Pharmaceutical in-licensing & asset scouting

Alacrita supports both large pharma and biotech companies with their search and evaluation activities. Our scouting support is often structured to integrate with the client’s internal efforts, resulting in a constant flow of new opportunities.

Such activities include:

  • Working with the client’s global scouting team to identify companies and assets not yet appearing in industry pipeline databases
  • Contacting companies that fit our clients’ criteria to ascertain their interest in partnerships
  • Targeted and regular attendance at partnering and scientific conferences
  • Scanning of new and recent literature to identify emerging opportunities
  • Searches of grants, deals, and pipeline databases
  • Searches of Alacrita’s existing internal asset database
  • Outreach and networking with tech transfer offices, KOLs, industry contacts, and licensing professionals

Sample of recent engagements:

  • Disease Areas: Immuno-oncology, fibrosis, genetically defined diseases
    Geographic scope: US
    Engagement Length: 2 years

  • Disease Areas: Therapeutic areas of interest included oncology and anti-infectives.
    Geographic scope: US & UK
    Engagement: 8 years

  • Focus: Investment opportunities in the digital and e-health space 
    Geographic scope: US
    Engagement: 3.5 years

  • Disease Areas: Reproductive and women’s health, GI and IBD, hepatology and urology
    Geographic scope: US
    Engagement: 2.5 years

  • Disease Areas: Early stage, first in class therapeutic opportunities
    Geographic scope: Global
    Engagement: 1.5 years

  • Disease Areas: Novel antibodies to treat cancer or fibrotic diseases.
    Geographic scope: Global
    Engagement: 3 years

This is just a sampling of the scouting engagements we have performed for both pharma and biotech clients. Many of our scouting relationships are ongoing and are all non-exclusive.

Additional In-Licensing & Scouting projects:

  • Screening for rare disease licensing opportunities: Our client, a commercial stage biotech company focused on rare and ultra-rare diseases was seeking to boost its pipeline of development products. Whilst it had an established business development function in North America, it had limited business development capacity in Europe and therefore a more limited awareness of and reach into the academic, disease advocacy and early stage biotech networks in the region. Alacrita was engaged to assist in identifying promising drug candidates, technologies and research capabilities which offered transformational potential in a selected group of rare and ultra-rare diseases.

  • Scouting in-licensing targets in inflammation and fibrosis: A pharmaceutical company with marketed therapeutics in several respiratory disorders wanted to supplement its internal pipeline with external innovation. The company had already searched for potential partners in its home territory, but had not identified any suitable discovery/preclinical-stage assets in its indications of interest. It did not have the internal capacity to continue a search of international markets, so engaged Alacrita to identify other potential partners and assets, with a particular focus in the US and Europe.

  • Scouting for in-licensing opportunities in oncology: A leading precision oncology company developing first-in-class small molecules with a focus on targeting DNA damage repair pathways wanted to bolster its internal pipeline with additional assets via acquisitions or in-licensing. The company had previously only performed passive asset searches, but had recently taken the strategic decision to take a more active approach. The company recognized that a significant investment of time and effort would be required to identify the best opportunities, and thus engaged Alacrita to help.

  • Scouting for in-licensing opportunities in fibrosis: A biotech company focused on developing therapeutics for fibrotic diseases was looking to acquisitions or in-licensing as way to grow its development pipeline with additional assets. Alacrita was engaged to conduct scouting activities to identify first-in-class assets for fibrosis, between candidate selection and Phase 2 clinical development.

Selection of in-licensing & scouting case studies:

In-licensing fibroblast-associated biologics in oncology, fibrosis & autoimmune disease

Challenge: A biotech company with a focus on fibroblast biology and associated therapeutics wanted to expand its pipeline by in-licensing preclinical stage assets that modulate pathogenic fibroblasts or other fibroblast-adjacent opportunities. After conducting scouting activities in-house, the company engaged Alacrita to provide additional support to identify potential partners and assets. The company was specifically seeking biologics in the early stages of development to treat inflammatory diseases, fibrosis and oncology via fibroblast-immune cell interaction driven mechanisms, fibroblast-related mechanisms or fibroblast-adjacent targets.

Solution: Alacrita’s scouting activities included an extensive literature search to identify biological targets and pathways of interest to the client. Our consultants did by using a combination of internal databases, subscription intelligence databases, Alacrita’s expert network and publicly available sources such as grant databases, research charities, conference websites etc.

Through periodic meetings with the client to review emerging opportunities and refine our search criteria, Alacrita finalized and presented an extensive list of prospective early-stage opportunities in the fibroblast space. Many of the assets identified by Alacrita had not been previously identified by the client, with approximately 25 new assets that were of particular interest to the client.

Pharma scouting for new antibody therapeutics

Challenge: A well-capitalized biotech company focused on developing antibody therapeutics for cancer and fibrosis needed to find new preclinical assets to in-license, with a particular focus on immune-oncology. A far-reaching search would be required to find the right match.

Solution: Over the course of two years, we conducted a systematic, global pharmaceutical scouting project through channels that included scientific literature, databases of grants and patents; tech transfer offices and scientific societies. We used several industry pipeline databases to identify and contact academics, biotech startups and existing companies with novel or fast-follower preclinical stage antibodies. In addition to desk research, we attended numerous local and international networking and biotech partnering events to scout for licensing opportunities on behalf of the client.

Having exhausted opportunities which had been published, we then wanted to find assets that were not yet in the public domain. We launched a scientific outreach campaign, sending individual, personalized emails to over 35,000 cancer researchers around the world. We also deployed artificial intelligence and machine learning to scour and monitor the scientific literature to find scientific papers that described assets that fit our client’s criteria.

Our search and outreach identified several new in-licensing opportunities for our client, which are currently under due diligence or deal term negotiation.


Sourcing in-licensing opportunities to supplement internal pipeline development

Challenge: A pharmaceutical company that pioneered peptide pharmaceutical products, and a leader in reproductive medicine and women’s health, gastroenterology, and urology, had recently made the strategic decision to increase its in-licensing activities in order to supplement its internal pipeline development. While the company has an innovation sourcing team with coverage in Europe, China, and US west coast, it was recognized that a fresh pair of ‘boots on the ground’ in the US would support in-licensing opportunities. Alacrita was therefore engaged to conduct scouting activities, focusing on therapeutic assets and biomarkers in urology, hepatology, gastrointestinal disorders (particularly inflammatory bowel disease) and reproductive and women’s health. Alacrita scouted for assets significantly differentiated from existing agents (first-in-class, innovative assets), all the way from discovery phase of development to Phase I clinical development.

Solution: Alacrita’s activities included scanning new and recent literature to identify emerging opportunities; searches of grants, deals, and pipeline databases; outreach and networking with biotech and pharma companies, industry contacts, large pharma as well as licensing professionals and technology transfer offices; and finally regular attendance at meetings and conferences which were likely to attract new biotech companies in early preclinical or clinical stage of development. We worked closely with the client’s team to identify important targets and pathways of interest and took an iterative approach to adjust our search criteria, such that they align with client’s evolving interests throughout the engagement. We tracked opportunities in a document that was updated and shared on a weekly basis. Licensing opportunities that Alacrita identified as appropriate for the incubator were delivered on a rolling basis.