Massachusetts Life Science M&A Hits $22.5 Billion So Far This Year

Cambridge, Massachusetts

As the largest center for biotech startups in the U.S., the Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts area often acts as a marker for the entire industry. Although merger-and-acquisition (M&A) numbers are reportedly down from last year, the value is actually higher. Here’s a look at the Massachusetts deals so far.

Histogenics and Ocugen. In April, Histogenics Corporation, based in Boston, and Ocugen, based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, announced a merger agreement. The deal is valued at $6.5 million. Histogenics will be renamed Ocugen and be headquartered in Malvern under Ocugen’s current management team. Ocugen focuses on treating diseases of the eye.

Quanterix and UmanDiagnostics AB. In June, Billerica, Massachusetts-based Quanterix, a company digitizing biomarker analysis, acquired Umea, Sweden-based UmanDiagnostics AB for $22.5 million, made up of $16 million in cash and $6.5 million in Quanterix common stock. Uman holds the leading antibodies used to measure neurofilament light (Nf-L), used in many biomarker and clinical diagnostic kits.

Varian Medical Systems and Boston Scientific. On July 2, Palo Alto, California-based Varian Medical Systems agreed to buy Boston Scientific’s portfolio of drug-loadable microsphere and bland embolic bead products to treat arteriovenous malformations and hypervascular tumors. The final price was $90 million using cash and loans.

Sarepta Therapeutics and Myonexus Therapeutics. In February, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Sarepta Therapeutics exercised its option to buy Ohio-based Myonexus Therapeutics for $165 million. As part of the deal, Sarepta picked up five gene therapy candidates to treat distinct types of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD).

Boston Scientific and VertiFlex. In May, Boston Scientific agreed to buy California-based Vertiflex for $465 million up front in cash with various milestones on top of it. Vertiflex developed and commercialized the Superion Indirect Decompression System, a device used to improve physical function and decrease pain in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS).

Bracco Imaging S.p.A. and Blue Earth Diagnostics. Blue Earth Diagnostics, a molecular imaging diagnostics company, is a British company with offices in Burlington, Massachusetts. In June, it was acquired by Bracco Imaging, based in Italy, for $475 million. Blue Earth’s molecular compounds are used for PET scans and other forms of diagnostic imaging.

Smith & Nephew and Osiris Therapeutic. In April, Smith & Nephew, which has U.S. headquarters in Andover, Massachusetts, closed on its acquisition of Colombia, Maryland-based Osiris Therapeutics. The deal was valued at $660.5 million. In March, a group of Osiris shareholders sued to block the acquisition, arguing that the purchase price was too low. Osiris focuses on regenerative medicine products. Smith & Nephew is headquartered in London, UK and focuses on advanced wound management products, arthroscopy, trauma and clinical therapy products.

Tilos Therapeutics and Merck & Co. In June, Kenilworth, New Jersey-based Merck and Co. acquired Lexington, Massachusetts-based Tilos Therapeutics for $775 million. Tilos has a portfolio of drug candidates that use a novel approach to modulating the signaling molecule TGFBeta, which has a broad range of disease applications, including cancer and fibrotic diseases.

Biogen and Nightstar Therapeutics. In March, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen announced the acquisition of London, UK-based Nightstar Therapeutics for $800 million. Nightstar’s lead asset is NSR-REP1 to treat choroideremia (CHM), a rare, degenerative, X-linked inherited retinal disorder that leads to blindness.

Biogen and FUJIFILM. Also in March, Biogen sold its biologics manufacturing operations in Hillerod, Denmark to Japan’s Fujifilm Corporation for $890 million. Biogen is going to pay Fujifilm to handle its manufacturing related to that site’s products.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Exonics Therapeutics. Boston-based Vertex acquired Cambridge, Massachusetts-based gene therapy startup Exonics Therapeutics for $1 billion in June. At the same time, Vertex announced it expanded its collaboration with CRISPR Therapeutics.

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Thermo Fisher Scientific and PHC Holdings. In January, Tokyo-based PHC Holdings Corporation acquired Thermo Fisher Scientific’s anatomic pathology business for $1.14 billion. The anatomic pathology business is part of the company’s Specialty Diagnostics Segment, and is a leading provider of microscope slides, instruments and consumables.

Ipsen and Clementia. Ipsen, based in Paris with offices in Cambridge, Mass., acquired Clementia Pharmaceuticals, which has headquarters in Montreal and Auburndale, Massachusetts for $1.31 billion. As part of the deal, Ipsen picked up Clementia’s palovarotene, an investigational retinoic acid receptor gamma selective agonist to treat fibrodysplasia ossificans progressive (FOP), multiple osteochondromas (ML) and other diseases.

Novartis and IFM Therapeutics. Novartis, whose Institutes for BioMedical Research is in Cambridge, acquired Boston-based IFM Therapeutics in April for $1.265 billion. It gives Novartis full rights to IFM’s portfolio of NLPR3 antagonists, one of which is in the clinic for chronic inflammatory disorders such as atherosclerosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and a preclinical molecule for inflammatory bowel disease and another preclinical asset for central nervous system diseases.

Thermo Fisher Scientific and Brammer Bio. In March, Thermo Fisher Scientific acquired gene and cell therapy manufacturer Brammer Bio for $1.7 billion in cash. Brammer is located in Cambridge and is a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) focusing on manufacturing viral vectors for gene and cell therapies.

Pfizer and Array BioPharma. In June, Pfizer acquired Boulder, Colorado-based Array BioPharma for $11.4 billion. Array has offices in Cambridge. Array’s portfolio includes a combination treatment of Braftovi (encorafenib) and Mektovi (binimetinib) to treat specific types of metastatic melanoma. This week, Array announced positive results from its Phase III BEACON CRC trial, showing the triple-combination Braftovi almost doubled overall survival in the patient subpopulation it was studying, which has convinced analysts Pfizer’s strategy was a good one.


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