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.

Da­ta Lit­er­a­cy: The Foun­da­tion for Mod­ern Tri­al Ex­e­cu­tion

In 2016, the International Council for Harmonisation (ICH) updated their “Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice.” One key shift was a mandate to implement a risk-based quality management system throughout all stages of a clinical trial, and to take a systematic, prioritized, risk-based approach to clinical trial monitoring—on-site monitoring, remote monitoring, or any combination thereof.

Pfiz­er's big block­buster Xel­janz flunks its post-mar­ket­ing safe­ty study, re­new­ing harsh ques­tions for JAK class

When the FDA approved Pfizer’s JAK inhibitor Xeljanz for rheumatoid arthritis in 2012, they slapped on a black box warning for a laundry list of adverse events and required the New York drugmaker to run a long-term safety study.

That study has since become a consistent headache for Pfizer and their blockbuster molecule. Last year, Pfizer dropped the entire high dose cohort after an independent monitoring board found more patients died in that group than in the low dose arm or a control arm of patients who received one of two TNF inhibitors, Enbrel or Humira.

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Steve Harr (L) and Hans Bishop

One of the most am­bi­tious start­up teams in biotech just out­lined plans for a $400M IPO and a val­u­a­tion of about $4B

The executive team at Sana Biotechnology has sketched out more details about the full scope of its ambitions as the new unicorn to watch. They amended their S-1 today to include a price range of $20 to $23 a share — which puts them in reach of pulling in around $400 million on the high end with a market value starting right around $4 billion.

That’s not bad for a preclinical biotech with no drugs yet in human studies, but it squares with its ambitions to remake the cell therapy field with a slate of in-house platforms. The biotech raised $705 million — primarily from ARCH (44 million shares) and Flagship (34.2 million shares) — to get to this stage.

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Lil­ly at­tempts to re­vive an old idea for tack­ling pain, li­cens­ing PhI pro­gram from Japan’s Asahi Ka­sei Phar­ma

Eli Lilly is fronting some new cash in a space they’re quite familiar with.

The company is partnering with Japan’s Asahi Kasei Pharma on an experimental drug for chronic pain, acquiring the rights for the P2X7 receptor antagonist program dubbed AK1780. Lilly will shell out a pretty penny for the program, promising up to $410 million total should each milestone payment come to pass.

Asahi Kasei will receive an upfront sum of $20 million for the candidate. In addition, Lilly is on the hook for up to $210 million in development and regulatory milestones and another potential $180 million in sales milestones. Asahi Kasei can also obtain royalties ranging from the mid-single to low-double digits should an approved product come out of the deal.

Ther­mo Fish­er plat­form seeks to ex­pe­dite donor cell cul­ti­va­tion for al­lo­gene­ic cell ther­a­pies

One of the world’s leading CDMOs has launched a new technology it says will expedite a quickly-growing sect of biotech drug development: off-the-shelf, allogeneic cell therapies.

It’s been nearly a decade since the FDA approved the first use of the method that uses healthy donor cells to create a master cell bank, which is then used for specific therapies — a cord blood allogeneic treatment called Hemacord. In the years since, the use of allogeneic cells has taken off in research circles, most notably in the use of T cell therapies to target solid tumor cancers.

Top gene ther­a­py deals, M&A pacts in 2020 high­light an­oth­er big year in one of the hottest fields in bio­phar­ma

Chris Dokomajilar at DealForma has been crunching the numbers on gene therapy deals over the last 2 years and came away with a few key observations.

Both the upfront cash and deal totals last year backed off a bit from the record high hit in 2019, but the totals are still running well ahead of anything we’ve seen in the years prior to 2019/2020.
2020 R&D partnerships came in at 23 deals, with $1.1 billion in disclosed upfront cash and equity and more than $8.5 billion in total deal value. Looking at 2019-2020 M&A, Dokomajilar found: 9 Acquisitions, with over $11.1 billion in disclosed upfront cash and equity and more than $13.4 billion in total M&A value.

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Janet Woodcock (AP Images)

Ad­vo­ca­cy groups don't want Janet Wood­cock to head the FDA, blast­ing ‘reg­u­la­to­ry fail­ures’ in opi­oid cri­sis

It turns out the controversies around Janet Woodcock’s regulatory legacy weren’t limited to Sarepta’s eteplirsen.

A coalition of advocacy groups dedicated to the opioid crisis urged Norris Cochran and Xavier Becerra — the acting and designated HHS secretary, respectively — to keep her reign as interim FDA chief a “very short transition.” During her lengthy tenure as CDER, they add, Woodcock presided over “one of the worst regulatory agency failures in U.S. history.”

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Covid-19 roundup: EU and As­traZeneca trade blows over slow­downs; Un­usu­al unions pop up to test an­ti­bod­ies, vac­cines

After coming under fire for manufacturing delays last week, AstraZeneca’s feud with the European Union has spilled into the open.

The bloc accused the pharma giant on Wednesday of pulling out of a meeting to discuss cuts to its vaccine supplies, the AP reported. AstraZeneca denied the reports, saying it still planned on attending the discussion.

Early Wednesday, an EU Commission spokeswoman said that “the representative of AstraZeneca had announced this morning, had informed us this morning that their participation is not confirmed, is not happening.” But an AstraZeneca spokesperson later called the reports “not accurate.”

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Bob Nelsen (Michael Kovac/Getty Images)

ARCH an­nounces largest fund yet, rais­ing $1.85B to back men­tal health, cell and gene edit­ing ap­proach­es

Nearly a year ago, as the pandemic encroached and the stock market cratered, Flagship and ARCH Venture announced three mega-funds worth a combined $2.6 billion. They wanted, ARCH’s Bob Nelsen said, to restore confidence “that there was money out there and a lot of it” to invest in biotech.

Since then, the stock market has returned — almost frighteningly so — and Nelsen has kept raising and spending cash. On Thursday, he announced a new fund, worth $1.85 billion. It’s the largest pot yet for a VC famous for its deep pockets.