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  • Jonathan Poyer

Impressive Data Sets from Big Pharma and Merck Spends $1.3B to Acquire Eyebiotech

Updated: Jun 7





The recent backup in yields along with hawkish Fedspeak pressuring the index below the 50-day moving average as macro considerations seemingly continue to dominate the sector's price action.



Investors looked to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting as providing a mixed bag for SMID caps with double digit declines for tickers ARVN, ALXO, CRBU, IMCR, NUVB seemingly outnumber increases for CGON, MGNX and OLMA.


Every year there seem to be several data sets form big pharma / biotech thar really impress but lead to muted share price reactions as many are anticipated. Public M&A has been quiet in comparison to private company M&A with half a dozen deals focused on the latter in the past month.


M&A:


  • Merck (MRK) agreed to buy Eyebiotech Ltd. (private) for $1.3 billion upfront and as much at an additional $1.7 billion in milestones. Lead asset Restoret is a potentially first-in-class tetravalent, tri-specific antibody that acts as an agonist of the Wingless-related integration site (Wnt) signaling pathway for use in diabetic macular edema (DME) and neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nvAMD). The company raised ~$200 million in a series A round prior the acquisition



Regulatory:


  • Uniqure (QURE) announced receipt of FDA's regenerative-medicine-advanced-therapy designation (RMAT) for experimental Huntington's Disease candidate AMT-130



Clinical:


  • Structure therapeutics (GPCR) rallied >50% on reporting 6.2-6.9% placebo adjusted weight loss at 12 weeks, 62% vomiting / 40% dose reduction rates and 5-11% discontinuation rates for oral obesity candidate GSBR-1290



  • Gilead Sciences (GILD) announced the confirmatory Phase 3 TROPiCS-04 trial of Trodelvy in patients with mUC did not meet the primary endpoint of overall survival. Analysts expect the indication to be removed from the product label given the trial miss

  • Summit Therapeutics (SMMT) announced their partner Akeso (9926.HK) reported Phase 3 data in Chinese patients comparing bispecific PD-1 / VEGF antibody SMT112 to Keytruda showed a superior PFS result, setting off a >272% run. Some analysts questioned if the results were likely to translate to the more important endpoint of overall survival



  • Biohaven (BHVN) shares were under pressure after reporting Phase I data for degrader BHV-1300 that showed 37% IgG reduction at the highest dose, below investor expectations. Shares had rallied >275% since last October in anticipation of data updates



  • Caribou Biosciences (CRBU) shares were under pressure after updated data from cell therapy candidate CB-010 in lymphoma was not clearly differentiated and included a patient death possibly related to therapy



Corporate Updates & Earnings:


  • Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY) announced they were pausing enrollment of a key trial from recently acquired RayzeBio trial due to actinium supply issues

  • Exact Sciences (EXAS) announced the Chief Commercial Officer left to join ILMN while reiterating the Q2 guide

  • GSK PLC (GSK) was under pressure after a Delaware state court judge ruled a number of Zantac cancer cases could move to trial. This ruling contradicted an earlier Federal Court ruling that dismissed similar claims in a multidistrict ruling in 2022. GSK announced plans to appeal

  • Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX) CEO Kevin Gorman to retire on 11-Oct-24


Culling the Herd:


  • Aeon Biopharma (AEON) announced it will discontinue ABP-450 for chronic migraine and will cut 55% of staff



  • Ikena Oncology (IKNA) announced the discontinuation of its lead asset IK-930 along with a ~50% workforce reduction

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