Today Novartis announced the acquisition of IFM Therapeutics’ portfolio of NLRP3 antagonists, via the purchase of IFM Tre, a subsidiary of IFM (here, here). These immunomodulatory medicines target the inflammasome, a key innate immune node whose pathologic chronic activation is associated with several metabolic, fibrotic, autoimmune, and neurological diseases.
It’s the lucky biotech that has a short and sweet runway. Most companies bring a drug to market — and begin to bring in revenue — only after years or decades of work.
But a company backed by Atlas Venture that’s less than a year old is the first acquisition of 2019 for Novartis. The pharmaceutical giant is paying more than $300 million upfront for IFM Tre, a Boston-based startup, in a deal that could be worth more than $1.5 billion if the company’s drugs meet certain undisclosed milestones.
Over my experience building several therapeutics companies, I’ve sometimes observed a Field of Dreams approach to therapeutics: if we build it, they (patients, health system, payors) will come. Last month’s hearing in Congress on pharmaceutical access, and the overall debate on how to pay for new therapies drives home that adoption of a therapy doesn’t always naturally follow an approval. Articulating the value of each therapy we deliver to the health care system is a critical complement to all of the clinical data we generate to maximize the likelihood that our innovations get to patients who need them.
This blog was written by Ankit Mahadevia, CEO and founder of Spero Therapeutics, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.
JB Harvey broke his personal record earlier this winter by skiing over 22 trails in a single day at Loon Mountain. It was an awesome day. And 22 runs would be a huge day for anyone, but it was particularly so for JB, as he’s an 11-year-old with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).
It was apparently random, although I secretly suspect it was karmic punishment for my lack of imagination in writing the 2019 quality goal. It has been ‘Maintain the quality management system and documentation in inspection-ready form’ for the past 3 years. While we take quality and regulation seriously, our assumption, like that of many early-phase companies, had been that an actual FDA inspection was several years off. I had previously been involved in pre-approval inspections and the questions regarding early studies were always the most difficult to piece together; the team who ran the study had moved on or the asset was in-licenced. For this reason, we had invested in making sure we had a good filing structure from the start and were maintaining the appropriate documentation. It now appeared that these efforts would be put to the test.
This blog was written by Aoife Brennan, CEO of Synlogic, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.