Partnering News: Bayer, Novartis, Gilead & More 

A roundup of bio/pharmaceutical partnering news from Bayer/Recursion Pharma, Novartis/Legend Biotech and Gilead/Arcellx. 

* Bayer, Recursion Pharma in $1.5-Bn Oncology Drug Research Pact
* Novartis, Legend Biotech In $1.1-Bn CAR-T Licensing Pact 
* Gilead’s Kite Expands Drug Development Pact With Arcellx by $285 M 

Bayer, Recursion Pharma in $1.5-Bn Oncology Drug Research Pact 
Bayer and Recursion Pharmaceuticals, a Salt Lake City, Utah-based clinical stage bio/pharmaceutical company, have updated the focus of their research collaboration to precision oncology, in a deal worth up to $1.5 billion. 

The collaboration will use Bayer’s small molecule compound library and expertise in biology and medicinal chemistry as well as Recursion’s artificial intelligence-guided drug discovery platform. 

Recursion’s drug discovery platform navigates over five trillion biological and chemical relationships. The system integrates scaled ‘wet-lab’ biology and chemistry data with computational tools, using machine learning technologies to industrialize drug discovery by validating and advancing therapeutic programs. Their dataset includes information from 50 different human cell types and a ~1.7 million small molecule library. 

Under the agreement, the companies may initiate up to seven oncology programs and Recursion is eligible to receive potential, success-based, future payments of up to $1.5 billion plus royalties on net sales. Bayer will gain the option to exclusively license novel therapeutics derived from the research activities. 

Source: Bayer 

Novartis, Legend Biotech In $1.1-Bn CAR-T Licensing Pact 
Novartis and Legend Biotech, a Somerset, New Jersey-based bio/pharmaceutical company, have entered into a global license agreement with Novartis for certain Legend Biotech chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) cell therapies targeting DLL3, a cause of lung cancer, in a deal worth up to $1.1 billion ($100 million upfront and $1 billion in milestone payments). 

The deal includes Legend’s autologous CAR-T cell therapy candidate, LB2102, which is in clinical development for the treatment of extensive stage small cell lung cancer and large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared its investigational new drug application in 2022. In 2023, the FDA granted the product candidate Orphan Drug Designation, a status conferred to drugs or biologics that are intended to treat, diagnose or prevent rare diseases and conditions.  

The agreement grants Novartis the exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize these cell therapies. Legend Biotech will conduct a Phase I clinical trial for LB2102 in the US and Novartis will conduct all other development for the licensed products. 

Under the agreement, Legend Biotech will receive a $100 million upfront payment and will be eligible to receive up to $1.01 billion in clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments and tiered royalties. Closing of the transaction is subject to the parties’ receipt of any necessary consents or approvals, including the expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. 

Source: Legend Biotech 

Gilead’s Kite Expands Drug Development Pact With Arcellx by $285 M 
Kite, a Gilead Company, and Arcellx, a Gaithersburg, Maryland-based bio/pharmaceutical company, have expanded their existing collaboration, which was originally announced in December 2022, in a deal worth $285 million ($85 million upfront and $200 million in an equity invesment). 

Kite has exercised its option to negotiate a license for Arcellx’s ARC-SparX program, ACLX-001, in multiple myeloma, which is comprised of ARC-T cells and SparX proteins that target BCMA. The companies have also expanded the scope of the collaboration for Arcellx’s CART-ddBCMA to include lymphomas. 

Upon closing, Arcellx will receive a $200 million equity investment to purchase 3,242,542 shares of its common stock. Following this investment, Gilead’s estimated ownership will be 13%. Arcellx will also receive an upfront non-dilutive cash payment of $85 million at closing and will be eligible for potential milestone payments, including the advancement of lymphoma and the license for ARC-SparX, as well as additional milestones, to offset prespecified development costs over a limited period of time. 

The transaction is expected to close around year-end 2023. Closing of the transaction is subject to expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act and other customary conditions. 

Source: Gilead Sciences