Astellas Pharma Inc. | September 20, 2022
Astellas Venture Management LLC a wholly-owned venture capital subsidiary of Astellas Pharma Inc. and Mission Bay Capital BioLabs a life-science incubator, today announced their collaboration on the "Astellas Future Innovator Prize" formerly known as the Astellas Golden Ticket competition. Building on over three successful years, the competition offers entrepreneurial scientists or emerging biotechnology start-ups one year's priority usage of MBC BioLabs' state-of-the-art lab facility and access to Astellas' research and development (R&D) capabilities and business leaders.
With a shared commitment to discovering and advancing innovative science for the potential future benefit of patients worldwide, AVM and MBC BioLabs are continuing their partnership to support scientists and early-stage companies to accelerate their novel therapeutic programs, modalities or platforms. The 2022 competition will prioritize innovative research that compliment Astellas' Focus Area Approach and pipeline.
"We are truly thrilled to host the Astellas Future Innovator Prize again this year. Through our long-term collaboration with MBC BioLabs, we aim to create an environment that encourages innovation to thrive. The Astellas Future Innovator Prize enables us to provide biotech companies with expertise and capabilities to turn an innovative idea into a real solution, which could transform the lives of patients in need around the world."
William Watt, President, AVM
"We are pleased to continue our partnership with Astellas to uncover the innovators of tomorrow," said Douglas Crawford, MBC BioLabs General Manager. "The past winners of the Astellas Future Innovator Prize show what can be achieved by combining Astellas' support, advice and expertise with our laboratory incubator, and we are excited to see the result of our ongoing collaboration."
Entrepreneurial scientists, emerging life-science and biotechnology start-ups have until November 4, 2022 to enter the Astellas Future Innovator Prize.
About the Astellas Future Innovator Prize at MBC BioLabs
Astellas is offering up to two prizes for pioneering scientists with innovative research that complements Astellas' areas of interest in alignment with its Focus Area Approach and pipeline, including Blindness & Regeneration, Mitochondria, Genetic Regulation, Immuno-Oncology, Cell Therapy, and other areas.
The 2021 Astellas Future Innovator Prize winners were Vcreate and Weatherwax Biotechnologies, chosen for the potential of their innovations to deliver therapeutic advances for unmet medical needs and their potential synergy with Astellas' Focus Area Approach.
About Astellas Venture Management LLC
AVM is the wholly-owned venture capital organization within Astellas, dedicated to supporting pre-clinical, cutting-edge science that can bring VALUE to patients. For over 15 years, AVM has provided equity investments to private, early-stage companies developing therapeutic programs and platform technologies, helping them to advance their innovations faster. AVM is a strategic investor, making investments in science that will enhance the current Astellas R&D pipeline or that could catalyze new directions in discovery research.
Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients.
About MBC BioLabs
MBC BioLabs is dedicated to helping life-science startups succeed. By renting space as small as a single bench and providing these entrepreneurial scientists with access to millions of dollars of equipment, MBC BioLabs allows companies to be fast, focused, and frugal. It has three sites: one in the Dogpatch neighborhood in San Francisco and two campuses in San Carlos, California. Each site has a complete molecular biology core facility that allows companies to do experiments on day one. MBC BioLabs has partnerships with leading pharmaceutical and life-science companies as well as a built-in venture capital firm, Mission BioCapital. These partnerships provide entrepreneurs with valuable insights about where to focus their efforts and accelerates the innovation pipeline. Since opening in 2013, MBC BioLabs has helped launch and grow 290 companies. These companies have brought 58 programs to the clinic, produced 13 approved diagnostics, and raised over $14 billion.
Pfizer and Biohaven Pharmaceuticals | October 04, 2022
Pfizer Inc. announced the completion of its acquisition of Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Ltd., the maker of NURTEC® ODT an innovative migraine therapy approved for both acute treatment and prevention of episodic migraine in adults.
The acquisition brings to Pfizer a portfolio of promising calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonists including
Approved in the United States under the trade name NURTEC® ODT, in adults for both the acute treatment of migraine with or without aura and the preventive treatment of episodic migraine
Approved in the European Union under the trade name VYDURA® for both the acute treatment of migraine with or without aura in adults and the preventive treatment of episodic migraine in adults who have at least 4 migraine attacks per month
New Drug Application for intranasal spray for the acute treatment of migraine under U.S. Food and Drug Administration review, with a Prescription Drug User Fee Act goal date in 1Q 2023
"We are proud to build on Pfizer’s legacy of delivering breakthrough medicines for patients living with complex pain disorders. The success of NURTEC® ODT coupled with Biohaven’s CGRP pipeline will strengthen Pfizer’s innovative Internal Medicine pipeline through 2030, and beyond. Combined with Pfizer’s global reach, this acquisition increases our potential to bring new treatment options to patients with migraine – a disease which affects over 1 billion people worldwide.
Aamir Malik, Executive Vice President, Chief Business Innovation Officer, Pfizer
Pfizer acquired all of the outstanding shares of Biohaven not already owned by Pfizer for $148.50 per share in cash, for a total transaction consideration of approximately $11.6 billion. As a result of the acquisition, Biohaven became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pfizer.
Effective immediately prior to the closing of the acquisition, Biohaven completed the spin-off of Biohaven Ltd. distributing Biohaven Ltd.’s shares to Biohaven’s shareholders. Biohaven Ltd., a new company that retained Biohaven’s non-CGRP development stage pipeline compounds, holds the Kv7 ion channel activators, glutamate modulation, and myostatin inhibition platforms, preclinical product candidates, and certain corporate infrastructure assets excluded from the Pfizer acquisition. Pfizer, a Biohaven shareholder, received a pro rata portion of Biohaven Ltd.’s shares in the distribution and owns approximately 3% of Biohaven Ltd. Biohaven Ltd. will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “BHVN”.
Worldwide, more than one billion people suffer from migraine, which predominately affects women.i Findings from the 2019 Global Burden of Disease study indicate that migraine is one of the worlds leading causes of disability.ii Migraine is characterized by debilitating attacks lasting four to 72 hours with multiple symptoms, including pulsating headaches of moderate to severe pain intensity that can be associated with nausea or vomiting, and/or sensitivity to sound and sensitivity to light.
Rimegepant targets a key component of migraine by reversibly blocking CGRP receptors, thereby inhibiting the biologic cascade that results in a migraine attack. Rimegepant was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the trade name Nurtec® ODT for the acute treatment of migraine in adults in February 2020 and for the preventive treatment of episodic migraine in adults in May 2021. Nurtec® ODT is taken orally as needed, up to once daily for acute treatment, and every other day for preventive treatment. The maximum dose in a 24 hour period is 75 mg.
Zavegepant is a third generation, high affinity, selective and structurally unique, small molecule CGRP receptor antagonist from the NOJECTION® Migraine Platform and the only CGRP receptor antagonist in clinical development with both intranasal and oral formulations. The FDA has accepted for review a New Drug Application (NDA) for zavegepant nasal spray, with a PDUFA date in 1Q 2023.
About Pfizer: Breakthroughs That Change Patients’ Lives
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 170 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us.
Apollomics, Inc. | September 15, 2022
Apollomics Inc. a late-stage clinical biopharmaceutical company, and Maxpro Capital Acquisition Corp. announced a definitive agreement for a business combination that would result in Apollomics becoming a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq Global Market. The business combination is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023 and Apollomics is expected to be listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “APLM.”
Apollomics’ broad pipeline of drug candidates includes late-stage clinical assets for the treatment of patients with difficult-to-treat cancers. Apollomics’ mission is to develop assets in critically important areas of unmet need. The Company’s leading drug candidates address certain subpopulations within lung cancer and leukemia. Globally, both lung cancer and leukemia affect over 2 million people annually.
The Company is dedicated to discovering and developing oncology therapies of different mechanisms of action to inhibit cancer. Its diverse portfolio of innovative drug candidates for treating difficult-to-treat cancers includes precision therapy targeting tumors with specific mutations, as well as assets addressing broader cancer conditions. The Company’s pipeline of nine clinical, preclinical and discovery drug candidates has the potential to improve treatment of a number of tumor types.
Upon the closing of the transaction, Apollomics will continue to be led by current Chairman and CEO, Dr. Guo-Liang Yu, Ph.D., a serial entrepreneur, and his team. Dr. Yu is a pharmaceutical researcher with more than 300 patents.
“Apollomics’ announcement represents the next major milestone on our journey to provide solutions for patients with difficult-to-treat cancers,” Dr. Yu said. “We anticipate that the funds available to us from this transaction will help us accelerate development of our oncology pipeline.”
Apollomics expects results from its global Phase 2 multi-cohort clinical trial of vebreltinib in NSCLC and other solid tumors with cMET dysregulation in 2023, which the Company believes may support its first New Drug Application (“NDA”) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) while generating clinical data for different indications. In addition, the Company expects to complete patient recruitment of its uproleselan Phase 3 study in China in 2023.
“Our goal was to find an exciting company with a growing pipeline of innovative product candidates that could positively affect the lives of millions of people. Our team is excited to combine with Apollomics as it has met and exceeded all our key selection criteria. Together with Apollomics, Maxpro will do everything we can to support the Company’s vision of treating patients with difficult-to-treat cancers.”
Moses Chen, CEO of Maxpro
About Apollomics Inc.
Apollomics Inc. is an innovative clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of oncology therapies with the potential to be combined with other treatment options to harness the immune system and target specific molecular pathways to inhibit cancer. Apollomics currently has a pipeline of nine drug candidates across multiple programs, six of which are currently in the clinical stage of development. Apollomics’ lead programs include investigating its core product, vebreltinib (APL-101), a potent, selective c-Met inhibitor for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer and other advanced tumors with c-Met alterations, which is currently in a Phase 2 multicohort clinical trial in the United States, and developing an anti-cancer enhancer drug candidate, uproleselan (APL-106), a specific E-Selectin antagonist that has the potential to be used adjunctively with standard chemotherapy to treat acute myeloid leukemia and other hematologic cancers, which is currently in Phase 1 and Phase 3 clinical trials in China.
About Maxpro Capital Acquisition Corp.
Maxpro is a blank check company formed for the purposes of effecting a merger, capital share exchange, asset acquisition, share purchase, reorganization, or similar business combination with one or more businesses in the healthcare and technology industries. In October 2021, Maxpro consummated a $103.5 million initial public offering of 10.35 million units (including the underwriters’ full exercise of their over-allotment option), each unit consists of one share of Class A common stock and one redeemable warrant, each warrant entitles the holder to purchase one share of Class A common stock at a price of $11.50 per share. EF Hutton, division of Benchmark Investments LLC, served as the sole book-running manager of Maxpro’s initial public offering.