Matthew Roden (MPM Capital)

Af­ter lead­ing Cel­gene buy­out, Matthew Ro­den leaves Bris­tol My­ers Squibb for ven­ture cap­i­tal firm

The past four years at Bris­tol My­ers Squibb have been busy for Matthew Ro­den. The se­nior VP and head of en­ter­prise strat­e­gy was be­hind the com­pa­ny’s ini­tial plan fol­low­ing its ma­jor $74 bil­lion Cel­gene buy­out last year. But now, it’s on to green­er pas­tures.

Ro­den’s been tapped as ex­ec­u­tive part­ner at Cam­bridge, MA-based ven­ture cap­i­tal firm MPM Cap­i­tal —  a move he said has al­ways been part of his long-term goals.

“Go­ing in­to ven­ture cap­i­tal was part of my long-term plan … and it did hap­pen a lit­tle bit faster than I ex­pect­ed. But cer­tain op­por­tu­ni­ties have opened up over the past year. And … MPM specif­i­cal­ly, I’ve al­ways had a huge re­spect for their track record and for the peo­ple there,” Ro­den told End­points News.

Ro­den, a self-de­scribed “sci­ence nerd,” said he knew ear­ly on in grad­u­ate school that he want­ed to mar­ry his in­ter­ests in cap­i­tal mar­kets, sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy. In 2005, he joined Cred­it Su­isse as an as­so­ciate an­a­lyst, where he worked for a year be­fore be­com­ing vice pres­i­dent at JP Mor­gan. Then in 2010, he jumped to the Swiss in­vest­ment bank­ing firm UBS as biotech eq­ui­ty re­search sec­tor head.

On the BMS R&D lead­er­ship team rep­re­sent­ing ex­ter­nal in­no­va­tion, Ro­den led teams on more than 100 busi­ness de­vel­op­ment trans­ac­tions, in­clud­ing the Cel­gene ac­qui­si­tion, which gave the com­pa­ny late-stage can­di­dates like im­munol­o­gy and in­flam­ma­tion drugs TYK2 and ozan­i­mod.

“You know I ac­com­plished a lot in a rel­a­tive­ly short pe­ri­od of time at BMS, which made it pos­si­ble to … ac­cel­er­ate my long-term plan of mov­ing to ven­ture,” he said.

At MPM, Ro­den will be re­spon­si­ble for iden­ti­fy­ing and as­sess­ing new tech­nolo­gies and ad­vis­ing port­fo­lio ex­ec­u­tives on busi­ness and clin­i­cal strate­gies.

“I want to be part of build­ing great biotech com­pa­nies — the next wave in­no­va­tors,” he said.

“Matt’s ex­pe­ri­ence and suc­cess as a bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal ex­ec­u­tive, a biotech eq­ui­ty re­search an­a­lyst, and a sci­en­tist bring a tri­fec­ta of unique and valu­able in­sight to our in­vest­ment team and the MPM port­fo­lio,” Ans­bert Gadicke, MPM co-founder and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, said in a state­ment.

Michel Vounatsos, Biogen CEO (via YouTube)

UP­DAT­ED: Bio­gen spot­lights a pair of painful pipeline set­backs as ad­u­canum­ab show­down looms at the FDA

Biogen has flagged a pair of setbacks in the pipeline, spotlighting the final failure for a one-time top MS prospect while scrapping a gene therapy for SMA after the IND was put on hold due to toxicity.

Both failures will raise the stakes even higher on aducanumab, the Alzheimer’s drug that Biogen is betting the ranch on, determined to pursue an FDA OK despite significant skepticism they can make it with mixed results and a reliance on post hoc data mining. And the failures are being reported as Biogen was forced to cut its profit forecast for 2020 as a generic rival started to erode their big franchise drug.

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A new chap­ter in the de­cen­tral­ized clin­i­cal tri­al ap­proach

Despite the promised decentralized trial revolution, we haven’t yet moved the needle in a significant way, although we are seeing far bolder commitments to this as we continue to experience the pandemic restrictions for some time to come. The vision of grandeur is one thing, but operationalizing and execution are another and recognising that change, particularly mid-flight on studies, is worthy of thorough evaluation and consideration in order to achieve success. Here we will discuss one of the critical building blocks of a Decentralized and Remote Trial strategy: TeleConsent; more than paper under glass, it is a paradigm change and key digital enabler.

David Hung (file photo)

Mas­ter deal­mak­er David Hung re­tools a SPAC sedan in­to a fi­nanc­ing mus­cle ve­hi­cle that leaves his can­cer start­up with $850M and a place on Wall Street

It’s only right that one of the industry’s top dealmakers just completed one of the biggest SPAC-related deals in the pipeline.

David Hung, of Medivation fame, has completed a back flip into the market, merging with EcoR1 Capital’s SPAC Panacea and landing neatly on Wall Street with an $NUVB stock ticker after filling out the blank check in his name. In addition to the $144 million held in the SPAC — provided none of the investors opt out — Hung is getting ahold of $500 million more being chipped in by a slate of institutional investors who feel that Hung could have the keys to another Medivation-style success.

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Stephen Hahn, FDA commissioner (AP Images)

As FDA sets the stage for the first Covid-19 vac­cine EUAs, some big play­ers are ask­ing for a tweak of the guide­lines

Setting the stage for an extraordinary one-day meeting of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee this Thursday, the FDA has cleared 2 experts of financial conflicts to help beef up the committee. And regulators went on to specify the safety, efficacy and CMC input they’re looking for on EUAs, before they move on to the full BLA approval process.

All of this has already been spelled out to the developers. But the devil is in the details, and it’s clear from the first round of posted responses that some of the top players — including J&J and Pfizer — would like some adjustments and added feedback. And on Thursday, the experts can offer their own thoughts on shaping the first OKs.

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Roche finds a home for a new, $500M man­u­fac­tur­ing lo­gis­tics hub, promis­ing 500 jobs

Roche is pouring $500 million into its Canadian headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario to set up a new hub that will coordinate logistics for its global supply chain.

Over the 5-year investment, the Swiss pharma giant expects to add 200 jobs over next year and another 300 by the end of 2023.

Introduced as a $190 million global pharmaceutical development site in 2011, the campus currently houses Roche’s Canadian commercial unit as well as product development, global procurement and pharma informatics. The new expansion will see it organize manufacturing across 13 plants and 11 sites, according to FiercePharma.

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Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Pfiz­er is on the verge of claim­ing a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar first-mover ad­van­tage with their Covid-19 vac­cine — an­a­lyst

From the beginning, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla eschewed government funding for his Covid-19 vaccine work with BioNTech, willing to take all the $2 billion-plus risk of a lightning-fast development campaign in exchange for all the rewards that could fall its way with success. And now that the pharma giant has seized a solid lead in the race to the market, those rewards loom large.

SVB Leerink’s Geoff Porges has been running the numbers on Pfizer’s vaccine, the mRNA BNT162b2 program that the German biotech partnered on. And he sees a $3.5 billion peak in windfall revenue next year alone. Even after the pandemic is brought to heel, though, Porges sees a continuing blockbuster role for this vaccine as people around the world look to guard against a new, thoroughly endemic virus that will pose a permanent threat.

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UP­DAT­ED: CRISPR Ther­a­peu­tics gets a snap­shot of off-the-shelf CAR-T suc­cess in B-cell ma­lig­nan­cies — marred by the death of a pa­tient

Just days after scientific founder Emmanuelle Charpentier shared the Nobel prize for her work on CRISPR/Cas9, CRISPR Therapeutics $CRSP is showing off a snapshot of success in their early-stage study for an off-the-shelf CAR-T approach to CD19+ B cell malignancies — a snapshot marred by the death of a patient who had been given a high dose of the treatment.

Using their gene editing tech, researchers for CRISPR engineered cells from healthy donors into an attack vehicle aimed at cancer, something that has been achieved with great success using patients’ own cells — the autologous approach. But autologous CAR-T is hampered by the more complex vein-to-vein requirement that delays treatment, and now CRISPR Therapeutics along with other players like Allogene are determined to replace the pioneers with CAR-T 2.0.

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RBC's Bri­an Abra­hams holds a mock ad­comm on Bio­gen's iffy ad­u­canum­ab da­ta — and most of these ex­perts don't see a path to an ap­proval

As catalysts go, few loom larger than the aducanumab adcomm slated for Nov. 6.

With its big franchise under assault, Biogen is betting the ranch that its mixed late-stage Alzheimer’s data can squeak past the experts and regulators and get onto the market. And the topic — after a decade of Alzheimer’s R&D disasters in what still represents the El Dorado of drug markets — remains in the center ring of discussions around late-stage pipeline prospects.

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UP­DAT­ED: Brazil­ian vol­un­teer in As­traZeneca Covid-19 vac­cine tri­al has died in the place­bo arm — re­ports

A volunteer in AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine trial in Brazil has died, Brazilian health authorities said Wednesday, triggering fresh alarms over the future of the Oxford program. But later reports noted that the death was in the placebo group and AstraZeneca issued word that there were no concerns about continuing the study.

The Brazilian health agency Anvisa said it had received data from an investigation into the issue, per a Reuters report. The report was then updated citing a Brazilian newspaper with unnamed sources saying that the volunteer was in the placebo arm of the trial.