Notable licensing deals in the biopharma industry in Q2 2017

During the second quarter of 2017, Cortellis Competitive Intelligence added 967 new licensing deals (excluding M&A deals) as part of its ongoing coverage of pharmaceutical licensing activity. This meant an 8% decrease on the previous quarter (1,050) and a 3% decrease from the same quarter in 2016 (993). This quarter also showed a significant decline in the number of deals worth more than $0.5 billion from the last quarter (seven versus 17). This article will highlight a number of the most valuable and notable deals forged during the quarter, as well as a selection of deals from some of the most prolific deal makers in the life sciences. An update on milestone, options and terminated deals of significance will also be presented, along with an early outlook on the next quarter’s pharmaceutical licensing activity.

High-value deals: potentially worth $0.5 billion or more

Approximately 20 high-value new partnerships, worth in excess of $100 million, were entered into during the second quarter of 2017. Of these, seven could potentially generate $0.5 billion or more in revenues for their primary collaborators. Here is a look at all seven.

AstraZeneca to advance Pieris’ asthma agent PRS-060 for $2.1 billion

AstraZeneca sought to advance Pieris’ anticalin platform including interleukin (IL)-4 receptor alpha receptor inhibitor PRS-060 against respiratory diseases such as asthma. Anticalins are engineered proteins that mimic antibodies. AstraZeneca would take over the program from phase I with Pieris having an option to co-develop from phase IIa in the U.S. Four further anticalins against undisclosed targets would be progressed by both parties. Pieris received $45 million upfront, the potential for up to $2.1 billion in milestones including $12.5 million for initiating the phase I trial for PRS-060, plus royalties.

Biogen aims $1.26 billion at BMS’s BMS-986168 for progressive supranuclear palsy and Alzheimer’s

Biogen gained exclusive worldwide rights to Bristol-Myers-Squibb’s (BMS) BMS-986168, a humanized monoclonal antibody and inhibitor of extracellular Tau, a protein which facilitates the spread of neurofibrillary lesions across the brain, resulting in progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Biogen plans to advance the phase I program through phase II for AD and PSP in exchange for $300 million upfront, up to $960 million in milestones plus royalties. Consequently, Biogen would assume all remaining obligations to the former stockholders of BMS’s subsidiary iPierian, which focuses on secreted Tau for AD and other tauopathies. At the same time, BMS parted with BMS-986089 to Roche for an upfront $170 million, up to $205 million in milestones plus royalties. The Phase bivalent adnectin-IgG fusion protein targeting human myostatin, a protein that inhibits muscle growth, is in phase III for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Janssen creates $1.15 billion reality for PeptiDream’s cardio/metabolic macrocyclic peptides

PeptiDream’s peptide discovery platform system (PDPS) was at the heart of a $1.15 billion deal with Janssen, a unit of Johnson & Johnson (J&J), as the partners planned to develop macrocyclic/constrained peptides against metabolic and cardiovascular targets. The PDPS consists of flexizymes, ribozymes which can charge any tRNA with almost any amino acid and a system that transcribes and translates these into high affinity, selective and stable but easily modifiable peptides, which are selected against any biological targets using an in vitro display method. Janssen holds an exercisable option to peptide drug conjugate use and rights to progress any resulting candidates in exchange for upfront, funding and milestone payments totaling up to $1.15 billion plus royalties.

Janssen pledges $990 million for Protagonist’s PTG-200 targeting inflammatory bowel disease

Janssen also approached Protagonist for PTG-200 and related IL-23 receptor inhibitors for inflammatory bowel disease including Chrohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (figure 1). The oral disulfide-rich peptide is currently in IND-enabling studies with a phase I trial to be conducted by Protagonist this year, then joined by Janssen to progress the program through phase II (80% costs being covered by Janssen) after which Janssen may opt for exclusive worldwide rights. Protagonist will gain $50 million upfront, $325 million in option payments, up to $615 million in milestones plus royalties. This comes after a series of equity investments made in Protagonist by J&J Innovation to study oral peptides.



Figure 1: Janssen’s $990 million deal for Protagonists’ PTG-200 and related IL-23 inhibitors for IBD

Editor’s Note: All data contributing to this analysis was sourced from Cortellis Competitive Intelligence from Clarivate Analytics. Find useful tools and in-depth data across the biopharma competitive landscape:

This article was adapted from the complete Q2 licensing analysis from Cortellis which also includes coverage of Pfizer’s deals with Sangamo and Basiliea; Shire and Parion in ophthalmology; plus a look at the quarter’s most prolific dealmakers (BMS, Merck and  Merck KGaA); a Q2 milestones table; options and terminations; and a glimpse at early licensing action in Q3.

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