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Updated: Dec 16, 2019

In every issue of GOLD, we look back over the previous 3 months and highlight the top M&As and appointments in the pharmaceutical industry. The happenings of the last quarter surely demonstrate pharma’s growing appetite for new technologies, like gene and cell therapies.

Catalent Snaps Up Paragon

Catalent has agreed to buy privately held, gene-therapy focussed Paragon Biosciences for $1.2 billion. The acquisition aims to strengthen Catalent’s position in the gene therapy market, with Paragon’s expertise with adeno-associated virus vectors, plasmids, and lentivirus. “Paragon’s unparalleled expertise in the rapidly growing market of gene therapy manufacturing will be a transformative addition to our business that we believe will accelerate our long-term growth”, comments John Chiminski, Catalent, CEO. This announcement comes just 2 weeks after Thermo Fisher announced their acquisition of Brammer Bio, highlighting pharma’s competitive advancements in the sphere

of gene and cell therapy.

Thermo Fisher enters Gene Therapy

Thermo Fisher has announced plans to acquire Brammer Bio for $1.7 billion, following in the footsteps of Pfizer, Biogen, and Roche, all of whom have made gene therapy deals since the start of the year. Brammer Bio represents pioneers in viral vector manufacturing for gene and cell therapies, having executed >100 projects to supply first-in-human gene therapy clinical trials, and will be sure to expand Thermo Fisher’s gene therapy offerings. “The combination of Brammer Bio’s viral vector capabilities with our GMP [good manufacturing practice] production expertise and proprietary bioprocessing and cell culture technologies uniquely positions us to partner with our customers to drive the evolution of this incredibly fast-growing market”, comments Marc Casper, President and CEO, Thermo Fisher.

Roche acquires Spark for $4.8 billion

Roche will acquire Spark Therapeutics, the first American company to get approval for a gene therapy targeting an inherited disease, in a multi-billion-dollar deal. Roche plan to add Spark’s therapies for neurodegeneration, retinal diseases, and haemophilia and lysosomal storage disorders, to its pipeline, widening its portfolio for gene therapies. “Spark Therapeutics’ proven expertise in the entire gene therapy value chain may offer important new opportunities for the treatment of serious diseases. In particular, Spark’s haemophilia A programme could become a new therapeutic option for people living with this disease”, says Severin Schwan, CEO, Roche.

Richard Saynor is the new CEO of Sandoz

The new CEO appointment of Sandoz accompanies the generics unit’s transformation into an autonomous unit within the larger organisation of Novartis. Richard Saynor will be moving from GSK, where he holds the position of SVP Global Head, Classic and Established Products, to become CEO of Sandoz before August this year. Saynor previously worked at Sandoz before taking on his current role at GSK, where he held a commercial leadership position with a focus on expanding the generic unit in Asia, Latin America, and Turkey. His familiarity with Sandoz and his experience with digital platforms makes him a strong candidate for achieving Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan’s digital ambitions.

Glenmark Spinoff names Alessandro Riva CEO

The current EVP Global Head, Oncology Therapeutics and Cell Therapy, Gilead, is set to take on the position of CEO at Glenmark Pharmaceutical’s yet unnamed spinoff company. During Alessandro Riva’s time at Gilead, he has played a large role in expanding the company’s oncology programmes and also executing Gilead’s acquisition of Kite Pharma; Riva’s success at Gilead is one that Glenmark will be looking to replicate, with the spinoff’s main focus being cancer therapeutics. “I’m looking forward to bringing my experience to lead the company and work together with highly experienced teams to deliver first-in-class therapies to the patients who need them the most”, comments Riva on his new appointment.

Daiichi Sankyo appoints Sunao Manabe

Sunao Manabe has changed from COO to CEO at Daiichi Sankyo, a company he has held a position at since 1978, joining immediately after graduating from the University of Tokyo. The company veteran has a cornucopia of experience under his belt, having held numerous positions at Daiichi Sankyo, including business intelligence, human resources, global sales and marketing, corporate strategy, and medicinal safety research. Manabe will take over from George Nakayama who will stay with the company in his new position as Representative Director and Chairman. “Daiichi Sankyo has determined this is the appropriate time for change of CEO in order to achieve further growth of the company”, the group said in a statement.

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