Af­ter sell­ing a failed Cerulean for scrap val­ue, the ex­ec­u­tive team wins a bonus re­ward

Christo­pher Guiffre, CEO

By the end of the third quar­ter last year, Cerulean had burned through close to $196 mil­lion with­out much to show for it. The 2014 IPO floun­dered, de­spite the siz­zling boom biotech was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing. But that wasn’t too sur­pris­ing as their lead nano drug failed a Phase IIb tri­al for non-small cell lung can­cer.

Then the same drug failed again last year, for re­nal cell car­ci­no­ma, and the Waltham, MA based com­pa­ny was doomed. The CEO struck a part­ner­ship deal with No­var­tis, but net­ted on­ly $5 mil­lion up­front. So now the com­pa­ny is be­ing sold for parts. The lead, CR­LX-101, was wrapped up with its on­ly oth­er drug, the ear­ly stage CR­LX301, and sold to NewLink for on­ly $1.5 mil­lion. No­var­tis picked up the pipeline tech for a mere $6 mil­lion, a round­ing num­ber for the phar­ma gi­ant. A few lega­cy staffers in the hand­ful who are still left will get job of­fers.

Ale­jan­dra Car­va­hal, Gen­er­al Coun­sel

Daré Bio­science gets the pub­lic shell in a re­verse merg­er, with some re­main­ing eq­ui­ty for the in­vestors.

But even cat­a­stroph­ic fail­ure can earn a re­ward. The ex­ec­u­tive crew at Cerulean, among the fi­nal sur­vivors, each get a cash bonus ap­proved by the board on March 19, ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments filed with the SEC. The bonus­es re­place the re­ten­tion agree­ment the board signed off on last No­vem­ber 8, when they agreed to hand over 3.5% of the val­ue of the com­pa­ny at any sub­se­quent change of con­trol — at a time when the writ­ing was on the wall.

CEO Christo­pher Guiffre gets $125,525.63.

CFO Gregg Beloff gets $51,276.81.

Chief Med­ical Of­fi­cer Adri­an Senderow­icz gets $104,732.57.

Gen­er­al Coun­sel Ale­jan­dra Car­va­hal gets $78,573.29.

Adri­an Senderow­icz, CMO

The board will de­ter­mine the fi­nal bonus amount af­ter the re­verse merg­er is com­plete.

In­fin­i­ty Phar­ma stirred up a short-lived ruckus when it lined up re­ten­tion bonus­es af­ter a dis­as­trous set­back last year. The con­tro­ver­sy sim­mered down af­ter re­porters learned that all sur­viv­ing staffers could earn a re­ten­tion bonus for stay­ing with the trou­bled biotech. There’s no word about any bonus­es for the rank and file who stayed on past the first lay­offs at Cerulean, or the No­vem­ber reck­on­ing with the board.

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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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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Look­ing to move past an R&D fi­as­co, Ipsen poach­es their new CEO from Sanofi

Ipsen has turned to another Paris-based biopharma company for its next CEO.

Sanofi Pasteur chief David Loew — who’s been leading one of the most advanced efforts to develop vaccines for Covid-19 — is making the journey to Ipsen, 5 months after David Meek jumped ship to run a startup in late-stage development.

Loew arrives as Ipsen works to get back on track with their rare bone disease drug palovarotene, picked up in the $1.3 billion Clementia buyout, which was slammed with a partial hold after researchers observed cases of “early growth plate closure” in patients under the age of 14. But they are pushing ahead with the over-14 crowd after writing down slightly more than half of its initial development.

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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Roger Perlmutter, Merck R&D chief (YouTube)

UP­DAT­ED: Backed by BAR­DA, Mer­ck jumps in­to Covid-19: buy­ing out a vac­cine, part­ner­ing on an­oth­er and adding an­tivi­ral to the mix

Merck execs are making a triple play in a sudden leap into the R&D campaign against Covid-19. And they have more BARDA cash backing them up on the move.

Tuesday morning the pharma giant simultaneously announced plans to buy an Austrian biotech that has been working on a preclinical vaccine candidate, added a collaboration on another vaccine with the nonprofit IAVI and inked a deal with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics on an early-stage antiviral.

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