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Bio Technology : October 2009
22 Australasian BioTechnology Volume 19 • Number 3 • October 2009 AusBioFEATURE --- AusBiotech 2009 By Kate Moore, Managing Consultant, PharmaVentures Ltd Australia -- a rich source for future deal making? In the 12-month period up to August 2009, there was a decline of around 28% in the total number of phar- maceutical deals across all therapeutic areas compared with the previous year1; a decline almost certainly related to the global economic downturn. Nevertheless, deal activity in a few therapeutic areas continues to remain relatively strong with oncology retaining the top position over the past year, followed by infectious and parasitic diseases and CNS applications. This deal activity is generally consistent with PharmaVentures own assessment that these will be the top three categories in terms of pharmaceutical sales by 2014. Additional trends over the past 12 months include a 27% increase in the number of preclinical and discovery-stage deals, with a movement towards early-stage research and collaboration deals with a downstream option to license. There has also been an increase in the proportion of deals for biotechnology based products, particularly monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), no doubt driven by the fact that mAbs now represent four of the top ten prescription pharmaceuticals (MabThera/Rituxan, Avastin, Her- ceptin and Humira with 2008 sales of US$ 5.5, 4.8 , 4.7 and 4.5 B, respectively). Do these global trends hold true for Australia? Examination of the licensing activity of the largest Australian biotech companies (those with market caps of more than US$50m) reveals a deal-making trend towards early stage collaboration and technology access, with focus on oncology, infectious disease and protein therapeutics, so the trend appears to hold true. The table below lists companies with market caps of greater than US$50m, and the deals and alliances announced by these companies (exclud- ing manufacturing or marketing/distribution agreements) during the 12-month period ending Aug 2009. Predictably CSL, the largest Australian pharmaceutical company, has been the most active deal-maker, entering into six research-collaboration or licensing deals, all for technology access. Given the current funding environment and the number of biotech companies with a focus on oncology and protein therapeu- tics, it will be interesting to see if cash-rich companies see Australia as a rich picking ground over the next 12 months. The US company Cephalon Inc. certainly thinks so, having recently completed its acquisition of the Australian company Arana Thera- peutics for its antibody technology and pipeline of anti-inflammatory and oncology products. PharmaVentures PharmaDeals Agreements database 1 Company Market cap US$m 21/08/09 Deals & alliances announced Aug 2008–2009 (excluding manufacturing and marketing) CSL 15,399 Technology licensing/research collaboration agreements with Xencor and BioWa (Antibody engineering technology), DSM Biologics/Crucell and Vivalis (antibody manufacturing technology), Phosphagenics (large protein delivery technology), Opsona (vaccine adjuvant technology). Sigma Pharm. 821 --- Pharmaxis 402 --- Biota 274 Assigned existing license to Biota's RSV products from MedImmune to AstraZeneca and extended territories (license subsequently terminated by AstraZeneca). SIRTex Medical 188 --- Acrux 158 --- ChemGenex 136 Acquired full control of Omacetaxine Mepesuccinate (filed in US for CML) from its existing partner, Stragen. Mesoblast 111 --- Clinuvel Pharm. 74 --- Starpharma 71 --- Alchemia 64 --- Phosphagenics 63 Collaboration and option agreement with Metabolic Pharmaceuticals to develop a transdermal cosmeceutical treatment for cellulite and subcutaneous fat. Granted Métier Tribeca LLC a license to manufacture and market cosmeceuticals using Phosphagenics' TPM drug delivery technology. Early stage research collaboration and option agreement for CSL to evaluate Phosphagenics' proprietary TPM delivery technology to deliver large proteins. Novogen 59 See below. Marshall Edwards 57 Licensed pre-clinical mTOR inhibitor for oncology from parent company Novogen. Avexa 55 Option agreement for Tibotec to further evaluate Avexa's HIV anti-integrase compounds.