Oct. 31 Quick Takes: Lilly buying Beam’s opt-in rights for Verve base editing programs


Plus: GSK buys Janssen’s rights to Arrowhead HBV product and more from  Galapagos, Sarepta, Amgen, LianBio and X4

By BioCentury Staff

October 31, 2023 11:47 PM UTC

Beam Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:BEAM) will extend its cash runway into 2H26 by selling to Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE:LLY) the opt-in rights it held under a partnership with Verve Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:VERV) for three base editing programs on which the biotechs have been collaborating to treat cardiovascular disorders. Lilly will invest $50 million for an equity stake in Beam, and pay $200 million up front for rights to opt into cost- and profit-sharing arrangements around programs targeting PCSK9, ANGPTL3 and an undisclosed CV target. In a social media post, CEO John Evans said the refreshed balance sheet will carry Beam “well past data readouts” for its four lead products. With interest in base editing programs on the rise, Beam partnered with Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) last year, and Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNA) and Novo Nordisk A/S (CSE:NOVO B; NYSE:NVO) have each partnered with Life Edit Therapeutics Inc., operated by ElevateBio LLC.

Five years after the Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. unit of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) obtained rights to siRNA therapeutic JNJ-3989 (ARO-HBV) from Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ARWR), GSK plc (LSE:GSK; NYSE:GSK) is purchasing those rights from J&J with the intention of developing a sequential combination therapy. The parties aren’t disclosing specific terms, but GSK said the deal’s total value, including an upfront payment and milestones, is about $1 billion. GSK believes adding JNJ-3989 to antisense oligonucleotide bepirovirsen in a sequential course could enhance the functional cure rates seen in a Phase III study…