Af­ter play­ing pos­sum in I/O, Eli Lil­ly shows new signs of life with $40M-plus cash dis­cov­ery deal for NextCure

Eli Lil­ly was es­sen­tial­ly a no-show in the ini­tial scram­ble to slice up a mas­sive, mega-block­buster mar­ket for im­muno-on­col­o­gy drugs. But they’ve been show­ing signs of life this year.

Leena Gand­hi

In the lat­est in a se­ries of I/O moves, Eli Lil­ly $LLY is pay­ing $40 mil­lion — $25 mil­lion in an up­front and $15 mil­lion for eq­ui­ty — to NextCure to get start­ed on a dis­cov­ery pro­gram for next-gen im­muno-on­col­o­gy drugs. 

The biotech has been de­vel­op­ing its FIND-IO plat­form, ex­plor­ing cell sur­faces in search of new ways to trig­ger an im­mune re­sponse to can­cer. There are some un­spec­i­fied mile­stones and roy­al­ties at­tached to NextCure’s ul­ti­mate suc­cess, which are typ­i­cal­ly rich in scope but back-end­ed for the part­ner.

NextCure is run by a group of ex-Am­plim­mune ex­ecs un­der Michael Rich­man, who sold their for­mer biotech to As­traZeneca in a $500 mil­lion deal.  They scored a $67 mil­lion A round from a group of mar­quee in­vestors in ear­ly 2016. The com­pa­ny is a Yale spin­out, with li­cens­es on new tech from the lab of Lieping Chen, who’s done pi­o­neer­ing work on the PD-1/PD-L1 check­point path­way.

Eli Lil­ly may be late to the game, but they’ve been send­ing a bunch of sig­nals that they plan to even­tu­al­ly be­come a play­er in this field. Lil­ly re­cruit­ed Leena Gand­hi from the Perl­mut­ter Can­cer Cen­ter at NYU Lan­gone Health to head up its im­muno-on­col­o­gy re­search work ear­li­er this year. And the com­pa­ny paid $1.6 bil­lion to ob­tain Ar­mo, a biotech that had been de­vel­op­ing a PE­Gy­lat­ed IL-10 called pegilode­cakin.

Their slim I/O pipeline in­cludes a hand­ful of pro­grams, in­clud­ing their own PD-L1 (there are scores in de­vel­op­ment), a TIM-3, the Ar­mo drug and a type 2 mul­ti­k­i­nase in­hibitor.

MedTech clinical trials require a unique regulatory and study design approach and so engaging a highly experienced CRO to ensure compliance and accurate data across all stages is critical to development milestones.

In­no­v­a­tive MedTech De­mands Spe­cial­ist Clin­i­cal Tri­al Reg­u­la­to­ry Af­fairs and De­sign

Avance Clinical is the Australian CRO for international biotechs providing world-class clinical research services with FDA-accepted data across all phases. With Avance Clinical, biotech companies can leverage Australia’s supportive clinical trials environment which includes no IND requirement plus a 43.5% Government incentive rebate on clinical spend. The CRO has been delivering clinical drug development services for international biotechs for FDA and EMA regulatory approval for the past 24 years. The company has been recognized for the past two consecutive years with the prestigious Frost & Sullivan CRO Best Practices Award and a finalist in Informa Pharma’s Best CRO award for 2022.

Up­dat­ed: Amid mas­sive re­struc­tur­ing, Bio­gen looks to re­duce phys­i­cal pres­ence in Boston

Biogen is putting a sizable chunk of office and research space in Kendall Square and Weston, MA up for sublease, marking another big change as the biotech grapples with the aftershock of a disastrous and controversial rollout for its Alzheimer’s drug.

The subbleases are “part of Biogen’s overall implementation of the ‘Future of Work,’ which is allowing us to optimize our footprint and reduce the amount of space we occupy, taking into consideration new elements such as the hybrid work model,” Biogen spokesperson Ashleigh Koss wrote in a statement to Endpoints News, adding that the company has had subleases across several buildings for years.

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Tony Coles, Cerevel CEO

Cerev­el takes the pub­lic of­fer­ing route, with a twist — rais­ing big mon­ey thanks to ri­val da­ta

As public biotechs seek to climb out of the bear market, a popular strategy to raise cash has been through public offerings on the heels of positive data. But one proposed raise Wednesday appeared to take advantage not of a company’s own data, but those from a competitor.

Cerevel Therapeutics plans to raise $250 million in a public offering and another $250 million in debt, the biotech announced Wednesday afternoon, even though it did not report any news on its pipeline. However, the move comes days after rival Karuna Therapeutics touted positive Phase III data in schizophrenia, a field where Cerevel is pursuing a similar program.

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Bernat Olle, Vedanta Biosciences CEO

Cit­ing 'chal­leng­ing eco­nom­ic en­vi­ron­ment,' PhI­II-ready mi­cro­bio­me biotech lays off 20% of staffers

The market downturn isn’t just sweeping up public biotechs.

Vedanta Biosciences, a developer of oral drugs derived from the human microbiome, is laying off about 20% of its staff — an unfortunately common occurrence these days. But CEO Bernat Olle took the unusual step of sharing the decision on LinkedIn and offering to connect the employees being let go with any company that’s hiring in their areas.

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Who are the women blaz­ing trails in bio­phar­ma R&D? Nom­i­nate them for End­points' 2022 spe­cial re­port

Over the past three years, Endpoints News has spotlighted 60 women who have blazed trails and supercharged R&D across the biopharma world. And judging from the response we’ve received, to both our special reports and live events, telling their stories — including any obstacles they may have had to overcome — has inspired our readers in many different ways.

But change takes time, and the fact remains that women are still underrepresented at the upper ranks of the drug-making world.

Pfiz­er launch­es re­bate pro­gram for rare dis­ease pa­tients who have to stop tak­ing Panzy­ga

Pfizer is launching its second-ever rebate program, this time for Panzyga, its treatment for a rare neurological disease of the peripheral nerves.

The program began last month, according to STAT which first reported the news, and offers a refund of out-of-pocket costs for patients who must discontinue their course before the fifth treatment for “clinical reasons.”

Panzyga was approved back in 2018 to treat primary immunodeficiency (PI) in patients two years and older and chronic immune thrombocytopenia (cITP) in adults. It has since picked up an indication in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), a condition that’s characterized by weakness of the arms or legs, tingling or numbness, and a loss of deep tendon reflexes, according to the NIH.

Horizon's back-to-school campaign for children with cystinosis includes an all about me poster as part of a care package box.

Hori­zon read­ies kids and fam­i­lies for back to school with week­long ac­tiv­i­ties around rare dis­ease cysti­nosis

Going back to school is usually a bumpy readjustment from summer freedom for all kids, but especially for kids with chronic health conditions. Horizon Therapeutics is hoping to help smooth the way for some who have the rare disease cystinosis. Cystinosis is a genetic disease that causes the amino acid cystine to build up in different tissues and organs.

The “Gear Up” for school campaign is running all week with different online and at-home events and activities for families and children with cystinosis. Each family who signed up receives a care package mailed to their home including an activity coloring book “Michael’s Show-and-Tell.” The book tells Michael’s story about living with cystinosis while offering kids matching, coloring and finding object games along with information.

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Phar­mas spend mil­lions on di­a­betes ad­ver­tis­ing, but few pa­tients can re­call brand names — sur­vey

While many Big Pharma diabetes brands spend millions of dollars on TV ads every year, most people with type 2 diabetes don’t recognize specific drug brand names, according to a new study.

No brand garnered more than 30% recognition in Phreesia Life Science’s latest in-office patient survey of more than 4,000 adults with type 2 diabetes. Eli Lilly’s Trulicity topped the list as the most recognized brand with 29% of those surveyed recalling it, followed by Boehringer Ingelheim and Lilly’s Jardiance at 27% and Merck’s Januvia and Novo Nordisk tying for the third spot with 24%. Meanwhile, 76% of the patients surveyed were familiar with the generic treatment metformin.

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Faced with thou­sands of opi­oid law­suits, En­do says it will like­ly file for bank­rupt­cy 'im­mi­nent­ly'

Endo International will likely be the next pharma company to file for bankruptcy under a mountain of opioid lawsuits.

The Dublin, Ireland-based company revealed in its Q2 results on Tuesday that it’s in talks with first lien creditors, and that “these negotiations will likely result in a pre-arranged filing under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code by Endo International plc and substantially all of its subsidiaries, which could occur imminently.”