About the re­designed End­points News

We’ve up­grad­ed the End­points web ex­pe­ri­ence for the first time since our launch three years ago. It was built from scratch in­ter­nal­ly with the read­er in mind to be a clean­er and more use­able plat­form. We have some spe­cif­ic goals in mind for the de­sign, which I’ll de­scribe be­low. And for those in­ter­est­ed, I’d like to go in­to some depth be­hind the over­all process and back­end be­hind End­points News.

But first, a word of thanks to the CRO Bio­rasi for their ex­clu­sive spon­sor­ship of the re­design. End­points’ chief rev­enue of­fi­cer Mike Peck and I met the team a year ago at a con­fer­ence, where we talked about clin­i­cal out­sourc­ing and its place in drug de­vel­op­ment. Soon, we de­vel­oped a brand cam­paign tied to the End­points brand re­fresh, and over the next two weeks you’ll see the re­sults of that across the site.

I set out three ma­jor goals for the re­design. They were:

  • In­crease the con­ver­sion rate of web vis­i­tors in­to ba­sic sub­scribers
  • In­crease the av­er­age num­ber of sto­ries read per vis­it
  • 2x im­prove­ment on the de­sign, fit, and fin­ish

The first two can be ob­jec­tive­ly mea­sured. And in the 48 hours since we soft launched the site, we’ve al­ready seen im­prove­ments. Im­prov­ing the rate at which new web vis­i­tors will­ing­ly and vol­un­tar­i­ly sub­scribe to get the ba­sic End­points email prod­uct is pure or­gan­ic growth and re­mains our #1 mar­ket­ing KPI. We crossed 50,000 re­cent­ly. Three years ago, John Car­roll and I kicked things off with around 1,000 per­son­al con­tacts who were our Day One sub­scribers. And in­creas­ing the av­er­age num­ber of sto­ries read per vis­it is a crit­i­cal mea­sure of the dis­cov­er­abil­i­ty of our news con­tent. We were av­er­ag­ing around 1.2 sto­ries per vis­i­tor. We ex­pect to triple that num­ber with this new de­sign.

The last goal — a 2x im­prove­ment in the de­sign — is a sub­jec­tive one. And to do it jus­tice re­quires a look that reach­es back to well be­fore the ori­gins of End­points News. I’ll do that be­low for the read­ers who are in­ter­est­ed.

For the rest, just know the de­sign was cre­at­ed with you, the read­er, in mind. End­points’ tech/de­sign team is deeply com­mit­ted to in­creas­ing the use­abil­i­ty of the web­site. And that goes dou­ble for our pre­mi­um sub­scribers (check out the new read­er pro­file fea­ture for a glimpse).

If you de­pend on End­points, but haven’t up­grad­ed to a pre­mi­um sub­scrip­tion — now is the time. Our En­ter­prise plan of­fer is a trans­par­ent, un­lim­it­ed seat-li­cense for com­pa­nies for a flat $1,000/year re­gard­less of head­count. And the In­sid­er plan is $200/year for in­di­vid­u­als. You can see all the ben­e­fits here.

Once again, thanks to Bio­rasi for their ex­clu­sive spon­sor­ship of End­points News dur­ing the #BIO2019 con­ven­tion. You’ll see their brand place­ments across the new plat­forms for the next two weeks, with a we­bi­nar launch­ing lat­er in the year. I en­cour­age you to check out their new web­site as well.

We hope you en­joy the new End­points ex­pe­ri­ence.


About the process and de­sign

John Car­roll de­scribed the ear­li­est days of End­points News re­cent­ly. It was a ful­ly boot­strapped ven­ture with four vir­tu­al em­ploy­ees.

Ty­pog­ra­phy com­par­i­son. Top: old ver­sion (Eq­ui­ty) / Bot­tom: new (Ivar Text)

Click on the im­age to see the full-sized ver­sion

Long­time read­ers know that John and I were at a pre­vi­ous com­pa­ny. And when we found­ed End­points, we knew it was go­ing to be a ful­ly boot­strapped ven­ture. We had a well-known ed­i­tor. And with tools like Word­Press, start­ing a me­dia com­pa­ny to­day is so easy, any­one can do it.

But there was no bud­get for a de­sign­er. So the task fell be­tween our CTO Ig­or Yavych and my­self. Frankly, we’re no de­sign­ers.

Com­par­i­son of the old End­ponts News home­page with the June 2019 up­grade

Click on the im­age to see the full-sized ver­sion

Last year, thanks to the suc­cess of our paid sub­scrip­tion cam­paigns, we were able to start build­ing out our team. We brought on board Valentin Manov as our cre­ative di­rec­tor, and the new fit and fin­ish you see to­day are his con­tri­bu­tions.

It was vi­tal­ly im­por­tant to me that once we had a de­sign bud­get, we would make “good de­sign” an in­ter­nal ca­pa­bil­i­ty — not some­thing we’d out­source. When de­sign­ers have ac­cess to the on­line news­room, they get to see what’s im­por­tant to ed­i­tors and that in turn shapes their read­er-fac­ing work. We did not want to go to an out­side agency and ask for pitch­es on what they thought our news ex­pe­ri­ence ought to be.

Back in March, I flew to Sofia, Bul­gar­ia to meet up with Valentin and Ig­or and fi­nal­ize the ba­sic out­lines of the de­sign you see to­day. We named this re­lease “Rakia,” which is the most pop­u­lar brandy in the Balka­ns.

We’re ea­ger to know what you think about the de­sign.

PS: In or­der to em­brace the newest tech­nolo­gies that are com­ing, we had to end sup­port of some very old web browsers. Old­er ver­sions of In­ter­net Ex­plor­er are no longer sup­port­ed: If you’re on a PC, Mi­crosoft’s Edge brows­er is ex­cel­lent. Ig­or rec­om­mends the Opera Brows­er. My rec­om­men­da­tion? The lat­est ver­sion of Chrome will al­ways do.

In­side Track: Be­hind the Scenes of a Ma­jor Biotech SPAC

Dr. David Hung and Michelle Doig are no strangers to the SPAC phenomenon. As Founder and CEO of Nuvation Bio, a biotech company tackling some of the greatest unmet needs in oncology, Dr. Hung recently took the company public in one of this year’s biggest SPAC related deals. And as Partner at Omega Funds, Doig not only led and syndicated Nuvation Bio’s Series A, but is now also President of the newly formed, Omega-sponsored, Omega Alpha SPAC (Nasdaq: OMEG; oversubscribed $138m IPO priced January 6, 2021).

Janet Woodcock, acting FDA commissioner (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

New Alzheimer's drug ap­proval fall­out: Pub­lic Cit­i­zen seeks re­moval of FDA's Wood­cock, Cavaz­zoni and Dunn

As Capitol Hill begins to wake up to the financial and scientific mess behind the FDA’s approval of Biogen’s new controversial Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, nonprofit watchdog Public Citizen is now calling for the top three FDA officials who are responsible to be removed from their positions.

In a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra on Wednesday, the group highlighted the “litany of flaws” in the FDA’s approval of the new drug, including the “unprecedented, inappropriately close” collaboration between the FDA and Biogen in the analysis of key trial data, basing approval on an unvalidated surrogate endpoint, not following the advice of its expert advisory committee (3 members of which have since resigned), and the wide label that the agency granted.

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Someit Sidhu, JATT

An­oth­er life sci­ences SPAC has popped up from a small biotech CEO with the help of Take­da, No­var­tis vet­er­ans

Editor’s note: Interested in following biopharma’s fast-paced IPO market? You can bookmark our IPO Tracker here.

The SPAC train has slowed down since the extraordinarily high levels from late 2020 into early this year, but Tuesday saw the filing of a new blank-check company targeting the life sciences industry.

Jatt Acquisition submitted its SEC paperwork Tuesday, penciling in an estimated raise of $120 million as it sets its sights on a reverse merger partner. The SPAC is run by Someit Sidhu, a co-founder of Pathios Therapeutics, as well as CEO of Akaza Bioscience and Izana Bioscience. Sidhu will control about 97% of the blank-check company’s shares, per the S-1.

In a first, Re­gen­eron's an­ti­body cock­tail re­duces deaths for a sub­group of hos­pi­tal­ized Covid-19 pa­tients

Scientists have come up with the first evidence that Regeneron’s antibody cocktail, which has so far only been authorized for the outpatient setting, may reduce deaths of hospitalized Covid-19 patients — albeit only a subset.

The combination of casirivimab and imdevimab is the subject of the latest data cut from RECOVERY, the large-scale UK-based trial testing a variety of potential treatments. In total, 9,785 patients hospitalized with Covid-19 were enrolled in this arm of the study and were randomly assigned to receive either usual care plus the intravenous combo or usual care alone.

Barry Greene, Sage CEO

UP­DAT­ED: Sage's sec­ond chance at de­pres­sion hits the PhI­II pri­ma­ry, but ques­tions re­main over dura­bil­i­ty, side ef­fects

Looking to make a comeback after a big Phase III flop, Sage Therapeutics revealed data they believe could change the entire depression treatment landscape, given the vast array of failures in the field. But some results are spooking investors, sending Sage $SAGE shares down early Tuesday.

First, the primary: Sage and Biogen reported Phase III data for once-daily zuranolone Tuesday morning, saying the experimental drug hit its primary endpoint by spurring a statistically significant change from baseline in the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression total score. After 15 days, patients in the drug arm saw an average change of -14.1 points, compared to -12.3 on placebo.

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Bio­gen sig­nals a big PhI­II fail­ure as the lead gene ther­a­py in their $800M Night­star buy­out goes down in flames

That $800 million buyout of Nightstar has turned into a bust for Biogen as the lead therapy in the deal failed a pivotal study, signaling a severe setback for the biotech’s ambitions in gene therapies.

The big biotech put out the word after the market closed on Monday that the gene therapy they picked up in the deal for a degenerative blindness called choroideremia failed the Phase III study, just a month after their #2 drug in the deal also flopped in a mid-stage study.

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CEO Harith Rajagopalan (Fractyl)

Af­ter a decade in the type 2 di­a­betes game, Fractyl Lab­o­ra­to­ries recharges with a fresh $100M and a new name

Harith Rajagopalan compared the way type 2 diabetes is managed to sticking your fingers in a dam that’s leaking from a number of places.

You can take drugs to lower your blood sugar, cholesterol, or blood pressure, but you’re not addressing what he says is the core issue — the metabolic abnormality that causes the disease.

“We’re so busy plugging the holes in the dam, we don’t have time to see that the whole infrastructure is at risk,” he said. “That infrastructure is a full-body systemic metabolic abnormality called metabolic syndrome, that we’re ignoring while we’re so busy trying to treat all of the individual symptoms of the condition.”

Michel Sade­lain puts his name and new cell en­gi­neer­ing tech be­hind 'ag­nos­tic' CAR-T start­up chas­ing epi­ge­net­ic anti­gens

It felt natural for Alain Maiore and Sebastian Amigorena to bring in Michel Sadelain as a co-founder of Mnemo Therapeutics. A CAR-T pioneer, Sadelain had been involved as an advisor since the early days — enthusiastic about Amigorena’s work in a genetic knockout that could enhance T cell memory and a new class of potential targets he’s discovered — and could introduce some well-known technologies to the toolbox. So they got the initial cash from Sofinnova Partners to plant roots in Paris and New York in early 2019; within a few months, they began to see more clearly just what the antigen discovery platform might unlock.

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Lynn Fitch, Mississippi Attorney General (Rogelio V. Solis/AP Images)

Mis­sis­sip­pi sues Eli Lil­ly, Sanofi and No­vo over in­sulin prices as in­ter­change­able biosim­i­lars may ar­rive soon

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch last week sued the top three insulin manufacturers, which collectively cover almost the entire US insulin market, alleging that they’ve colluded to raise their prices in lockstep, and in some cases by more than 1,000% for drugs that are decades old.

“Because of Manufacturer Defendants’ collusive price increases, nearly a century after the discovery of insulin, diabetes medications have become unaffordable for many diabetics,” the lawsuit says.

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