The week in industry: AbbVie to acquire Allergan

This week: US FDA approves expansion of cystic fibrosis drug approval, Frontier Medicines (CA, USA) launched to develop drugs to target the ‘undruggable’ and US$80.9M raised by Sanfit (Palma, Spain) in Spain’s largest private biotech fundraiser.

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Jun 27, 2019
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This week's industry news: 

AbbVie to acquire Allergan for US$63 billion
FDA approves expansion of cystic fibrosis drug approval
Frontier Medicines launched to develop drugs to target the ‘undruggable’
US$80.9M raised in Spain’s largest private biotech fundraiser


AbbVie to acquire Allergan for US$63 billion

AbbVie (IL, USA) and Allergan (Dublin, Ireland) have announced the acquisition of Allergan by AbbVie for approximately US$63 billion – making this deal one of the biggest for the global pharmaceutical industry. With this merge, the companies believe they will be able to expand and diversify their revenue base, generate significant cash glow and create an immediate scale and enhanced profitability for AbbVie’s growth platform.

“This is a transformational transaction for both companies and achieves unique and complementary strategic objectives. The combination of AbbVie and Allergan increases our ability to continue to deliver on our mission to patients and shareholders. With our enhanced growth platform to fuel industry-leading growth, this strategy allows us to diversify AbbVie’s business while sustaining our focus on innovative science and the advancement of our industry-leading pipeline well into the future,” commented Richard A. Gonzalez, Chairman and CEO, AbbVie.

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FDA approves expansion of cystic fibrosis drug approval

Vertex Pharmaceutical (MA, USA) has announced the approval, from the US FDA, for the expansion of their cystic fibrosis (CF) drug, SYMDEKO®. The treatment was previously approved for patients in the US, aged 12 and older and with two copies of the F508del-CFTR mutations or one copy of a responsive mutation. This change allows children with CF from 7—11 who have two copies of the F508del mutation or have at least one mutation in the CFTR gene that is responsible to Symdeko to also benefit from this drug.

“We’ve seen the clinical impact of Symdeko in people with CF aged 12 years and above, and this approval marks a crucial milestone for patients ages 6 through 11 years who may benefit from CFTR modulation, enabling us to treat the basic defect in CF at an earlier stage of disease. Symdeko is an important treatment option for eligible people with CF who either never started or have discontinued another CFTR modulator,” commented Seth Walker, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland Medical Center, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital (OH, USA).

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Frontier Medicines launched to develop drugs to target the ‘undruggable’

A new preclinical stage biopharmaceutical company, Frontier Medicines (CA, USA), has launched, with US$67 million, to develop novel medicines against the ‘undruggable’ targets that drive a range of diseases. They plan to begin their work starting with cancer and will be using their chemoproteomics platform to discover and target small new binding targets on proteins.

“Our therapeutic programs are focused on several of the most important and difficult targets in cancer. With our platform, we have the ability to address previously inaccessible disease-causing proteins. While we are taking on a considerable challenge, we believe this approach will have a tremendous impact on transforming patients’ lives for the better, which is our ultimate goal,” commented Chris Varma, Co-founder and CEO of Frontier Medicines.

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US$80.9M raised in Spain’s largest private biotech fundraiser

Sanifit (Palma, Spain) have completed a private fundraising campaign to enable the company to accelerate the clinical development of their lead candidate SNF472, for the treatment of calcific uremic arteriolopathy. Successful development of this candidate, financed by the US$80.9 million raised, could be beneficial for those diagnosed with this rare disease, for which approximately 55% of patients within the first year of diagnosis die. This deal is supported by new investors, Columbus Venture Partner (Madrid, Spain) and Alta Sciences (QB, Canada), in addition to the international group of existing shareholders.

“We believe this successful fundraise represents a significant endorsement of both our technology and our mission to help patients suffering from debilitating conditions related to progressive vascular calcification, particularly calciphylaxis. We are delighted by the support from a number of highly regarded healthcare investors from Spain and across Europe and we welcome Guy and Damià to the Board. Their experience and insight will be invaluable as we utilize this funding to continue the advancement of SNF472 in the clinic. We look forward to finalizing plans for the phase III pivotal trial in calciphylaxis patients, due to start later this year,” commented Joan Perelló, CEO of Sanif.

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