PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals, a publicly traded Philadelphia firm that is developing treatments for cardiopulmonary diseases, has arranged to receive up to $120 million from SFJ Pharmaceuticals.
The new upfront clinical development funding is for PhaseBio’s anti-bleeding drug (FDA number: PB2452), in exchange for larger return payments once PhaseBio’s drug is ready for market.
“This is $90 million for development, going into phase three trials, and $30 million for commercialization,” chief executive Jonathan Mow said in an interview Friday. “It will still take us a couple of years to get approvals to sell the drugs for patients.”
As PhaseBio’s drugs win approval in the various national markets, PhaseBio will repay SFJ as much as five times SFJ’s initial investment by 2030, under the companies’ pact.
SFJ is backed by the Blackstone Life Sciences and Abingworth private-equity groups. SFJ chief executive Bob DeBenedetto called the pact a “novel co-development agreement,” adding that “PB2452 has great potential to meet a significant unmet need.”
Most of PhaseBio’s 40 employees are based at its Philadelphia research and development center (though CEO Mow is based in San Diego). That’s about double PhaseBio’s headcount from 2018. Mow expects to add 20 to 30 more jobs by mid-2021, mostly in Philadelphia.
Under the SFJ deal, PhaseBio will oversee phase three drug trials for PB2452 in the United States. SFJ will run corresponding trials in China or Japan. The companies will collaborate on European trials, Mow added.
The funding is conditional on reaching “specific, pre-defined clinical milestones,” PhaseBio said in a statement. PhaseBio will keep control of drug sales rights.
On Monday, PhaseBio said it agreed to acquire Selenity Pharmaceuticals (Bermuda) Ltd. from Viamet Pharmaceuticals Holdings LLC. The price includes an upfront payment by PhaseBio, plus milestone payments if all goes well. The deal includes Selenity’s lead drug in development, a treatment-resistant hypertension-fighter, formerly called SE-6440, now PB6440.
Although it had no commercial product, sales, or profits, PhaseBio inspired investors to the point that it was able to raise $46 million in its initial public stock offering (IPO) last year.
It had previously raised at least $85 million from investors including Cormorant Asset Management of Boston, New Enterprise Associates, AstraZeneca, Hatteras Venture Partners, and China-focused Syno Capital, among others, since its founding in 2002 by Ashutosh Chilkoti, a Duke University biomedical engineering professor who developed elastin-like polypeptides (ELPs) to extend drugs’ effective use from minutes to hours. PhaseBio is also developing drugs to treat arterial hypertension.
Separately, OneDigital, a fast-growing, 2,000-employee business-benefits and insurance advisory firm based in Atlanta, said it acquired 40-year-old Kistler Tiffany Benefits, the Berwyn benefits advisory firm, for an undisclosed sum.
The deal does not affect the Kistler-Tiffany Advisors wealth management firm, which has offices in Berlin and Mount Laurel; the two companies split in the mid-1990s.
Kistler Tiffany Benefits’ six offices, including call centers, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware will join OneDigital’s network of 90. The sale felt “very personal,” Kistler Tiffany Benefits chairman William O. Daggett Jr. said in a statement, adding that he had been associated with the firm since its beginning in 1980. “We are bringing together two formidable players.”
The deal enables OneDigital to “expand our expertise and footprint across the Northeast and Philadelphia area,” OneDigital executive vice president Pete Gruenberg said in a statement.
And BrightView Holdings Inc., the expanding publicly traded, Blue Bell-based commercial landscaping, pest control, and snow removal services company, said it acquired two more regional services: Signature Coast Holdings of Napa, Calif., which has nine locations and 600 employees in the wealthy cities north and east of San Francisco; and Summit Landscape Group Inc., with 180 in the area around Rock Hill, S.C.
With more than 21,000 employees, BrightView says it is the largest commercial landscaping company in the U.S., with clients including corporate, government, and nonprofit institutions as well as homeowners. The sector has faced pressure to find workers as a combination of rising U.S. employment and tighter immigration controls chokes off its supply of young workers.
“We are excited to welcome their entire team” from Signature, Andrew Masterman, chief executive of BrightView, said in a statement. Signature Coast, he said, is BrightView’s second-largest acquisition since it accelerated its national purchases in 2017.