The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

Category Archives: Jeremy Grushcow

This Week in the Twitterverse

Some weekend reading from our Twitter stream on @crossborderbio:

Biotech Trends Update — Biosimilars Blur IP Constituencies: Novartis and Pfizer-Biocon are Featured in the Economist

Two 9-figure announcements this week mark a turning point for the biosimilars market, and one highlights the increasingly important role India plays in innovation.

  1. Pfizer linked up with India’s Biocon in a deal that will see Biocon take the lead in development of four biosimilar insulin products that gives Biocon $200 million up front. Coverage of the deal in the Business Standard highlights the country’s overall strength in biosimilars, which fall midway between new molecule development and small molecule generics in terms of the R&D and manufacturing sophistication required. Biocon cites the deal as proof that India can move up the value chain, doing for biosimilars what it did for generics. This is especially true if they continue to attract backing and partnerships from the Pfizers of the world.
  2. Novartis’ generics unit, Sandoz, reported Q3 revenues of $292 million from a single biosimilar product — enoxaparin, a copy of Sanofi-Aventis’ anticoagulant Lovenox — which is not expected to hit blockbuster status in its own right. As we have noted before, the high level of expertise required to make biosimilars creates a high barrier to entry and contributes to the field’s attractiveness to traditional pharmas (e.g., Pfizer, above) as well as to the major generics players. FierceBiotech notes further growth is expected as the first biosimilar antibodies hit the market in 2014-2015.

The Economist picked up the relevant trends in an article today entitled “Attack of the Biosimilars“:

1) “Innovator” pharmas are moving into the biosimilars business, reversing their recent role as the predominant plaintiffs in IP litigation:

“…it is ironic that the next great opportunity for traditional drugs firms is to do to the biotechnology interlopers exactly what the generics firms have done to them: shred their profit margins with cheaper copies…”

2) India in moving up the innovation value chain, increasing that country’s incentive to protect IP more forcefully:

“And as if to remind the world that new ideas don’t all come from America, it is the Indian firm that will design and manufacture the original drugs; Pfizer will only market them.”

Bottom line: biosimilars are at least as big a business as predicted. This success is another challenge to the concept that pharma’s patent cliff challenge will be met by more in-licensing from small biotechs or by increased R&D spending. Revenue is revenue, and biosimilars are poised to generate lots more of it.

This Week in the Twitterverse

Lots of great weekend reading from our Twitter stream on @crossborderbio, including news and commentary on the latest in personalized medicine and the Canadian VC landscape:

 

Biotech Trends Update — Personalized Medicine: Duncan’s Personalized Health Manifesto is Primarily Preventative

Image from flickr user Steve Rhodes. Some rights reserved.Journalist David Ewing Duncan’sPersonalized Health Manifesto” was published this week by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The most interesting thing about the manifesto* is that it assumes that the technical hurdles to generating and understading a full set of personalized health data have been overcome, and focuses on how that information can be deployed most effectively.  Duncan says that “a widening gap exists in integrating and implementing this promising new epoch of personalized health.” There are two main themes in the manifesto: integration and prevention.

Integration comes from Duncan’s view about how the flood of personalized data should be analyzed by researchers and physicians:

“A balance between specialization and integration needs to be restored,with an emphasis on the whole human organism as much as its parts…”

Prevention is, for Duncan, the natural best use of personalized data:

“Shifting to a health care system based as much on healthy wellness as illness is achievable…”

Both are laudable long-term goals, but I am not convinced of the need for urgent action on either point.

Specialization is (as Duncan acknowledges) what has enabled us to discover personalized markers and to analyze them on a allele-by-allele basis. We are a long way from making meaningful predictions about systemic effects on complex traits based on the available information. A shift too early away from specialization could prevent us from ever developing the underlying science sufficiently to make reliable predictions.

And shifting to a preventative healthcare system is not a goal I view as being unique to personalized medicine. As genomic testing becomes widely available, and patients begin to process their data, complex traits continue to present a challenge for them and their doctors — now that I know I have an increased risk of heart disease, I should shift my diet and increase my exercise. But these are things preventative healthcare advocates have been recommending for decades; and there is no evidence that I’ve seen that suggests the genetic information about increased risk is more motivational than family history, or peer behaviour, or any other non-personalized factor.

Bottom line: I’m no expert on manifestos, but while there’s nothing in this one I feel strongly opposed to, it doesn’t move me to action either. Read the whole thing (it’s not very long) and form your own (personalized) view.

* Other than his decision to call it a manifesto.
Image from flickr user  Steve RhodesSome rights reserved.

Biotech Trends Update — Biosimilars: FDA Meeting Formally Announced, EMA Working on Rules for (a few) Antibody Biosimilars

Reuters reports that the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which has already approved 13 biosimilars, is expecting to publish guidelines in November on biosimilar antibody therapeutics. EMA Executive Director Thomas Lonngren said that clinical trials will be required for antibody biosimilars (as they are for the products EMA has approved to date), but that requirements were likely to be less onerous than in the United States.

Reuters says that the small number of requests (six) received by EMA so far “reflects the difficulties of making such copycat medicines [antibodies]” but with the earliest therapeutic antibodies coming off patent (in Europe) in 2014, I expect these initial inquiries are just the tip of the iceberg. Of couse, biosimilars are hard (as we’ve noted); but a lucrative opportunity of that scale will not go untapped.

Meanwhile, as expected based on the draft notice leaked in September, the FDA is holding public meetings on the implementation of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (i.e., the biosimilars legislation). The full Federal Register notice (pdf) is up, and Mark Sernak at eyeonfda.com has extracted the questions posted for comment.

In addition to a long list of scientific and technical questions, there are a couple of inquiries that I’d highlight from a corporate law perspective:

  1. Which types of related entities may be ineligible for a period of 12-year exclusivity for a subsequent BLA, given the “potential transfer of BLAs from one corporate entity to another and the complexities of corporate and business relationships”; and
  2. Whether the existing fee structure under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) should be considered as a model in establishing a user fee structure for biosimilar applications.

Interested in attending or in submitting a comment? The FDA’s meeting information page is here, and it includes webcast access for November 2 and November 3.

Canadian Venture Capital Data from Q2 2010 Shows Big Jump From Q2 2009 but Only Moderate Increase for Biotech

The Q2 issue of Industry Canada’s Venture Capital Monitor is up, and it shows “the highest level of VC activity since Q3 2008,” though that is still “significantly lower than the quarterly average of $440M recorded over the previous five years before the downturn.”

A couple of (particularly) parochial notes:

  1. First-time deals at the seed and start-up stages of development were hurt by a decline in first-time, early-stage investments in Ontario, which recorded only one new deal at the seed or start-up stage in Q2 2010.
  2. Biotech investment saw a 13% increase to $91 million, but it paled in comparison to the 71% increase for IT (to $149 million) and the 377% increase (to $56 million) for “energy and environmental technologies.”

How does the future look? Steady overall. Canadian VC fundraising was down a bit (7% from Q2 2009), totalling only $255 million; but for the year ended June 30, 2010, the total raised was “roughly the same as the annual average from 2005 to 2008.” There is no sector breakdown, though, and everyone our neck of the woods knows we’re due for a turnaround in in Canadian life sciences VC fundraising.

This Week in the Twitterverse

Here’s some weekend reading from our Twitter stream on @crossborderbio …

  • Friday Science Review is back, thx to Mark Curtis! Today’s cool Canadian science = tomorrow’s cool startups… http://ow.ly/19f2te1
  • DTC genetics link in last tweet is from @CMAJ_News – also contrasts Class III regulation of companion diagnostics. I.e. DTC is non-clinical?
  • MT @genomicslawyer: …Health Canada is taking a “far more relaxed approach” than U.S. regulators to DTC genetics http://bit.ly/bX3Il7
  • RT @JohnCFierce: Covance is buying 3 R&D facilities from sanofi and inked a 10-yr research contract worth up to $2.2B http://reut.rs/dBbQ7F
  • RT @MSBiV: Leap Medical completes second tranche of financing http://bit.ly/dl7KbL a @McGillU spin-off and @MSBiV investee
  • Planning to! RT @robannan: I’m going – anyone else? RT @JVPLS @sciencepolicy Canadian Science Policy Conf Mtl Oct.20-22 http://ow.ly/2KpWG
  • Biovail, Valeant shareholders vote to approve merger, expected to close tomorrow. http://bit.ly/aAstb0
  • RT @MaRSDD: Blog – Got a management challenge? Win a ticket to see Malcolm Gladwell! … http://bit.ly/cdQkDv
  • RT @genomicslawyer: BGI as one of China’s multiple “moon shots”, as told by Thomas Friedman of NYT: http://nyti.ms/aJlNvY H/T @phylogenomics
  • Happy Bday! RT @IlseTreurnicht: Birthday cake @MaRSDD: 5 years since opening of the MaRS Centre today…
  • Healthcare giving down in the U.S. and up in Canada (2008 vs 2009, tho 2009 in Canada just = recovery to 2006 levels) http://bit.ly/aaENDU

More OETF Investments Announced, Including NeurAxon

The Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund got off to a bit of a slow start on the life sciences front, but last month it added Lumira and CTI Life Sciences as qualified investors.

Now, CTI has taken advantage of that status with OETF participating in a $14 million round of convertible debentures issued by NeurAxon, along with Delphi Ventures, OrbiMed, Ventures West, H.I.G. Ventures, BDC, NeuroVentures Fund and Lawrence Bloch (NeurAxon’s CEO).

Other investments announced today were in Covarity (software for commercial loan portfolio management) and Shoplogix (real-time performance management solutions for manufacturers), meaning a full 1/3 was allocated to life sciences in this batch. Good news for CTI and for Ontario life sciences companies.

Hat tip to MRI on Twitter (@OntInnovation) for this announcement. Note CTI is an Ogilvy client.

Biotech Trends Update — IP Constituencies: Endo’s Qualitest Purchase Shows Full Integration of Innovator and Generic Strategies

Endo Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ENDP) announced yesterday morning that it will spend $1.2 billion to buy U.S. generics company Qualitest Pharmaceuticals. Endo also has an active pipeline of “innovative” products in development, emphasizing the industry trend we’ve been following of a narrowing distinction between innovator and generics companies.

Endo began its modern existence after being spun out of DuPont Merck in 1997, where it had been that company’s generics division. Instead of continuing in as a pure generics company, though, Endo in-licensed Lidoderm in 1998 and since then has mixed generics and innovative programs with wanton disregard for the traditional industry divide. In fact, Endo’s planning seems to be focused more on product classes than on patent status. The Qualitest purchase, for example, was framed as an expansion of their pain franchise. Another example of Endo’s non-traditional aggregation is pairing the Bioniche license for Urocidin (an innovative bladder cancer product in Phase III) with their purchase of HealthTronics (a urology services and equipment company).

As companies like Endo look to replace revenue from expiring patents, don’t expect them to do it in traditional ways or by sticking to traditional silos. Check out other examples here, or point me to others in the comments.

This Week in the Twitterverse

Lots of great weekend reading from our Twitter stream on @crossborderbio, including a plane that flies like a bird, a $450 million licensing deal and links to several worthwhile upcoming events:

Cross-Border Biotech Blog News: Favourite Features Returning With New Authors

I’m excited to announce that the Monday Biotech Deal Review and the Friday Science Review will be back next week to restart your regular dosing of Canada’s Biotech inventions and transactions.

The Monday Deal Review will be authored by Jacob Cawker, who has worked with me on the blog in various capacities over the past three years. Jake recently joined Ogilvy Renault LLP as an associate in the Business Law group, and will be part of our Life Sciences transactional team.  He has an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto at Mississauga with a specialist in Psychology and a particular interest in neuroscience, and he worked in a behaviour genetics lab at the University of Toronto before entering law school at Osgoode Hall University.

The Friday Science Review will be authored by Mark Curtis, who recently left scientific research to pursue various consulting positions in the biotechnology sector. He has frequently worked as a consultant to Bloom Burton & Co., a boutique investment bank in Toronto that focuses exclusively on the biotechnology and healthcare industries. Prior to this he carried out research at the Ontario Cancer Institute where he focused on cellular reprogramming of human cells. Mark completed a Master’s degree in Biotechnology, with a specialization in stem cell biology, at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

Why Technology Transfer Offices Should Focus on Sponsored Research and Ignore Royalties: In Praise of UNC’s “Express License”

A story by Xconomy’s Sylvia Pagán Westphal yesterday highlights a new approach to technology transfer licensing being taken by UNC Chapel Hill’s Office of Technology Development: The Carolina Express License. At first glance, the agreement looks, as Westphal puts it, “not very sweet for the university.” UNC takes 0.75% of any exit transaction, but no equity, no milestones and only a 1% or 2% royalty. Here’s Westphal’s description of the UNC approach (including a witty juxtaposition of religious imagery):

“They call it the holy grail of tech transfer, though critics, I reckon, think of it more as heresy. Either way, it’s gutsy.”

Count me in the group that considers it tech transfer Nirvana Nirvana.

Why? Maximizing revenue from individual licenses is the wrong priority for University tech transfer. As UNC’s Cathy Innes says:

“Where we hope to gain is that if we get a lot of companies started, more of them will be successful and have more products on the market, so we’ll be more successful…”

The University of California tech transfer system calls this the “Home Run Model,” (pdf) recognizing that even with 420 companies founded and 800 products on the market, nearly half of all licensing revenue comes from the top 5 products and the top 25 accounted for 75.6% of all 2009 licensing revenue. If more companies are started, there’s a better chance one of them is the home run.

Here’s another reason: easier licensing negotiations mean more sponsored research, and sponsored research is way bigger than licensing. For example, the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation took in $7 million in licensing revenue in 2008; but nets $500 million annually in sponsored research. Even tech transfer powerhouse Stanford takes in almost 7 times more money from industry-sponsored research than it does from licensing (PowerPoint). A small increment in sponsored research would easily offset the marginal licensing revenue sacrificed in UNC’s template.

Since December when the Express License was introduced, it has been used to found 6 companies out of UNC. Whether these six succeed or fail, I bet every person involved — the P.I.s, the founders and the funders — will be more likely to work with UNC again than if they had negotiated an individualized license. Westphal quotes Lita Nelsen, director of the Technology Transfer Office at MIT as saying the University license “is not the hard part of the problem,” but the UNC model sounds vastly less painful than every tech transfer story I’ve heard or been involved in.

Bottom line: a better tech transfer experience = an easier start-up = more companies = more sponsored research = more tech transfer wins. Here’s hoping that UNC’s Express License goes forth and multiplies.

Twitter connection: hat tip to @ldtimmerman and @Michael_Gilman for links to the Xconomy story. Follow Sylvia Pagán Westphal on Twitter at @sylviawestphal or as part of my Twitter list of Biotech Pharma and Health personalities.

Biotech Trends Update — Biosimilars: FDA Meeting in November to Discuss BCPI Act Implementation

Adam Feuerstein at TheStreet.com reported this morning on a draft FDA notice for a planned November meeting on implementation of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, which was passed as part of the healthcare reform legislation.

The BPCI Act (42 U.S.C. 262(k)(8)) provides for the FDA to author guidance “with respect to the licensure of a biological product” — pretty broad, so we’ll have to stay tuned for the actual meeting notice. However, the legislation provides some hint in permitting “product class-specific guidance” specifying criteria that will be used to determine whether a biological product is highly similar to a reference product in such product class.

If the FDA decides to move ahead with product class guidance, it would likely specify the criteria that will be used to determine whether a biological product meets the standards for “interchangeability”.

In other cases, the FDA may determine that “the science and experience [to date] … with respect to a product or product class … does not allow approval of a [biosimilar] for such product or product class.”

Bottom line: following the FDA’s November meetings, biosimilars will be one step closer in the U.S.

P.S. Adam Feuerstein cites Alec Vachon (@HEALTH_NOTES) on Twitter for breaking the story Friday. Not sure why I haven’t found him before, but Alec is now added to my Biopharma-IT-Health Twitter list.

Flow-Through Shares for Biotech: Welcome to National Biotechnology Week in Canada

Tomorrow is the first day of National Biotechnology Week in Canada. The imagenation.ca website has lots of info, and you can follow @BIOTECanadaNBW on Twitter.

One of this year’s big policy initiatives is a push to expand Canada’s Flow-Through Shares program from mining and wind power to include biotech and other cleantech companies. I gave a short presentation today on what Flow-Through Shares are, how they work and why they’re a great idea for Canada’s biotech industry.* Enjoy:

Happy National Biotechnology Week, everyone!

*Modified from a presentation authored by Ogilvy’s Flow-Through Guru Rick Sutin.

Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference (ABIC) In Saskatoon This Week Highlights Canada’s Strength in Ag-Biotech

The ABIC conference in Saskatoon this week is highlighting Canada’s strength in the field (har). Canada has world-class resources to compete: plenty of arable and marginal land, and bushels (sorry) of know-how and innovation.

Two Canadian announcements of note at the conference:

  1. Saskatchewan’s Premier, Brad Wall, announced $5 million over 4 years for ag-bio projects. The funds will be provided through the Province’s Agriculture Development Fund, which takes applications annually in a March 1 to April 15 window.
  2. Linnaeus Plant Sciences announced “a licensing agreement with DuPont to use oil gene intellectual property, advanced gene technologies and biotechnology expertise developed by DuPont to accelerate development and commercialization of value-added Camelina oil” with the goal of developing “industrial applications for oil seeds for uses beyond fuels, including hydraulic fluids, greases and polymer production.”*

The recent moves toward FDA approval for AquaBounty’s genetically-enhanced salmon are another example of Canadian strength, though it’s outside the scope of ABIC.

The conference is not as new-media-savvy as I’d like; but for more news from ABIC 2010, keep an eye on the dead tree and online versions of the StarPhoenix, which has been reporting from the meeting.

* Disclosure: The CEO of Linnaeus, Jack Grushcow, is my uncle and Ogilvy Renault worked on this deal.

Gone Fishing

I am taking a break from the online world for a couple of weeks and will be back after Labo(u)r Day. Until then, check out the industry trends pages or my Twitter list of biopharma and health news sources. See you in September!

Monday Biotech Deal Review: August 16, 2010

Another decent week for Canada’s biotech companies, with about $30 million of securities sold and more deals launched. Big headlines this week for Alectos’ Alzheimer’s collaboration with Merck, which gets a US$289 million number but declines to split out the up-front payment or other details of the fee structure. Also, eHealth Ontario is spending significant money again, this time awarding a $46.5 million contract to a CGI subsidiary for work on a chronic disease management system. Finally, Biovail sold some CRO assets in a deal that passed under the radar until their Q2 report. 

And, to make sure an important thank-you doesn’t fly under the radar, I’d like to include an above-the-fold thanks this week to Keldeagh Lindsay, the Ogilvy Renault student who has been doing a great job helping out with the Monday Biotech Deal Review all summer. And now,

Read more of this post

This Week in the Twitterverse

Here’s some reading for the weekend from our Twitter stream on @crossborderbio:

Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund (OETF) Shows Signs of Life (Sciences), Adds Biotech Investments and Investors

An announcement this morning from the OETF — Ontario’s (née) $250 million co-investment fund – shows positive signs for potential matching investments in the life sciences.

First, the OETF announced an investment in Natrix Separations. BDC wore the “Qualified Investor” hat on that one, but Natrix is in GrowthWorks’ Canadian Fund portfolio, so we know at least one life sciences VC has found a way to access the OETF funds.

Second, the OETF announced that Lumira Capital and CTI Life Sciences Fund are now Qualified Investors. Both have extensive life science portfolios (Lumira, CTI) and recent successful exits (Lumira: Resonant, Ception; CTI: TargeGen).

So, is this the tip of the biotech iceberg for the OETF? The level of disclosure required to qualify has been cited as a barrier to VC participation in OETF investments and some structural challenges remain for life science companies hoping to leverage the fund’s money; so it’s too soon to say. It sure is encouraging to discover that these challenges aren’t prohibitive. Stay tuned…

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Monday Biotech Deal Review: August 9, 2010

Catching up from the long weekend last week, we have a full two weeks’ worth of deals to bring you. Highlights include $16.7 million of securities closings, $8.25 million launched; and interesting developments in the Forbes Medi-Tech and Northstar Healthcare acquisitions. Check out what the last two weeks have wrought… after the jump

This Week in the Twitterverse

Even though posts have dropped off between the long weekend last week and some business travel, I’ve been keeping Twitter up to date and will resume with a two-week deal review on Monday. In the meantime, here’s some reading to catch up on:

FedDev Ontario is Feeding $45 million Through NRC-IRAP to Support SMB Innovation

During a visit to Sernova (TSXV: SVA) today, Gary Goodyear* announced that $45 million of FedDev Ontario money will be deployed through the NRC’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).

IRAP has been a relatively effective vehicle for funding life science companies and has taken a prominent role since having been allocated $200 million in the 2009 federal budget. In 2010, NRC-IRAP has funded companies directly, including Isotechnika, Critical Outcome Technologies and Covalon (among others) and indirectly through the Health Technology Exchange (HTX).

Sernova press-released the announcement today, noting that they received $486,000 from NRC-IRAP in the 2009-2010 cycle; but it was unclear whether that funding was part of the FedDev allocation or whether FedDev-IRAP funds were forthcoming in the 2010-2011 cycle.

* Yes, Gary Goodyear is now the Minister of State for FedDev Ontario.

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Monday Biotech Deal Review: July 26, 2010

Things were interesting for Forbes Medi-Tech (or at least its creditors), which saw a new bidder emerge for its assets. A few placements and other deals closed, some lower than expected. See who made it through the heat without wilting this week after the jump…

Monday Biotech Deal Review: July 19, 2010

Lots of deals this week. Some good news, some bad news. On the good news front, a steady volume of securities and M&A activity is continuing through the summer; and one Canadian firm benefits from the U.S. Defense Departments exploration of RNAi products as anti-virals. On the other hand front, though, a licensing option expired, a liquidation proceeded and marketing rights were voluntarily surrendered. See who’s who after the jump…

This Week in the Twitterverse

Here’s some reading for the weekend from our Twitter stream on @crossborderbio:

E&Y Beyond Borders Biotech Report 2010 — Canadian Biotech Data

I went to Ernst & Young‘s Toronto presentation of this year’s Beyond Borders global biotech report (pdf) this morning. The report is a retrospective of 2009, so many of the data points and trends reflect things you’ve seen already; but as always, I’d encourage you to read the whole thing for good synthesis and commentary.

E&Y’s headline was: 2009 showed strong overall sector performance including global profitability, which was largely buoyed by U.S. profits (good) and by a global reduction in R&D spending (bad).

The Canadian data generally reflected global trends:

  • Canadian biotech revenues were up 9% over last year; but
  • R&D spending in Canada was down 44%; and
  • The number of Canadian public companies was down from 72 to 60

The principal challenges identified in the report are:

  • a higher bar for seeking capital; and
  • big cuts in R&D (21% global decrease)

E&Y describes the new normal as “seeking efficiency,” which is they say is leading to new models:

  • Investors are embracing virtual R&D, failing fast, strategic outsourcing and risk sharing, and (to some extent) open innovation.
  • Pharma wants optionality, out-licensing, commercial milestones, and (ditto) open innovation.
  • Governments and payors are pushing comparative effectiveness, outcomes-based pricing models (where pharma reimburses payors for cost of treating non-responding patients), and formularies; all with the goal of trying to provide increased access with reduced budgets.
  • Biotech companies are turning to creative fundraising (e.g., foundations), “deep pockets” partnerships (e.g., Roche-Genentech pre-acquisition) and strategic outsourcing.

Global deal data was decent: $800m IPOs, $6.6b follow-ons (second-highest of the decade), $5.8b venture, $10b “other” (PIPEs, etc), but the distribution shows a big split between haves and have-nots. There was a sustained high level of licensing deals in the U.S., but a small blip downward for pharma-biotech M&A (likely temporary).

The Canadian financing data was worse: absent Biovail’s debt deal, 2009 would have been among the worst of the decade. VC financing was the worst of the decade at only $21million. The one bright spot was that there were six Canadian licensing agreements each over $100m value.

One interesting dataset followed companies reporting less than one year of cash. This has been a staple of BIOTECanada’s data, and E&Y’s global data reflected the Canadian trends:

  • The steady state (normal) level of companies with less than 1 year of cash is about 25-30%, but 2008 saw a big jump – to over 40% in E&Y’s data (vs up to 70% in BIOTECanada’s 2009 survey).
  • The expectation was to see a lot of culling and consolidation after this jump, and consensus was a 25-33% reduction, but only an 11% reduction was observed (globally and in Canada) and remaining companies regained cash.
  • Of the 44% at the end of 2008 that had less than 1 year of cash, 57% of those still had less than 1 year of cash in 2009, 13% had disappeared, and the remainder had achieved over 1 year of cash, including 9% that managed to get more than 5 years of cash.

Overall, the industry showed significant resilience and continues to demonstrate creative approaches to cash efficient operation, which it will continue to need as the dearth of new VC funds raised means an even wider “valley of death.”

Monday Biotech Deal Review: July 12, 2010

This week saw several interesting deals, including an $85+ million exit for Sentinelle, some “bio-bucks” made good for Cipher, a licensing deal for Amorfix’s vCJD technology, a $10 million malaria deal for BC-based Artepharm and a new name (Medwell Capital) to go along with BioMS’ new business model. Read more of this post

This Week in the Twitterverse

As you may have surmised (from my out-of-office email or from my attempts to get the attention of Delta’s customer service tweeps) I was out of town this week. Still, here’s some weekend reading for you from our Twitter stream @crossborderbio:

Monday Biotech Deal Review: July 5, 2010

Not a bad week for deals, considering the holiday weekend in both Canada and the U.S.. Response Biomedical placed a PIPE with OrbiMed funds, CTI did a follow-on round in Zymeworks and LAB Research took an equity line. Plus a companion diagnostic deal from Aeterna, just as I’m planning for Diagnostics Asia in August. The week’s rounded out with $450k from the NRC and a spin-out from Ondine. Read more of this post

This Week in the Twitterverse

Here’s some reading for the weekend from our Twitter stream on @crossborderbio:

  • RT @IBMResearch: Roche and IBM Collaborate to Develop Nanopore-Based DNA Sequencing Technology – http://cot.ag/9vbj8l 
  • RT @CBCHealth: Chalk River reactor to restart in July: AECL http://bit.ly/d66r72 
  • RT @ogilvyrenault: Ogilvy Renault’s Rick Sutin quoted in Financial Post article on TSX/TSXV’s strength in cleantech http://bit.ly/cFAXr2 
  • RT @markrmcqueen @theC100 Another C100 financing: Altos Ventures backs Toronto/SF-based Kontagent for social analytics http://fb.me/zG06wkZQ
  • SV Life Sciences closes Fund V. Aimed for $400m, got $523m. http://bit.ly/9SSCPv Congrats! Come invest some of that extra $ in Canada! 
  • RT @FierceBiotech: Developers lobby for new federal R&D incentives for rare diseases. http://bit.ly/bXxgeW 
  • via @genomicslawyer Prometheus remanded to Federal Circuit post-Bilski http://bit.ly/cuAGFH 
  • RT @davidcrow @bwat: The VC Shakeout – Harvard Business Review: http://bit.ly/bRmkvw 
  • CTI makes $3.2m follow-on investment in Zymeworks (Vancouver antibody therapeutics co) http://bit.ly/aQWhy5 
  • Immunovaccine (TSXV $IMV) and Oncothyreon ($ONTY) developing a potential therapeutic cancer vaccine. $ not disclosed. http://bit.ly/avjP69 
  • Where head on = minimalist tiptoeing? RT @genomicslawyer: GLR Post: Bilski and Biotech: Business As Usual, For Now: http://bit.ly/9isN5O
  • RT @AHCJ_Pia: Healthcare.gov coming July 1 http://bit.ly/b65NcV 
  • Aeterna Zentaris ($AEZS) & Almac working on Cancer Therapy+Companion Diagnostic for LHRH expression. $ not disclosed. http://bit.ly/bnCdXa
  • Notable awards: Fate Therapeutics wins Red Herring http://bit.ly/9vU9dp QIAGEN-DxS wins Medscience Txn of the Year http://bit.ly/9ZiUaP
  • RT @ogilvyrenault: OMERS and Dutch pension fund, ABP, Establish €200 Million Fund for Canadian and Dutch Start-Ups http://bit.ly/98EDOe
  • New Post: Key Quotes from the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in Bilski Shows No Current Impact on Biotech http://ow.ly/17UTQB 
  • Solving today’s SCOTUS issues in <140: The President can appoint an oversight board to patent methods of gun use. Ta da! 
  • Everybody relax. Sarbanes-Oxley Act “remains ‘fully operative as a law’ with [the PCAOB] tenure restrictions excised” http://bit.ly/aOwHnG 
  • Tesla increases # of IPO shares by 20%. http://bit.ly/cgsKy4 from Bloomberg via @cleanlantern
  • @lindaavey still reading, but even if Bilski was seismological I think it’s more “tremor” than “quake”.
  • More Bilski:”all members of the Court agree that the patent application at issue here falls outside of §101 b/c it claims an abstract idea.”
  • More Bilski “while §273 appears to leave open the possibility of some business method patents, it does not suggest broad patentability…”
  • From Bilski: “The machine-or-transformation test is not the sole test for deciding whether an invention is a patent-eligible ‘process.’”
  • Bilski process is unpatentable, but SC disapproves “an exclusive machine-ortransformation test”! Link to full pdf http://bit.ly/aKIjCx
  • RT @SCOTUSblog: Real-time SCOTUS: Bilski v. Kappos, affirmed, Justice Kennedy writes for the majority.
  • RT @FierceBiotech: AstraZeneca is opening up ~500,000 of its chemical compounds to the Medicines for Malaria Venture. http://bit.ly/bN8Nc4
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