Takeda, the world’s largest developer of rare disease drugs, said Tuesday that it has reclaimed full rights to an experimental medicine being tested against uncommon forms of epilepsy. The deal inked with New York-based Ovid Therapeutics carries an almost $200 million upfront payment and could be worth as much as $856 million provided the medicine, known as soticlestat, hits certain milestones.
Soticlestat was discovered at Takeda’s research center in Shonan, Japan, and is supposed to block an enzyme expressed in parts of the brain responsible for learning and memory. In 2017, Takeda teamed up with Ovid, a neuroscience-focused biotech, to develop and commercialize the drug for rare epilepsies. The companies then expanded their collaboration the following year.
Now, Takeda is working to secure all rights to its drug. Terms of the new deal, which is expected to close this month, have Takeda taking sole responsibility of the drug, while Ovid is absolved of any financial obligations under the original agreement. Soticlestat is currently in mid-stage testing, where researchers are evaluating it across several developmental and epileptic brain diseases, including Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. READ MORE
By Jacob Bell
A monkeypox outbreak is emerging in the U.S. and Europe, and at least one country is amping up countermeasure preparedness. Bavarian Nordic has secured a contract with an unnamed European country to supply its smallpox vaccine, called Imvanex in Europe, in response to the emergence of monkeypox cases, the Danish company said Thursday.
Moderna’s recent chief financial officer debacle—in which Jorge Gomez departed on his second day on the job—raised questions about the company’s hiring process given its rush to global biopharma prominence. The most obvious one: How was it possible for Gomez to be hired when he was under investigation by his previous employer, Dentsply Sirona of Charlotte, N.C.
Merck & Co. is plucking a cancer project from the branch of Chinese-based Kelun Pharmaceutical for up to $1.4 billion, but details from the New Jersey-based Big Pharma have been hard to come by. The deal, first disclosed Monday on the Shenzhen stock exchange, has Merck handing over $47 million in upfront cash in exchange for ex-China rights to a “macromolecular tumor project.”