Ab­bott Lab­o­ra­to­ries CEO Miles White pass­es ba­ton down to suc­ces­sor; Lon­za CEO Marc Funk hits the ex­it

Robert Ford Ab­bott

Ab­bott Lab­o­ra­to­ries has named a suc­ces­sor to CEO Miles White af­ter he an­nounced that he was step­ping down in March af­ter 21 years of ser­vice. Robert Ford, the com­pa­ny’s COO and pres­i­dent, will take the helm. Ford is known for his work in the $25 bil­lion merg­er be­tween St. Jude Med­ical in­to Ab­bott in Jan­u­ary 2017. White will re­main with the com­pa­ny as ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of the board. 

→ Af­ter snap­ping up No­var­tis’ Swiss fa­cil­i­ty, No­var­tis Cen­ter of Ex­cel­lence, in Ju­ly, Lon­za has an­nounced that their CEO, Marc Funk, is hit­ting the ex­it for “per­son­al rea­sons.” Funk has been the CEO of the com­pa­ny for less than a year — brought on­to the com­pa­ny back in March. In the mean­time, chair­man Al­bert Baehny will serve as in­ter­im CEO. 

Marc Funk Lon­za

Rakuten Med­ical — which, back in Au­gust, re­ceived $100 mil­lion in a fund­ing round — has wel­comed Bren­ton Keath as CFO and Dana John­son as gen­er­al coun­sel and cor­po­rate sec­re­tary. Keath pre­vi­ous­ly served as head of fi­nance for Rakuten Com­merce and held the role of VP of merg­ers & ac­qui­si­tions in­te­gra­tion at Rakuten USA. Most re­cent­ly, John­son com­plet­ed a stint at Grit­stone On­col­o­gy. In ad­di­tion, the com­pa­ny ap­point­ed co-founder and gen­er­al part­ner of DCM Ven­tures, David Chao, and COO and group EVP of Rakuten, Ken­taro Hyakuno, as di­rec­tors to the com­pa­ny’s board. 

→ In­vest­ment group Abing­worth has tapped Neil Coop­er as CFO. Coop­er is suc­ceed­ing James Abell, who is re­tir­ing af­ter 21 years of ser­vice. Coop­er joins the com­pa­ny af­ter a stint as fi­nance di­rec­tor at Ken­net Part­ners. He has pre­vi­ous­ly served in roles at Robert W Baird, Baird Cap­i­tal Part­ners Eu­rope and Ad­vent Ven­ture Part­ners

→ Ox­ford, UK-based re­search com­pa­ny Arc­toris — which closed a seed fund­ing round of £3.2 mil­lion back in Sep­tem­ber — has wel­comed GSK vet Daniel Thomas as head of dis­cov­ery bi­ol­o­gy. In ad­di­tion, Arc­toris ap­point­ed for­mer CEO of Ge­nomics Eng­land John Mattick to the com­pa­ny’s board of di­rec­tors.

Verseau Ther­a­peu­tics — which re­cent­ly armed with Langer tech and $50 mil­lion to help bring their first macrophage check­point mod­u­la­tor (MCM) for the treat­ment of can­cer to the clin­ic — has wel­comed Tim Smith as CBO. Smith has served in roles at Do­va Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, IDEAYA Bio­sciences, Cleave Bio­sciences and as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment Cel­gene — where he helped lead the ac­qui­si­tion of Re­cep­tos and col­lab­o­ra­tion with Jounce Ther­a­peu­tics.

Ar­row­head Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has an­nounced that the com­pa­ny’s COO and head of R&D, Bruce Giv­en, is re­tir­ing from the com­pa­ny. Giv­en joined the com­pa­ny in 2011 and pri­or to that was the CEO of Leonar­do Biosys­tems. His pre­vi­ous stints in­clude CEO of En­cy­sive Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and roles at J&J, San­doz Phar­ma and Scher­ing-Plough.  

Ru­bius Ther­a­peu­tics — a clin­i­cal-stage bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny de­vel­op­ing a new class of red blood cell ther­a­peu­tics — has named Maiken Ke­son-Brookes as chief le­gal of­fi­cer and cor­po­rate sec­re­tary. Ke­son-Brookes most re­cent­ly served as gen­er­al coun­sel at Syn­log­ic and pri­or to that was the SVP and gen­er­al coun­sel at uniQure. Her pre­vi­ous stints in­clude roles at Fo­rum Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Gen­zyme and Bio­gen

RubrYc Ther­a­peu­tics — fo­cused on can­cer and au­toim­mune dis­eases — has hired Rakesh Ver­ma as SVP, dis­cov­ery & de­vel­op­ment. Be­fore join­ing the com­pa­ny, Ver­ma was the site-head of AR­MO Bio­sciences and as­so­ciate VP at Eli Lil­ly

Aruna Bio — fo­cused on the de­vel­op­ment of neur­al ex­o­somes for the treat­ment of neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases — has brought on Re­nee Boern­er as VP of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs. Boern­er joins the com­pa­ny from Bavar­i­an Nordic, where she served as head of US reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs. Pri­or to that, she was the head of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs at BioDe­liv­ery Sci­ences

Lim­i­nal Bio­Sciences — de­vel­op­ing treat­ments for pa­tients with liv­er, res­pi­ra­to­ry and kid­ney dis­ease — has hired Moira Daniels as head of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs and qual­i­ty as­sur­ance. Daniels joins the com­pa­ny from UCB Phar­ma as their VP, head of glob­al reg­u­la­to­ry op­er­a­tions. Daniels’ pre­vi­ous stints in­clude roles at As­traZeneca, Pfiz­er and Eli Lil­ly

Nor­man Bay­lor Bi­o­log­ics Con­sult­ing

→ Eq­ui­ty firm CBC Group has ap­point­ed Ker­ry Blan­chard as op­er­at­ing part­ner. Most re­cent­ly, Blan­chard served as CSO at In­novent Bi­o­log­ics, where he over­saw the NDA prepa­ra­tion and sub­mis­sion of the com­pa­ny’s PD1 an­ti­body, sin­til­imab (ap­proved in late 2018 and launched in Chi­na in 2019). Pre­vi­ous­ly, Blan­chard held a stint as SVP of Lil­ly Chi­na Drug De­vel­op­ment and Ex­ter­nal In­no­va­tion.

→ French vac­cine de­vel­op­er Val­ne­va — which closed out a part­ner­ship with Glax­o­SmithK­line in June — has added two vac­cine ex­perts, Nor­man Bay­lor and George Siber, to its sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board. Bay­lor is cur­rent­ly the CEO of Bi­o­log­ics Con­sult­ing Group and is a for­mer di­rec­tor of the of­fice of vac­cines re­search and re­view at the FDA Cen­ter for Bi­o­log­ics Eval­u­a­tion and Re­search — fa­cil­i­tat­ing the de­vel­op­ment and li­cen­sure of vac­cines such as HPV and in­fluen­za. Siber is the for­mer di­rec­tor at the Mass­a­chu­setts Bi­o­log­ic Lab and EVP and CSO at Wyeth Vac­cines.

Amarin CEO John Thero discussing the company's plans for Vascepa, August 2019 — via Bloomberg

Amarin wins a block­buster ap­proval from the FDA. Now every­one can shift fo­cus to the patent

For all those people who could never quite believe that Amarin $AMRN would get an expanded label with blockbuster implications, the stress and anxiety on display right up to the last minute on Twitter can now end. But new, pressing questions will immediately surface now that the OK has come through.

On Friday afternoon, the FDA stamped its landmark approval on the industrial strength fish oil for reducing cardio risks for a large and well defined population of patients. The approval doesn’t give Amarin everything it wants in expanding its use, losing out on the primary prevention group, but it goes a long way to doing what the company needed to make a major splash. The approval was cited for patients with “elevated triglyceride levels (a type of fat in the blood) of 150 milligrams per deciliter or higher. Patients must also have either established cardiovascular disease or diabetes and two or more additional risk factors for cardiovascular disease.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 67,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Paul Hudson, Getty Images

Sanofi CEO Hud­son lays out new R&D fo­cus — chop­ping di­a­betes, car­dio and slash­ing $2B-plus costs in sur­gi­cal dis­sec­tion

Earlier on Monday, new Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson baited the hook on his upcoming strategy presentation Tuesday with a tell-tale deal to buy Synthorx for $2.5 billion. That fits squarely with hints that he’s pointing the company to a bigger future in oncology, which also squares with a major industry tilt.

In a big reveal later in the day, though, Hudson offered a slate of stunners on his plans to surgically dissect and reassemble the portfoloio, saying that the company is dropping cardio and diabetes research — which covers two of its biggest franchise arenas. Sanofi missed the boat on developing new diabetes drugs, and now it’s pulling out entirely. As part of the pullback, it’s dropping efpeglenatide, their once-weekly GLP-1 injection for diabetes.

“To be out of cardiovascular and diabetes is not easy for a company like ours with an incredibly proud history,” Hudson said on a call with reporters, according to the Wall Street Journal. “As tough a choice as that is, we’re making that choice.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 67,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Sarep­ta was stunned by the re­jec­tion of Vyondys 53. Now it's stun­ning every­one with a sur­prise ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval

Sarepta has a friend in the FDA after all. Four months after the agency determined that it would be wrong to give Sarepta an accelerated approval for their Duchenne MD drug golodirsen, regulators have executed a stunning about face and offered the biotech a quick green light in any case.

It was the agency that first put out the news late Thursday, announcing that Duchenne MD patients with a mutation amenable to exon 53 skipping will now have their first targeted treatment: Vyondys 53, or golodirsen. Having secured the OK via a dispute resolution mechanism, the biotech said the new drug has been priced on par with their only other marketed drug, Exondys 51 — which for an average patient costs about $300,000 per year, but since pricing is based on weight, that sticker price can even cross $1 million.

Sarepta shares $SRPT surged 23% after-market to $124.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 67,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Paul Biondi (File photo)

Paul Biondi's track record at Bris­tol-My­ers cov­ered bil­lions in deals of every shape and size. Here's the com­plete break­down

Paul Biondi was never afraid to bet big during his stint as business development chief at Bristol-Myers Squibb. And while the gambles didn’t all pay out, by any means, his roster of pacts illustrates the broad ambitions the pharma giant has had over the last 5 years — capped by the $74 billion Celgene buyout.

On Thursday, we learned that Biondi had exited the company. And Chris Dokomajilar at DealForma came up with the complete breakdown on every buyout, licensing pact and product purchase Bristol-Myers forged during his tenure in charge of the BD team at one of the busiest companies in biopharma.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Arie Belldegrun (Photo: Jeff Rumans for Endpoints News)

Ju­ry finds Gilead li­able for $585M and big roy­al­ties in Kite CAR-T patent case

A Kite deal that’s already become a burden on Gilead’s back just got heavier as a California jury has ruled Gilead must pay Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sloan Kettering $585 million plus a 27.6% royalty for patent infringement committed by its subsidiary. The ruling is almost certain to be appealed.

Kite Pharma — founded by Arie Belldegrun, now focused on a next-gen CAR-T company — has been facing a lawsuit since the day its first CAR–T therapy won approval in October, 2017. Juno Therapeutics and Sloan Kettering filed a complaint saying Kite had copied its technology. Gilead acquired Kite in June of that year for $11.9 billion.  Juno was acquired the following year by Celgene for $9 billion, before Celgene was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2019.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 67,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

FDA ex­pert pan­el unan­i­mous­ly rec­om­mends ap­proval for Hori­zon Ther­a­peu­tics eye drug

An FDA advisory committee noted with concern a small safety database but unanimously endorsed a Horizon Therapeutics drug for a rare eye autoimmune disease that can blind patients: teprotumumab for thyroid eye disease (TED).

“It was a pretty easy vote,” said Erica Brittain, an NIH biostatistician and one of the 12 panelists on FDA’s Dermatologic and Ophthalmic Drugs Advisory Committee.

This image shows a lab technician measuring the zone of inhibition during an antibiotic sensitivity test, 1972. The zone of inhibition is measured and compared to a standard in order to determine if an antibiotic is effective in treating the bacterial infection. (Gilda Jones/CDC via Getty Images)

Bio­phar­ma has aban­doned an­tibi­ot­ic de­vel­op­ment. Here’s why we did, too.

Timing is Everything
When we launched Octagon Therapeutics in late 2017, I was convinced that the time was right for a new antibiotic discovery venture. The company was founded on impressive academic pedigree and the management team had known each other for years. Our first program was based on a compelling approach to targeting central metabolism in the most dangerous bacterial pathogens. We had already shown a high level of efficacy in animal infection models and knew our drug was safe in humans.

Shehnaaz Suli­man dives back in­to Alzheimer's at Alec­tor; Pyx­is re­cruits Spring­Works founder Lara Sul­li­van as CEO

Amid Shehnaaz Suliman’s lengthy resume it could be easy to miss her stint leading early-stage Alzheimer’s R&D at Genentech, where she oversaw a program for the ill-fated crenezumab and initiated one of the first prevention studies around the devastating neurodegenerative disease. But it is this experience that she — after thinking long and hard about her next career move over the past months — will be leaning heavily on as the first president and COO of Alector.

PhII fail­ure in rare neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease? No mat­ter, Bio­gen will mo­tor on in Alzheimer's

Biogen’s fierce focus on disorders of the brain has hit another roadblock.

On Friday, the US drugmaker — which recently resurrected its amyloid-targeting Alzheimer’s drug, aducanumab — said its anti-tau drug, gosuranemab, failed a mid-stage study in patients with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a rare brain disorder that results from deterioration of brain cells that control movement and thought.