Aug. 7 Quick Takes: Eyeing cash, Ikena buys Pionyr 

Plus: Astellas’ Zimura approved for geographic atrophy, Bavarian’s chikungunya vaccine heading to regulators and updates from Gracell, IO, Sage, Nektar and DotBio

August 8, 2023 1:08 AM UTC

Months after Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) waived its exclusive option to acquire the portion of Pionyr Immunotherapeutics Inc. that it does not already own, Ikena Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ:IKNA) said it will acquire Pionyr in an all-stock transaction. Ikena said it will receive about $43 million in Pionyr’s cash and will explore business development opportunities for its assets, which include programs targeting TREM1, TREM2 and MARCO; shareholders will receive contingent value rights to 50% of the proceeds from any deals around those programs, not including royalties. Gilead held its option under a 2020 deal that gave it an ownership stake of just under 50% of Pionyr.

Zimura avacincaptad pegol from Astellas Pharma Inc. (Tokyo:4503) became the second treatment for geographic atrophy secondary to age-related macular degeneration to be approved in the U.S. following the agency’s approval of the C5 inhibitor on Friday. Zimura will now compete with C3 inhibitor Syfovre pegcetacoplan from Apellis Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:APLS), which was approved in February but whose association with retinal vasculitis in real-world settings has recently weighed on Apellis’ shares. Astellas obtained Zimura via its $5.9 billion acquisition of Iveric bio Inc. in May, giving the Japanese pharma an anchor product in ophthalmology around which it can build a commercial presence while the rest of its pipeline matures...