Pfizer Inc | August 24, 2021
Pfizer Inc. and Trillium Therapeutics Inc. today announced that the companies have entered into a definitive agreement under which Pfizer will acquire Trillium, a clinical stage immuno-oncology company developing innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer. Under the terms of the agreement, Pfizer will acquire all outstanding shares of Trillium not already owned by Pfizer for an implied equity value of $2.26 billion, or $18.50 per share, in cash. This represents a 118% premium to the 60-day weighted average price for Trillium.
Trillium’s portfolio includes biologics that are designed to enhance the ability of patients’ innate immune system to detect and destroy cancer cells. Its two lead molecules, TTI-622 and TTI-621, block the signal-regulatory protein α (SIRPα)–CD47 axis, which is emerging as a key immune checkpoint in hematological malignancies. TTI-622 and TTI-621 are novel, potentially best-in-class SIRPα-Fc fusion proteins that are currently in Phase 1b/2 development across several indications, with a focus on hematological malignancies.
“Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to pursue scientific breakthroughs with the addition of potentially best-in-class molecules to our innovative pipeline,” said Andy Schmeltz, Global President & General Manager, Pfizer Oncology. “The proposed acquisition of Trillium builds on our strong track record of leadership in Oncology, enhancing our hematology portfolio as we strive to improve outcomes for people living with blood cancers around the globe. Our deep experience in understanding the science of blood cancers, along with the diverse knowledge base we have developed across our growing hematology portfolio of eight approved and investigational therapies, provide us with a foundation to advance these important potential medicines to patients who need them.”
Hematological malignancies are cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. This classification includes various types of leukemia, multiple myeloma, and lymphoma. More than 1 million people worldwide were diagnosed with a blood cancer in 2020, representing almost 6% of all cancer diagnoses globally. In 2020, more than 700,000 people worldwide died from a form of blood cancer.
“We’re delighted to announce Pfizer’s proposed acquisition of Trillium. Today’s announcement reflects Trillium’s potentially best in class SIRPα–CD47 status and contribution to immuno-oncology,” said Dr. Jan Skvarka, Chief Executive Officer of Trillium. “Trillium has the only known SIRPα–CD47 targeting molecules with clinically meaningful monotherapy responses as well as a strong basis for combination therapies, which is supported by preclinical evidence with a diverse set of therapeutic agents. With Pfizer’s global reach and deep capabilities, we believe our programs will advance more quickly to the patients we’ve always aspired to serve. We believe this is a good outcome for patients and our shareholders.”
In clinical studies to-date, TTI-622 and TTI-621 have demonstrated activity as monotherapy in relapsed or refractory lymphoid malignancies, including Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma (DLBCL), Peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL), Follicular Lymphoma (FL), and other lymphoid malignancies. As of July 26, 2021, Phase 1 data for TTI-622 in 30 response-evaluable patients have shown deep and durable responses in heavily pretreated patients, including two complete responses (CRs), one lasting over 114 weeks, with responses ongoing. TTI-622 and TTI-621 are currently the only known CD47-targeted molecules that have demonstrated meaningful single agent activity and CRs in multiple hematological malignancies. Thus far, adverse events (AEs) reported with TTI-622 and TTI-621 have been manageable. Related Grade 3 and 4 AEs with TTI-622 were rare and limited to transient cytopenias. In particular, the molecules demonstrate minimal red blood cell binding and few reported cases of anemia, an observed risk with other CD47-targeted approaches. Further data are expected to be shared at a forthcoming medical conference.
“We are encouraged by the early clinical data for TTI-622 and TTI-621 monotherapy for patients with heavily pretreated lymphoid malignancies and early encouraging activity for TTI-622 in patients with multiple myeloma. Just as PD-1 and PD-L1 blockers have proven to be effective immuno-therapeutics for many solid tumors, the SIRPα-CD47 interaction defines a second key immune checkpoint for which disrupting agents are expected to become another important backbone immunotherapy for multiple types of cancer, especially hematological cancers,” said Chris Boshoff, MD, PhD, Chief Development Officer, Oncology, Pfizer Global Product Development. “Utilizing Pfizer’s leading research and global development capabilities, we plan to accelerate the clinical development of SIRPα fusion proteins as a potential new scientific breakthrough and explore combinations within our own portfolio and with innovative next-generation medicines for hematological malignancies.”
In September 2020, as part of the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative (PBGI), Pfizer invested $25 million in Trillium and Jeff Settleman, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer’s Oncology Research & Development Group, was named to Trillium’s Scientific Advisory Board. Established in June 2020, PBGI’s goal is to provide funding for scientific research as well as access to Pfizer’s experts to ensure the continuity of clinical programs that could be of potential strategic interest for Pfizer. Pfizer has committed to providing up to $500 million in total funding to the PBGI.
Additional Transaction Details
The proposed acquisition of Trillium is to be completed by way of a statutory plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (British Columbia) and subject to customary closing conditions, including approval of 66⅔% of the votes cast by Trillium shareholders, voting together as one class, at a special meeting of Trillium and approval of 66⅔% of the votes cast by Trillium shareholders and warrant holders, voting together as one class, at a special meeting of Trillium. Completion of the acquisition is also subject to court and regulatory approval, as well as certain other closing conditions customary for transactions of this nature.
Pfizer’s financial advisors for the transaction are BofA Securities, Inc., with Ropes & Gray LLP and Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP acting as its legal advisors. Centerview Partners LLC served as Trillium’s financial advisor, while Goodwin Procter LLP and Baker McKenzie LLP (Canada) served as its legal advisors.
Accumulating data suggest that the SIRPα–CD47 axis is a key immune checkpoint in hematologic malignancies, similar to the PD-L1 / PD-1 checkpoint for solid tumors. CD47 is a protein that is overexpressed in numerous cancer cells, and in general, high CD47 expression correlates with more aggressive disease and poorer clinical outcomes. SIRPα is an inhibitory receptor expressed on myeloid cells that binds to CD47, preventing the immune system from destroying cancer cells. Disruption of the CD47-SIRPα interaction has been proven to elicit tumor destruction through triggering of an innate immune response.
About Pfizer Oncology
At Pfizer Oncology, we are committed to advancing medicines wherever we believe we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of people living with cancer. Today, we have an industry-leading portfolio of 24 approved innovative cancer medicines and biosimilars across more than 30 indications, including breast, genitourinary, colorectal, blood and lung cancers, as well as melanoma.
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.
About Trillium Therapeutics
Trillium is an immuno-oncology company developing innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer. The company’s two clinical programs, TTI-622 and TTI-621, target CD47, a “don’t eat me” signal that cancer cells frequently use to evade the immune system.
ZS, Seven Bridges | May 07, 2021
ZS and Seven Bridges disclosed a collaboration today that will merge ZS's experience in biomedical testing facilities and data science with Seven Bridges' technology platform, which enables multi-omics analytics through the translational and clinical continuum. The hybrid offers biopharmaceutical and biotechnology firms a one-stop-shop for multi-omics analysis innovation and scalability. ZS and Seven Bridges work together to help clients produce breakthrough science, promote drug development, and improve the probability of approval for potential drug candidates.
"Working side by side with our clients to help streamline R&D data and maximize pace and market to enhance patients' lives is at the heart of what we do at ZS," said Aaron Mitchell, principal, and leader of ZS's research and development excellence program. "Our collaboration with Seven Bridges allows our clients, and eventually patients, to gain access to new therapies and diagnostics more quickly."
"Drug discovery, translational medicine, and preclinical drug research all require study at the molecular and genomic levels of implementation, and our collaboration with Seven Bridges provides our clients with a new option for innovation and scalable capacity," said John Piccone, principal, and leader of ZS's biomedical research service line.
"We are building a talent pool of molecular natives with a strong knowledge of chemistry, data science, and technology to collaborate with our clients in the discovery of potential drug targets, the selection of drug candidates, and the solution of key translational medicine challenges. The integration of the Seven Bridges Platform and experts with the ZS consulting teams results in a modular approach for clients with growing multi-omics data and analytics requirements."
"We are delighted to be combining the Seven Bridges platform with ZS's innovative apps for drug discovery and translational medicine. Integrating our multi-omics analysis platform and ARIATM, a centralized solution for molecular and patient-level phenotypic analysis at scale, with their research data lake is a critical requirement for ZS's pharmaceutical clients "said Bruce Press, Seven Bridges' Chief Revenue Officer.
About Seven Bridges
Seven Bridges allows researchers to derive meaningful insights from genomic and phenotypic data, thereby advancing precision medicine. A compliant analytic platform, intelligently curated content, innovative algorithms, unmatched access to federated data sets, and specialist on-demand technical resources comprise the Seven Bridges Ecosystem. Researchers at the world's leading academic, biotechnology, clinical diagnostic, government, medical centers, and pharmaceutical institutions are using this systematic approach to bioinformatics to maximize R&D effectiveness, improve hypothesis resolution, isolate vital biomarkers, and even transform a failing clinical trial around while also minimizing computational workflow times and data storage costs.
Skye Bioscience, Inc. | October 13, 2021
Skye Bioscience, Inc. (“Skye” or the “Company”), a biopharmaceutical company developing proprietary, synthetic cannabinoid-derived molecules to treat glaucoma and other diseases with significant unmet need, has formed a new exclusive sponsored research agreement with Emerald Health Biotechnology Espana SLU (“EHBE”), focused on developing and characterizing novel molecules that can affect the endocannabinoid system (ECS) for therapeutic benefit. The research initiative, referred to as the Cannabinoid Pharmaceutical Innovation Program (CPIP), will focus on targeting important signaling pathways in the endocannabinoid system to realize therapeutically beneficial effects.
The CPIP reflects the company’s continued commitment to expand its leadership in cannabinoid-based science and cutting-edge research that can be commercialized through new and existing technologies. It leverages R&D initiatives with key opinion leaders with specialized research centers in the US and internationally, such as the University of Mississippi, University of Cordoba, and University of Eastern Piedmont. This agreement deepens the commitment of Drs. Munoz and Appendino, who will be the principal investigators and continue to lead Skye’s scientific advisory board. The CPIP is driven by the focus on investing in key value-creating pillars for the Company - ophthalmology applications, clinical development, pipeline expansion and people - to achieve the vision of creating a world-class cannabinoid pharmaceutical company.
"As the world comes to appreciate the broad and dynamic role of the endocannabinoid system in humans and animal health, the pharmaceutical potential of cannabinoids to modulate this system is just starting to be understood. While the anecdotal evidence of the health benefits of cannabinoids dates back millenia, modern science has barely scratched the surface to validate the benefits of the ECS in preventing and treating diseases. Skye’s ambition is to play a leading role in effecting important therapeutic outcomes by influencing the endocannabinoid system. We want to continue to make strategic investments that can further bring value to all stakeholders, and our clear focus in this initiative is to achieve novel discoveries that achieve important clinical utility with commercial value. These overarching priorities will guide our strategy, project initiatives, and investments."
Punit Dhillon, Chief Executive Officer and Chair of Skye Bioscience
Under the terms of the agreement:
Skye will approve and fund designated projects and have exclusive rights to all data and products, and any intellectual property resulting from this research collaboration will be owned by Skye
Research will be broad and encompass novel molecules that modulate the ECS to treat or prevent human or animal diseases
EHBE will receive a single digit royalty on all licensing revenue or other consideration paid to Skye by a third-party licensee, assignee or purchaser related to any product commercialized as part of a Skye Project
Skye will pay EHBE a retainer of $200,000 per year.
“Having worked with cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system for over 25 years, it is clear that there are tremendous opportunities to discover and create cannabinoid-derived molecules with potential to beneficially interact with the ECS for positive medical outcomes. With the launch of Skye’s new Cannabinoid Pharmaceutical Innovation Program with our research team in Cordoba, Spain, our efforts will focus on preclinical development of CBDVHS, R&D of CB1 modulators involved in pain, inflammatory diseases, neurological diseases, fibrotic diseases and metabolic diseases, and drug discovery relating to modulators of the cannabinoid receptors CB2 and GPR55. We aim to generate a wide portfolio of proprietary products and IP around molecules with commercial potential.”
Eduardo Munoz, Managing Director of Emerald Health Biotechnology Espana
About Emerald Health Biotechnology Espana SLU
Emerald Health Biotechnology España SLU (EHBE) is a preclinical-stage drug development research company focused on new cannabinoid derivatives to treat severe life-threatening conditions and other pathologies. Led by cannabinoid research experts and scientific advisors to Skye, Drs. Eduardo Munoz and Giovanni Appendino, EHBE is a pioneer in developing chemical cannabinoid derivatives that improve the therapeutic properties of the natural compounds.
About Skye Bioscience
Skye Bioscience Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company unlocking the pharmaceutical potential of cannabinoids through the development of its proprietary, cannabinoid-derived molecules to treat diseases with significant unmet needs. The company’s lead program, THCVHS, is focused on treating glaucoma, a disease with no cure and the world’s leading cause of irreversible blindness. For more information, please visit: www.skyebioscience.com