Why Aclaris, Tenax, Gritstone, Merus, Minerva And Celyad Are Rallying Today

A slew of biopharma stocks are making big moves Tuesday on the back of clinical trial readouts as well announcements regarding M&A and tie-ups.

Merus, Lilly In $1.68B Oncology Deal: Dutch-based Merus NV MRUS announced a R&D collaboration and licensing agreement with large-cap pharma Eli Lilly And Co LLY for developing up to three CD-engaging T-cell redirecting bispecific antibody therapies for oncology indications. The collaboration will leverage Merus' proprietary Biclonics platform.

The financial terms of the agreement provide for Merus receiving an upfront cash payment of $40 million as well as an equity stake of $20 million in Merus' common stock. Merus is also eligible to receive up to $540 million in potential development and commercial milestones per product, for a total of about $1.6 billion for three products, as well as tiered royalties ranging from mid-single to low-double digits on product sales.

Merus shares were rising 2% to $23.76 at publication time.

Tenax In M&A Mix: Tenax Therapeutics Inc TENX announced the acquisitions of privately-held clinical-stage biotech PH Precision Med that is developing imatinib, an investigational treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension, in an all-stock deal.

As a consideration, Tenax will issue to PH Precision shareholders in a private placement about 12.1 million shares of common stock and securities convertible into common stock.

"The acquisition of PHPM immediately expands Tenax's pipeline to include a second de-risked Phase 3 ready candidate with the potential to be the first disease modifying treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension," said Anthony DiTonno, CEO of Tenax.

Tenax shares were jumping 40% to $2.48.

Aclaris Reports Positive Mid-stage Results For Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug: Aclaris Therapeutics Inc ACRS announced positive preliminary topline results from a 12-week, Phase 2a study to investigate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of ATI-450 in subjects with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.

The stock was soaring 196% to $17.46.

Related Link: The Week Ahead In Biotech: FDA To Issue Decisions On Merck And Aurinia Drug Applications

Minerva Sells Royalty Interest For Depression Drug Minerva Neurosciences Inc NERV announced the sale of royalty interest in seltorexant for an upfront payment of $60 million and up to $95 million in additional milestone payments. Seltorexant is a Phase 3 asset being evaluated for major depressive disorder by Johnson & Johnson's JNJ Janssen unit, which has licensed the asset.

Minerva shares were advancing 41.70% to $3.84 in premarket trading.

Gritstone Joins COVID-19 Vaccine Race: Gritstone Oncology Inc GRTS said it's advancing the development of a second-generation against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This vaccine candidate will potential for both prolonged protection and potency against Spike mutants, the company said.

Gritstone is collaborating with NIH initiate clinical testing and Gates Foundation is supporting the preclinical evaluation of the vaccine.

Gritstone shares were climbing 40% to $8.95.

Celyad Presents Positive Early-stage Data From Colorectal Cancer Study: Celyad Oncology SA ADR CYAD announced at ASCO 2021 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, updates from the Phase 1 alloSHRINK trial evaluating CYAD-101, its CAR T candidate ,administered concurrently with Folfox chemotherapy for the treatment of refractory metastatic colorectal cancer, showing median overall survival of 10.6 months for the dose-escalation segment.

Tumor burden decrease was observed in eight of 15 patients, including six of nine patients at dose level 3.

Celyad shares were rallying 5% to $8.80.

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