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Thermo Fisher Scientific acquires viral vector manufacturing business from Novasep

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Thermo Fisher Scientific has completed the €725 million acquisition of Henogen, the Belgium-based viral vector manufacturing business, from Groupe Novasep. Novasep’s viral vector manufacturing business provides contract manufacturing services for vaccines and therapies to biotechnology companies and large biopharma customers. With two locations in Seneffe and Gosselies, Belgium, Novasep’s viral vector business offers more than 7,000 square meters of state-of-the-art clinical and commercial manufacturing capacity. Founded more than 20 years ago, the business has approximately 400 employees with substantial operational and technical expertise in a broad range of viral vector classes and estimated 2020 revenue of €80 million (or approximately $95 million). “Novasep’s viral vector business is an excellent strategic fit as Thermo Fisher continues to expand its capabilities for cell and gene vaccines and therapies globally,” said Michel Lagarde, executive vice president of Thermo Fisher. “The addition of their manufacturing capabilities in Europe complements our four development and manufacturing sites in North America. “In addition, they bring an incredibly talented team with more than two decades of experience across a broad range of viral vectors. “The combination will benefit our global customers seeking support and capacity in the region as well as European customers bringing new medicines to patients inside and outside of Europe.” The business will be part of the Pharma Services business within the Laboratory Products and Services Segment.

Boehringer & Enara Bio forge cancer immunotherapy agreement

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Boehringer Ingelheim and Enara Bio have entered into a strategic collaboration and licensing agreement to research and develop novel targeted cancer immunotherapies, leveraging the latter’s Dark Antigen discovery platform. This new collaboration combines Boehringer Ingelheim’s approach to tackle cancer through pairing leading science with innovative immune-oncology platforms, such as oncolytic viruses and cancer vaccines, with Enara Bio’s expertise in cancer antigen identification. The aim is to provide potential new therapies for patients with difficult to treat lung and gastrointestinal cancers. Jonathon Sedgwick, Senior Vice President and Global Head, Cancer Immunology & Immune Modulation Research, Boehringer Ingelheim, said: “We are advancing a unique pipeline of cancer cell-directed agents, immuno-oncology therapies and intelligent combination approaches to help combat cancer. “Enara Bio’s unique discovery platform offers a novel and highly differentiated approach that will allow us to look beyond the known proteome to identify and characterize Dark Antigens to support the development of T-Cell Receptor (TCR)-directed immunotherapies and therapeutic vaccines. “We believe this is a highly innovative and promising approach to the development of the next wave of cancer immunotherapies.” Enara Bio’s proprietary Dark Antigen Platform Technology (EDAPT) will be used to discover and validate novel Dark Antigens in up to three tumour types in the lung and gastrointestinal cancer space. The discovery of shared antigens could lead to the development of vaccines that can be readily utilised to help a broader group of cancer patients. Dark Antigens represent a new class of cancer-associated antigens that derive from the genomic dark matter, or the portion of the human genome that is normally not expressed as protein. Dark Antigen-encoding sequences are usually silenced in healthy cells but are activated and presented on tumour cells. They are associated with specific cancer types and, importantly, are shared across patients. Since typically not visible to the immune system, they represent a large potential repertoire of novel antigens that can be developed as targets for new immunotherapies. Under the agreement, Boehringer Ingelheim has the option to license Dark Antigens discovered and validated by Enara Bio. Boehringer Ingelheim will also be responsible for all non-clinical and clinical development, as well as commercialization of associated cancer immunotherapies, including therapeutic vaccines and T-cell redirecting biologics. Enara Bio retains rights to use any discovered antigens for use in cell therapy-based products. Enara Bio is eligible to receive an upfront payment, together with research/preclinical milestones and licensing fees for each tumor type that is explored. It is also eligible to receive more than EUR 876 million in clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones, in addition to royalties on future product sales.

Sanofi acquires Kymab for deal worth up to $1.45bn

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Sanofi is acquiring Kymab, a clinical-stage biopharma company developing fully human monoclonal antibodies, for an upfront payment of approximately $1.1 billion and up to $350 million upon achievement of certain milestones. The transaction will result in Sanofi having full global rights to KY1005, a fully human monoclonal antibody that has a novel mechanism of action. KY1005 binds to OX40-Ligand and has the potential to treat a wide variety of immune-mediated diseases and inflammatory disorders. “The Kymab acquisition adds KY1005 to our dynamic pipeline, a potential first-in-class treatment for a range of immune and inflammatory diseases. The novel mechanism of action may provide treatment for patients with suboptimal responses to available therapies,” said Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson. “We understand from our ongoing work in debilitating immunological diseases how critical it is to find the right treatment for each patient. We look forward to rapidly developing this investigational medicine.”