Reverse mergers have been a relatively quick method for companies to gain a public listing as an alternative to IPOs. A private company looking to go public merges with a company that is already publicly traded and changes the ticker symbol. Technically, the public company is acquiring the private company, hence the ‘reverse’ part. Also, it’s not uncommon to see public companies outside of the life sciences space on one side of the deal. Following a conversation over on Twitter (thanks, @syinvesting), we used the DealForma deals database to generate a quick list of 91 reverse mergers with biotechnology, medical device, and diagnostics companies since 2008.
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Biopharma Reverse Mergers since 2008
Companies with a public listing reverse merged with private biopharma. Stage represents the private biopharma at signing. Excludes leveraged buyouts (LBOs) where the acquirer is a financial firm.
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Specifically for Biotech, Pharma, Device, and Diagnostics
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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
The top deal upfront for November 2021 was the Owkin – Sanofi artificial intelligence and federated learning platform research partnership to advance Sanofi’s oncology pipeline. Owkin will receive a $180M upfront equity investment, $90M in R&D funding over 3 years, and is eligible for additional undisclosed R&D milestones.
The top deal upfront for October 2021 was the Xencor – Janssen deal for plamotamab and XmAb bispecific antibodies and new XmAb B-cell targeting bispecific antibodies for CD20-expressing hematologic malignancies. Xencor will receive $100M in upfront cash, $25M in an upfront equity investment, and is eligible for up to $1.18B in dev., reg., and sales milestones, plus tiered mid-teens to low-twenties royalties.
The top deal upfront for September 2021 was the REGENXBIO – AbbVie deal for RGX-314 for wet AMD, diabetic retinopathy, and other chronic retinal diseases. REGENXBIO will receive $370M up front and is eligible for up to $1.38B in milestones, plus tiered royalties on net sales of RGX-314 outside the US and 50% of profits in the US.
August 2021 Top Biopharma Deal: RemeGen – Seagen HER2-targeted ADC, Disitamab Vedotin for Solid Tumors
The top deal upfront for August 2021 was the RemeGen – Seagen deal for HER2-targeted ADC disitamab vedotin for solid tumors. RemeGen will receive $200M in cash up front and is eligible to receive up to $2.4 billion in milestones, plus tiered, high single-digit to mid-teen royalties.
Top Biopharma Deal July 2021: Arvinas – Pfizer ARV-471 PROTAC Protein Degrader for ER+/HER2- Breast Cancer
The top biopharma deal upfront for July 2021 was Arvinas and Pfizer’s partnership for PROTAC protein degrader ARV-471 ER+/HER2- breast cancer. Arvinas will receive $650M in cash up front, $350M in an equity investment, and is eligible to receive up to $1.4 billion in milestones, plus a 50% cost and profit split.
The top biopharma deal upfront for June 2021 was iTeos and GSK’s partnership for anti-TIGIT mAb EOS-448. iTeos will receive $625M up front, up to $1.45B in milestones, a U.S. profit split and ex-U.S. tiered royalties.
Top Biopharma Deal May 2021: Agenus – BMS for AGEN-1777 Bispecific Anti-TIGIT Antibody for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
The top biopharma deal upfront for May 2021 was Agenus and BMS’ partnership for anti-TIGIT mAb AGEN-1777. Agenus will receive $200M up front.
Top Biopharma Deal April 2021: CRISPR – Vertex for CTX001 for Sickle Cell Disease and Transfusion-Dependent Beta-Thalassemia
CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex Pharmaceuticals amended their 2015 deal to develop and commercialize gene editing therapies. This expansion is for Phase I/II CTX001 for severe sickle cell diseases and transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia. CRISPR will receive $900M up front, up to $200M in milestones upon the first regulatory approval, and a cost/profit split of 40%.
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