Partnering News: Novo Nordisk and Biogen

A roundup of bio/pharmaceutical partnering news from Novo Nordisk/Aspect Biosystems and Biogen/Denali Therapeutics.

* Novo Nordisk, Aspect Biosystems in $2.7-Bn Pact for Bioprinted Tissue Therapeutics 
* Biogen, Denali Partner in Antibody Pact for Alzheimer’s Disease 

Novo Nordisk, Aspect Biosystems in $2.7-Bn Pact for Bioprinted Tissue Therapeutics 
Novo Nordisk and Aspect Biosystems, a Vancouver-based bio/pharmaceutical company, have formed a collaboration, development, and license agreement to develop bioprinted tissue therapeutics designed to replace, repair, or supplement biological functions to develop disease-modifying treatments for diabetes and obesity, in a deal worth up to $2.675 billion ($75 million upfront and $650 million each for up to four products in milestone payments).  

The collaboration will use Aspect’s bioprinting technology and Novo Nordisk’s technology in stem-cell differentiation and cell-therapy development and manufacturing. Aspect has developed a platform technology that may allow for development of a novel class of cell-based medicines designed to be biologically functional, encapsulated to be immune-protective, and suitable for surgical implantation. Novo Nordisk has developed expertise to differentiate stem cells into a wide array of cells that may be used to replace damaged and lost cells, which could lead to a specific disease, such as insulin-producing beta cells in Type 1 diabetes, as well as manufacturing capabilities to produce the cells at scale. 

The goal of the collaboration is to develop implantable bioprinted tissues to replace, repair, or supplement biological functions. These tissues will be designed to be allogeneic, meaning the cells used are derived from a single source to increase the viability of future large-scale manufacturing. The collaboration will initially focus on developing bioprinted tissue therapeutics designed to maintain normal blood glucose levels without the need for immunosuppression for treating Type I diabetes.  

Under the agreement, Novo Nordisk will receive an exclusive, worldwide license to use Aspect’s bioprinting technology to develop up to four products for the treatment of diabetes and/or obesity. Aspect will receive initial payments of $75 million, including an upfront payment, research funding and an investment in the form of a convertible note. Aspect is also eligible to receive up to $650 million in future development, regulatory, commercial, and sales milestone payments per product, as well as tiered royalties on future product sales. 

Source: Novo Nordisk 

Biogen, Denali Partner in Antibody Pact for Alzheimer’s Disease 
Biogen and Denali Therapeutics, a San Francisco, California-based bio/pharmaceutical company developing drugs for treating neurodegenerative diseases, have announced that Biogen has exercised its option to license Denali’s Antibody Transport Vehicle (ATV): Amyloid beta program (ATV:Aβ), a drug-delivery program.  

Denali’s ATV platform is designed to allow drugs to cross the blood–brain barrier and to increase brain exposure and target engagement of antibody therapeutics, which in the case of treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, may enable improved plaque clearance and/or reduced amyloid-related imaging abnormalities.  

The option was exercised under a collaboration between Biogen and Denali announced in 2020. Following the exercise of the option, Biogen will assume responsibility for all development and commercial activities and associated expenses. Denali will receive a one-time option exercise payment and, should certain milestones be achieved, Denali will be eligible to receive potential development and commercial milestone payments and royalties based on future net sales. 

Source: Biogen