Merck buying Sigma-Aldrich for $17B
Merck KGaA (Xetra:MRK) will acquire Sigma-Aldrich Corp. (NASDAQ:SIAL) for about $17 billion in cash. Merck will pay $140 per share, a 37% premium to Sigma-Aldrich's Friday close of $102.37, before the news was announced Monday. Merck will finance the deal with cash, bank loans and bonds.
Avalon, GSK launch two newcos
Avalon Ventures and GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE:GSK; NYSE:GSK) launched Silarus Therapeutics Inc. (San Diego, Calif.) and Thyritope Biosciences Inc. (San Diego, Calif.). Each may receive up to $10 million in series A financing, comprising $3 million in equity investment from Avalon and up to $7 million in R&D support from GSK. The companies will be housed at Avalon's COI Pharmaceuticals incubator, and funded on a quarterly basis.
Pfizer, Circle in macrocycle deals
Circle Pharma Inc. (San Francisco, Calif.) announced two collaborations with Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) to design and develop macrocyclic peptides against two undisclosed Pfizer targets. Circle will develop the peptides using computational design algorithms, and Pfizer will test them in undisclosed indications.
Auxilium board affirms QLT deal
The board of Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:AUXL) unanimously reaffirmed its proposed merger agreement with ophthalmic play QLT Inc. (NASDAQ:QLTI; TSX:QLT) after reviewing an unsolicited bid from Endo International plc (NASDAQ:ENDP; TSX:ENL).
FDA grants expanded access for Tekmira's TKM-Ebola
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. (TSX:TKM; NASDAQ:TKMR) jumped $3.45 (17%) to $23.61 in New York and C$3.39 (15%) to C$26.01 in Toronto on Monday after FDA granted expanded access use of TKM-Ebola in patients with confirmed or suspected Ebola infections. Tekmira also said Health Canada established a similar framework.
Japan approves Eylea for myopic CMV
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:REGN) said Japan's Ministry of Health approved Eylea aflibercept to treat myopic choroidal neovascularization (myopic CNV), the second leading cause of blindness in Japan. The Bayer Yakuhin Ltd. subsidiary of Bayer AG (Xetra:BAYN) holds ex-U.S. rights to Eylea from Regeneron. The drug is a human fusion protein that binds all forms of VEGF-A and placental growth factor (PGF; PlGF).
Threshold down on Phase III data delay
Threshold Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:THLD) fell $0.50 (11%) to $3.97 on Monday after saying it expects delayed data from its Phase III trial of TH-302 to treat unresectable or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma (STS).
Tracon raises $27M in B round
Tracon Pharmaceuticals Inc. (San Diego, Calif.) raised $27 million in a series B round led by New Enterprise Associates. Additional new investors included BioMed Ventures and an undisclosed institutional investor. Existing investors JAFCO; Nextech Invest; Brookline Investments; Arcus Ventures; and BHP also participated.
Avanir and Vital Therapies propose follow-ons
Vital Therapies Inc. (NASDAQ:VTL) said in an SEC filing on Monday that it plans to raise $46 million in a follow-on underwritten by BofA Merrill Lynch; William Blair; Canaccord Genuity; and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. Vital closed down $1.84 to $18.27 on the day.
Tesaro planning $165M note deal
Oncology play Tesaro Inc. (NASDAQ:TSRO) proposed late Monday to raise $165 million through the sale of senior unsecured convertible notes through Citigroup; Deutsche Bank Securities; Leerink; Baird; and BMO Capital Markets. The notes mature in October 2021.
POLITICS & POLICY
FDA meeting on abuse-deterrent opioids
FDA will hold a public meeting in Silver Spring, Md., on Oct. 30-31 to discuss the development, assessment, and regulation of abuse-deterrent opioid medications. The meeting will focus on scientific and technical issues related to the development and in vitro assessment of such drugs, and FDA's approach to the benefit-risk assessment of all opioid treatments.
Dems propose increased NIH funding
Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would lift the cap on NIH funding due to sequestration.