💊 AstraZeneca and LaNova team up against myeloma; Gilead and Arcus renew their vows; WHO reports on the fight against AMR
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Hello, and welcome back to The Kable! You signed up for The Kable, so blissful ignorance is not for you, not even on a heavy day like today, where developments aren't exactly upbeat. But then again, when did life sciences promise sunshine, rainbows, and rose gardens?
Onwards with the news.
Big Pharma continues to make Big Deals. AstraZeneca has entered an exclusive licensing agreement with China-based biotech LaNova Medicines for the latter's LM-305 – a pre-clinical GPRC5D-targeting antibody-drug conjugate, or ADC. This potential treatment for relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma will get LaNova upfront and near-term payments of up to $55 million, with additional milestone payments potentially running total payments to about $600 million.
Patent wars continue to keep things interesting in the life sciences. Moderna has filed two counterclaims against Alnylam, accusing the latter of making baseless claims to profit off of Moderna's Covid vaccine.
Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences and Arcus Biosciences clearly don't have commitment issues. After a 10-year agreement announced in 2020 to venture into the cancer target space, Gilead is now paying Arcus $35 million as the companies pick four targets for inflammatory disease. The first two programmes could be worth up to $420 million in milestone payments, while the partners would split costs and profits on the latter two.
Brazil, the world's leading chicken exporter, has been lucky on the bird flu front so far. But the country's Agriculture Ministry is now confirming two cases of avian influenza in wild birds. Poultry, however, is still safe from the clutches of H5N1, and the recent cases shouldn't trigger a poultry import ban in other countries, as per World Organisation for Animal Health guidelines.
And finally, the US CDC is reporting the country's first-known cases of treatment-resistant ringworm in patients in New York City.