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2023-01-11| Special

JPM23: More Deals Defining JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2023 Day Two

by Joy Lin
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As JP Morgan’s 41st annual Healthcare Conference enters its second day, companies are forming even more collaborations, licenses, and acquisitions, with hot spaces and next-generation therapies at stake. Here are some of the latest announcements from the second day of the event. 

BioNTech Buys InstaDeep for £362 Million 

BioNTech is acquiring UK-based InstaDeep for £362 million ($439 million) to ramp up its efforts in AI-assisted immunotherapy development. InstaDeep shareholders could potentially receive additional milestone payments up to $200 million based on the performance of products resulting from InstaDeep’s drug discovery technologies.

The takeover builds on a multi-year collaboration between the two companies since 2019, which included the formation of an AI Innovation Lab in 2020 and dozens of joint projects. BioNTech has been testing the waters around InstaDeep, participating in its Series B round which raised $100 million. 

BioNTech will welcome approximately 240 staff from InstaDeep, and will inherit the company’s global network of research partners in the AI and machine learning space. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2023, and post-deal InstaDeep will operate from its London headquarters as a BioNTech company. 

Related Article: JPM23: Development and Strategic Updates from JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2023 Day Two

Atavistik Joins Forces with Plex Research in Small Molecule Bioinformatics Deal

Atavistik Bio is collaborating with AI-focused Plex Research to enhance the informatics capability of its protein-metabolite screening platform. 

Atavistik’s platform combines a protein-metabolite database map dubbed “the Interactome” with a structure-based design to elucidate protein-metabolite interactions across disease pathways. Under the collaboration, Atavistik will integrate its Interactome map with Plex’s AI-powered drug discovery engine to reveal hidden connections between metabolites, ligands, pathways, and biomarkers. 

“Allosteric interactions, which we know can present novel druggable nodes for intractable targets, historically have been difficult to discover. Using our AMPS platform, we are able to systematically and rapidly interrogate protein-metabolite interactions to reveal new, disease-relevant allosteric binding sites,” said Marion Dorsch, Ph.D., CEO of Atavistik.

Exelixis Pays for a Taste of Ajinomoto’s ADC Tech

Exelixis is licensing Ajinomoto Co.’s site-specific bioconjugation and linker technologies, and is aiming to use them in the development of its antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) programs. 

The allure of Ajinomoto’s “AJICAP” technologies may lie in their “off-the-shelf” feature, which allows antibodies in any stage of development to be conjugated to drug payloads of choice without the need for additional antibody engineering or cell line development. The linker platform, which utilizes stable/hydrophilic linkers, is designed to generate ADCs with higher efficacy and lower toxicity.

While financial details are scant, Ajinomoto may earn development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments as well as royalties on product sales. 

Coherus Secures US Marketing Rights to Eylea Biosimilar from Klinge 

Coherus has executed a binding term sheet giving it exclusive rights to sell Formycon’s FYB203, a biosimilar to Eylea (aflibercept), in the US. Under the deal, Coherus will make an upfront payment of $30 million to Klinge, the owner of global commercialization rights of FYB203. Klinge may receive milestone payments depending on regulatory successes and product launches. Formycon is also entitled to a slice of Klinge’s income resulting from the deal, which would be in the mid-single to low-double-digits. 

Following the transaction, which is expected to be completed in Q1 2023, Coherus is planning to file a Biologics License Application with the US FDA later this year. The company expects to launch the Eylea biosimilar as early as 2025 if approved. 

Eylea, an anti-VEGF therapy for eye diseases such as wet age-related macular degeneration, is part of a market worth $7 billion. If FYB203 is approved, it has a chance of muscling into that market as a cost-effective alternative with similar qualities. 

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