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Back to School preview, plus Pfizer eats Trillium: a BioCentury podcast

Spotlight on Chinese start-ups Abogen, Ranok

August 24, 2021 2:02 AM UTC

Previewing the signature Back to School project, BioCentury’s editors announce the topic accelerated approval  on the latest BioCentury This Week podcast. The annual Back to School package will assess the future of accelerated approval pathways in the U.S., Europe and Asia. The editors also discuss Pfizer’s $2.3 billion takeout of Trillium in the context of the overall CD47 space as well as two Chinese start-ups in the spotlight: Abogen, which raised $700 million last week to advance its pivotal mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 and Ranok, which is developing a PROTAC alternative.

Back to School, now in its 29th year, represents BioCentury’s forward-looking and comprehensive analysis of an issue of broad relevance across the biopharma ecosystem, for drug developers, BD specialists, investors, regulators and payers.

“What we’ve done this year is really a deep dive into the forces that are bringing about change in accelerated approval,” says Editor in Chief Simone Fishburn. “This is really not a history lesson, although it is a sort of syllabus and compendium of where things are. And we really take a look at what the future is going to look like and what the really big vision should be for accelerated approval.”

BioCentury Senior Editor Karen Tkach Tuzman and Associate Editor Paul Bonanos discuss the acquisition of CD47 company Trillium Therapeutics Inc. (TSX:TRIL; NASDAQ:TRIL) by Pfizer Inc. which gives the pharma potential best-in-class fusion proteins for blood cancers. Pfizer paid a premium of 204% over Trillium’s Friday close.

Bonanos and Executive Editor Jeff Cranmer explain the moving parts behind the massive series C round backed by a who’s who of China investors by Suzhou Abogen Biosciences Co. Ltd. The deal set a record for a private round by a pure play biotech and sets China up to have a homegrown mRNA vaccine that could be of use to protect its citizens as well as engage in further vaccine diplomacy abroad.

Finally, the editors discuss Hangzhou-based Ranok Therapeutics Co. Ltd., a protein degradation company testing a differentiated, chaperone-based approach.