Research-stage deals don’t come richer than Bayer’s Vividion buyout
Acquisition, licensing or research collaboration, deals of any structure over preclinical projects rarely attract the sort of initial payment that Bayer is shelling out for Vividion. That said, the platform company boasts a novel small molecule-generating technology with broad applicability, including in the hot protein degradation space, which has seen similarly focused developers attract multibillion-dollar valuations. And Bayer also had to convince Vividion that its offer was better than the IPO that was under way. A search of Evaluate Pharma finds no other transaction since at least 2015 concerning a preclinical company or asset that comes anywhere close to Bayer's $1.5bn up front. The closest is Celgene’s $625m buy of Engmab, a Swiss group working on T-cell engagers, a deal that appears to be the source of CC-93269, an anti-BCMA project that impressed at Ash in 2019. Roivant’s $450m swoop – albeit in stock – on the computational physics-based company Silicon Therapeutics was designed to bolster its own protein-degradation platform. The only non-buyout that features high on the list is Biogen’s antisense collaboration with Ionis, which included a $650 equity investment, taking the big biotech’s initial outlay to $1bn.
|Paying up for early-stage science: research deals with big up fronts|
|Target||Acquirer||Deal Type||Year||Up-front fee ($m)||Total deal value ($m)|
|Silicon Therapeutics||Roivant Sciences||Company acquisition||2021||450*||Undisclosed additional milestones|
|Nimbus Apollo||Gilead Sciences||Business unit acquisition||2016||400||1,200|
|Ionis Pharmaceuticals||Biogen||10-year research collaboration||2018||375||1,270|
|*Paid in Roivant stock. Source: Evaluate Pharma.|