid nanoparticle delivery system that allows the development of targeted therapies for rare diseases.

9.  GSK Partnered with Vir to Develop Antibodies Against COVID-19

Deal Date: Apr 6, 2020

Deal Value: $250M

GlaxoSmithKline and Vir partnered to combine Vir’s mAb platform technology with GSK’s expertise in functional genomics and CRISPR screening to identify anti-coronavirus compounds. GSK made an equity investment of $250M in Vir at $37.73, a 10% premium to the closing share price on Friday, March 27, 2020. The identification of novel antiviral antibodies can further be utilized as a preventive measure for COVID-19 outbreak.

10.  Neurimmune Signed an Exclusive Agreement with Ethris to Develop an Inhaled mRNA-based Antibody Therapy for COVID-19

Deal Date: Apr 1, 2020

Deal Value: Undisclosed 

Neurimmune partnered with Ethris to combine Neurimmune’s expertise in developing human antibodies based on high-throughput immunoglobulin sequence analyses from recovered COVID-19 patients with Ethris’ pulmonary SNIM RNA therapeutics platform. The first drug candidate is expected to be evaluated in Q4’20 pending regulatory approval. Ethris’ ETH42 is a preclinical candidate targeted to treat the rare pulmonary disease, primary ciliary dyskinesia. The companies will co-conduct research and development activities with cost and profit sharing.

11. Novartis Signed a Clinical Trial Agreement with Incyte to Evaluate Jakavi (ruxolitinib) to Treat COVID-19

Deal Date: Apr 2, 2020

Deal Value: Undisclosed 

The Phase III RUXCOVID study will assess Jakavi + SOC vs. SOC as monotherapy in patients with severe COVID-19. Incyte intends to commence an open-label emergency Expanded Access Program (EAP) in the US to allow eligible patients with COVID-19 associated cytokine storm to receive ruxolitinib. Jakavi is a JAK 1 and 2 tyrosine kinases inhibitor and an approved therapy in 101 countries for patients with MF and 75+ countries for PV. The study will be sponsored by Incyte in the US and ex-US by Novartis.

12. Novellus Signed a License Option Agreement with Citius for its Stem-Cell Therapy to Treat COVID-19

Deal Date: Apr 1, 2020

Deal Value: Undisclosed 

Novellus granted Citius an exclusive option to license for the development and commercialization of stem cell therapies utilizing Novellus’ mRNA-based cell-reprogramming technology to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) associated with COVID-19 for 6 months. The focus of the agreement is to evaluate Novellus’s iPSC derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to enhance the immunomodulatory response in patients. MSCs have the capability to suppress and prevent cytokine storm and have been evaluated in 900+ trials targeted to treat lung cancer.

13. Oncology Pharma to Expand its 2019 Agreement with Kalos to Treat COVID-19

Deal Date: Apr 6, 2020

Deal Value: Undisclosed 

Ocology Pharma and Kalos amended their 2019 agreement to evaluate Kalos’s anti-cancer drug KTH-222 for treating COVID-19. The focus of the partnership is to evaluate KTH-222 as a monotherapy and/or in combination with FDA-approved antiviral therapies to treat COVID-19. In 2019, Oncology Pharma signed an exclusive, worldwide license and co-development agreement with Kalos for its KTH-222. KTH-222 is an anti-drug cancer candidate involved in regulating cell growth while inhibiting the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway.

14. Samsung Biologics Partnered with Vir Biotechnology to Develop Antibodies for COVID-19

Deal Date: Apr 9, 2020

Deal Value: $362M 

Samsung Biologics signed an agreement with Vir for large scale manufacturing for its SARS-CoV-2 mAb program. Samsung will initiate manufacturing in October 2020 with expected commercialization in early 2021.

15. Sihuan Pharmaceutical Partnered with Hetero Labs

Deal Date: Feb 12, 2020

Deal Value: Undisclosed

Sihuan Pharmaceutical partnered with Hetero Labs to commence R&D, regulatory affairs, manufacturing, and commercialization in China focused on CVS, CNS, and anti-infectives, including coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

16. Sorrento Initiated the Next Phase of its Partnership with Celularity

Deal Date: Jan 29, 2020

  Deal Value: Undisclosed

Sorrento will provide manufacturing support to Celularity as it intends to commence its Phase I/II clinical study of CYNK-001 in 89 adults with COVID-19. Sorrento’s manufacturing capacity will scale up CYNK-001 production, which will be used in this study along with its clinical trials in AML, MM, and GBM. Celularity is also planning to manufacture CYNK-001 at its newly built manufacturing facility in Florham Park, New Jersey.

17. Sorrento Signed an Exclusive License Agreement with Mabpharm to Treat COVID-19

Deal Date: Mar 24, 2020

Deal Value: Undisclosed 

Mabpharm granted Sorrento exclusive rights to develop and commercialize Mabpharm’s ACE-MAB fusion protein to treat COVID-19 in the North American and European markets. Mabpharm will retain its rights in the rest of the world, including the China and Japanese markets. ACE-MAB is a bi-specific fusion protein platform that binds to the spike protein of coronavirus, including SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV, which further inhibits its binding to respiratory epithelial cells.

18. Vir Biotechnology Signed a License Agreement with Xencor to Utilize Xtend Fc Technology in Antibodies Targeting COVID-19

Deal Date: Mar 25, 2020

Deal Value: Undisclosed

Xencor granted Vir non-exclusive access to Xencor’s Xtend Fc technology for extending the half-life of novel antibodies being evaluated for COVID-19. Vir will be responsible for research, development, regulatory, and commercial activities across influenza and hepatitis B infection. Xencor will continue to assess the impact of COVID-19 to ongoing and planned clinical studies.

19. Vir and Alnylam Expanded Their Existing Partnership to Develop RNAi Therapeutics Targeting Host Factors for COVID-19

Deal Date: March 4, 2020 and April 2, 2020 Expansions of October 17, 2017 Deal

Deal Value: $1B

Vir and Alnylam expanded their 2017 partnership twice to evaluate both RNAi therapies and host factors required for SARS-CoV-2 infection, including ACE2 and TMPRSS2. The third host factor target is expected to emerge from Vir’s ongoing genomics efforts in identifying novel host factors relevant to COVID-19. Vir will be responsible for the development of selected candidates and the commercialization of any therapy developed under the collaboration. Alnylam will have an option to either share equal profits and losses associated with each COVID-19 program or may receive milestones and royalties.

20. WuXi Signed an Agreement with Vir Biotechnology for the Global Development of Antibodies Against COVID-19

Deal Date: Feb 25, 2020

Deal Value: Undisclosed

WuXi and Vir will jointly develop, manufacture, and commercialize Vir’s antibody. WuXi Biologics will conduct cell-line development, process and formulation development, and initial manufacturing for clinical development. Wuxi Biologics was granted rights to commercialize therapies in Greater China while Vir retains worldwide commercial rights for the therapies. The collaboration accelerates the advancement of mAbs against the global threat of COVID-19.

Source: Dealforma database, official press releases and SEC filling

Related Post: Insights+ COVID-19 Deals (Part II): Biopharma Vaccine Development

Related Post: Insights+ COVID-19 Deals (Part III): Biopharma and Govt. Institutions

Shiwani Sharma

Shiwani Sharma was Senior Editor at PharmaShots. She has in-depth knowledge of the life sciences industry including the Pharma and Biotech sectors. Any articles written by her can be contacted at connect@pharmashots.com.

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