Mission Bio | July 13, 2022
Mission Bio, Inc., the pioneer in high-throughput single-cell DNA and multi-omics analysis, announced the launch of solid tumor assays through its Pharma Assay Development services. The availability of this new service offering will help to accelerate the development of cancer therapeutics by reducing the time and cost associated with the characterization of solid tumor cells.
Precision therapeutics for solid tumors have been historically bottlenecked due to technical challenges associated with the ability to deeply profile thousands of individual cells for a rich characterization of tumor evolution and heterogeneity. This must be done at a much higher resolution compared to bulk next-generation sequencing to enable detection of rare events, at a much earlier stage before progression.
Utilizing Mission Bio's Tapestri™ platform, the company's PAD services for solid tumors partner with researchers to provide high-resolution data to unmask the underlying genetic diversity across cell populations. Insights into the clonal landscape and co-occurrence of mutations enable improved patient stratification for clinical trials and the identification of druggable targets for precision therapeutics. Researchers can also monitor treatment resistance by analyzing the acquisition of rare mutations driving tumor progression over the course of treatment.
The expansion of Mission Bio's PAD services to solid tumor research comes just three months after the launch of the Solid Tumor Solution on the Tapestri™ Platform, demonstrating Mission Bio's commitment to continuously developing innovative single-cell technologies for its pharma customers.
"We have seen tremendous uptake and interest from top-tier pharma companies for our blood cancer Pharma Assay Development program, and we expect the same momentum for our solid tumor services. With our solid tumor services, Mission Bio partners with pharma customers to elucidate the mechanisms of drug resistance through mutation acquisition, determine how cells transform from benign to malignant states, and reveal the genomic changes enabling cancer cells to metastasize – without having to bring single-cell technology or resources in-house. From a customer's perspective, it is as easy as shipping out samples and getting a fully analyzed report back."
Todd Druley, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer of Mission Bio
Mission Bio's PAD services deliver comprehensive support across the therapeutic development process. The company has a dedicated team that works with researchers to develop assays, identify high-impact samples, and analyze the data. As part of the service, pharma partners have access to Mission Bio's innovative technology, assay development team, R&D organization, and bioinformatics support.
About Mission Bio
Mission Bio is a life sciences company that accelerates discoveries and cures for a wide range of diseases by equipping researchers with the tools they need to better measure and predict our resistance and response to new therapies. Mission Bio's multi-omics approach improves time-to-market for new therapeutics, including innovative cell and gene therapies that provide new pathways to health. Founded in 2014, Mission Bio has secured investment from Novo Growth, Cota Capital, Agilent Technologies, Mayfield Fund, and others.
The company's Tapestri™ platform gives researchers around the globe the power to interrogate every molecule in a cell together, providing a comprehensive understanding of activity from a single sample. Tapestri™ is the only commercialized multi-omics platform capable of analyzing DNA and protein simultaneously from the same sample at single-cell resolution. The Tapestri™ Platform is being utilized by customers at leading research centers, pharmaceutical, and diagnostics companies worldwide to develop treatments and eventually cures for cancer.
Novo Nordisk | September 02, 2022
Novo Nordisk and Forma Therapeutics, Holdings Inc. announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Novo Nordisk will acquire Forma Therapeutics for $20 per share in cash, which represents a total equity value of $1.1 billion. Forma Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on transforming the lives of patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) and rare blood disorders.
The acquisition of Forma Therapeutics, including its lead development candidate, etavopivat, is aligned with Novo Nordisk’s strategy to complement and accelerate its scientific presence and pipeline in hemoglobinopathies, a group of disorders in which there is abnormal production or structure of the hemoglobin protein in the red blood cells.
“Novo Nordisk has worked for more than 40 years to develop and deliver transformative medicines to patients around the world with rare and devastating diseases. By adding Forma’s differentiated approach to address unmet needs for patients, we are taking a step forward in enhancing our sickle cell disease pipeline,” said Ludovic Helfgott, executive vice president and head of Rare Disease at Novo Nordisk. “We have an ambition to build a leading portfolio with standalone and combination treatments to tackle the complications and underlying causes of sickle cell disease.”
Etavopivat, an investigational oral, once-daily, selective pyruvate kinase-R (PKR) activator, is being developed to improve anemia and red blood cell health in people with SCD, a seriously debilitating, life-threatening and life shortening disease. Etavopivat is currently being evaluated in a global phase 2/3 clinical trial (Hibiscus) in patients with SCD, and in a phase 2 trial (Gladiolus) in patients with transfusion-dependent SCD and another inherited hemoglobinopathy called thalassemia.
“Today’s announcement is an exciting milestone that accelerates Forma’s purpose to transform the lives of patients with sickle cell disease and other serious hematological diseases,” said Frank D. Lee, president and chief executive officer of Forma. “Novo Nordisk will partner closely with the sickle cell community to amplify our impact for patients around the world who urgently need new treatment options. We look forward to working together with Novo Nordisk to serve as a trusted partner to our communities and to advance innovation, access and health equity for patients.”
The transaction will not impact Novo Nordisk’s previously communicated operating profit outlook for 2022 or the ongoing share buy-back program. Novo Nordisk will fund the acquisition from financial reserves.
About the transaction
Under the terms of the agreement, Novo Nordisk will initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Forma Therapeutics’ common stock at a price of $20 per share in cash (or aggregated value of $1.1 billion) and a premium of 92% to Forma Therapeutics’ volume-weighted average price per share over the past 30 days ended August 31, 2022.
The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Forma Therapeutics Board of Directors. The closing of the tender offer will be subject to certain conditions, including the tender of shares representing a majority of Forma Therapeutics’ outstanding shares, receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and other customary conditions. Upon the successful completion of the tender offer, Novo Nordisk’s acquisition subsidiary will merge into Forma Therapeutics, and any shares of common stock of Forma Therapeutics not tendered into the offer will receive the same USD per share price payable in the tender offer. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022.
In addition, certain affiliates of RA Capital Management, L.P., which collectively own approximately 19% of Forma Therapeutics’ outstanding shares, have entered into a support agreement pursuant to which they committed to tender their shares in the tender offer.
Novo Nordisk is represented by Moelis & Company UK LLP as financial advisor and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP as legal advisor. Forma Therapeutics is represented by Centerview Partners LLC as financial advisor and Goodwin Procter LLP as legal advisor.
About sickle cell disease
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a chronic and progressive inherited disorder associated with a decrease in the health and lifespan of red blood cells. People living with SCD have red blood cells that are crescent shaped, rendering them inflexible, fragile, and unable to effectively deliver oxygen. The health of these sickle red blood cells is impaired and characterized by reduced cellular energy, poor deformability, decreased membrane repair, and increased adhesion.
Around 17 million people worldwide live with SCD, including approximately 100,000 people in the United States, as well as approximately 30,000 in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. SCD can cause serious health problems, including anemia, fatigue, episodes of pain known as vaso-occlusive crises (VOCs), and chronic, progressive end-organ damage. Despite recent advances in treatment, most patients with SCD still suffer from pain crises, lifelong disability, reduced quality of life, and shortened life expectancy.
Etavopivat is an investigational, once-daily, selective pyruvate kinase-R (PKR) activator designed to be a disease-modifying therapy with the potential to improve red blood cell health and transform the lives of people living with SCD. Employing a multimodal approach, etavopivat works by activating the red blood cell’s natural PKR activity to decrease levels of the metabolite 2,3-DPG, allowing sickle hemoglobin to hold on to oxygen longer, resulting in decreased polymerization, hemolysis, and sickling. Etavopivat-mediated PKR activation also increases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels, to improve red blood cell function, which can lead to improved deformability, capacity for membrane repair, red blood cell health, and lifespan. Together, these effects are anticipated to improve the health of sickle red blood cell and lead to a reduction in anemia, hemolysis, vaso-occlusive crises, and end organ damage.
In a phase 1 trial, etavopivat improved anemia and red blood cell health and appeared to have a safe and well-tolerated profile, demonstrating a potential to improve the lives of patients with SCD, including increases in hemoglobin, improvements in red blood cell health, and decreases in vaso-occlusive crises (VOCs).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted etavopivat Fast Track, Rare Pediatric Disease and Orphan Drug designations. Additionally, etavopivat was granted Orphan Drug designation from the European Commission based on a positive opinion from the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products of the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of patients with SCD.
About Forma Therapeutics
Forma Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the research, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to transform the lives of patients with rare hematologic diseases and cancers. Forma Therapeutics R&D engine combines deep biology insight, chemistry expertise and clinical development capabilities to create drug candidates with differentiated mechanisms of action focused on indications with high unmet need. Our work has generated a broad proprietary portfolio of programs with the potential to provide profound patient benefit.
About Novo Nordisk
Novo Nordisk is a leading global healthcare company, founded in 1923 and headquartered in Denmark. Our purpose is to drive change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic diseases such as obesity and rare blood and endocrine disorders. We do so by pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to our medicines, and working to prevent and ultimately cure disease. Novo Nordisk employs about 50,800 people in 80 countries and markets its products in around 170 countries.
Gerresheimer and Stevanato Group | September 08, 2022
Stevanato Group S.p.A. a global provider of drug containment, drug delivery and diagnostic solutions to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life sciences industries, and Gerresheimer AG, a leading global provider of healthcare & beauty and drug delivery systems for pharma, biotech and cosmetics, announce that they have jointly developed a high-end Ready-To-Use (RTU) solution platform with an initial focus on vials, based on Stevanato Group’s market-leading EZ-fill® technology. This collaboration is projected to help customers gain efficiencies, improve the quality standard, increase speed to market, reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) and help mitigate supply chain risk.
Stevanato Group and Gerresheimer AG are addressing rising demand for RTU vials in the market and the partnership serves as a market enabler to fully support customers’ evolving needs and establish a gold standard in the industrial filling process. The collaboration aims to make RTU vials a standard, available to a wide number of pharma companies globally – offering premium quality solutions to patients and reducing complexity for pharma operations. The new solution will be available to other players in the market to standardize fill-finish operations from early phase drug development to commercialization. The new RTU solution platform from Stevanato Group and Gerresheimer AG will share the same secondary packaging, production process and sterilization method, ensuring consistent available capacity and a reliable double sourcing to the pharmaceutical industry. A hallmark of the new RTU platform is a significant reduction in particles, improving the overall quality and performance of the RTU solutions. In addition, customers can count on a high-end solution made by two major players in the drug containment industry with a long history of innovation. The new jointly developed vial platform and trademark will be presented in detail to the market at the CPhI Worldwide in Frankfurt in November 2022.
“Our EZ-fill® vial platform is the market’s most established choice for pre-sterilized containers, and this enhanced version for RTU vials will bring to the market its full potential in terms of quality, flexibility and value for Pharmaceutical Companies and CMOs. Through our collaboration with Gerresheimer AG we are responding to market demand, and we expect to achieve another important milestone in creating a reliable ecosystem to support, accelerate and de-risk the conversion from bulk to EZ-fill® vials already underway in the market.”
Mauro Stocchi, Chief Business Officer at Stevanato Group
“The new developed RTU vial platform stands out in terms of quality, TCO and sustainability and takes the use of RTU solutions like vials and, in the future, cartridges to a new level,” said Dr. Lukas Burkhardt, Member of the Management Board of Gerresheimer AG. "Due to the strong reduction of the particle load, the quality is significantly increased. Our new innovative solution will convince the market to significantly accelerate the conversion from bulk to RTU vials.”
About Stevanato Group
Founded in 1949, Stevanato Group is a leading global provider of drug containment, drug delivery and diagnostic solutions to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life sciences industries. The Group delivers an integrated, end-to-end portfolio of products, processes and services that address customer needs across the entire drug life cycle at each of the development, clinical and commercial stages. Stevanato Group’s core capabilities in scientific research and development, its commitment to technical innovation and its engineering excellence are central to its ability to offer value added solutions to clients.
About Gerresheimer AG
Gerresheimer AG is the global partner for pharmaceutics, biotech, healthcare, and cosmetics with a very broad product range for pharmaceutical and cosmetic packaging solutions and drug delivery systems. The company is an innovative solution provider from concept to delivery of the commercial product. Gerresheimer achieves its ambitious goals through a high level of innovative strength, industrial competence and concentration on quality and customer focus. In developing innovative and sustainable solutions, Gerresheimer relies on a comprehensive international network with numerous innovation and production centers in Europe, America and Asia. Gerresheimer produces close to its customers worldwide with around 11,000 employees and generated annual revenues in 2021 of around EUR 1.5b. With its products and solutions, Gerresheimer plays an essential role in people's health and well-being.