Deal: Amgen Buys Biotech Startup Teneobio In $2.5B Deal

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It appears that this Covid era has led to a boom for companies that work on antibodies, which are protective proteins produced by the human immune system to tackle foreign substances, usually viruses. Antibodies are very useful in the research and treatment of viruses such as Covid.

There are companies that specialize in antibodies and one of them, BioLegend, was recently bought for a whopping $5.3bn. Now, another such company, Teneobio, is getting bought for a big amount.
  • Teneobio has agreed to be acquired by Amgen, an American biotech giant. Amgen is paying $900mn upfront for the company, then an additional $1.6bn in cash contingent on the company hitting certain milestones. It sums up to a $2.5bn deal.
  • Teneobio is a clinical-stage biotech startup working on antibodies aimed at treating cancer, autoimmunity, and other infectious diseases. As it’s still in the clinical trial stage with no viable product yet, it appears that Amgen is betting big on Teneobio’s trials becoming successful and is putting its money where its mouth is.
  • Teneobio’s sale in a $2.5bn deal is a very big win for a startup that raised just about $13mn in funding from VCs such as Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures. Even counting just the $900mn upfront payment, it’s likely that the company’s shareholders have a reason to party hard.

In the world of biotech, big acquisitions of clinical-stage companies yet with no viable product aren’t new. The way it works, big biotech giants usually pay much for smaller companies they think have promising products, taking big risks in the process.

Sometimes, it pans out well and the big companies reap much more than they paid when the acquired companies’ trials morph into successful products. On the other hand, the trials could fail and see the much money paid lost as a result, but hey, such is life.

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