Global Pharma Briefs: News from Roche, Astellas, and UCB

A roundup of news from Australia (Australian government), Canada (Roche), UK (UCB), and the US (Astellas, iota Biosciences).


Australian Gov’t Issues $355,000 in Funding for Clinical Trial Mfg
The Australian government has provided AU$500,000 (US$355,000) in funding to the T3 Cleanrooms at the Translational Research Institute to support clinical-trial manufacturing through the establishment of a new facility in Brisbane, Australia.

The T3 Cleanrooms at the Translational Research Institute was backed by a grant from MTPConnect, one of the Australian’s government’s industry growth centers, and in-kind support from Vaxxas, a Sydney, Australia-based biopharmaceutical company.

Source: Australian government (Minister for Industry, Science and Technology)


Roche To Invest $500 M in Canadian Operations
Roche Canada has announced a $500-million investment, over five years, to establish Roche’s Global Pharma Technical (PT) Operations site at its Canadian pharmaceutical headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

The company says this investment will involve the hiring of 500 skilled positions at the site. By the end of 2020, Roche says it will have hired 200 skilled jobs and up to 300 more by the end of 2023.

Source: Roche Canada


UCB To Acquire Former Lilly R&D Campus in the UK
UCB has agreed to acquire a former Eli Lilly and Company research site in Windlesham, Surrey, the UK. The 47-acre campus was formerly Lilly’s second largest research site. Following completion of the acquisition, the site will undergo refurbishment prior to UCB relocating from its current UK headquarters in Slough, Berkshire, the UK.

The acquisition of the site is expected to be completed in November 2020 and will be one of three global R&D hubs of UCB, which in addition to the UK, includes sites in Belgium and the US.

UCB’s projected investment in the UK, including the new R&D campus, will be more than £1 billion ($1.3 billion) over five years. The transition to the new facility will support more than 650 jobs in scientific research, translational medicine, clinical development, early manufacturing, and commercial roles.

Source: UCB


Astellas To Acquire iota Biosciences in $304-M Deal
Astellas has agreed to acquire iota Biosciences, a Berkeley, California-based start-up specializing in bioelectronic medicines, for $304 million ($127.5 million upfront and $176.5 million in milestones).

Astellas and iota formed a collaboration in 2019 to jointly conduct R&D activities associated with iota’s ultrasonic-powered bioelectronic devices in a number of indications. The companies have since evaluated detailed specifications for implantable medical devices focused on multiple diseases. Clinical trials of multiple projects, including those under the R&D agreement, are expected to start in the early 2020s.

Under the merger agreement, Astellas will make an initial payment of approximately $127.5 million to acquire all of the outstanding equity in iota not already held by Astellas. iota’s shareholders will be eligible to receive additional payments of up to a total of approximately $176.5 million upon achievement of predetermined milestones by iota within certain timeframes after completion of the transaction. Upon completion of the transaction, iota will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Astellas. Subject to customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of Astellas’ fiscal year (which ends on March 31, 2021).

Astellas says it also committing to spend a total of $125 million over the next five years for iota’s expansion.

Source: Astellas Pharma and iota Biosciences

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