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.

Nick Leschly via Getty

UP­DAT­ED: Blue­bird shares sink as an­a­lysts puz­zle out $1.8M stick­er shock and an un­ex­pect­ed de­lay

Blue­bird bio $BLUE has un­veiled its price for the new­ly ap­proved gene ther­a­py Zyn­te­glo (Lenti­Glo­bin), which came as a big sur­prise. And it wasn’t the on­ly un­ex­pect­ed twist in to­day’s sto­ry.

With some an­a­lysts bet­ting on a $900,000 price for the β-tha­lassemia treat­ment in Eu­rope, where reg­u­la­tors pro­vid­ed a con­di­tion­al ear­ly OK, blue­bird CEO Nick Leschly said Fri­day morn­ing that the pa­tients who are suc­cess­ful­ly treat­ed with their drug over 5 years will be charged twice that — $1.8 mil­lion — on the con­ti­nent. That makes this drug the sec­ond most ex­pen­sive ther­a­py on the plan­et, just be­hind No­var­tis’ new­ly ap­proved Zol­gens­ma at $2.1 mil­lion, with an­a­lysts still wait­ing to see what kind of pre­mi­um can be had in the US.

Ted Love. HAVERFORD COLLEGE

Glob­al Blood Ther­a­peu­tics poised to sub­mit ap­pli­ca­tion for ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval, with new piv­otal da­ta on its sick­le cell dis­ease drug

Global Blood Therapeutics is set to submit an application for accelerated approval in the second-half of this year, after unveiling fresh data from a late-stage trial that showed just over half the patients given the highest dose of its experimental sickle cell disease drug experienced a statistically significant improvement in oxygen-wielding hemoglobin, meeting the study's main goal.

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Gene ther­a­pies seize the top of the list of the most ex­pen­sive drugs on the plan­et — and that trend has just be­gun

Anyone looking for a few simple reasons why the gene therapy field has caught fire with the pharma giants need only look at the new list of the 10 most expensive therapies from GoodRx.

Two recently approved gene therapies sit atop this list, with Novartis’ Zolgensma crowned the king of the priciest drugs at $2.1 million. Right below is Luxturna, the $850,000 pioneer from Spark, which Roche is pushing hard to acquire as it adds a gene therapy group to the global mix.

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Bain’s biotech team has cre­at­ed a $1B-plus fund — with an eye to more Big Phar­ma spin­outs

One of the biggest investors to burst onto the biotech scene in recent years has re-upped with more than a billion dollars flowing into its second fund. And this next wave of bets will likely include more of the Big Pharma spinouts that highlighted their first 3 years in action.

Adam Koppel and Jeff Schwartz got the new life sciences fund at Bain Capital into gear in the spring of 2016, as they were putting together a $720 million fund with $600 million flowing in from external investors and the rest drawn from the Bain side of the equation. This time the external investors chipped in $900 million, with Bain coming in for roughly $180 million more.

They’re not done with Fund I, with plans to add a couple more deals to the 15 they’ve already posted. And once again, they’re estimating another 15 to 20 investments over a 3- to 5-year time horizon for Fund II.

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News­mak­ers at #EHA19: Re­gen­eron, Ar­Qule track progress on re­sponse rates

Re­gen­eron’s close­ly-watched bis­pe­cif­ic con­tin­ues to ring up high re­sponse rates

Re­gen­eron’s high-pro­file bis­pe­cif­ic REGN1979 is back in the spot­light at the Eu­ro­pean Hema­tol­ogy As­so­ci­a­tion sci­en­tif­ic con­fab. And while the stel­lar num­bers we saw at ASH have erod­ed some­what as more blood can­cer pa­tients are eval­u­at­ed, the re­sponse rates for this CD3/CD20 drug re­main high.

A to­tal of 13 out of 14 fol­lic­u­lar lym­phomas re­spond­ed to the drug, a 93% ORR, down from 100% at the last read­out. In 10 out of 14, there was a com­plete re­sponse. In dif­fuse large B-cell lym­phoma the re­sponse rate was 57% among pa­tients treat­ed at the 80 mg to 160 mg dose range. They were all com­plete re­spons­es. And 2 of these Cars were for pa­tients who had failed CAR-T ther­a­py.

Neil Woodford, Woodford Investment Management via YouTube

Un­der siege, in­vest­ment man­ag­er Wood­ford faces an­oth­er in­vest­ment shock

Em­bat­tled UK fund man­ag­er Neil Wood­ford — who has con­tro­ver­sial­ly blocked in­vestors from pulling out from his flag­ship fund to stem the blood­let­ting, af­ter a slew of dis­ap­point­ed in­vestors fled fol­low­ing a se­ries of sour bets — is now pay­ing the price for his ac­tions via an in­vestor ex­o­dus on an­oth­er fund.

Har­g­reaves Lans­down, which has in the past sold and pro­mot­ed the Wood­ford funds via its re­tail in­vest­ment plat­form, has re­port­ed­ly with­drawn £45 mil­lion — its en­tire po­si­tion — from the in­vest­ment man­ag­er’s In­come Fo­cus Fund.

Search­ing for the next block­buster to fol­low Darza­lex, J&J finds a $150M an­ti-CD38 drug from part­ner Gen­mab

Now that J&J and Genmab have thrust Darzalex onto the regulatory orbit for first-line use in multiple myeloma, the partners are lining up a deal for a next-gen follow-on to the leading CD38 drug.


Janssen — J&J’s biotech unit — has its eyes on HexaBody-CD38, a preclinical compound generated on Genmab’s tech platform designed to make drugs more potent via hexamerization.


Genmab is footing the bill on studies in multiple myeloma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; once it completes clinical proof of concept, Janssen has the option to license the drug for a $150 million exercise fee. There’s also $125 million worth of milestones in play.

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Ab­b­Vie touts new da­ta for Hu­mi­ra suc­ces­sor; Gilead inks dis­cov­ery deal

→ Ab­b­Vie is tout­ing new pos­i­tive da­ta com­par­ing their ag­ing block­buster Hu­mi­ra with their hoped-for block­buster upadac­i­tinib. Over 48 weeks a larg­er pro­por­tion of pa­tients tak­ing the ex­per­i­men­tal drug ex­pe­ri­enced clin­i­cal re­mis­sion than in the con­trol arm with Hu­mi­ra. Their drug brought in $20 bil­lion last year, top­ping the scales in the num­ber 1 slot.

→ Gilead has turned to Van­cou­ver-based Ab­Cellera for its lat­est dis­cov­ery deal. Ab­Cellera will use its know-how in “sin­gle-cell screen­ing of nat­ur­al im­mune sources” to find an­ti­body can­di­dates for Gilead to pur­sue in the in­fec­tious dis­ease field. The deal in­cludes an up­front and mile­stones.

Turns out, Rudy Tanzi did­n't see much of a sto­ry about a hid­den link be­tween En­brel and Alzheimer's ei­ther

The Wash­ing­ton Post man­aged to whip up the quick­est in­dus­try con­sen­sus I’ve ever seen that one of its re­porters was pur­vey­ing overblown non­sense with a sto­ry that Pfiz­er was sit­ting on da­ta sug­gest­ing that En­brel could be an ef­fec­tive treat­ment for Alzheimer’s. 

In cov­er­ing that bit of an­ti-Big Phar­ma fan­ta­sy — there are lots of rea­sons to go af­ter phar­ma, but this piece was lu­di­crous — I not­ed com­ments in the sto­ry from some promi­nent peo­ple in the field crit­i­ciz­ing Pfiz­er for not pub­lish­ing the da­ta. I sin­gled out Rudy Tanzi at Har­vard and then ap­plied some added crit­i­cism for the things he’s done to hype — in my opin­ion — high­ly ques­tion­able as­sump­tions. You can see it in the link.