Richard Pops, Alkermes CEO (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Alk­er­mes CEO Richard Pops wins over ac­tivists with a pledge to shake up the com­pa­ny and boost net in­come

Alk­er­mes CEO Richard Pops is mak­ing nice with the ac­tivists at El­liott Ad­vi­sors spurring the com­pa­ny to slim down and get in bet­ter fi­nan­cial shape. And he’s adding two new in­de­pen­dent board mem­bers to keep close watch on their progress.

In a state­ment out Thurs­day morn­ing, the com­pa­ny out­lined a com­mit­ment to push its net in­come to 30% by 2024, with plans to push its top pipeline pro­grams in­to the mar­ket while look­ing to auc­tion off “non-core as­sets.”

And it all comes as rest­less in­vestors press Pops for bet­ter num­bers. The stock $ALKS popped 9% this morn­ing, but shares have melt­ed away in the past 3 years, with the mar­ket cap dwin­dling to less than $3 bil­lion.

The re­lease notes:

These ini­tia­tives al­so fol­low con­struc­tive di­a­logue with the com­pa­ny’s share­hold­ers, in­clud­ing funds ad­vised by El­liott Ad­vi­sors (UK) Lim­it­ed (“El­liott”), and en­try in­to an as­so­ci­at­ed co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment be­tween Alk­er­mes and af­fil­i­ates of El­liott.

Alk­er­mes has ex­pe­ri­enced a se­ries of set­backs, most re­cent­ly a few weeks ago when their fail­ure to pass muster dur­ing an FDA in­spec­tion led to a CRL for their top prospect, the an­ti-psy­chot­ic com­bo drug ALKS-3831. The com­pa­ny shook up its com­mer­cial group last month, re­duc­ing plans for new hires as they look to the de­layed launch of ‘3831. And there’s a hunt un­der­way for new “ef­fi­cien­cies” that can be ex­e­cut­ed.

The ac­tivists at El­liott, last seen press­ing for changes at a strug­gling Alex­ion, gave Pops a thumbs up.

El­liott is high­ly sup­port­ive of the ini­tia­tives an­nounced to­day and com­mends the Board and man­age­ment of Alk­er­mes on tak­ing these steps. From our di­a­logue with man­age­ment we are con­fi­dent that the Com­pa­ny is com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing share­hold­er val­ue. Fur­ther, both David Daglio and Bri­an McK­eon will add sig­nif­i­cant val­ue to Alk­er­mes’ Board and the new­ly formed board com­mit­tee. Alk­er­mes is sig­nif­i­cant­ly un­der­val­ued giv­en its at­trac­tive as­sets and growth po­ten­tial, and we are con­fi­dent that these new ini­tia­tives will yield mean­ing­ful share price up­side. We thank Richard and the rest of the team for their con­struc­tive di­a­logue and look for­ward to an on­go­ing en­gage­ment with the Com­pa­ny.

Tar­get­ing a Po­ten­tial Vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of Cer­tain Can­cers with DNA Dam­age Re­sponse

Every individual’s DNA is unique, and because of this, every patient responds differently to disease and treatment. It is astonishing how four tiny building blocks of our DNA – A, T, C, G – dictate our health, disease, and how we age.

The tricky thing about DNA is that it is constantly exposed to damage by sources such as ultraviolet light, certain chemicals, toxins, and even natural biochemical processes inside our cells.¹ If ignored, DNA damage will accumulate in replicating cells, giving rise to mutations that can lead to premature aging, cancer, and other diseases.

Fol­low biotechs go­ing pub­lic with the End­points News IPO Track­er

The Endpoints News team is continuing to track IPO filings for 2021, and we’ve designed a new tracker page for the effort.

Check it out here: Biopharma IPOs 2021 from Endpoints News

You’ll be able to find all the biotechs that have filed and priced so far this year, sortable by quarter and listed by newest first. As of the time of publishing on Feb. 25, there have already been 16 biotechs debuting on Nasdaq so far this year, with an additional four having filed their S-1 paperwork.

Steve Cutler, Icon CEO (Icon)

In the biggest CRO takeover in years, Icon doles out $12B for PRA Health Sci­ences to fo­cus on de­cen­tral­ized clin­i­cal work

Contract research M&A had a healthy run in recent years before recently petering out. But with the market ripe for a big buyout and the Covid-19 pandemic emphasizing the importance of decentralized trials, Wednesday saw a tectonic shift in the CRO world.

Icon, the Dublin-based CRO, will acquire PRA Health Sciences for $12 billion in a move that will shake up the highest rungs of a fragmented market. The merger would combine the 5th- and 6th-largest CROs by 2020 revenue, according to Icon, and the merger will set the newco up to be the second-largest global CRO behind only IQVIA.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 102,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Tom Barnes (Orna)

The mR­NA era is here. MPM be­lieves the fu­ture be­longs to oR­NA — and Big Phar­ma wants a seat at the ta­ble

If the ultra-fast clinical development of Covid-19 vaccines opened the world’s eyes to the promises of messenger RNA, the subsequent delays in supply offered a crash course on the ultra-complex process of producing them. Even before the formulation and fill-finish steps, mRNA is the precious end product from an arduous journey involving enzyme-aided transcription, modification and purification.

For Bristol Myers Squibb, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Gilead’s Kite and Astellas, it’s time to rethink the way therapeutic RNA is engineered.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 102,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

S&P ex­pects steady ero­sion in Big Phar­ma's cred­it pro­file in 2021 as new M&A deals roll in — but don't un­der­es­ti­mate their un­der­ly­ing strength

S&P Global has taken a look at the dominant forces shaping the pharma market and come to the conclusion that there will be more downgrades than upgrades in 2021 — the 8th straight year of steady decline.

But it’s not all bad news. Some things are looking up, and there’s still plenty of money to be made in an industry that enjoys a 30% to 40% profit margin, once you factor in steep R&D expenses.

Ken Frazier, Merck CEO (Bess Adler/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Mer­ck takes a swing at the IL-2 puz­zle­box with a $1.85B play for buzzy Pan­dion and its au­toim­mune hope­fuls

When Roger Perlmutter bid farewell to Merck late last year, the drugmaker perhaps best known now for sales giant Keytruda signaled its intent to take a swing at early-stage novelty with the appointment of discovery head Dean Li. Now, Merck is signing a decent-sized check to bring an IL-2 moonshot into the fold.

Merck will shell out roughly $1.85 billion for Pandion Pharmaceuticals, a biotech hoping to gin up regulatory T cells (Tregs) to treat a range of autoimmune disorders, the drugmaker said Thursday.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 102,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Tal Zaks, Moderna CMO (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi, via still image from video)

CMO Tal Zaks bids Mod­er­na a sur­prise adieu as biotech projects $18.4B in rev­enue, plots post-Covid ex­pan­sion

How do you exit a company after six years in style? Developing one of the most lucrative and life-saving products in pharma history is probably not the worst way to go.

Tal Zaks, Moderna’s CMO since 2015, will leave the mRNA biotech in September, the biotech disclosed in their annual report this morning. The company has already retained the recruitment firm Russell Reynolds to find a replacement.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 102,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Glax­o­SmithK­line re­thinks strat­e­gy for Covid-19 an­ti­body — not the Vir ones — af­ter tri­al flop. Is there hope in high-risk pa­tients?

In the search for a better Covid-19 therapeutic, GlaxoSmithKline and Vir have partnered up on two antibodies they hope have a chance. GSK is also testing its own in-house antibody, and early results may have shut the door on its widespread use.

A combination of GSK’s monoclonal antibody otilimab plus standard of care couldn’t best standard of care alone in preventing death and respiratory failure in hospitalized Covid-19 patients after 28 days, according to data from the Phase IIa OSCAR study unveiled Thursday.

Photo: Shutterstock

Bio­phar­ma's suc­cess rate in bring­ing drugs to mar­ket has long been abysmal. Can new tools help rewrite that trou­bled past?

In 2011, a team of researchers at British drugmaker AstraZeneca had a problem they were looking to solve.

For years, drug discovery and development were a wasteland for innovation. Novel drugs largely fell into one of two categories — monoclonal antibodies and small molecules — and new therapeutic modalities were hard to come by. After a rush of promising approvals in the late 1990s — including then-Biogen’s CD20 targeting antibody breakthrough Rituxan — the field stagnated and attrition rates stayed sky-high. What exactly is the industry doing wrong? AstraZeneca asked itself.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.