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.

Inside FDA HQ (File photo)

The FDA just ap­proved the third Duchenne MD drug. And reg­u­la­tors still don’t know if any of them work

Last year Sarepta hit center stage with the FDA’s controversial reversal of its CRL for the company’s second Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug — after the biotech was ambushed by agency insiders ready to reject a second pitch based on the same disease biomarker used for the first approval for eteplirsen, without actual data on the efficacy of the drug.

On Wednesday the FDA approved the third Duchenne MD drug, based on the same biomarker. And regulators were ready to act yet again despite the lack of efficacy data.

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Franz-Werner Haas, CureVac CEO

UP­DAT­ED: On the heels of a snap $1B raise, Cure­Vac out­lines plans to seek emer­gency OK for their Covid-19 vac­cine in a mat­ter of months

CureVac is going from being one of the quietest players in the race to develop a new vaccine to fight the worst public health crisis in a century to a challenger for the multibillion-dollar market that awaits the first vaccines to make it over the finish line. Typically low-key at a time of brash comments and incredibly ambitious development timelines from the leaders, CureVac now is jumping straight into the spotlight.

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Cell and Gene Con­tract Man­u­fac­tur­ers Must Em­brace Dig­i­ti­za­tion

The Cell and Gene Industry is growing at a staggering 30% CAGR and is estimated to reach $14B by 20251. A number of cell, gene and stem cell therapy sponsors currently have novel drug substances and products and many rely on Contract Development Manufacturing Organizations (CDMO) to produce them with adherence to stringent regulatory cGMP conditions. Cell and gene manufacturing for both autologous (one to one) and allogenic (one to many) treatments face difficult issues such as: a complex supply chain, variability on patient and cellular level, cell expansion count and a tight scheduling of lot disposition process. This complexity affects quality, compliance and accountability in the entire vein-to-vein process for critically ill patients.

US gov­ern­ment re­port­ed­ly be­gins prepar­ing for Covid-19 chal­lenge tri­als. Are they eth­i­cal?

Controversial human challenge trials for potential Covid-19 vaccines reportedly have a new booster — the US government.

Scientists working for the government have begun manufacturing a strain of the novel coronavirus that could be used in such studies, Reuters reported Friday morning. The trials would enroll healthy volunteers to be vaccinated and then intentionally infected with a weakened coronavirus.

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Trevor Martin (Mammoth)

Eye­ing in-vi­vo edit­ing, Mam­moth li­cens­es Jen­nifer Doud­na’s new CRISPR en­zyme

Last month, Jennifer Doudna revealed in Science a new, “hyper-compact” CRISPR enzyme that was half the size of traditional CRISPR enzymes and could, she suspected, offer a new, more versatile tool for gene editing.

Now, the University of California-Berkeley has licensed that enzyme, known as Casφ, exclusively to a biotech startup she and two former students set up three years ago: Mammoth Biosciences. It’s the second new CRISPR protein Mammoth has licensed from Doudna’s lab, after they licensed Cas14 in 2019.

Clockwise from left: Canaccord Genuity principal Michelle Gilson, Canaccord Genuity CSO Brian Mueller and BioMarin CSO Hank Fuchs (Canaccord Genuity webcast)

Bio­Marin CSO diss­es ri­vals for the he­mo­phil­ia A gene ther­a­py crown: Way be­hind, fac­ing big re­cruit­ment chal­lenges and at best a .6 on the gen-one scale

The leader in the race to a hemophilia A gene therapy does not like to be compared unfavorably to the competition. And when their top execs do the comparing, don’t look for any modesty — BioMarin, they say, owns the lead.

As Factor VIII expression wanes over time, quite a few analysts have raised questions about the kind of future BioMarin’s gene therapy — a supposed once-and-done treatment — faces if it stops working. But just 7 days away from their PDUFA date, with high odds of success, the top execs clearly feel that they are way out front, while promising their rivals will discover there’s a tough slog ahead trying to pursue trials where large numbers of patients are ineligible for new therapies.

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Sanofi vet Kather­ine Bowdish named CEO of PIC Ther­a­peu­tics; As the world Terns: Liv­er dis­ease biotech makes ex­ec­u­tive changes

PIC Therapeutics hasn’t raised much money, yet. But the fledgling biotech has attracted a high-profile player to the helm.

The Boston-based biotech has handed the reins to Katherine Bowdish as its president and CEO. Bowdish will also join the board of directors of PIC. Bowdish joins from Sanofi where she served as VP and head of R&D strategy, as well as helping launch and lead Sanofi Sunrise, a venture investment and partnering vehicle at Sanofi. Before that, Bowdish held several exec roles at Permeon Biologics, Anaphore, Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Prolifaron (acquired by Alexion).

Stéphane Bancel speaks to President Donald Trump at the White House meeting on March 2 (AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Mod­er­na of­fers steep dis­count in US sup­ply deal — but still takes the crown with close to $2.5B in vac­cine con­tracts

The US pre-order for Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine is in.

Operation Warp Speed is reserving $1.525 billion for 100 million doses of Moderna’s Phase III mRNA candidate, rounding out to about $15 per dose — including $300 million in incentive payments for timely delivery. Given that Moderna has a two-dose regimen, it’s good for vaccinating 50 million people. The US government also has the option to purchase another 400 million doses for a total of $6.6 billion, or $16.5 per dose.

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Martin Shkreli (Shutterstock)

Mar­tin Shkre­li con­tin­ued to or­ches­trate an­ti-com­pet­i­tive schemes for Dara­prim be­hind bars — FTC

Martin Shkreli didn’t just blog, read up on drug development news and run his biotech business with a contraband cell phone in prison. According to the FTC, he was also coordinating the anticompetitive scheme to shield Daraprim — the drug at the center of a price-gouging controversy that earned him the “Pharma Bro” nickname — from generic rivals.

Back in January the FTC, together with New York’s attorney general, launched a federal lawsuit against Shkreli, who’s now serving a 7-year sentence for defrauding investors in his hedge fund, alleging that he effectively created a drug monopoly. While Shkreli’s notorious move to raise the per tablet price of Daraprim from $17.50 to $750 was perfectly legal, the tactics he allegedly deployed to box out competitors weren’t.