South San Francisco startup Kezar Life Sciences is looking to follow through on some promising programs discovered at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, raising $23 million and securing Amgen's blessing as it targets autoimmune disease.
A little more than a year ago Tony Coles signed off on a deal to sell Onyx to Amgen for $10.4 billion, and carved off a $58 million-plus slice of that for himself in the process. But rather than sail off into the sunset with a great reputation and a pile of money, he's headed back to work. This morning Coles pulled back the covers on the new biotech he's building, and once again, he's thinking big as he takes the helm.
A Phase III late-stage myeloma miss for Amgen's Kyprolis didn't shock analysts, who said the failure was more or less expected when the company announced trial results Wednesday. But without proof that the med prolongs life in those patients, getting Kyprolis by European regulators could be a tough sell.
Building on approvals in the U.S. and EU, Bayer Healthcare said Japan has approved Nexavar to treat patients with unresectable differentiated thyroid carcinoma.
With Valeant Pharmaceuticals forking over $8.7 billion for eye-care giant Bausch + Lomb and Amgen's $10.4 billion deal for Onyx Pharmaceuticals, this could be a comeback year for pharma M&A, even as the drug approval rate remains healthy.
When Amgen and Onyx Pharmaceuticals close their buyout deal later this year, CEO Tony Coles will walk away from the table with $57.5 million in cash on its way. And if Coles loses his job at the combined company, he'll get another $3.4 million in severance pay. Total potential increase in bank accounts? More than $62 million.
Stivarga, the cancer drug that Bayer developed with Onyx Pharmaceuticals, has nabbed yet another approval, this time in Europe, as it rolls toward its anticipated blockbuster status.
Amgen's agreement to buy Onyx Pharmaceuticals made the biggest headlines in pharma this week. It also pushed the industry's M&A stats into bragging territory. Pharmaceutical deal volume is up 15% globally, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing Dealogic--and pharma transactions account for 5.2% of all the deals made so far this year.
After a big buyout announcement, employees start biting their fingernails, worried about their jobs. And uncertainty breeds more anxiety. At Onyx Pharmaceuticals, staffers don't yet know their individual fates, but they have some clarity about when they'll find out--and what will happen next.
Every time a biotech is bought out, there's always one big question on the minds of every rank-and-file employee not in line for a golden handshake: Will I have a job when the dust settles?