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Georgia Bio Deals of the Year Spotlight Financings, Acquisitions and Collaboration

Friday, January 22, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Maria Thacker
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ATLANTA, GA (January 22, 2016) -- Georgia Bio announced its 2016 Deals of the Year for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, healthcare IT and medical device companies in the following categories –  private financing, joint ventures, initial public offering, mergers, acquisitions and economic development – reflecting a broad range of activity.  The annual Deal of the Year awards recognize transactions by life sciences companies in Georgia such as financings, partnering agreements and government grants that are significant to the state’s industry development.  

Deals of the Year are awarded to one or more companies or institutions for the most significant financial or commercial transactions closed from November 1, 2014-October 31, 2015. The recipients will receive their awards at the Georgia Bio Annual Awards Dinner January 28, 6 pm to 9 pm, at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre.  Now in its 18th year, the Georgia Bio annual awards dinner brings together industry leaders to advance the growth of the life sciences industry and foster strategic partnerships that can create a healthier world. Other leading companies, executives, researchers and dedicated individuals will receive Georgia Bio Awards at the dinner. Learn more and register at

The recipients are: Arbor Pharmaceuticals, LLC; Celtaxsys, Inc.; Emory Genetics Laboratory and Eurofins Scientific; EndoChoice, Inc.; Cocrystal Pharma, Inc.; Alcon; Halyard Worldwide Inc.; and Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Synageva BioPharma Corp.

Private Financing

Arbor Pharmaceuticals, LLC
In January 2015, Arbor Pharmaceuticals, LLC (“Arbor”) successfully closed on the sale of a significant minority stake in the company to KKR, a leading global investment firm. Although the deal terms were not announced, public reports indicated that KKR acquired about a third of the company at a valuation over $1 billion. KKR has a long history of investing in and growing leading health care companies, including Alliance Boots, Biomet, Gland Pharma, HCA, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, and PRA Health Sciences.

Arbor was acquired by an investment team led by Jason Wild, Ed Schutter and Allen Chao in April 2010. Under Ed’s leadership, Arbor has grown from less than 20 to over 600 employees and delivered a compounded annual revenue growth rate of over 118%. Arbor markets branded prescription products for the cardiovascular, hospital, and pediatric markets as well as generics through its Wilshire division. It has completed over twenty acquisitions, licensing, or product development transactions over the past four years and has multiple products filed with the FDA as well as several branded and generic products in late-stage development. For more information, visit

Celtaxsys, Inc.
Celtaxsys, Inc. completed a $40M Series D financing led by Domain Partners VIII.  Additional investors in the financing include Lumira Capital, RMI Partners, Masters Capital Management and the Georgia Research Alliance.

The financing was supplemented by a $5M grant from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics (“CFFT”). The grant will help fund Celtaxsys’s Phase 2 trial assessing the safety and efficacy of the company’s lead candidate, acebilustat, a once daily, oral anti-inflammatory medicine, in preserving lung function in CF patients.  Acebilustat has been granted Orphan Drug Designation in both the US and the EU. 

 “Although new therapies have markedly improved the outlook for patients with CF over the past few decades, the effects of chronic inflammation in the lungs is still the primary cause of early death. An effective anti-inflammatory therapy for CF patients is sorely needed,” said Michael Konstan, MD, Vice Dean for Translational Research at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Vice Chair for Clinical Research at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, Cleveland. “Early results demonstrating that acebilustat can reduce elastase and sputum neutrophils are promising.”  For more information, visit  

Joint Venture

EGL Genetic Diagnostics LLC- A joint venture between Emory University and Eurofins
Founded in 1970, EGL is a leading provider of high-complexity molecular, biochemical and cytogenetic testing for rare and common genetic diseases and disorders. EGL employs around 100 staff at its laboratory in Atlanta, GA, serving over 400 institutional clients worldwide. EGL is renowned for testing rare genetic disorders, and leads the industry in gene panels and exome sequencing to aid diagnosis, prognosis, management and targeted drug therapy (e.g., personalized medicine), in addition to expanded carrier testing capabilities. The laboratory has comprehensive testing facilities for cytogenetic, biochemical and molecular genetics. As the first academic laboratory to bring Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies to the commercial clinic market, EGL remains a leading player in cutting-edge genetic diagnostics with “first-to-market” tests comprising more than 80% of its analytical portfolio. As a leading NGS testing laboratory, EGL believes it has the largest menu of NGS panels in the industry, conducting over 35,000 tests annually for genetic diseases, carrier screening, and prenatal testing.

Eurofins Scientific is the world leader in food, environment and pharmaceutical products testing. It is also one of the global market leaders in agroscience, genomics, discovery pharmacology and central laboratory services. In addition, Eurofins is one of the key emerging players in specialty clinical diagnostic testing in Europe and the USA. This joint venture brings together two leading players in the human genomic testing field and positions EGL for further growth in the diagnostics arena.

Initial Public Offering

EndoChoice, Inc.
On June 5, EndoChoice went public on the New York Stock Exchange selling more than 7.3 million shares of common stock at a price to the public of $15.00 per share. Total proceeds to EndoChoice from the offering were approximately $94.9 million.  J.P. Morgan and 'B of A' Merrill Lynch acted as joint book-running managers for the offering.  William Blair and Stifel acted as co-managers for the offering.

EndoChoice reached this significant milestone after being founded in 2008 here in Atlanta by Mark Gilreath and Will Parks.  The company how has more than 535 employees including their Innovation Center in Israel, European headquarters in Germany, and in multiple sites within the US including their global headquarters in Alpharetta. For more information, visit    

Mergers and Acquisitions

Cocrystal Pharma, Inc. and RFS Pharma, LLC
RFS Pharma, led by Founder Dr. Raymond Schinazi, was founded in Tucker, Georgia, to develop anti-virals for diseases in areas like HIV, Hepatitis C and Norovirus.   The company has successfully identified a number of potential nucleotide inhibitors that are being evaluated.  Cocrystal Pharma, founded in Bothell, Washington, was founded to develop anti-virals utilizing crystallography technology derived from Dr. Roger Kornberg, 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner, lab at Stanford University.

Dr. Schinazi’s vision of combining the companies creates a platform for developing first-in-class drugs for a number of unmet medical needs.  Current programs include the first-ever helicase inhibitor.  This novel program has the potential to open up a new area of drugs for a whole range of viruses.  Additionally, the company is working on a series of compounds for norovirus, a disease that has no approved therapies on the market.

In 2015, the combined company relocated a number of activities to the Tucker facility creating additional jobs.  Additionally, the company completed an $18MM financing in 2015. For more information, visit

Economic Development

Alcon a Novartis Company
In 2013, Alcon completed a major expansion of its Johns Creek Manufacturing facility to manufacture DAILIES and DAILIES TOTAL1® Contact Lenses.  With this expansion, Alcon invested more than $250 million, added more than 70,000 square feet to facility and created approximately 300 new jobs.  In 2014, Alcon began work on a second expansion of the facility to support additional production lines for DAILIES and DAILIES TOTAL1 contact lenses.  These new production lines represent an additional $250 million investment and are creating an additional 250 new jobs.  For more information, visit

Halyard Worldwide Inc.
Halyard Health (NYSE: HYH), formerly Kimberly-Clark Health Care, is a $1.5 billion medical technology company focused on preventing infection, eliminating pain and speeding recovery for healthcare providers and their patients. Headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, Halyard is committed to addressing some of today's most important healthcare needs, such as preventing healthcare-associated infections and reducing the use of narcotics while helping patients move from surgery to recovery.   As an independent company, Halyard now is able to invest directly to drive its long-term growth. This was not as easy to achieve when it was part of the much larger Kimberly-Clark Corporation.

The flexibility to make strategic and targeted capital allocation decisions enables Halyard to accelerate future growth and manage the company for the best long-term interests of employees, customers and shareholders. Halyard generates significant cash, and this strong cash flow will be instrumental to its long-term growth strategy.  The company has been [maximizing] efficiencies in the current business and will look to rebalance its portfolio toward higher margin and higher growth opportunities in the Medical Devices space.

Halyard's business segments — Surgical and Infection Prevention and Medical Devices — develop, manufacture and market clinically superior solutions that improve medical outcomes and business performance in more than 100 countries.   For more information, visit


Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. & Synageva BioPharma Corp.
Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a global biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and delivering life-transforming therapies for patients with devastating and rare diseases, completed the acquisition of Synageva BioPharma Corp. in June 2015. The acquisition strengthened Alexion’s global leadership in rare diseases and expanded the Company’s metabolic franchise with the addition of Kanuma™ (sebelipase alfa), an innovative enzyme replacement therapy for patients with lysosomal acid lipase deficiency (LAL-D), a genetic and progressive ultra-rare metabolic disease. Kanuma has since been approved as a treatment for patients with LAL-D in the U.S. and EU. As the global leader in complement inhibition, Alexion is strengthening and broadening its portfolio of complement inhibitors while continuing to build its metabolic franchise, which also includes Strensiq® (asfotase alfa) for patients with hypophosphatasia (HPP). Today, the Company is advancing the most robust rare disease pipeline in the biotech industry, including several highly innovative product candidates attained through the acquisition of Synageva. For more information, visit

For a list of past Georgia Bio award recipients, click here.

Georgia Bio ( is the state’s life science industry association whose members include pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies, medical centers, universities and research institutes, government groups and other business organizations involved in the development of life sciences related products and services.

Note to Editors: Credentialed members of the news media are invited to attend. Registration is complimentary. Please contact Maria Thacker (404-920-2042; 

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