GPC/ Altana: A New Middle Market for Big Genomics Deals? Probably Not
Even as Big Pharma deals for big genomics technology tapers off, GPC Biotech and mid-sized Altana are forging ahead with their own program: a $100 million alliance to set up a genomics center for Altana. Separately, Altana could pay GPC milestones on scientific and clinical success. But this deal doesn't signal a trend towards mid-sized company dealmaking. First, both companies have collaborated before and second, they aren't interested in technology transfer.
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Germany's GPC Biotech has taken a frugal and tortuous journey from platform to product company. As the customer base for its new-target discovery platform grew less receptive, it attempted to move its business towards products, but was prevented by its lack of management and its illiquid Neuer Markt shares. Thus it leveraged its Bristol-Myers connections to build an oncology team and create a pipeline, at the same time largely refocusing the company on in-licensing. In the meantime, rather than disbanding its discovery work, GPC is trying to reorient its entire platform towards applied uses in order to attract corporate funding and to feed its own pipeline. The result: a business model increasingly relevant to a financially troubled and largely directionless biotech industry.
South Korean pharma and biotech companies are opting to spin off certain businesses and set up new subsidiaries to speed up R&D progress and tap funding opportunities. The move, which has become more visible in the past few years is in line with global biopharma trends, although the reasons may vary.