Mark Timney, Attralus CEO (via Purdue Pharma on YouTube)

A few months in­to his new role at At­tralus, ex-Pur­due chief Mark Tim­ney leads the biotech to a $116M round

Months af­ter Bay Area start­up At­tralus tapped Mark Tim­ney to its helm, the ex-Pur­due Phar­ma chief has led the com­pa­ny to a $116 mil­lion Se­ries B round — and with it, ac­tivist in­vestor Alex Den­ner is join­ing the board.

Tim­ney says he’ll use the funds to push At­tralus’ pan-amy­loid re­moval ther­a­pies for sys­temic amy­loi­do­sis in­to the clin­ic, as well as what he claims is the first amy­loi­do­sis-spe­cif­ic di­ag­nos­tic imag­ing agent.

Sys­temic amy­loi­do­sis refers to a group of rare dis­eases caused by the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of tox­ic amy­loid de­posits — clumps of ab­nor­mal pro­teins — in tis­sues and or­gans. The two most com­mon forms are im­munoglob­u­lin light-chain (AL) amy­loi­do­sis and transthyretin amy­loi­do­sis (AT­TR). At­tralus’ first can­di­date, AT-03, is de­signed to bind to amy­loid de­posits, while stim­u­lat­ing the im­mune sys­tem to re­move them.

“At­tralus of­fers unique val­ue by de­vel­op­ing amy­loi­do­sis ther­a­pies ca­pa­ble of broad­ly re­mov­ing ex­ist­ing amy­loid de­posits, go­ing be­yond cur­rent treat­ments that slow pro­gres­sion but do not re­move amy­loid from or­gans,” said Gra­ham Walm­s­ley and Ar­sani William of Lo­gos Cap­i­tal, which led the Se­ries B round.

Janus Hen­der­son In­vestors, Red­mile Group, Sam­sara Bio­Cap­i­tal, Saris­sa Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, Sur­vey­or Cap­i­tal, Vi­vo Cap­i­tal and found­ing in­vestor ven­Bio Part­ners al­so chipped in.

At­tralus gave no in­di­ca­tion of when it’s ex­pect­ed to reach the clin­ic, and the com­pa­ny wasn’t avail­able for an in­ter­view as of press time.

Tim­ney took the reins from co-founder Spencer Guthrie back in May, who still re­mains on board as COO. In Ju­ly, the com­pa­ny wel­comed Jake Bauer, MyoKar­dia’s for­mer chief busi­ness of­fi­cer, to the board of di­rec­tors. And on Wednes­day, it was re­vealed that Den­ner — the Carl Ic­ahn pro­tégé known for forc­ing out old CEOs and spurring new buy­outs — is tak­ing a seat on the board as well.

Alex Den­ner

The found­ing part­ner of Saris­sa Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment was re­cent­ly be­hind an ac­tivist at­tack at Iron­wood Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, which ul­ti­mate­ly got him a spot on the board. Iron­wood suc­cess­ful­ly kept Den­ner off the board for two years be­fore fi­nal­ly cav­ing in No­vem­ber. In May, Den­ner joined Alk­er­mes, as chief ex­ec­u­tive Richard Pops faced pres­sure to “re­fresh” the board of di­rec­tors.

“We are de­light­ed to wel­come Dr. Den­ner to our board of di­rec­tors, as we ac­cel­er­ate de­vel­op­ment of our pipeline and con­tin­ue to grow our busi­ness,” said Corey Good­man, chair­man of At­tralus’ board.

Tim­ney pre­vi­ous­ly served as CEO of Pur­due dur­ing some of the worst years of the opi­oid epi­dem­ic. He’s been named in dozens of law­suits against the Oxy­Con­tin mak­er, and was ac­cused of di­rect­ing sales reps to pro­mote the drug’s “abuse-de­ter­rent prop­er­ties” de­spite knowl­edge that those an­ti-abuse prop­er­ties were un­like­ly to work, ac­cord­ing to the AP. Last week, Pur­due was dis­solved as a re­sult of a bank­rupt­cy set­tle­ment, and the Sack­ler fam­i­ly and its own­ers were ab­solved from li­a­bil­i­ty.

Tim­ney jumped over to The Med­i­cines Com­pa­ny in 2018, and snagged an $84 mil­lion wind­fall in 2019 af­ter lead­ing the com­pa­ny to a $9.7 bil­lion No­var­tis buy­out.

Forge Bi­o­log­ics’ cGMP Com­pli­ant and Com­mer­cial­ly Vi­able Be­spoke Affin­i­ty Chro­matog­ra­phy Plat­form

Forge Biologics has developed a bespoke affinity chromatography platform approach that factors in unique vector combinations to streamline development timelines and assist our clients in efficiently entering the clinic. By leveraging our experience with natural and novel serotypes and transgene conformations, we are able to accelerate affinity chromatography development by nearly 3-fold. Many downstream purification models are serotype-dependent, demanding unique and time-consuming development strategies for each AAV gene therapy product1. With the increasing demand to propel AAV gene therapies to market, platform purification methods that support commercial-scale manufacturing of high-quality vectors with excellent safety and efficacy profiles are essential.

Who’s spend­ing and who’s cut­ting from Big Phar­ma’s $127B R&D bud­get? Here are the top 15 play­ers

A couple of the Big 15 biopharma companies in R&D hit the gas on research spending last year. Merck and Sanofi still have lots to prove in the pipeline, and they’re willing to gamble large sums to make a better future for themselves.

Doing nothing would be infinitely worse.

But collectively, the top players rang up a modest 2.4% increase in spending in 2022, which didn’t cover inflationary pressures. And that set the tone for an extraordinarily cautious year for the industry — even as it laid out about $127 billion to advance new drugs or up the ante on approved therapies.

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Jeff Bluestone (R), Sonoma Biotherapeutics CEO

Jef­frey Blue­stone brings his start­up haul to $400M+, join­ing forces with Re­gen­eron on cell ther­a­pies

These days, when Jeffrey Bluestone gets together with his contemporaries in science, the conversation often turns to retirement plans.

But a little more than three years ago, Bluestone reached a momentous turning point in his career, exiting a prestigious post at UCSF, where he had spent decades in the scientific pursuit of new therapies. And it had nothing to do with retirement anytime in the near future.

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Covant acting CEO Matt Maisak (L) and CSO Iván Cornella

With Boehringer In­gel­heim’s help, Roivant churns out an­oth­er Vant to go up against En­deav­or, Im­pact founders

Roivant Sciences has added another branch to its family tree, unveiling Covant Therapeutics with a $10 million upfront commitment from Boehringer Ingelheim to turn up the heat in cancer.

The Boston-based drug discovery startup will jointly create a new small molecule immunotherapy with the private German pharma giant. The deal, made public Tuesday morning, includes up to $471 million in future payments and tiered royalties, should the product make it to market.

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Richard Murray, Jounce Therapeutics CEO

Jounce nix­es Redx of­fer as I/O biotech in­stead goes with Con­cen­tra Bio­sciences’ takeover bid

A minority shareholder has won out in the Jounce Therapeutics takeover battle, with the once-ambitious immunotherapy biotech now choosing to be acquired by Kevin Tang’s Concentra Biosciences rather than follow through with an already-announced deal that would have brought the UK’s Redx onto Nasdaq.

Via its new merger partner, Jounce is expected to get $1.85 per share from Concentra, which was formed by Tang Capital Partners, the owner of about 10% of Jounce shares. Two weeks ago, Concentra laid out a $1.80 per share proposal plus more for the ability to swoop up 80% of proceeds from licenses of legacy programs out of Jounce’s pipeline.

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Doug Williams, departing Codiak BioSciences CEO

Co­di­ak files for Chap­ter 11 bank­rupt­cy as most ex­ec­u­tives head for the ex­it

Codiak BioSciences has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, spelling an end to the employment of most executives, including founder Doug Williams, as the biotech says it “expects to consummate a sale.”

The eight-year journey at Codiak is nearing an end with Williams; CFO Linda Bain; medical chief David Mauro; scientific head Sriram Sathyanarayanan; legal and compliance chief Yalonda Howze; and SVP of HR Nicole Barna all packing up their bags in the first few days of April. Chief technology officer Konstantin Konstantinov will stay.

Mihael Polymeropoulos, Vanda Pharmaceuticals CEO

Van­da wins court case against FDA over dis­clo­sure of CRL de­tails for sleep drug

DC District Court Judge Christopher Cooper today granted Vanda Pharma’s request to require the FDA to disclose more info on the complete response letter for its sleep disorder drug Hetlioz.

The melatonin receptor agonist is approved by the FDA to treat non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder, a circadian rhythm disorder. But in 2018 Vanda filed a supplemental application to market Hetlioz as a treatment for jet lag, which the FDA rejected in August 2019, with few details on what Vanda needed to correct course, according to the company.

Sally Susman, Pfizer EVP and chief corporate affairs officer

Q&A: Pfiz­er cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions chief Sal­ly Sus­man dis­cuss­es book craft­ed in pan­dem­ic and per­son­al lessons

From the political arena to the finance and beauty industries to pharmaceuticals, Pfizer’s Sally Susman has broken barriers, stereotypes and conventions. And now the chief communicator is “Breaking Through,” the title of her first book about effective and innovative communications launching today. The full official title is “Breaking Through: Communicating to Open Minds, Move Hearts, and Change the World.”

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Fer­ring clos­es key re­search site, let­ting go 89 work­ers in San Diego

In May, the Ferring Research Institute in San Diego will let all 89 of its employees go.

Led by SVP of global drug discovery and external innovation Araz Raoof, the institute works on small molecule and peptide drug discovery, as well as machine learning and artificial intelligence work to find new drug targets, according to Ferring’s website.

The Swiss biopharma notified its employees last week, per a California WARN notice, which was first reported by Fierce Biotech. Ferring refers to the center as its “global research arm and ideas incubator.” The drug developer’s pipeline includes work across reproductive medicine and maternal health, gastroenterology, urology and url-oncology.