Boston company kicks off its operations with deal to buy Sanofi drug and manufacturing plant

Syringe
Sanofi has sold the injectable bone transplant drug Leukine and its dedicated manufacturing plant in Washington state to a brand new Boston company.

Partner Therapeutics (PTx), a Boston-based operation which had its coming-out party a week ago, today announced it raised $60 million and bought a drug and U.S. manufacturing plant from Sanofi.

The company said in an announcement today that it had acquired Leukine (sargramostim), a Sanofi drug used to help acute myeloid leukemia patients fight infections after bone marrow transplants. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

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Sanofi’s Genzyme had acquired Leukine from Bayer Healthcare in 2009 as part of a three-drug deal, just ahead of Genzyme’s buyout by the French drugmaker.

As part of today’s deal with Sanofi, PTx also gets a Seattle-area manufacturing plant dedicated to making Leukine, which Genzyme had paid about $100 million for. PTx said the biologics plant in Lynnwood, Washington, was certified for commercial production in 2012.

The plant will not only make Leukine but will serve as the core manufacturing and supply chain center for PTx's work in other areas. 

The firm said it plans to trial Leukine in other diseases, like melanoma and radiation poisoning, an area for which Sanofi had been testing the drug with support from a $37.6 million BARDA contract awarded in 2016.

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PTx today separately announced it has raised $60 million in Series A financing by investors that include Perceptive Advisors, Adams St. Partners and MidCap Financial.

All of this news comes from a company that didn’t exist a couple of weeks ago. The formation of the cancer-focused company was announced on January 25. It was created by Robert Mulroy, a co-founder and former CEO of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals—which was recently acquired by Ipsen in a $1.25 billion deal—and Dr. Debasish Roychowdhury, the former chief medical officer of Seragon—a company Roche bought out in 2014 for $725 million.

Mulroy is now CEO of the PTx, while Roychowdhury is chief medical officer. Roychowdhury also did stints at GlaxoSmithKline and Eli Lilly, in addition to serving as global head of oncology at Sanofi.