Fierce Pharma Asia—Ono buys Deciphera for $2.4B; Novartis expands PeptiDream collab; WuXi Bio exits BIO 2024

Japan's Ono Pharmaceutical will buy kinase inhibitor expert Deciphera for $2.4 billion. Novartis invests further in radiopharmaceuticals with two deals. WuXi Biologics has withdrawn from the 2024 BIO International Convention as the U.S. grows hostile against certain Chinese biotech companies. And more. 

1. Japan's Ono pays $2.4B for Qinlock maker Deciphera as biotech readies another approval run

Ono Pharmaceutical, which sells the PD-1 inhibitor Opdivo in Japan, is buying Deciphera Pharmaceuticals for $2.4 billion. Besides the FDA-approved gastrointestinal stromal tumor drug Qinlock, Deciphera comes with a kinase inhibitor discovery platform. Ono also expects the acquisition to accelerate its business development in the U.S. and Europe, CEO Gyo Sagara said.

2. Novartis pays PeptiDream $180M as radiopharma big bang continues

Novartis made two radiopharmaceutical deals this week. It penned a $180 million peptide-drug conjugate deal with Japan’s PeptiDream. The deal includes up to $2.71 billion in potential milestones. PeptiDream will develop macrocyclic peptides against targets selected by Novartis for conjugation with radionuclides. In the second deal, Novartis agreed to acquire Mariana Oncology for $1 billion upfront.

3. WuXi Biologics withdraws from 2024 BIO convention amid worsening geopolitical tensions

WuXi Biologics has pulled out of the 2024 BIO International Convention. Both WuXi Bio and WuXi AppTec will be absent from the biotech event of the year, despite consistently having a presence there in the past few years. Their absence comes amid a U.S. biosecurity crackdown targeting certain Chinese drug manufacturers and service providers.

4. Takeda ditches industry trade group BIO following exits by WuXi AppTec, Pfizer and UCB

Meanwhile, Takeda has left the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). “We believe it will allow us to further refine the focus of our resources and continue to play an active role in advancing innovation and advocating for policies that put patients first while improving the global health care ecosystem,” a Takeda spokesperson said in a statement.

5. AstraZeneca, Daiichi tout Enhertu trial win in earlier, broader HER2-low breast cancer

AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo said their Enhertu has beat chemotherapy on progression-free survival in HR-positive, HER2-low metastatic breast cancer patients who had tried at least one prior line of endocrine therapy. The readout came from the phase 3 DESTINY-Breast06 trial, which could potentially move the antibody-drug conjugate one line earlier and to HER2-ultralow cancer.

6. Astellas hitches a ride in Poseida's convertible for $50M cell therapy collaboration

Astellas’ Xyphos Biosciences has signed on two solid tumor cell therapy candidates from Poseida Therapeutics for $50 million upfront and $550 million in milestones. The two will combine Poseida’s allogeneic CAR-T platform with Xyphos’ ACCEL platform, which uses a convertible CAR construct together with a tumor-associated antigen-specific antibody-like molecule.

7. BIO survey to elucidate US biopharma's reliance on Chinese CDMOs amid decoupling threats

BIO is conducting a survey among its members to quantify the U.S.’ dependence on Chinese CDMOs. “The goal of the survey is to better educate and inform policymakers about how the biopharma supply chain operates and to ensure that patients continue to have access to the medicines they need,” a BIO spokesperson said. The trade organization is also performing detailed interviews and case studies with select member companies on the same topic.

Other News of Note: 

8. WuXi AppTec's CEO pledges to 'do the right thing' as sales slip following US biosecurity scrutiny

9. Samsung Biologics achieves record Q1 earnings

10. GE HealthCare's Q1 revenue falls flat after China sales slide

11. Jacobio's KRAS data tee up safety-focused pitch for lung cancer market