Af­ter snatch­ing up Shire's can­cer unit, French phar­ma gi­ant Servi­er to ex­pand US pres­ence with Kendall Square in­no­va­tion of­fice

Servi­er, the French phar­ma gi­ant that just ac­quired Shire’s on­col­o­gy unit for $2.4 bil­lion, is putting a US in­no­va­tion out­post in Kendall Square. The new unit will be called Servi­er BioIn­no­va­tion, and it’s just re­cruit­ed two ex­ec­u­tives to head it up — like­ly hunters for part­ner­ships and tech that will ad­vance Servi­er’s pipeline.

Chris­t­ian Schu­bert

This marks the sec­ond French phar­ma gi­ant to an­nounce a Kendall Square out­post in the past 24 hours. Just yes­ter­day, Ipsen an­nounced it was mov­ing its US head­quar­ters from New Jer­sey to Boston.

The two di­rec­tors of Servi­er BioIn­no­va­tion are ex-Bio­gen ex­ec Chris­t­ian Schu­bert and Uni­ver­si­ty of Mass­a­chu­setts’ di­rec­tor of tech com­mer­cial­iza­tion Rekha Pa­leyan­da. They’ll be in charge of head­ing up Servi­er’s US R&D and ex­ter­nal in­no­va­tion, and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and li­cens­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

Rekha Pa­leyan­da

To­day, Servi­er al­ready has a bit of a US pres­ence with some aca­d­e­m­ic col­lab­o­ra­tions with Har­vard and MIT in Boston. It’s al­so part­nered with biotechs and phar­ma through­out the US, and sup­ports the Lab­Cen­tral in­cu­ba­tor. And af­ter the April news that Servi­er was buy­ing up Shire’s on­col­o­gy unit, the French com­pa­ny will have a much big­ger foot­print on this side of the At­lantic. In a state­ment, Servi­er said the ac­qui­si­tion al­lows Servi­er to es­tab­lish an “im­me­di­ate and di­rect com­mer­cial pres­ence in the US.”

Christophe Thurieau

“Servi­er BioIn­no­va­tion rep­re­sents Servi­er’s com­mit­ment to ex­pand­ing its grow­ing pres­ence in the U.S. for the long-term through R&D and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and li­cens­ing ac­tiv­i­ties,” said Christophe Thurieau, di­rec­tor of re­search cen­ters and the Servi­er In­ter­na­tion­al Re­search Net­work (SIRN) at Servi­er’s R&D head­quar­ters. “Chris­t­ian Schu­bert and Rekha Pa­leyan­da are es­tab­lished lead­ers in ex­ter­nal in­no­va­tion, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and li­cens­ing in the biotech­nol­o­gy sec­tor with deep ex­pe­ri­ence in both aca­d­e­m­ic re­search and com­mer­cial busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. The Boston area pro­vides an amaz­ing con­cen­tra­tion of in­no­va­tion, es­pe­cial­ly in the field of on­col­o­gy, for part­ner­ships that will ad­vance sci­ence and build on Servi­er’s his­to­ry as a lead­ing glob­al phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­no­va­tor.”

The US out­post is just the start, Servi­er said. It has plans to broad­en the SIRN pres­ence world­wide, open­ing up of­fices in Bei­jing, Chi­na next.

Im­age: The Longfel­low Bridge con­nect­ing Bea­con Hill, Boston to Kendall Square, Cam­bridge.SHUT­TER­STOCK

Hal Barron, GSK

Break­ing the death spi­ral: Hal Bar­ron talks about trans­form­ing the mori­bund R&D cul­ture at GSK in a crit­i­cal year for the late-stage pipeline

Just ahead of GlaxoSmithKline’s Q2 update on Wednesday, science chief Hal Barron is making the rounds to talk up the pharma giant’s late-stage strategy as the top execs continue to woo back a deeply skeptical investor group while pushing through a whole new R&D culture.

And that’s not easy, Barron is quick to note. He told the Financial Times:

I think that culture, to some extent, is as hard, in fact even harder, than doing the science.

Endpoints News

Basic subscription required

Unlock this story instantly and join 55,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Some Big Phar­mas stepped up their game on da­ta trans­paren­cy — but which flunked the test?

The nonprofit Bioethics International has come out with their latest scorecard on data transparency among the big biopharmas in the industry — flagging a few standouts while spotlighting some laggards who are continuing to underperform.

Now in its third year, the nonprofit created a new set of standards with Yale School of Medicine and Stanford Law School to evaluate the track record on trial registration, results reporting, publication and data-sharing practice.

Busy Gilead crew throws strug­gling biotech a life­line, with some cash up­front and hun­dreds of mil­lions in biobucks for HIV deal

Durect $DRRX got a badly needed shot in the arm Monday morning as Gilead’s busy BD team lined up access to its extended-release platform tech for HIV and hepatitis B.

Gilead, a leader in the HIV sector, is paying a modest $25 million in cash for the right to jump on the platform at Durect, which has been using its technology to come up with an extended-release version of bupivacaine. The FDA rejected that in 2014, but Durect has been working on a comeback.

In­tec blitzed by PhI­II flop as lead pro­gram fails to beat Mer­ck­'s stan­dard com­bo for Parkin­son’s

Intec Pharma’s $NTEC lead drug slammed into a brick wall Monday morning. The small-cap Israeli biotech reported that its lead program — coming off a platform designed to produce a safer, more effective oral drug for Parkinson’s — failed the Phase III at the primary endpoint.

Researchers at Intec, which has already seen its share price collapse over the past few months, says that its Accordion Pill-Carbidopa/Levodopa failed to prove superior to Sinemet in reducing daily ‘off’ time. 

Cel­gene racks up third Ote­zla ap­proval, heat­ing up talks about who Bris­tol-My­ers will sell to

Whoever is taking Otezla off Bristol-Myers Squibb’s hands will have one more revenue stream to boast.

The drug — a rising star in Celgene’s pipeline that generated global sales of $1.6 billion last year — is now OK’d to treat oral ulcers associated with Behçet’s disease, a common symptom for a rare inflammatory disorder. This marks the third FDA approval for the PDE4 inhibitor since 2014, when it was greenlighted for plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Endpoints News

Basic subscription required

Unlock this story instantly and join 55,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Vlad Coric (Biohaven)

In an­oth­er dis­ap­point­ment for in­vestors, FDA slaps down Bio­haven’s re­vised ver­sion of an old ALS drug

Biohaven is at risk of making a habit of disappointing its investors.

Late Friday the biotech $BHVN reported that the FDA had rejected its application for riluzole, an old drug that they had made over into a sublingual formulation that dissolves under the tongue. According to Biohaven, the FDA had a problem with the active ingredient used in a bioequivalence study back in 2017, which they got from the Canadian drugmaker Apotex.

Apotex, though, has been a disaster ground. The manufacturer voluntarily yanked the ANDAs on 31 drugs — in late 2017 — after the FDA came across serious manufacturing deficiencies at their plants in India. A few days ago, the FDA made it official.

Endpoints News

Basic subscription required

Unlock this story instantly and join 55,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Francesco De Rubertis

Medicxi is rolling out its biggest fund ever to back Eu­rope's top 'sci­en­tists with strange ideas'

Francesco De Rubertis built Medicxi to be the kind of biotech venture player he would have liked to have known back when he was a full time scientist.

“When I was a scientist 20 years ago I would have loved Medicxi,’ the co-founder tells me. It’s the kind of place run by and for investigators, what the Medicxi partner calls “scientists with strange ideas — a platform for the drug hunter and scientific entrepreneur. That’s what I wanted when I was a scientist.”

Endpoints News

Basic subscription required

Unlock this story instantly and join 55,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Af­ter a decade, Vi­iV CSO John Pot­tage says it's time to step down — and he's hand­ing the job to long­time col­league Kim Smith

ViiV Healthcare has always been something unique in the global drug industry.

Owned by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer — with GSK in the lead as majority owner — it was created 10 years ago in a time of deep turmoil for the field as something independent of the pharma giants, but with access to lots of infrastructural support on demand. While R&D at the mother ship inside GSK was souring, a razor-focused ViiV provided a rare bright spot, challenging Gilead on a lucrative front in delivering new combinations that require fewer therapies with a more easily tolerated regimen.

They kept a massive number of people alive who would otherwise have been facing a death sentence. And they made money.

And throughout, John Pottage has been the chief scientific and chief medical officer.

Until now.

Endpoints News

Basic subscription required

Unlock this story instantly and join 55,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Chas­ing Roche's ag­ing block­buster fran­chise, Am­gen/Al­ler­gan roll out Avastin, Her­ceptin knock­offs at dis­count

Let the long battle for biosimilars in the cancer space begin.

Amgen has launched its Avastin and Herceptin copycats — licensed from the predecessors of Allergan — almost two years after the FDA had stamped its approval on Mvasi (bevacizumab-awwb) and three months after the Kanjinti OK (trastuzumab-anns). While the biotech had been fielding biosimilars in Europe, this marks their first foray in the US — and the first oncology biosimilars in the country.