Ab­b­Vie aban­dons a pi­o­neer­ing CRISPR R&D al­liance with Ed­i­tas as Brent Saun­der­s' deal is cast out

A lit­tle more than 3 years ago Al­ler­gan paid $90 mil­lion in a cash up­front to part­ner with gene edit­ing play­er Ed­i­tas on a CRISPR al­liance fo­cused on the eye. The lead pro­gram cen­tered on LCA10, a rare, in­her­it­ed reti­nal de­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease that ap­pears in child­hood and leads to blind­ness.

Al­ler­gan then went to Ab­b­Vie $AB­BV in a buy­out, and the phar­ma gi­ant has no in­ter­est in mov­ing for­ward on the gene edit­ing front. The com­pa­ny punt­ed it all back to Ed­i­tas Thurs­day, with the biotech $ED­IT not­ing in a state­ment af­ter the mar­ket closed Thurs­day that it is re­gain­ing all rights for its oc­u­lar med­i­cines, in­clud­ing ED­IT-101.

Cyn­thia Collins

Ed­i­tas CEO Cyn­thia Collins says she’s “pleased” to get the pro­grams back un­en­cum­bered. She added:

“We are cur­rent­ly fo­cused on ad­vanc­ing ED­IT-101 with dos­ing re­sumed in the Phase 1/2 BRIL­LIANCE clin­i­cal tri­al. We re­main on track to com­plete dos­ing of the adult low-dose co­hort and to dose at least one pa­tient of the adult mid-dose co­hort by the end of this year. We look for­ward to shar­ing ad­di­tion­al up­dates from BRIL­LIANCE clin­i­cal tri­al and oth­er med­i­cines in de­vel­op­ment in our oc­u­lar pro­gram lat­er this year.”

The biotech’s stock, which had jumped 13% dur­ing reg­u­lar trad­ing hours Thurs­day, im­me­di­ate­ly turned south and dropped 11% af­ter the bell.

Brent Saun­ders

This is a high-pro­file pi­o­neer­ing clin­i­cal ef­fort. Back in March Ed­i­tas and Al­ler­gan spot­light­ed the first use of CRISPR in an in vi­vo hu­man sub­ject, the first time re­searchers had used the tech­nol­o­gy to ed­it a cell — rather than do­ing the edit­ing ex-vi­vo and then re­turn cells to the sub­ject.

But Al­ler­gan CEO Brent Saun­ders nev­er got much cred­it for his R&D deals, as en­thu­si­as­tic as he was about them. Ab­b­Vie’s big in­ter­est was amp­ing up rev­enue from the leg­endary Botox fran­chise, not break­ing new ground with CRISPR.

MedTech clinical trials require a unique regulatory and study design approach and so engaging a highly experienced CRO to ensure compliance and accurate data across all stages is critical to development milestones.

In­no­v­a­tive MedTech De­mands Spe­cial­ist Clin­i­cal Tri­al Reg­u­la­to­ry Af­fairs and De­sign

Avance Clinical is the Australian CRO for international biotechs providing world-class clinical research services with FDA-accepted data across all phases. With Avance Clinical, biotech companies can leverage Australia’s supportive clinical trials environment which includes no IND requirement plus a 43.5% Government incentive rebate on clinical spend. The CRO has been delivering clinical drug development services for international biotechs for FDA and EMA regulatory approval for the past 24 years. The company has been recognized for the past two consecutive years with the prestigious Frost & Sullivan CRO Best Practices Award and a finalist in Informa Pharma’s Best CRO award for 2022.

Tony Coles, Cerevel CEO

Cerev­el takes the pub­lic of­fer­ing route, with a twist — rais­ing big mon­ey thanks to ri­val da­ta

As public biotechs seek to climb out of the bear market, a popular strategy to raise cash has been through public offerings on the heels of positive data. But one proposed raise Wednesday appeared to take advantage not of a company’s own data, but those from a competitor.

Cerevel Therapeutics plans to raise $250 million in a public offering and another $250 million in debt, the biotech announced Wednesday afternoon, even though it did not report any news on its pipeline. However, the move comes days after rival Karuna Therapeutics touted positive Phase III data in schizophrenia, a field where Cerevel is pursuing a similar program.

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Who are the women blaz­ing trails in bio­phar­ma R&D? Nom­i­nate them for End­points' 2022 spe­cial re­port

Over the past three years, Endpoints News has spotlighted 60 women who have blazed trails and supercharged R&D across the biopharma world. And judging from the response we’ve received, to both our special reports and live events, telling their stories — including any obstacles they may have had to overcome — has inspired our readers in many different ways.

But change takes time, and the fact remains that women are still underrepresented at the upper ranks of the drug-making world.

Up­dat­ed: Amid mas­sive re­struc­tur­ing, Bio­gen looks to re­duce phys­i­cal pres­ence in Boston

Biogen is putting a sizable chunk of office and research space in Kendall Square and Weston, MA up for sublease, marking another big change as the biotech grapples with the aftershock of a disastrous and controversial rollout for its Alzheimer’s drug.

The subbleases are “part of Biogen’s overall implementation of the ‘Future of Work,’ which is allowing us to optimize our footprint and reduce the amount of space we occupy, taking into consideration new elements such as the hybrid work model,” Biogen spokesperson Ashleigh Koss wrote in a statement to Endpoints News, adding that the company has had subleases across several buildings for years.

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Bernat Olle, Vedanta Biosciences CEO

Cit­ing 'chal­leng­ing eco­nom­ic en­vi­ron­ment,' PhI­II-ready mi­cro­bio­me biotech lays off 20% of staffers

The market downturn isn’t just sweeping up public biotechs.

Vedanta Biosciences, a developer of oral drugs derived from the human microbiome, is laying off about 20% of its staff — an unfortunately common occurrence these days. But CEO Bernat Olle took the unusual step of sharing the decision on LinkedIn and offering to connect the employees being let go with any company that’s hiring in their areas.

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Hervé Affagard, MaaT Pharma CEO

One year in­to clin­i­cal hold, FDA has more ques­tions about 'pooled' mi­cro­bio­me ther­a­py

The FDA is still wary about a trial testing a microbiome therapy in patients with steroid-resistant acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD).

A year after MaaT Pharma’s IND application in the US was first met with a clinical hold, the French biotech said the agency is maintaining the hold. The crux of the matter, MaaT suggested, has to do with the way it puts together its drug candidate, which is administered as an enema (i.e. an injection of fluid into the bowel).

Alessandro Maselli, Catalent CEO

Catal­ent ac­quires North Car­oli­na CD­MO for $475M, boost­ing oral solids work

As Catalent has been expanding its reach in the US this year, as well as recently completing a C-suite shuffle, the company announced last night that it has acquired the CDMO Metrics Contract Services for $475 million from Mayne Pharma Group.

The acquisition will increase Catalent’s capabilities in oral solid formulation development, manufacturing and packaging as well as expand its capacity to handle more highly potent compounds.

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Saurabh Saha, Centessa CEO (BIO19)

One of 2021's star biotech play­ers flags an­oth­er big set­back for the pipeline

Two months after scuttling their lead drug, Centessa’s executive team is back with the latest in a series of setbacks that have tanked its stock and blown holes in its strategic lineup of biotech subs.

The company reported in its Q2 post today that it has decided to scrap ZF874 after a patient demonstrated elevated liver enzymes — a classic red safety flag — in a Phase I study for alpha-1-antitrypsin (A1AT).

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Illustration: Kim Ryu for Endpoints News

Why non-opi­oid pain drugs keep fail­ing — and what's next for the field

In 1938, Rita Levi-Montalcini was forced to move her lab into her bedroom in Turin, as Mussolini’s facist government expelled Jewish people from studying or working in schools in Italy. Levi-Montalcini, then just a few years out of medical school and using sewing needles as scalpels in her makeshift lab, would soon discover nerve growth factor, or NGF, in chicken embryos.

Her discoveries formed the basis of our understanding of the peripheral nervous system and how cells talk to each other, and Levi-Montalcini went on to win the Nobel Prize in 1986. Much later, NGF was hailed as a promising target for new pain therapies, with some analysts quoting an $11 billion market. However, the latest anti-NGF candidate, Pfizer and Eli Lilly’s tanezumab, was rejected by the FDA last year because of a side effect that dissolved bone in some of its patients.

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