Flamingo Therapeutics, Inc. | September 09, 2021
Flamingo Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company pioneering RNA-targeting therapies in oncology, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Ionis Pharmaceuticals to develop RNA-targeted therapies to treat various forms of cancer. This alliance is an expansion of an existing collaboration with Ionis on the FLAME™ discovery engine, following Flamingo's Series A financing in 2020.
The agreement and discovery alliance will leverage Flamingo's deep expertise in oncology and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in combination with Ionis' expertise in RNA-targeted drug discovery and development to advance candidates against targets considered undruggable with traditional approaches. Flamingo's pipeline will include three clinical-stage programs from Ionis, inhibitors of STAT-3, Androgen Receptor (AR) and IRF4, and one preclinical-stage program that targets MALAT1, a well-characterized lncRNA target. Flamingo will also advance its proprietary discovery engine, FLAME (Flamingo LncRNA Antisense Mining Engine), that addresses lncRNAs, a large and untapped class of disease-causing targets within the dark matter of the human genome.
"We're thrilled to strengthen our relationship with Ionis who has been at the forefront of RNA-targeted therapy for thirty years," said Michael Garrett, Chief Executive Officer of Flamingo. "We believe the combination of Ionis' leadership in RNA and our cutting-edge lncRNA discovery engine will expand the opportunities for applying RNA-targeted approaches to oncology."
"We are pleased that Flamingo is leveraging their core strengths in developing novel cancer medicines to advance innovative Ionis-discovered oncology therapies where there is an unmet need," said Brett P. Monia, Ph.D., Ionis' chief executive officer.
In connection with the alliance, Rob MacLeod, Ph.D., VP, Oncology Research & Development of Ionis, will serve as Chief Scientific Officer of Flamingo. Under the terms of the agreement, Ionis is eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties on future product sales of the STAT3, AR, IRF4 and MALAT1 programs. Flamingo retains full rights to its FLAME platform and all lncRNA programs outside of MALAT1.
Flamingo Therapeutics was founded by VIB, Ghent University, KU Leuven, the University of Michigan, Kurma Partners and PMV, based on pioneering work led by Professor Jean-Christophe Marine (VIB-KU Leuven), Professor Pieter Mestdagh (Ghent University) and Professor Arul Chinnaiyan (University of Michigan). These scientific teams broke new ground on non-coding RNA genes in cancer and were among the first to show a role for lncRNAs as disease drivers in oncology.
About Flamingo Therapeutics
Flamingo is pioneering RNA-targeted therapies for oncology with state-of-the art chemistries. Flamingo has the most advanced antisense RNA-targeting oncology portfolio with three clinical programs targeting undruggable transcription factors and splice variants. To support and expand its pipeline, Flamingo has a proprietary discovery engine, FLAME™ (Flamingo LncRNA Antisense Mining Engine), that addresses lncRNAs, a large and untapped class of disease-causing targets within the "dark matter" of the human genome. The Company was founded in 2020 based on pioneering work in the field of lncRNAs in oncology with our academic partners at VIB, KU Leuven, Ghent University and the University of Michigan. Flamingo has a discovery alliance with Ionis Pharmaceuticals and is supported by well-known biotechnology investors Kurma Partners and PMV. The company is headquartered in Belgium with additional operations in San Diego, CA.
Sartorius | November 03, 2020
Sartorius Stedim Biotech (SSB), a leading partner of the biopharma industry, successfully closed the acquisition of the Slovenian purification specialist BIA Separations. The transaction was completed on November 2, 2020, after receiving the required approvals. "BIA's portfolio is highly complementary to Sartorius Stedim Biotech. We are thus creating an excellent offering for the manufacturing of gene therapies and other advanced therapies, and are pleased to welcome 120 new employees," said Dr. Joachim Kreuzburg, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Sartorius Stedim Biotech. The total purchase price of the transaction is 360 million euros of which 240 million euros were paid in cash and 120 million euros in SSB shares. Both parties have further agreed on three tranches of earn-out payments based on performance over the next five financial years. SSB has been preparing to integrate BIA Separations so this can now be initiated despite the special conditions prevailing during the pandemic. BIA Separations develops and manufactures market-leading products for purification and analysis of large biomolecules, such as viruses, plasmids and mRNA, which are used in cell and gene therapies and other advanced therapies. BIA's technology for manufacturing-scale purification is already used in production of the first commercialized advanced therapeutics, and the company also has a strong presence with such novel drug candidates in the clinical pipeline. Expecting continued very strong double-digit sales growth over the next few years, BIA is forecasted to earn sales revenue of approx. 25 million euros in 2020 at profit margins that will be accretive to the underlying EBITDA margin of the Sartorius Stedim Biotech Group. The transaction is not expected to have any material impact on Sartorius Stedim Biotech's 2020 results.
CELL AND GENE THERAPY
PacBio | July 26, 2021
Pacific Biosciences has had no trouble growing its business on its own in the year and a half since its acquisition by Illumina was blocked by the Federal Trade Commission due to concerns that the combination would establish a monopoly in DNA sequencing.
Earlier this year, the sequencer manufacturer received a staggering $900 million investment from SoftBank—a commitment almost as large as the $1.2 billion promised by Illumina for the planned acquisition.
PacBio is now making its acquisition, setting out a deal for up to $800 million to acquire Omniome, another provider of DNA sequencing technology.
The majority of the transaction is comprised of planned upfront payments totaling about $600 million. This will be paid out in $300 million in cash and 9.4 million shares of PacBio common stock. The additional $200 million will come from milestone payments made when Omniome meets certain specified objectives, which will also be paid in a mix of cash and shares.
PacBio has committed a small number of its current investors to a private issue of common stock to fund the acquisition. The total gross proceeds from this deal are expected to be about $300 million. Casdin Capital, SoftBank subsidiary SB Northstar LP, and T. Rowe Price Associates are among the investors who will buy approximately 11.2 million shares of PacBio stock for $26.75 per share, which is slightly less than the stock's closing price on the last full day of trading before the buyout was announced.
PacBio will be able to extend the capabilities of its single-molecule, real-time sequencing technology, or SMRT Sequencing, for use by its clients in biomedical and infectious disease research, as well as therapeutic and diagnostic development, after the transaction is completed.
PacBio's technology is based on long-read sequencing, which analyzes long strands of DNA at a time and can detect larger genomic variants and structural changes than short-read methods—though long-read sequencing has a higher potential error rate in those readings.
Meanwhile, Omniome has created its short-read technology that concentrates on the proteins that bind to DNA to generate what it claims are more accurate analyses than existing short-read sequencers.
Combining the two technologies is reminiscent of Illumina's planned acquisition of PacBio, which would have merged the latter's long-read technology with Illumina's short-read sequencing.
The merger is a significant boost for Omniome, which has attracted several life sciences, investors since its inception in 2013. Each of its most two funding rounds—a series B in mid-2018 and a series C in early 2020—raised $60 million, bringing the San Diego-based startup's total funding to over $130 million.