Biotech Investor Turned Entrepreneur is $3 Billion Richer

At the young age of 34, Vivek Ramaswamy, the CEO of Roivant Sciences, has a net worth of a staggering $600 million!

Graduating from Harvard with a degree in biology, followed by a J.D from Yale Law School, it’s fair to say that Vivek was bound to create ripples. 

As of 2018, this definite prediction has come true. With it, however, a little bit of controversy has come.

“Return on Investment” 

The ROI in Roivant Sciences are notoriously abbreviated for ‘Return on Investment,’ which is precisely how the CEO pictures the company to perform. Even though he’s made his fair share of profit from pharma drug cast-offs, other investors are still waiting for the piece of the pie.

Just recently announced, Roivant Sciences will be selling a few of their ownership stakes in a few biopharma companies. With a potential pharmaceutical buyer from Japan, Sumitomo Dainippon has taken an interest in the deal. A deal that can be worth up to $3billion, making an excellent return for the CEO of Roivant Sciences. 

However, it remains a mystery if the deal will fall through. Sumitomo has taken an interest in Vivek’s drug portfolio; with this deal, Sumitomo will have access to six different Roivant spinout companies. The platforms that Roviant has to offer and an additional 10% ownership stake. The issue lay in the fact that two of the companies involved in this transaction Myovant Sciences and Urovant Sciences are publicly traded.  

Will this be the way forward for Sumitomo? 

At this stage, nothing much can be said with absolute certainty. However, it’s interesting to bear in mind how Sumitomo Dainippon had been spiraling in losses because of its loss of patent protection on Latuda, the bipolar depression drug.

Venturing with Roivant is speculated to get Sumitomo out of this rut and stand back on its own feet. The Japanese pharmaceutical has chosen to buy stakes in five Roivant spin-offs (Myovant, Urovant, Enzyvant, Altavant and an as yet another ‘Vant’ company).

Roivant holds a significant position in these companies. If the deal finalizes, the stakes and interests will be transferred exclusively to Sumitomo.

With one of the spins off having a late-phase drug, it has become an asset for other pharmaceuticals companies looking for acquisitions. As of yet, a few of them are still in contact with FDA regarding approvals and regulations. However, it’s projected that this process won’t take as long as anticipated and will be marketed soon. 

In the long run, this deal is as beneficial for Roivant as it is for Sumitomo. A relationship that will give Sumitomo assets and investment to invest in other forms of therapy and medicinal technology. 

Genentech Signs Billion Dollar Deal with Sosei Heptares and Skyhawk

Genentech Inks Deal With Skyhawk And Sosei

Introduction

Genentech and Convelo Therapeutics collaborated to accelerate their discovery of the drugs to deal with different targets, such as the patients who are suffering from neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS). The two companies decided to work together to discover the therapies for MS as well as other myelin disorders. According to the deal, Convelo will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and also some support during the search from Genentech. 

Since the financial terms of Convelo were not disclosed, Genentech decided to enter into another deal whose worth is $1 billion today. The deal was between Genentech and Japan-based Sosei group. They joined hands in the discovery of novel medicines that would modulate G Protein-Coupled Receptor GPCR targets.

Genentech inks discovery deals with Skyhawk, Convelo

Genentech made a deal of $100 million ($1 billion) biobucks with G Protein-Coupled Receptor (GPCR) specialist Sosei Heptares and under this deal; both the companies will work on new meds that modulate GPCR targets. According to Nature, it is believed that between one third and one-half of all marketed drugs act by binding to GPCRs. If this is true, then it completely explains why Genentech was interested in this target.

They decided to focus on two things; one focused on cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, and the other focused on neurological disorders.

For this purpose, Sosei Heptares will combine its GPCR focused structure bases drug design with Genentech’s experiment and Skyhawk will use its Sky STAR technology to find out about small molecules that can modulate RNA splicing and treat numerous oncology and neurological disorders. 

Moreover, the good news is that Genentech is now going to discover both oncology and neurodegeneration and promises to develop market drugs for multiple diseases. In exchange, it only demands the promise of future payments and royalties. 

This agreement proves to be very helpful and exclusive for Genentech all over the world, as it gets the license to develop potential therapeutics that is directed to multiple targets. On the other hand, Skyhawk receives an upfront payment and gets the eligibility to receive all the future payments and royalties. This agreement also says that, if anything happens to clinical development or commercialization, Genentech would be held responsible for that. 

The Genentech collaboration comes to two months after Skyhawk teamed up with Takeda Pharmaceutical and after a year, it penned $60 million with Celgene, and now they could license up to five new drug candidates from the deal. 

As for the deal with Convelo, both Genentech and Convelo will work on new therapies for a better treatment that might revive fatty substances which not only protects but also gives a covering on nerve fibers that appears just like some coating. 

According to James Sabry,

“We believe that GPCRs are that class which plays a great role to cure many diseases. Thanks to Sosei Heptares, because of him, there are more and more drugs being discovered every year, his outstanding capabilities accelerated the discovery of drugs.”

Conversations with a CEO: Biotech Brothers Interviews Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov

As someone who writes about pharma and the biotech industry, I get invited to join the sidelines in hearing the stories of innovators in our field. I truly enjoy the idea of reporting about the research and innovations that scientists and CEOs take on.

When I first heard about the opportunity to sit down and talk to Dr. Alex, the founder of an artificial intelligence company in healthcare, I felt a rush. The chance to have a glimpse of the future in drug discovery.  As I was getting ready for the interview, what came to my mind was movies I saw as a child. Do you remember the film I,ROBOT the one with Will Smith? A very futuristic idea when people first hear about it, yet we arrived at an era where it no longer seems impossible.

Image via Pexels

Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov is the CEO and founder of Insilico Medicine. A company with the mission to have you living past the age of 150 years, maybe, even more.

What would you do if you knew you could live to 150 years?

Not only is he leading that project, but he has taken the ambitious goal of starting pharma.ai, young.ai, and chemistry.ai. Companies that are working together to harness the power of deep learning, where algorithms scour through images, videos, and genomic data recognizing trends and patterns to design compounds and molecules for medicine. (Woah)

Pharma.ai is one of his projects that uses genomic data to develop drugs. He has collaborations and partnerships with the biggest pharmaceuticals in the world, AstraZeneca and WuXi APPtech. A CEO that is changing the way that drugs are developed.

This is big. Drug discovery in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology is expensive and costly when trying to find the next billion-dollar drug. It takes a decade to have a drug approved, and 99% of the time, drugs fail phase III because it didn’t reach their endpoints. If you’re an investor that invested millions of dollars, you can kiss that money goodbye. Better hope the company has another IND (Investigational New Drug). 

His company has been cited more than 3,000 times, something that should not be left unnoticed. His goal is to publish an article every week. As a scientist, it is essential to note that publishing research is vital for transparency. It is what allows you to talk and be reviewed by other scientists about your research, experiment, results, and form a discussion of ways to improve experimental designs.

 I decided to ask him some more personal questions. I wanted to know more about the person behind the CEO and Scientist.

What does Dr. Alex do in his free time?

Dr. Zhavoronkov made sure to let me know that in his free time, he works. A workaholic determined to reach his goals.

What inspires Dr. Alex?

He said Jeff Bezos and Deep Mind. I’m sure the world knows who Jeff Bezos is by now if you have Alexa or an Amazon account you’re using his technology. Jeff Bezo’s has artificial intelligence in every part of Amazon. This has allowed him to build one of the wealthiest company in the world. Deep Mind is a company aiming to solve the most complex problems in the world without teaching a computer to solve the problem.

If you could have any answer in the world, what would it be?

He made sure to let me know that living forever. As someone who knew the story to his company, I wasn’t surprised that he continues his ambitions for longevity.

If you want to learn more about Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov, I invite you to visit his site. Artificial intelligence is the future of biology and chemistry. With innovators like Dr. Alex leading the way, who knows how long will it take to create a drug that will treat and cure diseases. I’m betting it will be soon.

Do you want to live forever? Comment your thoughts!

LUNDBECK SNAPS UP ABIDE THERAPEUTICS FOR $250 MILLION

Introduction

H. Lundbeck A/S is a Denmark based international pharmaceutical company specialized in brain diseases. The company is engaged tirelessly in the research, development, and sales of products related to the treatments of central nervous system disorders. This veteran neuroscience company recently struck a deal of $250 million cash down payment with Abide Therapeutics.

Abide Therapeutics is an innovative biopharmaceutical company focused on developing drugs for serious diseases which are unmet medically. The company’s main focus has been the use of serine hydrolase monoacylglycerol lipase (MGLL) to address neurological diseases.

The agreed deal terms dictate $250 million up-front payment to the current investors of Abide Therapeutics followed by $150 million payment in future by achieving sales and development milestones. The Abide’s laboratory in La Jolla, California, U.S along with the production of its lead molecule ABX-1431 will become a part of the drug development lab for Lundbeck in the U.S.

Why snap up Abide Therapeutics?

Abide Therapeutics has spent recent years in the development of serine hydrolase enzymes which are involved in potent activities like blood clotting, neuro-signaling, inflammation, and cancer. This means a broad range of neurological diseases can be cured using injections of serine hydrolases – a highly unexplored class of enzymes. The ABX-1431 discovered by Abide already played a vital role as an inhibitor to serine hydrolases or MGLL and research indicated that MGLL might play a role in curing multiple psychiatric and neurological conditions.

Lundbeck Company has been in the neuroscience research for more than 70 years and highlighted the potential of Abide’s platform to generate more innovative drugs that can yield good results against various brain disorders and diseases. The company has already employed approximately 5,000 individuals across 50 countries. It has developed pipelines, product sales over 100 countries and a well-established reputation. According to Lundbeck’s research, the unique discovery platform of Abide Therapeutics can aid Lundbeck to further their research and mission statement and decided to take over the U.S based Abide Biopharmaceutical Company.

Does it affect Lundbeck?

Lundbeck has recently suffered some setbacks in its pipeline system with the failure of AF35700 in treating schizophrenia in late phases of Alzheimer’s disease patients and yearns for new prospects to beat its competitors.

Lundbeck is expected to fuel the transaction using its existing cash reserves. The transaction will also have no impact on Lundbeck’s 2019 financial guidance range. This shows that H. Lundbeck A/S has invested its cash reserves on a seemingly great prospect. Abide’s rich pipelines will allow Lundbeck to target various serine hydrolases to develop novel treatments for people living with various brain disorders. The platform can further be used to enhance the serine hydrolase family using active agents to alter their functioning.

Lundbeck now has a potential game-changing research facility which may revolutionize the treatments of brain and central nervous system disorders using active enzymes. Whether this deal will pay off Lundbeck in the future remains a question of time ahead!

After a Successful IPO, CEO of Moderna Leaves 2018 With $59 Million

Introduction

The global realm of pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies is on a fierce competition of making ground-breaking stock revenues. Elite company’s top executive managements are trying to bag as many IPO as they can to raise their share price in the open market. The highly paid chief’s and CEO’s expertise are helping companies like Merck, Moderna, BeiGene to gain an edge over their other competitors.

A  Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company of Moderna made a record-breaking IPO back in December of 2018 which raised its public offering totals to $604 million. Moderna, Inc – a company focused on drug discovery and drug development signed a $58.6 million paycheck with its CEO Stéphane Bancel for 2018. This by far is ranked the highest pay of any CEO in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology business. The second highest on the list is Kare Schultz bagging $33 million packages from Teva Pharmaceuticals. The third on the list is John Oyler CEO of BeiGene who earned $27.89 million.

How did Stephane Bancel manage to amass a massive $58.6 million paycheck in a year?

Stephane Bancel’s total pay package of 2017 was worth $6.8 million. But the year 2018 changed the numbers in favor of Bancel and Moderna. This shocking rise resulted from the successful IPO back in December, where Moderna pulled in $604 million for the year 2018. Moderna sold 26.3 million of its shares at $23 each in its IPO and bumped a total of $604 million for the year 2018, raising the company’s net worth to mouth-watering $7.9 billion.

Another notable Chinese Hong-Kong pharmaceutical company BeiGene gathered a total of $903 million. Of which, $15 million was awarded to its CEO John Oyler, “in recognition of his extraordinary leadership and our achievements in 2017 and 2018 to date”.

This shows that it is not unusual for international pharmaceutical companies to make big numbers within a year. But in Moderna’s case, it became possible due to its CEO Stephane Bancel decision making who managed to grasp $4.59 million shares back in December. Stephanie Bancel has served as the Moderna’s CEO since the year 2011 and has made various partnerships with companies like AstraZeneca, Merck on certain conditions to expand his company’s biotechnological and drug-making operations.

Conclusion

For any individual working in a company, making big numbers like Kare Schultz, Stephane Bancel, and John Oyler is very intimidating and sounds impossible. But such numbers are easy to make from the position and power these individuals govern. In Stephane Bancel’s case, his massive paycheck of $59 million was an accumulation of his bonus awards of the past five years of efforts and his share of securing $4.59 million shares. Bancel’s original pay for the year 2018 was $863,000. The rest he accumulated through the stock trading and cash incentives.

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