In one of the largest California biotech deals of 2019, the French pharma Goliath Sanofi is in the process of acquiring the startup Synthorx, a cancer pharmaceutical prescription drug company based in La Jolla, for a price tag of two-point-five billion dollars. Synthorx started up five years ago working with synthetic substances from plants and animals, to give researchers an expanded genetic DNA code to test new cancer drug reactions on synthetic cells. This process avoids completely any taint of animal cruelty, since no live animals, or live plants for that matter, are used in the process. This has proven a very popular trend for pharmaceutical investors. Synthorx took advantage of that groundswell back in 2018, when they raised over 130 million dollars in their first public offering.
The sudden acquisition has created a tidy profit for the early backers/entrepreneurs of Synthorx; they include RA Capital, OrbiMed, and Avalon Ventures out of San Diego. Share prices of the startup shot up from twenty-five dollars last Friday to sixty-eight dollars on Monday — that comes out to a 172% ROI for the lucky investors.
The proto-drug fueling this deal is called THOR-707. It targets solid tumors throughout the body, boosting the number of effector T-cells in circulation.