A child plays Akili's FDA-approved EndeavorRx video game to treat ADHD.

Ak­ili taps new com­mer­cial chief in ad­vance of fall mar­ket­ing launch for AD­HD video game ther­a­py

As Ak­ili In­ter­ac­tive preps its AD­HD video game ther­a­py for com­mer­cial launch – and builds out its new Roblox part­ner­ship – it’s tap­ping com­mer­cial vet­er­an Matt Franklin to lead the way.

Matt Franklin

Franklin will join Ak­ili lat­er this month as pres­i­dent and chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer with a fo­cus on the com­mer­cial launch and mar­ket­ing of En­deav­or­Rx, its FDA-ap­proved cog­ni­tive ther­a­py for at­ten­tion deficit hy­per­ac­tiv­i­ty dis­or­der, lat­er this year. His du­ties in­clude over­see­ing day-to-day op­er­a­tions at Ak­ili across com­mer­cial, prod­uct, en­gi­neer­ing, med­ical and em­ploy­ee tal­ent.

Franklin was most re­cent­ly gen­er­al man­ag­er of Ex­act Sci­ences’ pre­ci­sion on­col­o­gy di­vi­sion. Be­fore that he led com­mer­cial at Thrive Ear­li­er De­tec­tion – ac­quired by Ex­act Sci­ences in 2020 – bring­ing its ear­ly de­tec­tion mul­ti-can­cer blood test to mar­ket.

Ak­ili’s En­deav­or­Rx game is ap­proved for 8-to-12-year-olds with rough­ly 25-minute 5-mis­sion ses­sions. The rac­ing game ven­tures through imag­i­nary worlds and prob­lem-solv­ing tasks de­vel­oped specif­i­cal­ly “to tar­get ar­eas of the brain that play a key role in at­ten­tion func­tion.”

Ali­ki cur­rent­ly part­ners with an on­line tele­health provider for pre­scrib­ing and doc­tors are pre­scrib­ing it in of­fice, how­ev­er the soft­ware com­pa­ny is plan­ning its full re­lease with a big mar­ket­ing push in the fall. Last year, Ak­ili launched an in­tro­duc­to­ry on­line mar­ket­ing cam­paign with re­al par­ents and kids with AD­HD who use the soft­ware.

Ed­die Mar­tuc­ci

In an­oth­er boost to its mar­ket­ing ef­forts, Ak­ili ce­ment­ed a deal with pop­u­lar ado­les­cent video gam­ing plat­form Roblox in May. The deal con­nects pa­tients’ En­deav­or­Rx treat­ment to re­wards in the Roblox vir­tu­al re­al­i­ty game, but will add new op­por­tu­ni­ties “as the part­ner­ship pi­lot con­tin­ues rolling out,” Ak­ili CEO and co-founder Ed­die Mar­tuc­ci said in an email in­ter­view.

“At Ak­ili, we’re work­ing to chal­lenge tra­di­tion­al per­cep­tions of med­i­cine, while Roblox has led its in­dus­try with the cre­ation of a vir­tu­al world that brings over 55M peo­ple to­geth­er each day through im­mer­sive shared ex­pe­ri­ences. To­geth­er, we have the abil­i­ty to com­plete­ly reimag­ine the pa­tient ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said.

En­deav­or­Rx is Ak­ili’s first prod­uct, how­ev­er, it is plan­ning and test­ing dis­ease mod­i­fy­ing dig­i­tal ther­a­pies in ma­jor de­pres­sive dis­or­der, autism spec­trum dis­or­der, mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis and Covid brain fog.

Scoop: Boehringer qui­et­ly shut­ters a PhII for one of its top drugs — now un­der re­view

Boehringer Ingelheim has quietly shut down a small Phase II study for one of its lead drugs.

The private pharma player confirmed to Endpoints News that it had shuttered a study testing spesolimab as a therapy for Crohn’s patients suffering from bowel obstructions.

A spokesperson for the company tells Endpoints:

Taking into consideration the current therapeutic landscape and ongoing clinical development programs, Boehringer Ingelheim decided to discontinue our program in Crohn’s disease. It is important to note that this decision is not based on any safety findings in the clinical trials.

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Alex­ion puts €65M for­ward to strength­en its po­si­tion on the Emer­ald Isle

Ireland has been on a roll in 2022, with several large pharma companies announcing multimillion-euro projects. Now AstraZeneca’s rare disease outfit Alexion is looking to get in on the action.

Alexion on Friday announced a €65 million ($68.8 million) investment in new and enhanced capabilities across two sites in the country, including at College Park in the Dublin suburb of Blanchardstown and the Monksland Industrial Park in the central Irish town of Athlone, according to the Industrial Development Agency of Ireland.

Fed­er­al judge de­nies Bris­tol My­er­s' at­tempt to avoid Cel­gene share­hold­er law­suit

Some Celgene shareholders aren’t happy with how Bristol Myers Squibb’s takeover went down.

On Friday, a New York federal judge ruled that they have a case against the pharma giant, denying a request to dismiss allegations that it purposely slow-rolled Breyanzi’s approval to avoid paying out $6.4 billion in contingent value rights (CVR).

When Bristol Myers put down $74 billion to scoop up Celgene back in 2019, liso-cel — the CAR-T lymphoma treatment now marketed as Breyanzi — was supposedly one of the centerpieces of the deal. After going back and forth on negotiations for about six months, BMS put $6.4 billion into a CVR agreement that required an FDA approval for Zeposia, Breyanzi and Abecma, each by an established date.

AstraZeneca's new Evusheld direct to consumer campaign aims to reach more immunocompromised patients.

As­traZeneca de­buts first con­sumer cam­paign for its Covid-19 pro­phy­lac­tic Evusheld — and a first for EUA drugs

AstraZeneca’s first consumer ad for Evusheld is also a first for drugs that have been granted emergency use authorizations during the pandemic.

The first DTC ad for a medicine under emergency approval, the Evusheld campaign launching this week aims to raise awareness among immunocompromised patients — and spur more use.

Evusheld nabbed emergency authorization in December, however, despite millions of immunocompromised people looking for a solution and now more widespread availability of the drug.

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Am­gen takes next step with its Chi­na am­bi­tions, out-li­cens­ing drugs to Fo­s­un Phar­ma

In a bid to increase its market share in China, Amgen has agreed to a partnership with a Shanghai biotech — a collaboration and out-licensing agreement for two of its drugs.

Amgen and Fosun Pharma announced a deal Monday in a bid to increase Amgen’s presence in the country. The stated goal so far is to commercialize Amgen’s blockbuster psoriasis drug Otezla alongside Parsabiv, a drug for secondary hyperparathyroidism in adults with chronic kidney disease and on a specific type of dialysis.

As court case looms, Bris­tol My­ers touts la­bel ex­pan­sion for Breyanzi

As Bristol Myers Squibb braces for a court battle over a costly delay — at least for Celgene shareholders — for its CAR-T lymphoma treatment Breyanzi, the pharma giant is touting a label expansion in the second-line setting.

Breyanzi, also known as liso-cel, snagged a win on Friday in adults with large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL) who: don’t respond to chemotherapy, or relapse within 12 months; don’t respond or relapse after 12 months; or are not eligible for hematopoietic stem cell transplant after chemo due to their age or comorbidities.

State bat­tles over mifepri­s­tone ac­cess could tie the FDA to any post-Roe cross­roads

As more than a dozen states are now readying so-called “trigger” laws to kick into effect immediate abortion bans following the overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday, these laws, in the works for more than a decade in some states, will likely kick off even more legal battles as states seek to restrict the use of prescription drug-based abortions.

Since Friday’s SCOTUS opinion to overturn Americans’ constitutional right to an abortion after almost 50 years, reproductive rights lawyers at Planned Parenthood and other organizations have already challenged these trigger laws in Utah and Louisiana. According to the Guttmacher Institute, other states with trigger laws that could take effect include Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming.

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Deborah Dunsire, Lundbeck CEO

Af­ter a 5-year re­peat PhI­II so­journ, Lund­beck and Ot­su­ka say they're fi­nal­ly ready to pur­sue OK to use Rex­ul­ti against Alzheimer's ag­i­ta­tion

Five years after Lundbeck and their longtime collaborators at Otsuka turned up a mixed set of Phase III data for Rexulti as a treatment for Alzheimer’s dementia-related agitation, they’ve come through with a new pivotal trial success they believe will finally put them on the road to an approval at the FDA. And if they’re right, some analysts believe they’re a short step away from adding more than $500 million in annual sales for the drug, already approved in depression and schizophrenia.

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A Mer­ck part­ner is sucked in­to the fi­nan­cial quag­mire as key lender calls in a note

Another biotech standing on shaky financial legs has fallen victim to the bears.

Merck partner 4D Pharma has reported that a key lender, Oxford Finance, shoved the UK company into administration after calling in a $14 million loan they couldn’t immediately make good on. Trading in their stock was halted with a market cap that had fallen to a mere £30 million.

“Despite the very difficult prevailing market conditions,” 4D reported on Friday, the biotech had been making progress on finding some new financing and turned to Oxford with an alternative late on Thursday and then again Friday morning.