Adamas wins its first FDA OK, set­ting up mar­ket launch for a re­for­mu­lat­ed Parkin­son’s drug

More than a year af­ter Adamas $ADMS post­ed pos­i­tive re­sults from a piv­otal Phase III study of ADS-5102 — an ex­tend­ed-re­lease ver­sion of the gener­ic Parkin­son’s treat­ment aman­ta­dine — the com­pa­ny got a green light from the FDA to sell the ther­a­py.

The drug will be sold as Go­cov­ri.

Gre­go­ry Went, CEO

Prob­a­bly not un­ex­pect­ed­ly, the drug was able to beat out a place­bo in sig­nif­i­cant­ly re­duc­ing the side ef­fects of Parkin­son’s. And the Emeryville, CA-based biotech boasts that this is the first and on­ly drug ap­proved for “dysk­i­ne­sia in pa­tients with Parkin­son’s dis­ease re­ceiv­ing lev­odopa-based ther­a­py” — an or­phan in­di­ca­tion. The ther­a­py is de­signed to help pa­tients who suf­fer from the sharp, in­vol­un­tary move­ment dis­or­der brought on by lev­odopa, com­mon­ly used to con­trol the dis­ease.

In­vestors em­braced the news, send­ing shares rock­et­ing up 57%.

The gener­ic drug, though, is al­ready used off la­bel for dysk­i­ne­sia, which may well in­ter­fere with the com­pa­ny’s sales ex­pec­ta­tions. Walid Gel­lad, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of med­i­cine at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Pitts­burgh, high­light­ed the off la­bel use in a Tweet.

The ap­proval marks a ma­jor shift for Adamas, which has been lin­ing up job of­fers for 59 sales ex­ecs they be­lieve can reach the vast ma­jor­i­ty of the physi­cians and spe­cial­ists who han­dle the bulk of the cas­es. And the team there has been lay­ing the ground­work with pay­ers to help roll out the drug.

What Adamas doesn’t have right now is a price. “We an­tic­i­pate a list price for Go­cov­ri around the range of the pre­vi­ous dis­clo­sure: $10K – $30K,” the com­pa­ny told me in an email. The fi­nal price, they say, will be heav­i­ly in­flu­enced by pa­tient ac­cess. In the US, whole­sale prices are typ­i­cal­ly heav­i­ly dis­count­ed for ma­jor pay­ers.

The gener­ic drug is sold by on­line phar­ma­cies, of­ten for the flu or Parkin­son’s, for a lit­tle more than $2 per 100 mg cap­sule.

Adamas ran two Phase III stud­ies for the drug, demon­strat­ing that it trig­gered a 37% re­duc­tion in Uni­fied Dysk­i­ne­sia Rat­ing Scale (UDysRS) to­tal score vs. 12 per­cent for place­bo at week 12. The re­sults were con­firmed in the sec­ond study, with Go­cov­ri achiev­ing a 46% re­duc­tion in UDysRS vs. 16% for place­bo.

The drug launch starts in Jan­u­ary, ac­cord­ing to Adamas, which can now wrap up its pre-launch ef­forts.

“To­day’s ap­proval is a tremen­dous mile­stone for Adamas and for the Parkin­son’s dis­ease com­mu­ni­ty,” said Adamas CEO Gre­go­ry T. Went. “Go­cov­ri has the po­ten­tial to help peo­ple with Parkin­son’s dis­ease suf­fer­ing from dysk­i­ne­sia by fi­nal­ly pro­vid­ing physi­cians with an ef­fec­tive tool to ad­dress this long-stand­ing un­met med­ical need.”

Pablo Legorreta, founder and CEO of Royalty Pharma AG, speaks at the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Cap­i­tal­iz­ing Pablo: The world’s biggest drug roy­al­ty buy­er is go­ing pub­lic. And the low-key CEO di­vulges a few se­crets along the way

Pablo Legorreta is one of the most influential players in biopharma you likely never heard of.

Over the last 24 years, Legorreta’s Royalty Pharma group has become, by its own reckoning, the biggest buyer of drug royalties in the world. The CEO and founder has bought up a stake in a lengthy list of the world’s biggest drug franchises, spending $18 billion in the process — $2.2 billion last year alone. And he’s become one of the best-paid execs in the industry, reaping $28 million from the cash flow last year while reserving 20% of the cash flow, less expenses, for himself.

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As­traZeneca trum­pets the 'mo­men­tous' da­ta they found for Tagris­so in an ad­ju­vant set­ting for NSCLC — but many of the ex­perts aren’t cheer­ing along

AstraZeneca is rolling out the big guns this evening to provide a salute to their ADAURA data on Tagrisso at ASCO.

Cancer R&D chief José Baselga calls the disease-free survival data for their drug in an adjuvant setting of early stage, epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated NSCLC patients following surgery “momentous.” Roy Herbst, the principal investigator out of Yale, calls it “transformative.”

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Ab­b­Vie wins an ap­proval in uter­ine fi­broid-as­so­ci­at­ed heavy bleed­ing. Are ri­vals My­ovant and Ob­sE­va far be­hind?

Women expel on average about 2 to 3 tablespoons of blood during their time of the month. But with uterine fibroids, heavy bleeding is typical — a third of a cup or more. Drugmakers have been working on oral therapies to try and stem the flow, and as expected, AbbVie and their partners at Neurocrine Biosciences are the first to make it across the finish line.

Known chemically as elagolix, the drug is already approved as a treatment for endometriosis under the brand name Orilissa. It targets the GnRH receptor to decrease the production of estrogen and progesterone.

David Chang, Allogene CEO (Jeff Rumans)

Head­ed to PhII: Al­lo­gene CEO David Chang com­pletes a pos­i­tive ear­ly snap­shot of their off-the-shelf CAR-T pi­o­neer

Allogene CEO David Chang has completed the upbeat first portrait of the biotech’s off-the-shelf CAR-T contender ALLO-501 at virtual ASCO today, keeping all eyes on a drug that will now try to go on to replace the first-wave personalized pioneers he helped create.

The overall response rate outlined in Allogene’s abstract for treatment-resistant patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma slipped a little from the leadup, but if you narrow the patient profile to treatment-naïve patients — removing the 3 who had previous CAR-T therapy who didn’t respond, leaving 16 — the ORR lands at 75% with a 44% complete response rate. And 9 of the 12 responders remained in response at the data cutoff, offering a glimpse on durability that still has a long way to go before it can be completely nailed down.

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Fabrice Chouraqui, Cellarity CEO-partner (LinkedIn)

Drug de­vel­op­er, Big Phar­ma com­mer­cial ex­ec, now an up­start biotech chief — Fab­rice Chouraqui is ready to try some­thing new as a ‘CEO-part­ner’ at Flag­ship

Fabrice Chouraqui’s career has taken some big twists along his life journey. He got his PharmD at Université Paris Descartes and jumped into the drug development game for a bit. Then he took a sharp turn and went back to school to get his MBA at Insead before returning to pharma on the commercial side.

Twenty years later, after steadily rising through the ranks and journeying the globe to nab a top job as president of US pharma for the Basel-based Novartis, Chouraqui exited in another career switch. And now he’s headed into a hybrid position as a CEO-partner at Flagship, where he’ll take a shot at leading Cellarity — one of the VC’s latest paradigm-changing companies of the groundbreaking model that aspires to deliver a new platform to the world of drug R&D.

Pfiz­er, Mer­ck KGaA ce­ment Baven­cio blad­der can­cer win with OS da­ta — while carv­ing an­oth­er niche in rare can­cer

Pfizer and Merck KGaA have detailed the Phase III data that inspired FDA regulators to designate Bavencio a “breakthrough” for first-line advanced bladder cancer and offered an early glance at how the PD-L1 can help patients with a rare gynecological cancer — carving out niches in the checkpoint space for itself after being shut out of numerous others.

In JAVELIN Bladder 100, Bavencio led to a 31% reduction in risk of death compared to standard care alone. It also extended median survival by more than seven months — a historic feat in this setting, according to investigators at Queen Mary University of London.

Sanofi brings in 4 new ex­ec­u­tives in con­tin­ued shake-up, as vac­cines and con­sumer health chief head out the door

In the middle of Sanofi’s multi-pronged race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, David Loew, the head of their sprawling vaccines unit, is leaving – part of the final flurry of moves in the French giant’ months-long corporate shuffle that will give them new-look leadership under new CEO Paul Hudson.

The company also said today that Alan Main, the head of their consumer healthcare unit, is out, and they named 4 executives to fill new or newly vacated positions, 3 of whom come from both outside both Sanofi and from Pharma.

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Dan O'Day, Gilead CEO (Andrew Harnik, AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Gilead leas­es part­ner rights to TIG­IT, PD-1 in a $2B deal with Ar­cus. Now comes the hard part

Gilead CEO Dan O’Day has brokered his way to a PD-1 and lined up a front row seat in the TIGIT arena, inking a deal worth close to $2 billion to align the big biotech closely with Terry Rosen’s Arcus. And $375 million of that comes upfront, with cash for the buy-in plus equity, along with $400 million for R&D and $1.22 billion in reserve to cover opt-in payments and milestones..

Hotly rumored for weeks, the 2 players have formalized a 10-year alliance that starts with rights to the PD-1, zimberelimab. O’Day also has first dibs on TIGIT and 2 other leading programs, agreeing to an opt-in fee ranging from $200 million to $275 million on each. There’s $500 million in potential TIGIT milestones on US regulatory events — likely capped by an approval — if Gilead partners on it and the stars align on the data. And there’s another $150 million opt-in payments for the rest of the Arcus pipeline.

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Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Getty Images)

Sanofi CEO Paul Hud­son has $23B burn­ing a hole in his pock­et. And here are some hints on how he plans to spend that

Sanofi has reaped $11.1 billion after selling off a big chunk of its Regeneron stock at $515 a share. And now everyone on the M&A side of the business is focused on how CEO Paul Hudson plans to spend it.

After getting stung in France for some awkward politicking — suggesting the US was in the front of the line for Sanofi’s vaccines given American financial support for their work, versus little help from European powers — Hudson now has the much more popular task of managing a major cash cache to pull off something in the order of a big bolt-on. Or two.

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