Over the last three years, there have been eight cancer cell therapy M&A deals for advanced first generation and next gen cancer cell therapy companies. Six of them have been completed to date. Data for this analysis was compiled using the DealForma biopharma deals database. We applied initial filters for mergers and acquisitions of companies developing cell therapies for cancer and excluded terminated acquisition offers. From there, we exported the data to Excel, segmented the list by whether the target company’s cell therapy would be considered first generation or next gen, and used pivot tables and charts to do the rest. All data are based on publicly disclosed figures. We invite you to answer interesting questions on biopharma business development and licensing using our data and carefully curated profiles on deals, pipelines, companies, funding, and business executives by visiting dealforma.com to schedule your personalized demo.
As the 38th annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference approached, we used the DealForma deals database to evaluate the recent M&A activity in the cancer cell therapy space. With Yescarta axicabtagene ciloleucel and Kymriah tisagenlecleucel now on the market for two years, cell immunotherapies are one of the newest forms of treatment that helps the immune system fight cancer. We identified eight total cancer cell therapy-focused acquisitions announced in the last three years, six of which have been completed and are highlighted below in order based on deal value. Included in the broader cell therapy analysis that follows were M&A’s, reverse mergers, exercised acquisition options and partnerships with an acquisition option. Terminated acquisition offers were excluded, and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $74 billion acquisition of Celgene was charted separately.
Gilead Sciences acquired Kite Pharma
- Date Announced: August 28, 2017
- Total Deal Value: $11.9 billion
- Target Stage at Acquisition: Phase III
- Main Asset at Acquisition: Yescarta (chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T therapy)
Celgene acquired Juno Therapeutics
- Date Announced: January 22, 2018
- Total Deal Value: $9 billion
- Target Stage at Acquisition: Phase II
- Main Asset at Acquisition: JCAR017 (lisocabtagene maraleucel; liso-cel) – CAR-T therapy
Astellas Pharma acquired Xyphos Biosciences
- Date Announced: December 26, 2019
- Total Deal Value: $665 million
- Target Stage at Acquisition: Preclinical/IND
- Main Asset at Acquisition: “convertibleCAR-T” cell product, ACCEL (Advanced Cellular Control through Engineered Ligands) technology platform
Gilead, Kite acquired Cell Design Labs
- Date Announced: December 7, 2017
- Total Deal Value: $567 million
- Target Stage at Acquisition: Platform/Discovery
- Main Asset at Acquisition: synNotch and Throttle technology platforms for CAR-T cells
Astellas acquired Universal Cells
- Date Announced: February 13, 2018
- Total Deal Value: $102.5 million
- Target Stage at Acquisition: Preclinical/IND
- Main Asset at Acquisition: Universal Donor Stem Cell technology
Kiadis acquired CytoSen Therapeutics
- Date Announced: April 17, 2019
- Total Deal Value: Not Disclosed
- Target Stage at Acquisition: Phase III
- Main Asset at Acquisition: ATIR101 (Allodepleted T-cell immunotherapy, discontinued development as of November 2019); CSDT002-NK (natural killer-cell therapy)
Two M&A option deals that are yet to be exercised are Kite’s research partnership and an option to acquire Gadeta, and Millennium Pharmaceuticals’ (Takeda Oncology) research partnership and option to acquire GammaDelta Therapeutics.
Using DealForma’s deals database, we also evaluated M&A trends over the past decade of companies developing first and next generation cell therapy, gene therapy, other immuno-oncology therapies, and small molecules for cancer.
Finally, we compared the macro-trends of cancer immunotherapy/cell therapy M&A field with other technology fields including small molecules, diagnostics and gene therapy/vectors.
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Specifically for Biotech, Pharma, Device, and Diagnostics
Marie Daghlian is a freelance writer and editor who reports on the business of biotechnology and healthcare technologies and on rare diseases for Global Gene’s Rare Daily. She also covers the industry for Big4Bio, a daily newsletter focused on the four major biotech centers in the United States.
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June 2022 Top Biopharma Deal: Sanofi – Regeneron Pharmaceuticals for Cancer/Inflammation drug Libayo
The top deal upfront for June 2022 was the Sanofi development and commercialization deal with Regeneron for Libtayo (Amended Agreement). Sanofi granted Regeneron exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize Libtayo for the treatment of cancer. Regeneron and Sanofi signed a license agreement in 2015 to develop Libtayo. Sanofi will receive $900M up front and is eligible to receive up to a $100M milestone upon the first approval by either the FDA or EMA for Libtayo in combination with chemotherapy for first-line treatment of certain patients with NSCLC and up to $100M as a sales milestone in the next two years, plus 11% royalties.
May 2022 Top Biopharma Deal: Dragonfly Therapeutics – Gilead Sciences NK cell engager for cancer/inflammation
The top deal upfront for May 2022 was the Dragonfly Therapeutics development and commercialization deal with Gilead Sciences for solid tumors. Gilead has an exclusive, worldwide option to develop and commercialize additional NK cell engager programs by using its Tri-specific NK Engager (TriNKET) platform after the completion of certain preclinical activities. Dragonfly will receive $300M up front and is eligible to receive undisclosed opt-in payments and development, regulatory, and commercial milestones, plus up to 20% royalties.
April 2022 Top Biopharma Deal: Harbour BioMed – AstraZeneca Bispecific Antibody for Cancer Treatment
The top deal upfront for April 2022 was the Harbour BioMed development and commercialization deal with AstraZeneca for solid tumors. AstraZeneca will be responsible for all costs for development and commercialization. HBM will receive $25M up front and is eligible for up to $325M in development, regulatory, and commercial milestones, plus undisclosed tiered royalties.
March 2022 Top Biopharma Deal: IGM Biosciences – Sanofi IgM Antibody Platform for Cancer and Immunology/Inflammation
The top deal upfront for March 2022 was the IGM development and commercialization deal with Sanofi for cancer, immunology, and inflammation. IGM will receive $150M up front and is eligible to receive up to $6.015B in regulatory and commercial milestones, which includes $940M for each of 3 cancer targets and $1.065B for each of 3 immunology/inflammation targets. Additionally, Sanofi has expressed an interest in purchasing up to $100M of IGM non-voting common stock in a public financing.
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January 2022 Top Biopharma Deal: Beam – Pfizer In Vivo Base Editing and Delivery Programs for Rare Diseases
The top deal upfront for January 2022 was the Beam Therapeutics research partnership with Pfizer with an option to license in vivo base editing programs. Beam will receive $300M up front, up to up to $1.05B in development, regulatory, and sales milestones, plus royalties per licensed program. If Beam opts in to co-develop/co-promote a program, the companies will share cost and profits 65%/35% (Pfizer/Beam).
December 2021 Top Biopharma Deal: Foghorn – Loxo using Gene Traffic Control for New Oncology Treatments
The top deal upfront for December 2021 was the Foghorn – Loxo (Eli Lilly) partnership for Foghorn’s Gene Traffic Control platform. Foghorn will receive $300M up front, a $80M upfront equity investment, and up to $1.3B in potential milestones, plus a US cost/profit split and ex-US royalties.
November 2021 Top Biopharma Deal: Sanofi – Owkin artificial intelligence and federated learning platform to advance Sanofi’s oncology pipeline
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