AstraZeneca throws lifeline to gene-editing biotech LogicBio with $68M buyout – MedCity Information


LogicBio’s lead gene-editing remedy is rising from a medical maintain, money reserves to help that program are dwindling, and the corporate is dropping its inventory itemizing. AstraZeneca is easing the pressures on the biotech with a $68 million buyout that the pharmaceutical big sees as a method so as to add a brand new genetic medicines dimension to its uncommon illness drug pipeline.

AstraZeneca introduced Monday that its Alexion uncommon illness unit has agreed to accumulate all excellent LogicBio shares for $2.07 every. That’s a greater than 666% premium to LogicBio’s closing worth on Friday, however nonetheless properly wanting the $10 per share that the Lexington, Massachusetts-based biotech was capable of fetch when it went public four years ago. LogicBio shares closed Monday at $2.01 apiece.

LogicBio is a part of a brand new contingent of firms creating various approaches to gene enhancing. Most gene enhancing applied sciences make use of a slicing enzyme to snip DNA at a focused location. These approaches introduce the danger of harmful or undesirable edits. LogicBio makes use of a pure DNA restore mechanism as a option to exactly insert a gene. The corporate calls its expertise GeneRide.

Lead LogicBio program LB-001 is at present in Part 1/2 testing for methylmalonic acidemia (MMA), a uncommon inherited dysfunction that results in developmental delays and different issues that require hospitalization. The one-time remedy is designed to knock in a corrective gene to drive correct expression of a key protein.

The FDA positioned a medical maintain on the trial in February, a pause that got here after the corporate reported a second affected person within the research developed thrombotic microangiopathy, a blood vessel complication that has been related to different genetic therapies delivered by adeno-associated viruses. These circumstances within the LB-001 research resolved. In Might, the FDA lifted the clinical hold after the corporate modified the medical trial protocol to extend affected person monitoring, which in flip will lengthen the time wanted to finish the research. The research has a focused enrollment of eight sufferers.

Along with the regulatory setback, LogicBio has cash issues. The corporate’s monetary studies for the previous yr raised doubt in regards to the firm’s potential to proceed as a going concern. In line with its report of second quarter 2022 monetary outcomes, LogicBio’s money place was $38.8 million as of June 30—sufficient cash to final one other yr. Including to the issues is the looming lack of its Nasdaq itemizing. Final month, the alternate despatched the corporate a proper delisting notice for failing to take care of a minimal $1 worth regardless of having a 180-day grace interval to regain compliance with the requirement.

Regardless of the monetary woes, LogicBio’s lead program has resumed and is displaying encouraging indicators. In August, the corporate reported preliminary results for 4 sufferers within the Part 1/2 research displaying detection of a biomarker within the blood that signifies integration of the gene carried by the remedy. Outcomes additionally confirmed expression of the important thing protein. In a analysis notice, William Blair analyst Raju Prasad wrote that whereas the precise ranges of the biomarker stay undisclosed, LogicBio urged that they aren’t at present at ranges to have an effect on illness regression. Nonetheless, the corporate hopes these ranges will improve over time.

The outcomes to this point apparently gave AstraZeneca sufficient confidence to accumulate LogicBio. Along with a platform for delivering and inserting genes, the corporate additionally has a platform for enhancing viral vector manufacturing. The pharma big mentioned that these applied sciences will change into a part of its technique for creating new medicines for uncommon genetic ailments.

“The proposed acquisition of LogicBio is a big improvement for our rising analysis in genomic medication,” Marc Dunoyer, CEO of Alexion, AstraZeneca Uncommon Illness, mentioned in an announcement. “LogicBio’s folks, expertise and platforms present new scientific capabilities by including best-in-class expertise and experience to our genomic medication technique.”

The AstraZeneca uncommon illness unit is the product of an acquisition. In 2021, the pharma big paid $39 billion to accumulate Alexion Prescription drugs, an organization with blockbuster medicine for uncommon blood problems. The boards of administrators of each AstraZeneca and LogicBio have authorised the LogicBio acquisition, which is anticipated to shut within the subsequent 4 to 6 weeks. Alexion is predicated in Boston. The AstraZeneca subsidiary plans to maintain LogicBio workers at their present location in close by Lexington.

Photograph: Christopher Furlong, Getty Pictures

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