With gene therapy becoming a hot growth area, semefi is studying how to gain more market share.
Recently, Thermo Fisher Scientific, a technology company, announced that it would acquire Brammer bio, a virus vector manufacturer, at a price of about US $1.7 billion.
The acquisition will strengthen semefi’s pharmaceutical service capacity in the field of gene therapy. Brammer bio expects to generate $250 million in revenue in 2019.
Dragon for bird
Semefi is a global leader in scientific services and the instrument industry. Semefi’s main customers include pharmaceutical and biological companies, hospitals and clinical diagnostic laboratories, universities, scientific research institutes and government agencies, as well as environmental and industrial process control equipment manufacturers. Its global operating revenue exceeded US $24 billion in 2018.
With the vigorous development of the pharmaceutical field, semefi set its sights on the pharmaceutical field in 2017.
In 2017, semefi’s biggest acquisition was the acquisition of patheon, a pharmaceutical contract customized R & D and production (cdmo) company, which is a major participant in the cdmo market and provides R & D solutions for small molecules and macromolecules. That acquisition will enable semefi to enter the cdmo market with a scale of US $40 billion.
Two months ago, semefi sold its anatomical pathology business to PHC Holdings Corporation, a Japanese medical holding company, for $1.14 billion in cash. Now it seems that the sale of anatomical pathology business has provided some ammunition for semefi’s acquisition of Brammer bio.
For semefi, this is also a “repeat of the old technology”. As early as 2014, in order to complete the acquisition of life technologies, semefi sold part of its biological production business (including cell culture medium and serum, gene regulation and magnetic bead business) to GE Healthcare at a price of US $1 billion.
This time, semefi “Teng cage for bird” squeezed into the hot gene therapy track.
Founded in 2015, Brammer bio is a viral vector contract development and manufacturing organization (cdmo) that produces viral vectors. In gene therapy, normal genes are transmitted through vectors, which are usually viruses genetically modified to contain human DNA.
“The acquisition of Brammer bio will expand Murphy’s pharmaceutical services business and further strengthen our ability to provide services to customers in the field of biopharmaceutical and biotechnology.” Marc n. Casper, President and CEO of Thermo Fisher, said, “In recent years, our customers pay more and more attention to the field of gene therapy, especially the potential of using gene therapy to treat genetic diseases. Combining Brammer bio’s virus vector ability with our GMP production expertise, as well as proprietary bioprocessing and cell culture technology, can help our customers promote the rapid growth of gene therapy market.”
After more than 20 years of exploration, the gene therapy industry is now in a period of rapid development.
Gene therapy – the replacement of defective genes with healthy genes – provides potential treatments for hundreds of genetic diseases, such as hemophilia and muscular dystrophy.
In the field of cancer, for the in vitro genetic transformation of T cells, the fastest progress has been made in the treatment of hematoma in the form of car-t. in 2017, two car-t from Novartis and kite were approved by FDA, which is a milestone.
In the field of rare genetic diseases, gene therapy has also developed rapidly. The US FDA has approved Spark’s gene drug luxturna for rare eye diseases. At the same time, gene therapy has made positive progress in many rare genetic diseases such as hemophilia, nervous system diseases and sickle anemia. Leading companies include biomrin, avexis, Bluebird, etc.
Although gene therapy is expensive, its commercial potential is huge. Data show that more than 5000 rare diseases in the world are caused by single gene mutation, so targeted “gene” targeted therapy can be carried out. Analysts predict that although the number of patients with individual diseases is limited, in view of their high pricing, many treatments for single diseases may still generate sales revenue of $1 billion or more.
Pharmaceutical giants have been committed to producing a wide range of innovative drugs. Now, they are awakening. In addition to tumor treatment, gene therapy may be the place where the next “miracle” will be born in the field of rare diseases.
Since 2018, in the field of high growth gene therapy, M & A activities of pharmaceutical enterprises have emerged one after another.
In April 2018, Novartis acquired avexis, a manufacturer of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) gene therapy, for $8.7 billion (88% premium). On March 8, 2019, Roche announced the acquisition of spark therapeutics, a gene therapy manufacturer for rare eye diseases and hemophilia, for us $4.8 billion (122% premium). On March 11, Biogen also announced that it would acquire nightstar therapeutics, a gene therapy company headquartered in London, UK, for about US $800 million. On March 20, Pfizer acquired 15% of vivet therapeutics, a rare disease gene therapy development company, at a price of up to 605 million euros (US $687 million), to jointly develop Wilson disease gene therapy.
In addition to the semefi this time, the giants are scrambling to seize the track in the field of gene therapy.
At the same time, the resources of the capital industry are also competing to tilt towards the gene field. From the investment and financing data in 2018, gene editing and gene therapy have attracted much attention. Google venture capital, Temasek, Sequoia Capital, Yunfeng fund, Hillhouse capital and other star institutions have begun to layout gene editing technology.
In the field of gene therapy in China, car-t is the most concerned at present, and it is also the direction of concentrated investment in capital and scientific research. In particular, China’s cell therapy industry has gradually stepped into the formal stage after experiencing the adverse effects of previous non-standard. Many companies, including Nanjing legend, Keji biology, youcadi, boshengji and hengrundasheng, have applied for clinical trials according to the drug approval process, and Nanjing legend’s lcar-b38m in the field of multiple myeloma has obtained clinical approval.
In 2018, the total financing in the gene field was about US $986 million, which was basically the same as that in 2017. In the cold winter of capital, it is relatively difficult for investment institutions to raise funds. They are more cautious to invest in enterprises with leading technology and more stable development in the industry.
Data source: arterial network
Although multinational pharmaceutical companies have seen the potential of gene editing therapy, there are still few companies in this field. Scarcity is more expensive, which may be another reason for large pharmaceutical enterprises to acquire at a high premium. The biotechnology companies that have made rapid progress in the field of gene therapy sorted out by the morning sentry analysis team are listed as follows:
Qihan biology was founded in Hangzhou in 2017 by the original team of egenesis (Yang Luhan and George Church). In July, qihan biology announced a round of financing of US $7.8 million, led by Sequoia Capital China fund, with arch venture, Aurora Borealis venture capital, Shulan medical capital, biomatics Capital Partners and Alta partners participating in the financing.
Boya gene was founded by Wei Wensheng (deputy director of gene editing branch of genetic society and expert of CDE drug registration review expert committee) in 2015. In 2017, Boya gene was listed as one of the ten technology intensive start-ups favored by capital by the top biotechnology journal Nature Biotechnology. It is worth mentioning that they are the only Asian company. Boya gene completed the pre-B round of RMB 100 million in August 2018. The investment institutions involved include Lilly Asia, IDG capital, Huagai capital, etc.
Beam therapeutics, a new company jointly founded by Zhang Feng, David Liu and J. Keith joung, is the first innovative company in the world to develop precision gene drugs by using single base editing technology, and received US $87 million in round a financing.
Uniqure, headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has been developing gene therapy since the end of last century, mainly focusing on adeno-associated virus (AAV). Uniqure is carrying out the later research of hemophilia B gene therapy amt-061, and strives to be listed in 2020. Some analysts predict that if the therapy is approved, it will generate more than $1 billion in sales revenue every year.
It is a leading developer of viral vectors and gene therapy methods. At present, more than 20 partners use their vectors, including Novartis’s SMA gene therapy. Regenxbio also has some independently developed treatments, such as a treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration or AMD.
Sarepta can treat patients with muscular dystrophy caused by dystrophin gene mutation (deletion of exon 51), which accounts for about 13% of all patients with muscular dystrophy. The drug generated about $300 million in sales last year, but the therapy is administered once a week and needs to be used regularly.
Audentes’s main treatment target is fatal muscle disease X-linked myotube myopathy (xlmtm). Last October, the company reported “significant improvement in neuromuscular and respiratory function” in an early trial involving seven xlmtm patients, enabling the infants in the trial to take off the ventilator.
The company is a leader in genome editing and is committed to using arcus ® The editing platform cured cancer and genetic diseases. The company obtained a round B financing of US $110 million and was favored by industrial investors such as Gilead and Amgen.