GeneOnline’s Weekly News Highlights: Oct 8-Oct 13

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GeneOnline’s editorial team has compiled a digest of top international biotechnology and healthcare news of the week to help readers keep abreast of global biomedical industry updates.

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Kyowa Kirin to Acquire Orchard Therapeutics, Forging a Path in Genetic Medicine

Japan-based global specialty pharmaceutical company Kyowa Kirin and global gene therapy leader Orchard Therapeutics have recently announced a definitive agreement. Under this agreement, Kyowa Kirin will acquire this British pharma company for $16.00 per American Depositary Share (ADS) in cash, amounting to approximately $387.4 million (¥57.3 billion). Orchard’s shareholders will also hold a contingent value right (CVR) of $1.00 per ADS, and an additional $1.00 CVR will be paid if certain conditions are met, bringing the total per ADS to $17.00 or approximately $477.6 million (¥70.7 billion).

Lokavant Secures $8 Million Investment from Mitsui to Expand Clinical Trial Intelligence Across Asia-Pacific

Clinical trial intelligence platform company Lokavant has secured an $8 million strategic investment from the global business giant Mitsui & Co. Ltd. The investment is aimed at expanding Lokavant’s AI-optimized platform throughout the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. As an innovative player in the clinical research field, the New York-based company will utilize Mitsui’s support to open a new APAC headquarters in Tokyo. Mitsui’s investment in Lokavant follows a year-long collaboration between the two companies, which involved extensive due diligence by Mitsui in assessing the global clinical trials landscape.

Bristol Myers Squibb Strengthens its Oncology Portfolio with Acquisition of Mirati Therapeutics 

On October 8, Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) and Mirati Therapeutics, Inc. announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which BMS has agreed to acquire the California-based cancer drugmaker for $58.00 per share in cash, for a total equity value of $4.8 billion. The transaction is anticipated to close by the first half of 2024. Through this acquisition, BMS will add KRAZATI (adagrasib), a small molecule drug for targeted treatment of locally advanced or metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) with KRAS G12C-mutation, to its commercial portfolio. Moreover, BMS will gain access to Mirati’s several promising clinical assets that complement its oncology pipeline and are strong candidates for single-agent development and combination strategies. 

GSK and Zhifei Announce Exclusive Strategic Vaccine Collaboration in China

GSK announced on October 9 that it has reached an exclusive agreement with Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products, Ltd. (Zhifei) to co-promote its shingles vaccine, Shingrix, in China. Under the terms of the agreement, Zhifei will purchase agreed volumes of Shingrix for a total value to GSK of £2.5 billion (approximately $3.04 billion) over an initial period of three years, with the possibility of an extension should both parties agree. Beginning on 1 January 2024, Zhifei will have exclusive rights to import and distribute Shingrix in China, focusing on promoting the vaccine through its extensive service network, which covers more than 30,000 vaccination points nationwide.

Illumina Receives European Commission’s Order to Divest Cancer Test Maker Grail

On October 12, the European Commission (EC) issued an order to Illumina, demanding the company to unwind its completed acquisition of Grail, an early cancer detection firm. The deal originally closed in April 2021, but was then intercepted by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Union’s (EU) antitrust regulators, arguing that the merger would stifle innovation and reduce options for new markets for blood-based early cancer detection. Following extensive lawsuits over the past two years, the Commission first banned Illumina’s acquisition of Grail last September. In July, the European Commission fined Illumina €432 million (US$456 million) for forcing through the merger. In response to EC’s divestiture order, Illumina said on October 13 that it would divest the acquired cancer test maker within 12 months should it fail to succeed in its legal challenge. According to EC’s order, Illumina might be allowed to extend the timeframe by three months and explore options, including, but not limited to, a third-party sale and capital markets transactions.

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