Impacting Cancer

Nextech Invest, November 2018
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Dear Reader,

Since we last updated you in April, we are proud to announce continued progress in our portfolio, including combined financing events in our portfolio of almost USD 500 million and two executed development and commercial partnerships. In this issue, Mark Goldsmith, CEO of Revolution Medicines, provides unique insight regarding their substantial Sanofi partnership, and we will update you on Blueprint Medicine’s partnership in China, celebrate successful financings in our portfolio including NASDAQ listings of Autolus Therapeutics [AUTL] and Neon Therapeutics [NGTL], and offer perspective on how biotech VC funding trends are impacting our day to day efforts at Nextech.

We also proudly welcome Carmen Diez, PhD., our new Investment Analyst, and Jovita Kobler, our summer intern to the Nextech family.

With kind regards,

Your Nextech Team

Portfolio News

Revolutions Medicine CEO Mark Goldsmith reflects on Sanofi Partnership

Revolution Medicines (RevMed) and Sanofi S. A. have entered a transformational partnership surrounding the development of RevMed’s lead compound SHP-2, a tyrosine phosphatase. With the agreement, Sanofi will pay a USD 50 million upfront payment and up to USD 500 million in milestones. Both companies are sharing US profits 50/50 and mid double digit royalties outside the US. In addition, Sanofi is responsible for all development costs. The partnership came three months after RevMed raised its USD 56 million Series B financing in March led by Nextech (link here).

CEO Mark Goldsmith, MD, PhD, was kind enough to offer his perspective on the SHP-2 compound, the strategic rational behind the Sanofi partnership, and additional assets in development at Revolution Medicines.

Read the interview with Mark Goldsmith.

 UK based CAR-T platform Autolus Therapeutics lists on NASDAQ

 

Autolus Therapeutics (NASDAQ:AUTL), the London, UK based CAR-T company in which Nextech invested in September 2017, raised USD 160 million in an oversubscribed public offering on 26th June 2018. The proceeds allow Autolus to operate from a strong cash position and to pursue proof-of-concept studies for five clinical stage CAR-T cell programs in blood cancers and neuroblastoma, and develop manufacturing capabilities for commercialization of the products.

In a busy biotech IPO season, the Autolus IPO stood out for two reasons. First, Autolus demonstrated not only strong science coming out of the greater London academic centers of Oxford and Cambridge, but also strong management, syndicate and strategy. The NASDAQ listing, co-run by Goldman Sachs and Jefferies LLC, was an important validation of European innovation. Second, markets rewarded the differentiated science and ambitious targets Autolus plans to pursue in what can be a crowded landscape of CAR-T companies.

Since its inception three years ago and our investment in September of last year, Autolus has made remarkable progress with two dual targeting programs in three clinical studies, a novel program for T-cell lymphoma, and developed a unique array of cell programming technologies for use in haematological and solid cancers. With the new IPO financing, Autolus can take the next steps towards becoming a fully integrated oncology company as it continues to establish itself as a predominant leader in the CAR-T field. “ says Jakob Loven of Nextech.

Read the press release.

CStone acquires Chinese rights to three Blueprint drugs
 

At Nextech, we see China emerging rapidly as both an investor and as a maturing commercial opportunity in oncology. In June, Blueprint Medicines [NASDAQ:BPMC] partnered with Chinese biopharma CStone Pharmaceuticals. The agreement included USD 40 million upfront payment for a license to develop and commercialize three drugs from Blueprint in greater China, and USD 346 million in potential milestone payments, while Blueprint retained rights to the licensed products outside of China.

Jeff Albers, Blueprint CEO, said: “With recent regulatory reforms in China and the emergence of innovative companies like CStone, we believe this forward-looking collaboration has the potential to expand our ability to address significant patient needs in Greater China while supporting global development of avapritinib, BLU-554 and BLU-667."

Link to Press Release here.

Nextech News

The Nextech Team warmly welcomes Carmen Diez, PhD, as Investment Analyst and Jovita Kobler as summer intern. Carmen joins us from her previous positions as postdoctoral researcher at the University Children’s Hospital Zurich and as Private Equity Analyst at HBM Partners. Jovita is currently studying Biomedicine at the University of Zurich. We look forward to enabling new treatments for cancer patients together.

Annual Meeting inspired market observations

We thank all of you who attended our Annual Meeting at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge in May, especially our guest speakers: David Livingston, Charles Sawyer and Phil Greenberg of Nextech's Scientific Board, portfolio CEOs John Josey of Peloton, Troy Wilson of Kura and John Houston of Arvinas, Jay Bradner and Pascal Touchon from Novartis, and Dan Lynch, Chairman of Blueprint Medicines, Bluebird Bio and Surface Oncology. As always, a meeting with so many smart people in one room generated many interesting conversations. Here we have synthesized our thoughts on a frequent topic of conversation: How does the recent influx of capital into biotech venture capital impact investors such as Nextech?

The healthcare industry started 2018 with strong momentum, particularly in venture funding. The first quarter of 2018 saw biotech venture investments of USD 4.7 billion compared to quarterly averages of USD 2.0-2.5 billion in 2016 and 2017. Investors are encouraged by recent clinical successes and the continued deal appetite of big pharma companies. But, the banner quarter was also driven by new sources of capital including crossover investors, Chinese venture funds, and private offices. This new influx of capital bodes well for keeping our current investment well capitalized.

For new investments, we need to stay focused on what has made us successful to date. With new funds and lot of capital entering the market comes the risk of more deals being funded than should. In this environment, we feel good about our science driven investment strategy and our ability to robustly evaluate pre-clinical data and underlying disease mechanisms, through both our internal expertise and our world class Scientific Board. We are ready to invest in early stage deals where we believe our strong science capabilities give us competitive advantage. In the past, we have been sought as an investment partner due to our strong scientific roots, and we anticipate this will continue especially with the entry of investors with less robust qualifications.

It would be impossible to focus on science without also focusing on talent. Talent follows the science, and by focusing on the best science we can attract the best scientists to our portfolio companies. Talent, not capital, is the limiting agent in today’s market.  Nextech continues to focus on backing not only the best research, but the best scientific teams and we are thankful for the four talented management teams who have invited us to join them in their journey this year.

Neon Therapeutics [NASDAQ:NTGN], the clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing neoantigen-based therapeutics, raised USD 100m in their June 27th NASDAQ listing. Neon now has USD 150m in cash to invest in the development of its neoantigen platform, including therapeutic vaccines currently undergoing clinical testing and neoantigen directed cell therapies.

Read the press release.

 

Blueprint [NASDAQ:BPMC] initiated VOYAGER Phase 3 clinical trial of Avapritinib for Advanced Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors.

Blueprint announced strong updated Phase 1 clinical data in the EXPLORER trial of Avapritinib for Advanced Systemic Mastocytosis.

Read the press releases.

Kura Oncology [NASDAQ:KURA] the clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the development of precision medicines for oncology, raised USD 77.1 million in a public secondary offering at the end of June. Proceeds will continue to fund multiple Phase II and pivotal clinical trials for the company’s lead asset, tipifarnib, a Phase 1 clinical trial for KO-947, an ERK inhibitor, and pre-clinical development of KP-539, a menin-MLL inhibitor.

 

Read the press release.

Ideaya appoints Julie Hambleton, M.D., as SVP, CMO and Head of Development, Paul Stone, J.D., as SVP, General Counsel and Head of Operations and Mark Lackner, PhD, as VP, Head of Biomarkers and Synthetic Lethal Biology.

Read the news here and here, respectively.

 

Jounce Therapeutics [NASDAQ:JNCE] presented preliminary efficacy data from ongoing phase 1/2 ICONIC Trial of JTX-2011 in Patients with Advanced Cancers.

Read the press release.

ImaginAB appointed James Allison, Padmanee Sharma and Ramy Ibrahim to its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), key opinion leaders in the development of anticancer therapies.

Read the press release.

Impressum
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