Ab­b­Vie slapped with age dis­crim­i­na­tion law­suit, fol­low­ing oth­er phar­mas

Add Ab­b­Vie to the list of phar­ma com­pa­nies cur­rent­ly fac­ing age dis­crim­i­na­tion al­le­ga­tions.

Penn­syl­va­nia res­i­dent Thomas Hesch filed suit against Ab­b­Vie on Wednes­day, ac­cus­ing the com­pa­ny of pass­ing him over for pro­mo­tions in fa­vor of younger can­di­dates.

De­spite 30 years of phar­ma ex­pe­ri­ence, “Hesch has con­sis­tent­ly seen younger, less qual­i­fied em­ploy­ees pro­mot­ed over him,” the com­plaint states.

He was orig­i­nal­ly an em­ploy­ee of For­est Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, a for­mer sub­sidiary of Al­ler­gan, where he was pro­mot­ed to spe­cial­ty sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive in 2011 be­fore the com­pa­ny was ac­quired by Ab­b­Vie in 2020. Some of Hesch’s claims in­volve in­ci­dents that oc­curred be­fore Ab­b­Vie’s $63 bil­lion takeover.

In Sep­tem­ber 2018, Hesch said he was among the fi­nal two can­di­dates in­ter­viewed for a dis­trict man­ag­er po­si­tion, but lost the job to a younger can­di­date who lived out­side of the ge­o­graph­ic area the po­si­tion cov­ered, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments. He was 60 years old at the time.

Af­ter reaf­firm­ing his in­ter­est in a man­age­ment po­si­tion, Hesch en­rolled in Ab­b­Vie’s Emerg­ing Lead­ers De­vel­op­men­tal Pro­gram (EL­DP). How­ev­er, he was passed over for yet an­oth­er dis­trict man­ag­er po­si­tion in 2021, in fa­vor of a can­di­date less than half his age. Hesch al­leged that sev­er­al com­ments about his re­tire­ment were made dur­ing in­ter­views, but he as­sured the com­pa­ny he would work for at least an­oth­er five years.

Hesch al­so claimed that he rec­om­mend­ed a 57-year-old col­league for an­oth­er po­si­tion who didn’t get the job. The in­ter­view­er al­leged­ly told Hesch that an­oth­er man­ag­er said the can­di­date was “too old.”

Ab­b­Vie has not re­spond­ed to a re­quest for com­ment as of press time.

The com­plaint marks the lat­est in a suite of re­cent age dis­crim­i­na­tion al­le­ga­tions filed against Big Phar­ma com­pa­nies.

Back in June, the US Equal Em­ploy­ment Op­por­tu­ni­ty Com­mis­sion (EEOC) got in­volved in an age dis­crim­i­na­tion case against No­vo Nordisk, filed by an obe­si­ty care spe­cial­ist who was de­nied a lat­er­al trans­fer back in 2018. In that case, a dis­trict man­ag­er al­leged­ly told the spe­cial­ist that he want­ed some­one who would be in the po­si­tion “long term,” and se­lect­ed a 33-year-old for the job. No­vo filed a mo­tion to dis­miss the case back in Sep­tem­ber.

Eli Lil­ly faced sim­i­lar al­le­ga­tions last Sep­tem­ber, when two plain­tiffs ac­cused the com­pa­ny of hir­ing younger work­ers on the ba­sis of phys­i­cal at­trac­tive­ness. The plain­tiffs, one of whom was laid off from a Lil­ly sales rep po­si­tion, said they ap­plied for sev­er­al po­si­tions at Lil­ly but didn’t make it past the first in­ter­view stage. An In­di­ana fed­er­al court de­nied Lil­ly’s mo­tion to dis­miss the case in Au­gust.

Back in 2018, Te­va was or­dered to pay more than $6 mil­lion in dam­ages in an age and na­tion­al­i­ty dis­crim­i­na­tion law­suit.

Late Fri­day ap­proval; Trio of biotechs wind down; Stem cell pi­o­neer finds new fron­tier; Biotech icon to re­tire; and more

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Pfiz­er lays off em­ploy­ees at Cal­i­for­nia and Con­necti­cut sites

Pfizer has laid off employees at its La Jolla, CA, and Groton, CT sites, according to multiple LinkedIn posts from former employees.

The Big Pharma confirmed to Endpoints News it has let go of some employees, but a spokesperson declined to specify how many workers were impacted and the exact locations affected. Earlier this month, the drug developer had confirmed to Endpoints it was sharpening its focus and doing away with some early research on areas such as rare disease, oncology and gene therapies.

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Jake Van Naarden, Loxo@Lilly CEO

Lil­ly en­ters ripe BTK field with quick FDA nod in man­tle cell lym­phoma

Eli Lilly has succeeded in its attempt to get the first non-covalent version of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase, or BTK, inhibitors to market, pushing it past rival Merck.

The FDA gave an accelerated nod to Lilly’s daily oral med, to be sold as Jaypirca, for patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma.

The agency’s green light, disclosed by the Indianapolis Big Pharma on Friday afternoon, catapults Lilly into a field dominated by covalent BTK inhibitors, which includes AbbVie and Johnson & Johnson’s Imbruvica, AstraZeneca’s Calquence and BeiGene’s Brukinsa.

Filip Dubovsky, Novavax CMO

No­vavax gets ready to take an­oth­er shot at Covid vac­cine mar­ket with next sea­son plans

While mRNA took center stage at yesterday’s FDA vaccine advisory committee meeting, Novavax announced its plans to deliver an updated protein-based vaccine based on new guidance.

Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) members voted unanimously in favor of “harmonizing” Covid vaccine compositions, meaning all future vaccine recipients would receive a bivalent vaccine, regardless of whether they’ve gotten their primary series.

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CBER Director Peter Marks (Susan Walsh/AP Images)

FDA ad­vi­so­ry com­mit­tee votes unan­i­mous­ly in fa­vor of bi­va­lent Covid shots re­plac­ing pri­ma­ry se­ries

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted unanimously in favor of “harmonizing” Covid vaccine compositions, meaning all current vaccine recipients would receive a bivalent vaccine, regardless of whether they’ve gotten their primary series.

The vote marks an effort to clear up confusion around varying formulations and dosing schedules for current primary series and booster vaccines, as well as “get closer to the strains that are circulating,” according to committee member Paul Offit, professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

FDA re­ports ini­tial 'no sig­nal' for stroke risk with Pfiz­er boost­ers, launch­es con­comi­tant flu shot study

The FDA hasn’t detected any potential safety signals, including for stroke, in people aged 65 years and older who have received Pfizer’s bivalent Covid booster, one senior official told members of the agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on Thursday.

The update comes as the FDA and CDC investigate a “preliminary signal” that may indicate an increased risk of ischemic stroke in older Americans who received Pfizer’s updated shot.

FDA cuts off use for As­traZeneca’s Covid-19 ther­a­py Evusheld

The FDA has stopped use of another drug as a result of the new coronavirus variants. On Thursday, the agency announced that AstraZeneca’s antibody combo Evusheld, which was an important prevention option for many immunocompromised people and others, is no longer authorized.

The FDA said it made its decision based on the fact that Evusheld works on fewer than 10% of circulating variants.

Evusheld was initially given emergency authorization at the end of 2021. However, as Omicron emerged, so did studies that showed Evusheld might not work against the dominant Omicron strain. In October, the FDA warned healthcare providers that Evusheld was useless against the Omicron subvariant BA.4.6. It followed that up with another announcement earlier this month that it did not think Evusheld would work against the latest Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5.

Rodney Rietze, iVexSol CEO

Bris­tol My­ers, Charles Riv­er join Se­ries A fund­ing for iVex­Sol

Massachusetts-based iVexSol has secured funding to the tune of $23.8 million in its latest Series A round. The new investors include Bristol Myers Squibb, manufacturer Charles River Laboratories and Asahi Kasei Medical.

iVexSol is a manufacturer of lentiviral vectors (LVV), used in making gene therapies, and this latest round of fundraising brings its total Series A total over $39 million, which will be used to recruit more employees and bolster its technology.

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John Rim, Samsung Biologics CEO (Samsung/PR Newswire)

Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics spells out ex­pan­sion plans in South Ko­rea and US

The CDMO arm of one of South Korea’s largest conglomerates has posted its year-end results and plans for 2023, which include new construction.

Samsung Biologics netted north of KRW 3 trillion ($2.4 billion) in 2022 revenue and an operating profit of KRW 983.6 billion ($799 million), which the company touted on Friday as “record-high earnings.” The revenue boost was 55% compared to 2021.