Worst deal ever? Bayer’s market cap now close to the total cost it paid for Monsanto

FiercePharma | August 29, 2019

What does one of the worst corporate deals in modern history look like? In Bayer’s Monsanto takeover, it means the value of an entire company has gone poof. Bayer acquired Monsanto for $63 billion in 2018 after a tough buyout battle and intense antitrust scrutiny. The German conglomerate’s market cap in Frankfurt today is close to that dollar amount—and that’s after rumors of an $8 billion Roundup settlement drove up its shares by more than 15% in early August. At a 30% loss of share value since it closed, the deal stands as one of the worst, sitting alongside AOL’s merger with Time Warner and Bank of America’s acquisition of Countrywide, The Wall Street Journal has found. The Monsanto takeover, championed by CEO Werner Baumann, sure boosted Bayer’s crop science business. But the original idea was that it wouldn’t hamper the company’s ability to make investments on the pharma side, which has been Bayer's growth engine for years. The two firms cut a deal in September 2016 after Bayer raised its offer several times. But antitrust pressures delayed the takeover, and to please the U.S. Justice Department, Bayer ultimately agreed to sell off $9 billion worth of assets. But in the meantime, lawsuits claiming Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller caused cancer were advancing—and Bayer would soon feel their sting.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Astellas Announces Topline Results from Phase 3 Long-Term Safety Study of Fezolinetant in Mainland China

Astellas Pharma Inc. | September 05, 2022

Astellas Pharma Inc. announced topline results from the Phase 3 MOONLIGHT 3™ clinical trial in women in mainland China evaluating the long-term safety and tolerability of fezolinetant, an investigational oral, nonhormonal compound being studied for the treatment of moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause. MOONLIGHT 3 is a 52-week single-arm Phase 3 clinical trial investigating the long-term safety and tolerability of fezolinetant 30 mg taken once daily in 150 women in mainland China seeking treatment for relief of VMS associated with menopause. The study's primary endpoint is the frequency and severity of adverse events which were generally consistent with previous Phase 3 studies of fezolinetant. Detailed results will be submitted for publication in the near future. "The topline results from the MOONLIGHT 3 study are very encouraging and, upon initial review, further support the long-term safety of fezolinetant. We are evaluating the full MOONLIGHT data sets and remain committed to developing innovative treatments in this therapeutic area with the hope of delivering a first-in-class, nonhormonal treatment option for women with moderate to severe VMS." Ahsan Arozullah, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Vice President and Head of Development Therapeutic Areas, Astellas Fezolinetant is an investigational selective neurokinin-3 receptor antagonist and is not approved anywhere in the world. In the U.S., a New Drug Application for fezolinetant for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause is under review. The NDA submission is based on results from two pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials, SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™, and the Phase 3 long-term safety study, SKYLIGHT 4™. About the MOONLIGHT Phase 3 Clinical Trials MOONLIGHT 1™ is designed to investigate the efficacy and safety of fezolinetant for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause in women in Asia. The study is double-blinded and placebo-controlled for the first 12 weeks, followed by a 12-week non-controlled extension treatment period. A total of 302 women with moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause were enrolled at nearly 60 sites in mainland China, Korea and Taiwan. MOONLIGHT 3™ is a 52-week single-arm Phase 3 clinical trial designed to investigate the long-term safety and tolerability of fezolinetant in women in mainland China with VMS associated with menopause. A total of 150 women were enrolled at 34 sites in mainland China. About the BRIGHT SKY™ Phase 3 Program The BRIGHT SKY pivotal trials, SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™ enrolled over 1,000 women with moderate to severe VMS. The trials are double-blinded, placebo-controlled for the first 12 weeks followed by a 40-week treatment extension period. Women were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe. SKYLIGHT 4™ is a 52-week double-blinded, placebo-controlled study designed to investigate the long-term safety of fezolinetant. For SKYLIGHT 4, over 1,800 women with VMS were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe. About VMS Associated with Menopause VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause.1,2 Worldwide, more than 50% of women 40 to 64 years of age experience VMS and, in East Asia, the prevalence of VMS has been estimated to be around 80% of women 40 to 65 years of age, with 55% having moderate to severe VMS.3,4 VMS can have a disruptive impact on women's daily activities and overall quality of life.1 About Fezolinetant Fezolinetant is an investigational oral, nonhormonal therapy in clinical development for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause. Fezolinetant works by blocking neurokinin B (NKB) binding on the kisspeptin/neurokinin/dynorphin (KNDy) neuron to moderate neuronal activity in the thermoregulatory center of the brain (the hypothalamus) to reduce the frequency and severity of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause.5,6,7 The safety and efficacy of fezolinetant are under investigation and have not been established. There is no guarantee the agent will receive regulatory approval or become commercially available for the uses being investigated. About Astellas 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.

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PHARMA TECH

ArisGlobal Accelerates Growth Announces Executive Evolution

ArisGlobal | September 08, 2022

ArisGlobal, the leading provider of life sciences software that automates core drug development functions with its end-to-end technology platform LifeSphere®, today announces an expansion to its C-suite. James Jarrett is the company's new Chief Financial Officer, Kathleen Turland joins as the first Chief Legal Officer, and Aman Wasan has stepped into the new role of Chief Commercial Officer. The three appointments are happening during a time of significant momentum for ArisGlobal, which has experienced annual recurring revenue growth of 34% in the first half of 2022 YoY. James Jarrett, Chief Financial Officer Jarrett brings over a decade of executive leadership experience driving revenue and cash flow growth. He has partnered with management teams and boards of directors of high-growth, highly leveraged companies undergoing rapid change. Prior to joining ArisGlobal, he served as the CFO for Emergence Health Holdings, Carewell Urgent Care, and ProCure Proton Therapy Center. Kathleen Turland, Chief Legal Officer Turland is a global strategic leader with more than 20 years of legal experience. She brings her broad range of legal and business skills to ArisGlobal, having worked with companies experiencing significant growth and expansion over the years, including General Electric, and FUSE Group. She started her legal career in New York, clerking for a Federal Court Judge, and working at two revered New York law firms. Aman Wasan, Chief Commercial Officer Wasan is an expert in general management and commercial leadership with a deep understanding and knowledge of drug safety and clinical research. Since joining ArisGlobal in 2018, Wasan has excelled in six different positions, most recently as Senior Vice President of Global Commercials, where he managed global enterprise business. Before joining the ArisGlobal team, Wasan worked for Bioclinica as the company's Global Head of Safety and Regulatory Services. "As we continue scaling our business and building new functions to better serve our customer base, expanding our C-suite will help us execute our mission and further drive our success in the life sciences industry. James, Kathleen, and Aman carry a wealth of industry knowledge instrumental in empowering ArisGlobal to further expand its customer pipeline, continue to develop innovative technology, and maintain a role as a trusted leader in the market." CEO Mike Gordon Turland's addition to the company also represents consistent and focused efforts by ArisGlobal to continually put women in positions of leadership. Turland joins ArisGlobal veterans Ritu Shrivastava, Vice President Corporate Development, and Heidi Hattendorf, Vice President of Marketing, on the executive team. Currently, ArisGlobal also has women in core leadership positions across business, product, quality, people, and technology functions. About ArisGlobal ArisGlobal is led by passionate individuals who support life sciences leaders in developing and monitoring breakthrough medicines and therapies. With more than 35 years of expertise in the life sciences industry, ArisGlobal develops technology products within the platform LifeSphere to power pharmaceutical and biotech research and development. Building on our commitment to corporate social responsibility and sustainability initiatives, we give back to the communities where we live and work – in the U.S, Europe, India, Japan, and China.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Kubota Vision Announces Collaboration Agreement with Leading Diabetes Center

PBOS | September 30, 2022

Kubota Vision Inc. a clinical-stage specialty ophthalmology company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings Co., Ltd. announced today that the Company and Joslin Diabetes Center have entered into a material transfer and collaboration agreement for our Patient Based Ophthalmology Suite in-home optical coherence tomography device. Joslin Diabetes Center is conducting two clinical studies to evaluate the ability of PBOS to identify cases of diabetic macular edema that may need treatment compared to a commercially-available OCT device. The studies will be led by Dr. Paolo S. Silva at Joslin Diabetes Center. Dr. Silva is the Co-Chief of Telemedicine at the Beetham Eye Institute of the Joslin Diabetes Center. His work is focused on innovative and investigative work in a field at the intersection of clinical care and technology with the hope of providing an ideal model for the delivery of evidence-based, highly effective, and efficient diabetes eye care to the population that needs it the most. Joslin Diabetes Center, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School, is a one-of-a-kind institution on the front lines of the world epidemic of diabetes — leading the battle to conquer diabetes in all of its forms through cutting-edge research and innovative approaches to clinical care and education. Dr. Silva stated, “Through these studies, we will determine if home-based in-home optical coherence tomography is useful in the evaluation of diabetic macular edema and how we monitor patients at risk for losing vision from the condition.” “Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common diseases in the world. The use of our technology brings us great excitement as we continue to focus on the development of medical devices and explore further possibilities.” Ryo Kubota, MD, PhD, Chairman, President, and CEO of Kubota Vision Inc. About PBOS PBOS is a low cost, home-based, ophthalmic self-monitoring OCT device. This small handheld device addresses needs in mobile Health applications for self-monitoring of retina health by patients, in the home and in remote field locations. The PBOS aims to improve ophthalmic treatment outcomes in patients diagnosed with and treated for wet age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema and other neovascular retinal diseases. PBOS is being designed to detect nascent disease progression and support patient re-treatment prior to irreversible vision loss due to disease progression. Key features are low cost and a patient-friendly design, to be used directly by patients at home. PBOS is being designed to capture changes in retinal anatomy. Network connectivity and cloud-based technologies are used to alert the patients and their physicians of disease progression and re-treatment needs. About Kubota Vision Inc. Kubota Vision Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings Co., Ltd. committed to translating innovation into a diverse portfolio of drugs and devices to preserve and restore vision for millions of people worldwide. Kubota Pharmaceutical group’s pipeline includes a wearable device for myopia control using Kubota GlassTM technology and a handheld OCT device for the monitoring of neovascular retinal diseases, to be used directly by patients.

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PHARMACY MARKET

A novel azapeptide editing method provides potential for new drug development, Feinstein Institutes research shows

Feinstein Institutes | November 29, 2022

Peptides, short sections of proteins made up of chains of amino acids, are an important area of new drug development due to their potential for increased specificity and fewer side effects. Their main drawback is the rapid degradation by the body’s own enzymes, which has led to the need to develop longer-lasting peptide alternatives. Azapeptides are one type of peptide alternative that has shown great potential as therapeutics, exemplified by the HIV drug, Atazanavir. A new paper published in the journal Nature Communications by researchers at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research details proprietary reagents and methods that can selectively replace only those amino acids known to be targeted by enzymes with more stable versions to create azapeptides. The paper, authored by Yousef Al-Abed, PhD, co-director of the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine at the Feinstein Institutes, describes the proprietary building blocks and method used to conduct systematic and robust peptide editing, replacing targeted amino acids with aza-amino acids to form more stable and efficient azapeptides. The azapeptides created could expedite the novel therapies to treat many diseases and conditions, including metabolic disease, influenza, pulmonary arterial hypertension, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, and irritable bowel diseases, among others. The paper, titled “Thiocarbazate building blocks enable the construction of azapeptides for rapid development of therapeutic candidates,” provides multiple examples of azapeptide construction, screening, and selection using a known peptide inhibitor of inflammation and bradykinin. “Peptides as drug candidates are easy to discover yet difficult to develop as final drugs because of their fast degradation in our body. A technology that circumvents these problems inherent to native peptides will change the future landscape of drug discovery. Our technology provides a platform of tools that enable minimal modification of any peptide at highly prone degradation sites, thereby increasing its life span in our body, allowing it more time to find its target and neutralize it.” Dr. Al-Abed Through peptide editing, going from peptide to azapeptide, using methods that Dr. Al-Abed and his team detail in the new paper, scientists can create potential therapies that have enhanced characteristics compared to natural peptides, like longer stabilities in a more efficient manner. Dr. Al-Abed and his team have precisely engineered thiocarbazates (a novel functional group) in the proprietary process to achieve an almost universal and more efficient means to selectively replace amino acids in a peptide chain. “Peptide drugs are a crucial resource for patients and the global pharmaceutical industry,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institutes and Karches Family Distinguished Chair in Medical Research. “Dr. Al-Abed and his team invented a fully automated chemical strategy using novel chemistry to make new peptide drugs which is an important new avenue for peptide drug discovery.” About the Feinstein Institutes The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest health care provider and private employer in New York State. Home to 50 research labs, 3,000 clinical research studies and 5,000 researchers and staff, the Feinstein Institutes raises the standard of medical innovation through its five institutes of behavioral science, bioelectronic medicine, cancer, health innovations and outcomes, and molecular medicine. We make breakthroughs in genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and are the global scientific leader in bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine.

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