An up­date on the End­points busi­ness mod­el — and how your com­pa­ny can di­rect­ly sup­port it

Pic­tured: The print-op­ti­mized ver­sion of End­points’ 2018 New Drug Ap­provals re­port. All paid sub­scribers will re­ceive a di­rect link to down­load the PDF + a copy of all our Q1 pay­wall sto­ries in print­able form, too.

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I want to give read­ers an up­date on the busi­ness front at End­points News, which is strong.

Two and a half years in — we’re prof­itable, about 14 peo­ple on the team and grow­ing, and 75,000 unique bio­phar­ma read­ers con­sume our news across all plat­forms on a week­ly ba­sis. Of that, 31,000 are what we con­sid­er “ba­sic sub­scribers” who re­ceive our dai­ly email re­ports and have opened or clicked on them in the last month, but haven’t up­grad­ed to paid sta­tus. And at the top we have 8,300 pre­mi­um sub­scribers who ei­ther di­rect­ly sup­port the work or are em­ployed at a com­pa­ny that does.

We reg­u­lar­ly scrub our email read­er­ship, too.

We’ve built a glob­al events fran­chise and con­vened over 2,000 at­ten­dees over the last 12 months in San Fran­cis­co, Boston, Lon­don, and Shang­hai. Lat­er this month we’ll be an­nounc­ing venues and dates for our en­tire 2019 line­up.

John Car­roll speaks at the US-Chi­na Bio­phar­ma In­no­va­tion and In­vest­ment Sum­mit in Shang­hai on Oc­to­ber 23, 2018

Click on the im­age to see the full-sized ver­sion


And we’ve done all of this with­out rais­ing any VC cash.

End­points is built to with­stand the storms en­velop­ing dig­i­tal me­dia to­day thanks to the di­rect sup­port of our En­ter­prise and In­sid­er sub­scribers.  We’re hir­ing new jour­nal­ists, plan to dou­ble the au­di­ence, and have moved in­to a new head­quar­ters in Lawrence, Kansas that’ll serve as the nerve-cen­ter for End­points’ next stage of in­no­va­tion. New hires in mar­ket­ing, sales, and op­er­a­tions are in the works now to sup­port that. There’s a web­site re­vamp on tap. And there’s just so much more news we’d like to cov­er in trans­la­tion­al sci­ence and out­sourc­ing.

Most im­por­tant­ly: Our fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives are tied to pro­duc­ing a jour­nal­ism prod­uct that serves the core bio­phar­ma read­er.

Haven’t joined yet? Now is a great time and you can see one of the ben­e­fits above: a print (yes, print!) ver­sion of the 2018 class of new drug ap­provals. You’ll al­so get ac­cess to the lat­est edi­tion of bio­phar­ma’s top 100 VCs, and the en­tire pay­wall li­brary.

The most im­por­tant way you can di­rect­ly sup­port End­points is hav­ing your com­pa­ny sub­scribe to our $1,000/year flat-rate En­ter­prise plan (signup link). That’s an “un­lim­it­ed li­cense” for every em­ploy­ee un­der your cor­po­rate ban­ner. All of your col­leagues get ac­cess to pay­wall con­tent, reprint rights, PDF ex­port, and your HR team gets two pre­mi­um job post­ings at End­points Ca­reers. We have a VIP sup­port team who’ll work with you to get End­points set up for the rest of your team, too.

It’s a great val­ue, and you’re sup­port­ing the most im­por­tant part of our mod­el. The pric­ing is trans­par­ent and so is our re­new­al process.

For in­di­vid­u­als, we of­fer the In­sid­er plan at $200/year. Ex­tra ben­e­fits on top of the pay­wall ac­cess in­clude dis­count­ed rates to our ma­jor glob­al events line­up.

We’re al­so start­ing a se­ries of sub­scriber-on­ly net­work­ing mix­ers for In­sid­ers. The very first one will be in Durham, NC on Thurs­day Feb­ru­ary 21 at 6pm. I’ll be there along with our VP/Part­ner­ships Mike Peck. In­sid­ers will get an email next week with signup de­tails on this one and our fu­ture slate.

Grow­ing Plans

We’re go­ing through a ma­jor plat­form over­haul this year.

The look and feel of End­points hasn’t changed since we launched in June 2016. The orig­i­nal goal of our de­sign is to de­liv­er news with­out un­nec­es­sary or­na­ments, with a user ex­pe­ri­ence that feels fa­mil­iar no mat­ter what de­vice you’re on. But we’ve pub­lished over 5,000 news ar­ti­cles and near­ly 700 dai­ly re­ports now in the End­points style, and with that ex­pe­ri­ence we’ve iden­ti­fied a num­ber of ar­eas we can im­prove on. Some of it will be in­cre­men­tal like bet­ter search and im­prov­ing the archives. Oth­ers will be more vis­i­ble and feel like brand new fea­tures.

Ad­ver­tis­ing

Sub­scrip­tions are the lifeblood of this com­pa­ny. But in or­der to de­vel­op a sus­tained im­pact be­fit­ting a ma­jor news or­ga­ni­za­tion, ar­ti­cles must be able to trav­el far and wide, eas­i­ly dis­cov­er­able by new au­di­ences. Oth­er­wise, we run the risk of be­com­ing an in­sid­ers-on­ly re­port.

That is where ad­ver­tis­ing comes in. But noth­ing we do there is tra­di­tion­al.

I don’t be­lieve in squeez­ing web pages hard for lit­tle juice. That’s es­sen­tial­ly what many news pub­lish­ers do when you see pro­mot­ed links and ads that are at best ir­rel­e­vant and at worst have fol­lowed you around the In­ter­net to sell you some­thing you searched on ear­li­er. That kind of ap­proach cheap­ens the qual­i­ty of the con­tent sur­round­ing it, in my view. It has no place on a busi­ness news web­site.

Every ad unit you see on End­points is pur­chased in-house. These are high qual­i­ty im­pres­sions that are rel­e­vant to bio­phar­ma, brought to you by ad­ver­tis­ers that have been vet­ted. Our busi­ness team is led by Mike Peck, who comes to End­points af­ter serv­ing as a VP at Forbes and the New York Times. Mar­ket­ing pros can reach him at mike@end­pointsnews.com.

Busi­ness Mod­el

Sub­scrip­tions, events, ad­ver­tis­ing — in or­der of im­por­tance, that is the End­points busi­ness mod­el. Our mis­sion is to pro­duce the best dai­ly news re­port in bio­phar­ma, writ­ten for our core read­ers, but to make it as wide­ly avail­able as pos­si­ble so it has an im­pact and is dis­cov­er­able by new read­ers.

If you need End­points, we def­i­nite­ly need you. Again the best way to sup­port us is hav­ing your com­pa­ny sub­scribe to our $1,000/year flat-rate En­ter­prise plan (signup link). In­di­vid­u­als can signup for In­sid­er here.

To all of you who’ve joined — thank you. We’re build­ing some­thing to­geth­er.

Ven­ture Cap­i­tal as a Strate­gic Part­ner: Fu­el­ing In­no­va­tion be­yond Fi­nance

The average level of investment required for a biotech start-up to succeed is increasing every year, elevating the pressure even further on venture capital to make smart financial investments. Financial investment alone, however, does not always guarantee that exciting innovations can be transformed into real businesses that make a meaningful difference to patients.

Beyond just capital

At Astellas Venture Management (AVM) – a wholly-owned venture capital organization within Astellas, headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area – capital is just one of the ingredients we offer to add value to our biotechnology investments and partnerships. We generally take a strategic investor approach for companies in our invested portfolio, providing access to expertise, technology and/or resources in addition to the injection of finance. An equity investment from AVM can include access to Astellas’ research and development (R&D) capabilities and expertise, and a global network of partner academic institutions and biotechnology companies, to help advance and accelerate the start-up’s innovation.

UP­DAT­ED: Ver­tex joins Mer­ck, Pfiz­er — re­vamp­ing multi­bil­lion-dol­lar tri­al strat­e­gy as biotech R&D crum­bles

You can add Pfizer, Merck and — as we found out Friday morning — Vertex to the growing list of pharma giants hitting the pause button on a range of clinical trials. But not everyone in R&D is getting a red light.

Vertex says that it’s doing its best to keep working its pipeline strategy, coming up with a plan “to enable virtual clinic visits and home delivery of study drug to ensure study continuity and medical monitoring, and to facilitate study procedures.”

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Covid-19 roundup: In­ter­cept, blue­bird and a grow­ing list of biotechs feel the pain as pan­dem­ic man­gles FDA, R&D sched­ules

Around 100 staffers at Boston area hospitals have now tested positive for Covid-19, spotlighting the growing risk that the pandemic will sideline many of the most essential workers in healthcare as caseloads peak in the US and around the globe. With more than 3,400 deaths, Spain has become the latest country to surpass the official death count attributed to the new coronavirus in China, where the outbreak originated. As of Thursday morning, confirmed global cases had crossed 470,000 and the death count eclipsed 21,000.

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Af­ter crit­ics lam­bast­ed Gilead for grab­bing the FDA's spe­cial rare drug sta­tus on remde­sivir, they're giv­ing it back

Two days after Gilead won orphan drug status for remdesivir as a potential treatment for Covid-19, they’re handing it back.

The company was slammed from several sides after Gilead reported that the FDA had come through with the special status, which comes with 7 years of market exclusivity, the waiver of FDA fees and some tax credits as well. Typically, everyone who can get orphan status lands it without much of a fuss, but Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Public Citizen and other consumer groups were outraged.

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Mod­er­na CEO Stéphane Ban­cel out­lines a short path for emer­gency use of a coro­n­avirus vac­cine

NIAID director Anthony Fauci has left no doubts that it takes 12 to 18 months to get a new vaccine tested and in commercial use, in the best of circumstances. But in times of a global emergency — like these — maybe there’s another, faster route to follow.

In an SEC filing on Tuesday, Moderna $MRNA staked out a record-setting pathway to getting their mRNA vaccine into the frontline of the healthcare response as early as this fall. The SEC filing notes that CEO Stéphane Bancel told Goldman Sachs that an emergency use approval could allow the vaccine to go to healthcare workers and certain individuals in a matter of months — presumably provided the NIH sees the safety and efficacy data they would need from the Phase I.

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Caught in a Covid-19 mael­strom, Eli Lil­ly locks down clin­i­cal tri­als as multi­bil­lion-dol­lar R&D ops de­rail

The Covid-19 pandemic has derailed Eli Lilly’s $6 billion R&D operations.

The pharma giant reported Monday morning that it has decided to hit the brakes on most new study starts and pause enrollment for most ongoing studies. Lilly adds that it is continuing dosing for ongoing studies, “but with study-by-study consideration.”

The pandemic has severely disrupted healthcare systems around the globe, says Lilly, making it difficult or impossible to conduct studies at many research sites. And there’s no timeline for when it expects to get back on track.

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As share buy­backs come un­der scruti­ny, what's in store for the bio­phar­ma in­dus­try?

Stock buybacks are not to be permitted for companies that will be bailed out in the coronavirus stimulus package, Congressional leaders have signaled. To what degree the biopharma industry has relied on buybacks for earnings growth in recent years, and if the trend continues, are the big questions as scrutiny into the practice heightens and balance sheets weaken with the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on global economies.

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A Sin­ga­pore VC rais­es $200M for a new round, but will Covid-19 pre­vent it from rais­ing the rest?

A top Singaporean biotech venture fund is nearly halfway toward its largest ever fund, but in a sign of what could be in store for VCs amid a global economic freeze, said they could face headwinds raising the other half.

Vickers Venture Partners has secured $200 million out of a targeted $500 million for its 6th fund, first announced in early 2018. They’ve given themselves 13 months to complete the financing, Vickers founder Finian Tan told Deal Street Asia, but the financial frost settling amid the Covid-19 pandemic could slow efforts.

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Strug­gling Unum ex­ecs are ready to con­sid­er a sale, merg­er or any deal that comes its way

Unum $UMRX is working its way through a survival plan of sorts.

After getting hit with a trio of FDA holds in its brief public history and triggering its second pivot to a new lead drug program while laying off 60% of the staff, the troubled penny stock biotech Unum Therapeutics has hatched new plans to secure financial backing while lining up a go-forward strategy for the company.

First, Lincoln Park Capital Fund has agreed to buy up to $25 million of the long-suffering stock, as Unum directs. And the executive team — led by CEO Chuck Wilson — has put everything on the table for consideration: a sale, acquisition, merger, licensing deal, you name it. The ACTR707 program, meanwhile, is being formally wrapped up — their second failed lead program.