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.

Biotech and Big Phar­ma: A blue­print for a suc­cess­ful part­ner­ship

Strategic partnerships have long been an important contributor to how drugs are discovered and developed. For decades, big pharma companies have been forming alliances with biotech innovators to increase R&D productivity, expand geographical reach and better manage late-stage commercialization costs.

Noël Brown, Managing Director and Head of Biotechnology Investment Banking, and Greg Wiederrecht, Ph.D., Managing Director in the Global Healthcare Investment Banking Group at RBC Capital Markets, are no strangers to the importance of these tie-ups. Noël has over 20 years of investment banking experience in the industry. Before moving to the banking world in 2015, Greg was the Vice President and Head of External Scientific Affairs (ESA) at Merck, where he was responsible for the scientific assessment of strategic partnership opportunities worldwide.

No­var­tis' sec­ond at­tempt to repli­cate a stun­ning can­cer re­sult falls flat

Novartis’ hopes of turning one of the most surprising trial data points of the last decade into a lung cancer drug has taken another setback.

The Swiss pharma announced Monday that its IL-1 inhibitor canakinumab did not significantly extend the lives or slow the disease progression of patients with previously untreated locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer when compared to standard of-care alone.

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Robert Califf (Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP Images, File)

As buzz on Califf FDA nom heats up, in­dus­try and agency in­sid­ers of­fer a strong nod for the ‘per­fect’ choice

For once in this long, dramatic road to finding a new FDA commissioner, there’s been some continuity. Both CNN and Politico reported this weekend that Rob Califf met with President Biden to discuss the permanent commish role, following earlier news broken by the Washington Post that all signs point to Califf.

Although there may be a few Democrats who continue to grandstand about the dangers of COI (Califf has worked for Verily, sits on the board of Centessa Pharmaceuticals, and has other ties to industry research), with the pandemic ongoing and the need for some kind of continuity at FDA mounting, Califf is likely to meet the same fate as when he first won Senate confirmation in 2016, by a vote of 89-4 — Bernie Sanders and 6 others didn’t vote.

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AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot (Raphael Lafargue/Abaca/Sipa USA)

A com­bo of As­traZeneca's Imfinzi and chemo wins where oth­ers have failed in piv­otal bil­iary tract test

Looking to run with the big dogs in the PD-(L)1 class, AstraZeneca’s Imfinzi has a tall hill to climb to compete in an increasingly bustling market. An aggressive combo strategy for the drug has paid off so far, and now AstraZeneca is adding another notch to its belt.

A combo of Imfinzi (durvalumab) and chemotherapy significantly extended the lives of first-line patients with advanced biliary tract cancer over chemo alone, according to topline results from the Phase III TOPAZ-1 study revealed Monday.

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Sean Ianchulev, Eyenovia CEO and CMO

Re­cent court de­ci­sion push­es FDA to re­ject and re­clas­si­fy drug-de­vice com­bo, crush­ing shares

Back in April, the FDA lost a crucial court case in which its broad discretion of regulating medical products that might satisfy the legal definitions of either “drug” and/or “medical device” was sharply curtailed.

In addition to the appeals court ruling that Genus Medical Technologies’ contrast agent barium sulfate (aka Vanilla SilQ) should not be considered a drug, as the FDA had initially ruled, but as a medical device, the agency also was forced to spell out which drugs would transition to devices as a result of the ruling.

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Peter Greenleaf, Aurinia CEO

Af­ter pass­ing on Ac­celeron, Bris­tol My­ers eyes bolt-on ac­qui­si­tion of au­toim­mune spe­cial­ist — re­port

Bristol Myers Squibb is looking to beef up its autoimmune portfolio by scooping up Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, Bloomberg reported.

The recent overtures to Aurinia, relayed by anonymous insiders, came just as Bristol Myers turned down buyout talks with partners at Acceleron — which Merck ultimately struck a deal to acquire for $11.5 billion. Bristol Myers has reportedly decided to cash out on its minority stake, likely bagging $1.3 billion in the process, while keeping the royalty deals on two of Acceleron’s blood disorder drugs.

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So — that pig-to-hu­man trans­plant; Po­ten­tial di­a­betes cure reach­es pa­tient; Ac­cused MIT sci­en­tist lash­es back; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

We’re incredibly excited to welcome Beth Bulik, seasoned pharma marketing reporter, to the team. You can find much of her work in our new Marketing channel — and in her weekly newsletter, Endpoints PharmaRx, which will launch in early November. Add it to your subscriptions here.

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NYU surgeon transplants an engineered pig kidney into the outside of a brain-dead patient (Joe Carrotta/NYU Langone Health)

No, sci­en­tists are not any clos­er to pig-to-hu­man trans­plants than they were last week

Steve Holtzman was awoken by a 1 a.m. call from a doctor at Duke University asking if he could put some pigs on a plane and fly them from Ohio to North Carolina that day. A motorcyclist had gotten into a horrific crash, the doctor explained. He believed the pigs’ livers, sutured onto the patient’s skin like an external filter, might be able to tide the young man over until a donor liver became available.

UP­DAT­ED: Agenus calls out FDA for play­ing fa­vorites with Mer­ck, pulls cer­vi­cal can­cer BLA at agen­cy's re­quest

While criticizing the FDA for what may be some favoritism towards Merck, Agenus on Friday officially pulled its accelerated BLA for its anti-PD-1 inhibitor balstilimab as a potential second-line treatment for cervical cancer because of the recent full approval for Merck’s Keytruda in the same indication.

The company said the BLA, which was due for an FDA decision by Dec. 16, was withdrawn “when the window for accelerated approval of balstilimab closed,” thanks to the conversion of Keytruda’s accelerated approval to a full approval four months prior to its PDUFA date.

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