Lacerta Bio is a business development consultancy specializing in identifying, assessing, negotiating, and closing licensing and partnership opportunities for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and drug delivery industries.

We also work with and support internal business development teams with market research, competitive intelligence, financial modeling, and other support services.

If you need assistance finding or assessing business development and/or partnership opportunities, contact us at

Current Projects

Problems Solved: GPR119 Agonists For Type II Diabetes  
Posted on Jun 10, 2014


Background GPR119 Activation leads to glucose-dependent insulin secretion and the release of GIP and GLP-1. This mechanism has generated a great deal of excitement in the diabetes research community, as it strongly mimics processes which take place during digestion. Additionally, this mechanism is superior to GLP-1 only approaches, without the problems associated with sulfonylureas and

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Preclinical ALK Ack 1 Oncology Asset Available for Licensing  
Posted on Sep 03, 2013


Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK) is emerging as an important target for novel, safe, oral anti-cancer therapies. First identified in 1994, ALK is believed to affect nearly 100,000 new NSCLC patients globally. In fact, ALK inhibition has potential in a wide variety of cancers, such as NSCLC, Lymphomas, inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors (IMT), neuroblastoma, and ovarian cancers. Our client’s

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Wnt Activators for Osteoporosis: First In Class Opportunity  
Posted on Sep 02, 2014


Background There are two general mechanisms of action for treating osteoporosis: Anti-Resorption Agents inhibit the normal resorption of bone, thereby slowing bone loss. But, this approach does not trigger de novo bone formation. Biphosphonates like zoledronic acid and disodium pamidronate are marketed examples of anti-resorption agents. Anabolic Agents are a relatively new approach to treating

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Our Latest Article

Inversions: Alive or Dead? 
Posted on Oct 09, 2014



The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

Mark Twain

In July, we summarized the issue of companies acquiring other companies in tax-friendly countries. These so-called “inversions” were not a new phenomenon, but their interest (at least in our industry) reached a fevered pitch this year.

Can This Continue?

This was a question we asked in July.

According to the Obama administration, the answer is a decisive “No.”

For example,

The Obama administration’s move to tighten rules on corporate inversions should discourage new deals, at least for a while, by making them harder and less profitable, tax experts said. On Tuesday it already was roiling some pending transactions.

Note that the move is designed to make these transactions more difficult, but not impossible.

It’s unlikely that large pending deals (such as AbbVie/Shire) will fall through, simply because a) the breakup fee is likely to be high, and b) it will be an embarrassment to management who originally touted “long-term, strategic value” or some other such MBA-speak.

As with anything surrounding the tax codes, there are an infinite number of interpretations and nuances. Witness, for example, the effect on “hopscotch” loans:

The rules, which apply to deals that close starting today, include a prohibition on “hopscotch” loans that let companies access foreign cash without paying U.S. taxes, and impose new curbs on actions that companies can use to make such transactions qualify for favorable tax treatment.

The fundamental problem with all this is that international companies quickly outgrow the confines of their national tax codes. Companies such as AbbVie and Pfizer and IBM are no longer “American” companies. They are global companies. Until tax codes recognize this, there will always be smart accountants and attorneys who delve into the tax codes and find novel ways to reduce the tax obligations of their clients.

In fact, early comments suggest that these new changes to the tax code will be largely ineffective:

These new Treasury regulations are likely to act like administering antibiotics to a sick patient. It will kill off the deals that were designed to comply with old rules, but new deals will quickly sprout up that are even more resistant to regulation. Investors have clearly lost their squeamishness at owning a company that is organized under Canadian, Dutch or Irish law. So long as U.S. corporate tax rates are so much higher than those in competing nations, there will always be a strong financial incentive for U.S.-based multinationals to figure out a way to move their corporate citizenship overseas.

We believe this issue will remain a continual source of income for international tax attorneys and accountants for a long, long time.

Latest Posts

As Scarce As… 
Posted on Sep 23, 2014

Twenty Five. That’s it. What are we talking about? Some of the data in yesterday’s excellent post by Bruce Booth on Early Stage Venture Scarcity really caught us by surprise. What really caught our eye was this nugget: To address this issue, FLAG Capital Management did a further refinement of “active” investors and shared it with

Small Molecule PEGylation: An Idea Ready For Prime Time 
Posted on Sep 17, 2014

At Lacerta Bio, we’re big believers in the therapeutic benefits of drug delivery in its many forms. Today, another drug delivery effort earned an FDA approval. In this case, it’s naloxegol from Nektar (and its partner, AstraZeneca). Naloxegol was approved for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation. Naloxegol is a highly interesting molecule because it consists of

Combination Products: Is A Different Regulatory Approach Needed? 
Posted on Sep 15, 2014

  This morning, California-based Avanir Pharmaceuticals announced that their combination of dextromethorphan HBr and quinidine sulfate (AVP-923) hit their Phase II endpoints in Alzheimer’s Disease: Treatment with AVP-923 was associated with significantly reduced agitation as measured by the primary endpoint, the agitation/aggression domain score of the neuropsychiatric inventory (NPI) compared to placebo (p=0.00008).  The reduction

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