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Partnering activity of the FierceBiotech 2013 Fierce 15

Posted on 01 October 2013

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The recent publication of FierceBioech's 2013 Fierce 15 prompted Current Partnering to review the partnering activity of each company.

This annual list from FierceBiotech seeks to highlight the privately owned biotech companies expected to make the headlines in the coming year. There's nothing like putting your neck on the line in predicting future big winners in the biotech arena.

Predicting how drug candidates will succeed in the clinic is a very challenging business - the science can appear great, but the unavoidable challenge for any drug is how it performs in the clinic in sufferers of the target disease.

Here's FierceBiotechs take on how they fared last year:

A number of 2012 Fierce 15 companies had big IPOs this year (bluebird and Enanta come to mind among a long list of Fierce 15 companies going public this year) or attracted a buyout (Aragon in a $1 billion J&J deal and Okairos by GlaxoSmithKline for $325 million), but Seaside has every right to be in the group -- despite their promising candidate for Fragile X failing in trial recently.

This year's Fierce 15 offers some bright prospects from some great biotech minds. You'll find people--like serial entrepreneur and MIT scientist Bob Langer--offering bold if not radical technology from new companies like Moderna, and a whole slate of Big Pharma companies either already jumping in the game or looking to find out more.

Some of this year's crop of biotechs should do fine. Some of them won't. Anybody who tries to pick only winners among private biotechs is destined to fail. What I am sure of is that everyone in this year's group is trying to do something significant about serious diseases. And they stand a chance of doing well by doing good.

Fierce Biotech's 2013 Fierce 15 article can be viewed here.

In the meantime, Current Partnering's angle on the list is to look at the partnering activity of each company.

An analysis of the participant companies highlights a number of themes:

  • Certain bigpharma frequently participate in partnering with promising early stage private biotechs, namely:
  • Predominant therapy areas targeted are cancer, infectives and autoimmune (inflammation) diseases
  • Majority of the companies founded in the last 5 years
  • Most are based in USA, in particular California or Massachusetts
  • All are well funded by the leading industry investors
  • Each is actively seeking collaboration partners, for which inclusion in this list will no doubt help

 

1. Acetylon Pharmaceuticals

Based: Boston, MA, USA

Founded: 2008

CEO: Walter Ogier

Clinical focus: Multiple myeloma

Website: www.acetylon.com

Acetylon Pharmaceuticals is developing next-generation selective small molecule histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, which allow for epigenetic regulation of gene and protein function for the treatment of patients with critical unmet medical needs.

Acetylon is actively seeking partnerships, most recently collaborating with Celgene, to fully exploit its promising technology.

Partnering deals since 2010: 4

Key partners: Celgene, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard University, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Recent deal: Collaboration and option agreement for ACY-1215 plus option to acquire - Celgene, July 2013

Acetylon Pharmaceuticals announced a strategic collaboration and option agreement with Celgene, which supports the development of Acetylon’s portfolio of oral, selective HDAC inhibitors in oncology, hematology, immunology, and neurologic disease indications.

The agreement includes an exclusive option for the future acquisition of Acetylon by Celgene.

More: request full Current Agreements deal record

Investors: Celgene, Robert Kraft and undisclosed individuals

View Acetylon Pharmaceuticals partnering history at Current Agreements
(35% discount off full year subscription with promo code: Fierce152013)

2. AnaptysBio

Based: San Diego, CA, USA

Founded: 2005

CEO: Hamza Suria

Clinical focus: Antibodies

Website: www.anaptysbio.com

AnaptysBio is a privately-held company focused on the generation of antibody therapeutics and is the leader in the use of somatic hypermutation (SHM) for antibody discovery and optimization.

AnaptysBio has established multiple partnerships where its SHM-XEL platform has been utilized to generate novel antibodies for various purposes. AnaptysBio’s partners range from biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to government agencies, and is actively seeking new partners.

Partnering deals since 2010: 11

Key partners: Celgene, Gilead Sciences, Merck & Co, Novartis, Roche

Recent deal: Collaborative R&D agreement for antibodies against multiple therapeutic targets using SHM-XEL platform - Celgene, April 2012

sBio announced a strategic partnership with Celgene to develop novel antibodies against multiple therapeutic targets.

AnaptysBio is responsible for generating novel therapeutic antibodies to oncology and inflammation-related targets using its proprietary SHM-XEL platform.

Celgene will receive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize antibodies discovered by AnaptysBio under the terms of the partnership.

More: request full Current Agreements deal record

Investors: Novo A/S, Avalon Ventures, Frazier Healthcare Investors, Numenor Ventures, Alloy Ventures, and WS Investment.

View AnaptysBio partnering history at Current Agreements
(35% discount off full year subscription with promo code: Fierce152013)

3. CytomX

Based: South San Francisco, CA, USA

Founded: 2008

CEO: Sean McCarthy

Clinical focus: Cancer, inflammation, plus

Website: www.cytomx.com

CytomX is a biotechnology company developing the next generation of highly targeted antibody therapeutics.

The company is actively seeking potential collaboration opportunities that would complement its efforts in building a diversified pipeline of Probodies.

The company is also interested in strategic opportunities utilizing its proprietary Probody Platform and disruptive approach to advancing other emerging antibody formats such as antibody-drug conjugates and bispecifics.

Partnering deals since 2010: 1

Key partners: Pfizer

Recent deal: Development and marketing agreement for Probody drug conjugate - Pfizer, June 2013

CytomX Therapeutics has entered into a global strategic collaboration with Pfizer to develop and commercialize multiple Probody-Drug Conjugates.

CytomX's novel Probody Platform brings to the collaboration a proprietary, highly differentiated approach to developing safer and more effective antibody-drug conjugates.

More: request full Current Agreements deal record

Investors: Third Rock, Roche Ventures, Canaan.

View CytomX partnering history at Current Agreements
(35% discount off full year subscription with promo code: Fierce152013)

4. FibroGen

Based: San Francisco, CA, USA

Founded: 1993

CEO: Thomas Neff

Clinical focus: Anemia, pulmonary fibrosis

Website: www.fibrogen.com

FibroGen is a research-based biotechnology company using its expertise in connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) biology to discover, develop, and commercialize novel therapeutics for serious unmet medical needs.

FibroGen welcomes the opportunity to build alliances that complement the Company's strengths.

The company seeks partners with research, development, and marketing capabilities and other resources that strengthen its ability to advance its own or jointly developed product candidates.

Partnering deals since 2010: 1

Key partners: AstraZeneca

Recent deal: Collaboration and co-marketing agreement for FG-4592 - AstraZeneca, July 2013

AstraZeneca and FibroGen have entered into a strategic collaboration to develop and commercialize FG-4592, a first-in-class oral compound in late stage development for the treatment of anemia associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

This broad collaboration focuses on the US, China and all major markets excluding Japan, Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Middle East and South Africa, which are covered by an existing agreement between FibroGen and Astellas Pharma.

The AstraZeneca-FibroGen joint effort will be focused on the development of FG-4592 to treat anemia in CKD and ESRD, and may be extended to other anemia indications.

More: request full Current Agreements deal record

Investors: Adage Capital Management, Apothecary Capital, Astellas Pharma, Brookside Capital Partners/Bain Capital, BankInvest Biomedical Development, Bio Fund Ventures II OY, Corriente Biotechnology Partners, Credit Suisse London Nominees, Duquesne Capital Management, Franklin Fairview, Franklin Templeton, Goldman Sachs, IBELIN PTE Investments, Janus Capital Group, New Ventures, Och-Ziff Capital Management, Peninsula Group, Pictet Bank, Privat Kredit Bank, Ridgeback Capital, The Rosewood Corporation, Sedgefield Investments, SITRA, SMBC Capital, Taisho Pharmaceutical, Three Arch Bay Health Science Fund I, T. Rowe Price, VCFA Holdings and Wagner & Brown

View FibroGen partnering history at Current Agreements
(35% discount off full year subscription with promo code: Fierce152013)

5. Immunocore

Based: Abingdon, United Kingdom

Founded: 2008

CEO: James Noble

Clinical focus: Immunotherapy

Website: www.immunocore.com

Immunocore is a privately owned, clinical-stage, biotechnology company discovering and developing highly innovative biotherapeutics known as ImmTACs for the treatment of cancer and a range of other serious diseases. Its world-leading proprietary T Cell Receptor (TCR) technology exploits the power of the body’s own immune system to find and kill diseased cells.

Immunocore has developed its core ImmTACs technology to a point such that in 2013 it has commenced partnering, with two deals in quick succession - with Genentech and GlaxoSmithKline.

Expect more deals harnessing the ImmTACS technologyt to be announced in the coming months.

Partnering deals since 2010: 5

Key partners: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline

Recent deal: Collaborative R&D and licensing agreement for novel targets using ImmTACs - GlaxoSmithKline, July 2013

Immunocore Limited has entered into a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (for multiple novel targets not addressable using antibody-based technologies.

Immunocore will be responsible for all of the pre-clinical development and for the initial clinical trials in patients and GSK will be responsible for the remaining development and commercialisation of the products.

More: request full Current Agreements deal record

Investors: Angel investors such as Nicholas Cross, Immunocore's chairman, have supported research of the company's technology dating back more than a decade.

View Immunocore partnering history at Current Agreements
(35% discount off full year subscription with promo code: Fierce152013)

6. Jounce Therapeutics

Based: Cambridge, MA, USA

Founded: 2013

CEO: Cary Pfeffer (interim)

Clinical focus: Cancer immunotherapies

Website: www.jouncetx.com

Jounce Therapeutics is focused on the discovery and development of first-in-class cancer immunotherapies designed to work not by treating a patient's tumor directly, but instead by harnessing the patient's immune system to seek out and attack cancerous cells and tumors.

Quick out of the blocks, Jounce has raised $47 million in a series A financing with Third Rock. Whilst the company has yet to announce any partnerships, it is likely its quick elevation into the fast track will attract a lot of interest from big pharma and big biotech in the coming months.

Partnering deals since 2010: 0

Key partners: None

Investor: Third Rock

7. Kala Pharmaceuticals

Based: Waltham, MA, USA

Founded: 2009

CEO: Guillaume Pfefer

Clinical focus: Ophthalmology

Website: www.kalarx.com

Kala Pharmaceuticals is developing innovative medicines that have the unprecedented ability to rapidly and effectively penetrate mucosal barriers resulting in superior therapeutic efficacy and transformative treatment outcomes for patients.

Kala is advancing a diversified pipeline of transformative therapies for severe ophthalmic diseases for both front and back of eye.

Kala is actively pursuing partners for its technology applications in a broad array of serious diseases that involve mucosal tissues such as in the, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and female reproductive system.

Partnering deals since 2010: 2 (grants)

Key partners: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, NIH

Investors: New investor Crown Venture Fund LLC, the venture capital arm of the Crown family of Chicago, joined existing investors Lux Capital Management, Polaris Venture Partners and Third Rock Ventures in the round, which brings the company's total raise to about $22 million.

View Kala Pharmaceuticals partnering history at Current Agreements
(35% discount off full year subscription with promo code: Fierce152013)

8. MacroGenics

Based: Rockville, MD, USA

Founded: 2000

CEO: Scott Koenig

Clinical focus: Oncology, autoimmunity and infectious diseases

Website: www.macrogenics.com

MacroGenics is a leader in the discovery and development of innovative medicines that utilize its next generation antibody-based technologies.

Due to the company's relative long life compared to other Fierce 15 members, MacroGenics has a broad range of partners including numerous big pharma and biotech companies including Pfizer, Gilead and Servier to name just a few of its most recent partners.

A quick view at the company's pipeline reveals that half of its twelve compounds in development are partnered.

Partnering deals since 2010: 9

Key partners: Boehringer Ingelheim, Gilead Sciences, Pfizer, Polytherics, Servier

Recent deal: Development and marketing agreement for Dual-Affinity Re-Targeting (DART) products - Gilead Sciences, January 2013

MacroGenics has entered into a license agreement with Gilead Sciences, for the development and commercialization of Dual-Affinity Re-Targeting (DART) products directed at up to four undisclosed targets.

MacroGenics' DART technology is a proprietary, bi-specific antibody platform in which a single recombinant molecule is able to target two different antigens.

More: request full Current Agreements deal record

Investors: Nextech Venture, Arcus Ventures, Innovis Investments, Lilly, Alexandria Real Estate, Alta Partners, CIDC, InterWest Partners, Mitsubishi UFJ, OrbiMed Advisors, Red Abbey Venture Partners, RiverVest, Texas Pacific Group Ventures and Ventures West

View MacroGenics partnering history at Current Agreements
(35% discount off full year subscription with promo code: Fierce152013)

9. Moderna Therapeutics

Based: Cambridge, MA, USA

Founded: 2010

CEO: Stéphane Bancel

Clinical focus: Messenger RNA therapies

Website: www.modernatx.com

Moderna is pioneering messenger RNA therapeutics, an entirely new in vivo drug modality that produces human proteins or antibodies inside patient cells, which are in turn active intracellularly or secreted. This breakthrough platform addresses currently undruggable targets, and offers a superior alternative to existing drug modalities for a wide range of disease conditions.

Moderna is actively seeking partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, patient organizations, and research institutions who are passionate about developing new treatments that will make a difference in the lives of patients. Moderna is interested in hearing from organizations who have gathered disease-specific knowledge and data, to discuss how it can transform those resources into a clinical program to benefit patients.

Partnering deals since 2010: 1

Key partners: AstraZeneca

Recent deal: Collaborative R&D and licensing agreement for RNA molecule technology - AstraZeneca - March 2013

AstraZeneca announced an exclusive agreement with Moderna Therapeutics to discover, develop and commercialise pioneering messenger RNA therapeutics for the treatment of serious cardiovascular, metabolic and renal diseases as well as cancer.

Messenger RNA therapeutics are an entirely new treatment approach that enables the body to produce therapeutic protein in vivo, opening up new treatment options for a wide range of diseases that cannot be addressed today using existing technologies.

More: request full Current Agreements deal record

Lead investor: Flagship Ventures.

View Moderna Therapeutics partnering history at Current Agreements
(35% discount off full year subscription with promo code: Fierce152013)

10. Nimbus Discovery

Based: Cambridge, MA, USA

Founded: 2009

Executive Chairman: Daniel Lynch

Clinical focus: Cancer, obesity and rare diseases

Website: www.nimbusdiscovery.com

Nimbus Discovery is applying advances in computer-based drug discovery to unlock fundamental biological pathways. Nimbus has already delivered selective, potent, and differentiated compounds for two disease targets, IRAK4 and ACC, which are pivotal to the progression of an aggressive subtype of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and metabolic disease, respectively.

Nimbus seeks to partner its programs with larger pharmaceutical companies early in the development process allowing Nimbus to focus on its competitive advantage in novel drug discovery.

Partnering deals since 2010: 3

Key partners: Monsanto, Proteros, Shire Pharmaceuticals

Recent deal: Co-development agreement for lysosomal storage disorder therapies - Shire Pharmaceuticals - May 2013

Nimbus Discovery announced a co-development agreement with Shire focused on small molecule treatments for several rare genetic diseases known as lysosomal storage disorders.

The goal of the collaboration is to utilize the Nimbus breakthrough computational chemistry approach to discover and develop novel, disease-altering therapies.

More: request full Current Agreements deal record

Investors: Atlas Venture, Bill Gates, Lilly Ventures, SR One and an undisclosed angel investor

View Nimbus Discovery partnering history at Current Agreements
(35% discount off full year subscription with promo code: Fierce152013)

11. Presage Biosciences

Based: Seattle, WA, USA

Founded: 2008

CEO: James Towne

Clinical focus: Cancer

Website: www.presagebio.com

Presage Biosciences is dedicated to improving the cancer drug development process so that patients can receive the most effective treatment possible.

Presage collaborates with top-tier pharmaceutical partners and is seeking a limited number of strategic alliances with oncology focused companies to apply its platform to models and drug candidates selected by partners.

Partnering deals since 2010: 2

Key partners: Celgene, Millennium

Recent deal: Licensing agreement to technology platform to identify novel drug combinations - Celgene - March 2013

Presage Biosciences has entered into a strategic collaboration agreement with Celgene under which Presage and Celgene will take advantage of Presage’s proprietary technology platform to identify novel drug combinations for solid tumor indications.

More: request full Current Agreements deal record

Investors: Celgene and individual angel investors.

View Presage Biosciences partnering history at Current Agreements
(35% discount off full year subscription with promo code: Fierce152013)

12. Scioderm

Based: Durham, NC, USA

Founded: 2012

CEO: Robert Ryan

Clinical focus: Epidermolysis bullosa

Website: www.sderm.com

Scioderm is interested in exploring opportunities with industry stakeholders that can leverage participants’ respective capabilities and resources for its current programs and for innovative therapies for treating diseases with high unmet need, including products to treat orphan diseases.

At present, Scioderm has not disclosed any partners, however as mentioned above it is actively seeking to in-license and/or acquire companies. Watch this space.

Partnering deals since 2010: 0

Key partners: None

Investors: Morgenthaler Ventures led the A round with support from Technology Partners.

View Scioderm partnering history at Current Agreements
(35% discount off full year subscription with promo code: Fierce152013)

13. Ultragenyx

Based: Novato, CA, USA

Founded: 2010

CEO: Emil Kakkis

Clinical focus: Rare diseases

Website: www.ultragenyx.com

Ultragenyx is a privately held, developmental stage biotechnology company committed to bringing life-enhancing therapeutics for patients with rare and ultra-rare genetic diseases, also known as orphan diseases, to market.

Ultragenyx intends to build a sustainable pipeline of safe and effective therapies to address these clinically underserved diseases.

In-licensing forms part of this startegy, so Ultragenyx is actively seeking opportunities matching its interest criteria.

Partnering deals since 2010: 4

Key partners: Baylor Research Insitute, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, St Louis University

Recent deal: Collaboration and licensing agreement for KRN23 - Kyowa Hakko Kirin - September 2013

Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical has entered into a collaboration and license agreement with Kyowa Hakko Kirin, to develop and commercialize KRN23.

KRN23 is a recombinant fully human monoclonal IgG1 antibody intended to treat X-linked hypophosphatemia.

More: request full Current Agreements deal record

Investors: Adage Capital Partners, T. Rowe Price Associates. Jennison Associates brought in clients. Funds and accounts under management by subsidiaries of BlackRock, Sanofi-Genzyme BioVentures 1, Shire and additional public market funds have also chipped in. Founding investors are TPG Biotech, Fidelity Biosciences, HealthCap and Pappas Ventures.

View Ultragenyx partnering history at Current Agreements
(35% discount off full year subscription with promo code: Fierce152013)

14. UniQure

Based: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Founded: 2012

CEO: Jörn Aldag

Clinical focus: Gene therapy

Website: www.uniqure.com

uniQure is a world leader in the research and early development of human gene based therapies. Its lead product, Glybera, for the treatment of lipoprotein lipase deficiency was approved by the European Commission in November, 2012.

The company has both an active in- and out-licensing program.

Partners can license from a portfolio of programs in Hemophilia, Porphyria, GDNF-related neuro-degenerative diseases (Parkinson’s, Multiple Systems Atrophy, Huntington’s and hearing loss), and Sanfilippo (Lysosomal Storage Disease). It is open for early-stage collaborations (risk-sharing, option-type deals).

UniQure also seek to leverage the preclinical and clinical work and expertise of academic partners in many orphan diseases and combine this with its proprietary gene delivery and manufacturing platform, and clinical development and regulatory capabilities to balance risks and reduce time-to-market significantly.

Partnering deals since 2010: 7

Key partners: Bentiec, Chiesi, Protein Sciences, Xenon Pharmaceuticals

Recent deal: Co-development and marketing agreement for Glybera and gene therapy for Hemophilia B - Chiesi - July 2013

uniQure has signed collaboration agreements with Chiesi Famaceutici for the commercialization of Glybera; the first gene therapy to receive regulatory approval in Europe, as well as the co-development of a gene therapy for hemophilia B.

More: request full Current Agreements deal record

Investors: Forbion Capital Partners, Coller Capital, Gilde Healthcare Partners, Chiesi, Lupus Alpha and Grupo Netco

View UniQure partnering history at Current Agreements
(35% discount off full year subscription with promo code: Fierce152013)

15. Visterra

Based: Cambridge, MA, USA

Founded: 2007

CEO: Brian Pereira

Clinical Focus: Influenza

Website: www.visterrainc.com

Visterra discovers and develops novel drugs utilizing its proprietary platform based on the atomic interaction network analyses of proteins.

Visterra is actively seeking new partners for additional product applications of its technologies through partnerships in infectious and other major disease areas.

Partnering deals since 2010: 1

Key partners: Pfizer

Recent deal: Collaboration agreement for therapeutic antibodies (lead compound VIS410) - Pfizer - September 2012

Pfizer and Visterra inked a collaboration agreement focused on the discovery of therapeutic antibodies based on the latter’s platform for the identification of drug target sites and drug design.

More: request full Current Agreements deal record

Investors: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Omega Funds, Polaris Venture Partners, Flagship Ventures and Lux Capital.

View Visterra partnering history at Current Agreements
(35% discount off full year subscription with promo code: Fierce152013) http://www.currentagreements.com/

The above deal data was supplied by Current Agreements, the leading deals and alliances database for the life sciences sector. Visit Current Agreements for more details.

Read the full FierceBiotech 2013 Fierce 15 article here

Steve Poile

 

Related

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Report: Partnering Deals and Alliances with Big Pharma   

Report: Partnering Deals and Alliances with Big Biotech

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View: Current Partnering’s Deal Metrics – the latest deal trend infographics for life science deal making

View: Current Partnering’s Big Pharma Deal Making Scorecard – latest trends in big pharma deal making activity

View: Current Partnering’s Big Biotech Deal Making Scorecard – latest trends in big biotech deal making activity

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