Global Briefs: CSL, GSK, J&J, Lilly, Moderna & More

A roundup of news from CSL, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly and Company, EVA Pharma, Moderna, Merck & Co., Eisai, Catalyst Pharmaceuticals, Gilead and Tmunity Therapeutics. Highlights below.  

* CSL Names New CEO & Managing Director 
* GSK To Move to New HQ in Central London 
* J&J Completes $16.6-Bn Acquisition of Med Tech Company Abiomed  
* Lilly. EVA Pharma in Supply Pact for Insulin in Africa 
* Moderna To Acquire OriCiro Genomics for $85 M 
* Moderna, Merck & Co. Report Positive Results for mRNA Cancer Vaccine 
* Eisai To Sell US Rights to Epilepsy Drug to Catalyst Pharmaceuticals 
* Gilead To Acquire Tmunity Therapeutics 

CSL Names New CEO & Managing Director 
CSL, a Melbourne, Australia- based  bio/pharmaceutical company, has appointed Dr. Paul McKenzie, currently CSL’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), as CEO and Managing Director, effective March 6, 2023. Dr. McKenzie will succeed Paul Perreault, CSL’s current CEO and Managing Director, who is retiring. Perreault will remain with the company as a strategic adviser to assist in an orderly transition until he retires on September 6, 2023. 

Dr. McKenzie has more than 30 years of leadership experience in the global biotechnology industry. Since joining CSL as COO in 2019, Dr McKenzie has been accountable for optimizing CSL’s operations as well as growing the CSL Seqirus, CSL Plasma, and CSL Vifor businesses. Prior to joining CSL, Dr McKenzie was Executive Vice President of Pharmaceutical Operations & Technology at Biogen. He also served in increasing roles in senior-level roles in R&D and manufacturing at Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck & Co. 

Source: CSL 

GSK To Move to New HQ in Central London 
GSK has announced that it is moving its headquarters from Brentford, West London, to a new global headquarters in central London. The company will move to the new headquarters in 2024. 

The site, which is under construction and scheduled for completion in 2023, is close to the UK capital’s life-sciences hub, London’s Knowledge Quarter, and GSK’s existing collaboration partners, including the Francis Crick Institute and King’s College London. 

The new global headquarters will be the base for around 3,000 people, who will continue to use a hybrid working model. This includes GSK’s global leadership team, as well as teams supporting research and development, the supply chain, commercial operations, corporate functions, and ViiV Healthcare, a majority-owned GSK bio/pharmaceutical company specializing in treatments for HIV.  

Source: GlaxoSmithKline 

J&J Completes $16.6-Bn Acquisition of Med Tech Company Abiomed 
Johnson & Johnson has completed its acquisition of Abiomed, a Danvers, Massachusetts-based medical device company focused on cardiovascular disease, for $16.6 billion. J&J announced the acquisition in November 2022 and the deal closed in late December 2022.  

J&J reported that approximately 57.1% of the then-outstanding shares of Abiomed’s common stock have been acquired. All the conditions of the tender offer have been satisfied, and Abiomed is now part of J&J and will operate as a stand=alone business within J&J’s MedTech segment. 

Source: Johnson & Johnson 

Lilly. EVA Pharma in Supply Pact for Insulin in Africa 
Eli Lilly and Company and EVA Pharma, a Cairo, Egypt-based bio/pharmaceutical company, have entered a global health collaboration to deliver human and analogue insulin to at least one million people in low- to middle-income countries. 

Lilly will supply its active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for insulin at a significantly reduced price to EVA Pharma. Lilly will also provide a pro-bono technology transfer to enable EVA Pharma to formulate and fill–finish insulin vials and cartridges. 

EVA Pharma expects to begin distribution of the African-made insulin products within 18 months (as reported on December 14, 2022) and to reach one million people per year by 2030. This collaboration is part of the Lilly 30×30 initiative, which aims to improve access to quality healthcare for 30 million people living in limited-resource settings annually, by 2030. 

Source: Eli Lilly and Company  

Moderna To Acquire OriCiro Genomics for $85 M 
Moderna has agreed to acquire OriCiro Genomics, a Tokyo-based technology company focused on developing technologies for plasmid DNA for use in cell- and gene-therapies, for $85 million. 

OriCiro was founded in 2018 and is focused on the development and commercialization of cell-free synthesis and amplification of plasmid DNAs for applications in gene and cell-based therapies and synthetic biology. OriCiro’s technologies are used for research, development and manufacturing of plasmid DNA. 

Source: Moderna 

Moderna, Merck & Co. Report Positive Results for mRNA Cancer Vaccine 
Moderna, and Merck & Co. reported on December 13, 2022 Phase IIb results evaluating Moderna’s mRNA-4157/V940, an investigational personalized mRNA cancer vaccine, in combination with Merck’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab), an immuno-oncology drug, which demonstrated an improvement in the primary endpoint of recurrence-free survival versus Keytruda alone for the adjuvant treatment of patients with Stage III/IV melanoma following complete resection.  

The companies plan to discuss the results with regulatory authorities and initiate a Phase III study in melanoma patients in 2023. 

Source: Moderna 

Eisai To Sell US Rights to Epilepsy Drug to Catalyst Pharmaceuticals 
Eisai and Catalyst Pharmaceuticals, a Coral Gables, Florida-based commercial-stage bio/pharmaceutical company focused on medicines for rare diseases, have entered into an agreement under which Catalyst will acquire the US rights for Eisai’s Fycompa (perampanel) CIII, a drug for treating epilepsy, and an exclusive option period to review, evaluate, and negotiate to acquire a rare epilepsy asset currently in Eisai’s pipeline, in a deal worth $160 million. 

Catalyst has been advised that Eisai’s US net revenues for Fycompa for the 2022 fiscal year ending March 31, 2023, will be approximate $136 million.  

Under the agreement, Eisai will receive an upfront payment of $160 million in association with this transaction and, in addition, may receive future milestone payments and royalties. Eisai has also granted Catalyst an exclusive option period to evaluate and negotiate the acquisition of a rare epilepsy compound in Eisai’s pipeline. 

Source: Catalyst Pharmaceuticals 

Gilead To Acquire Tmunity Therapeutics 
Gilead has agreed to acquire Tmunity Therapeutics, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based clinical-stage, private bio/pharmaceutical company focused on CAR T-therapies and technologies.  

Tmunity was formed in 2015 to advance early-stage cell therapy research and innovation done in academia into the clinic. As part of Gilead’s acquisition, the Tmunity founders will become senior scientific advisors for the company. 

The acquisition will provide Gilead with preclinical and clinical programs, including an ‘armored’ CAR T technology platform, which potentially could be applied to a variety of CAR T’s to enhance anti-tumor activity, as well as improve manufacturing processes. Tmunity’s prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) and prostate stem cell antigen (PSCA) assets are not part of the acquisition and will be spun-out by Tmunity as part of the transaction. 

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023, subject to regulatory review and customary closing.  After closing, Tmunity’s employees will join Kite, Gilead’s company specializing in cell therapies.   

Source: Gilead Sciences