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.

Eli Casdin, Casdin Capital

Eli Cas­din backs Codex­is' plat­form tech with $50M eq­ui­ty buy

About a month af­ter Codex­is notched a deal with No­var­tis $NVS, the Cal­i­for­nia com­pa­ny $CDXS on Thurs­day said long-time in­vestor Cas­din Cap­i­tal is putting up $50 mil­lion in a pri­vate place­ment, which puts the New York-based in­vest­ment firm in con­trol of more than 5% of the pro­tein en­gi­neer­ing firm’s stock.

Eli Cas­din start­ed his epony­mous in­vest­ment firm in 2012 and dates his re­la­tion­ship with Codex­is back to at least a decade. About three years ago, Cas­din Cap­i­tal be­gan in­vest­ing in the in­dus­tri­al biotech com­pa­ny, af­ter it piv­ot­ed its fo­cus to the life sci­ences un­der the aus­pices of new chief John Nicols, away from the en­er­gy in­dus­try.

In­vestors pony up $476M for the lat­est round of biotech IPOs to hit the Street

Three biotechs — and a genome se­quenc­ing play­er — have caught the lat­est tide to the Gold Coast of IPOs, round­ing out the first half of 2019 with 23 new drug de­vel­op­ers mak­ing it on Nas­daq.

Most of these com­pa­nies filed their IPOs al­most si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly, though we’re still wait­ing on word of fel­low class­mate Bridge­Bio’s pric­ing af­ter CEO Neil Ku­mar set the terms at $14 to $16 a share on Mon­day in search of a $240 mil­lion (or so) wind­fall. If he’s suc­cess­ful, that would take the one-week haul past the $700 mil­lion mark, a fresh sign that in­vestors’ en­thu­si­asm for new­ly coined pub­lic biotechs hasn’t cooled.

How small- to mid-sized biotechs can adopt pa­tient cen­tric­i­ty in their on­col­o­gy tri­als

By Lucy Clos­sick Thom­son, Se­nior Di­rec­tor of On­col­o­gy Pro­ject Man­age­ment, Icon

Clin­i­cal tri­als in on­col­o­gy can be cost­ly and chal­leng­ing to man­age. One fac­tor that could re­duce costs and re­duce bar­ri­ers is har­ness­ing the pa­tient voice in tri­al de­sign to help ac­cel­er­ate pa­tient en­roll­ment. Now is the time to adopt pa­tient-cen­tric strate­gies that not on­ly fo­cus on pa­tient needs, but al­so can main­tain cost ef­fi­cien­cy.

Robert Forrester, Verastem

Ve­rastem CEO For­rester steps to the ex­it as the board hunts com­mer­cial-savvy ex­ec for the be­lea­guered biotech

Robert For­rester is step­ping down as CEO of Ve­rastem On­col­o­gy $VSTM just 8 months af­ter the com­pa­ny nabbed an ap­proval for du­velis­ib, a PI3K drug with a sto­ried past — and what ap­pears as not much of a fu­ture.

The biotech put out word this morn­ing that For­rester will take an ad­vi­so­ry role with Ve­rastem while COO Dan Pa­ter­son steps up to take charge of the lead­er­ship team and the board looks around for a new CEO.

John Reed at JPM 2019. Jeff Rumans for Endpoints News

Sanofi's John Reed con­tin­ues to re­or­ga­nize R&D, cut­ting 466 jobs while boost­ing can­cer, gene ther­a­py re­search

The R&D reorganization inside Sanofi is continuing, more than a year after the pharma giant brought in John Reed to head the research arm of the Paris-based company.
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The top 10 block­buster drugs in the late-stage pipeline — Eval­u­ate adds 6 new ther­a­pies to heavy-hit­ter list

Vertex comes in for a substantial amount of criticism for its no-holds-barred tactical approach toward wresting the price it wants for its commercial drugs in Europe. But the flip side of that coin is a highly admired R&D and commercial operation that regularly wins kudos from analysts for their ability to engineer greater cash flow from the breakthrough drugs they create.

Both aspects needed for success in this business are on display in the program backing Vertex’s triple for cystic fibrosis. VX-659/VX-445 + Tezacaftor + Ivacaftor — it’s been whittled down to 445 now — was singled out by Evaluate Pharma as the late-stage therapy most likely to win the crown for drug sales in 5 years, with a projected peak revenue forecast of $4.3 billion.

The latest annual list, which you can see here in their latest world preview, includes a roster of some of the most closely watched development programs in biopharma. And Evaluate has added 6 must-watch experimental drugs to the top 10 as drugs fail or go on to a first approval. With apologies to the list maker, I revamped this to rank the top 10 by projected 2024 sales, instead of Evaluate's net present value rankings.

It's how we roll at Endpoints News.

Here is a quick summary of the rest of the top 10:

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Ken Frazier appears before the Senate Committee on Finance for a hearing on prescription drug pricing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 26, 2019. Chris Kleponis for CNP via AP Images

Who’s next in line to suc­ceed Ken Fra­zier as CEO of the Keytru­da-blessed Mer­ck?

When Merck waved off a looming forced retirement for Ken Frazier last September, the board cited flexibility in CEO transition as a key factor in the decision. Having Frazier — who’s also chairman of the company — around beyond his 65th birthday in 2019 would ensure they install the best person at the best time, they said.

The board has evidently begun that process with a clear preference for internal candidates, sources told Bloomberg. CFO Robert Davis, chief marketing officer Michael Nally, and chief commercial officer Frank Clyburn are all in the running, according to an insider.

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In starved an­tibi­ot­ic field, Melin­ta soars as FDA grants speedy drug re­view

Such is the state of af­fairs in an­tibi­ot­ic land that the FDA agree­ing to pri­or­i­ty re­view an ap­pli­ca­tion to ex­pand the use of an an­tibi­ot­ic can rock­et up a stock more than two-fold.

On Wednes­day, Melin­ta Ther­a­peu­tics said its ap­proved an­tibi­ot­ic Baxdela had been grant­ed pri­or­i­ty re­view for use in com­mu­ni­ty-ac­quired bac­te­r­i­al pneu­mo­nia (CAPB). The FDA is ex­pect­ed to make its de­ci­sion by Oc­to­ber 24. Shares of the Con­necti­cut drug­mak­er $ML­NT cat­a­pult­ed, clos­ing up near­ly 224% at $6.41.

Brent Saunders at an Endpoints News event in 2017 — File photo

An­a­lyst call with Al­ler­gan ex­ecs stokes an­tic­i­pa­tion of a plan to split the com­pa­ny in ‘a month or two’

So what’s up at Al­ler­gan?

Ear­li­er this week the ubiq­ui­tous Ever­core ISI an­a­lyst Umer Raf­fat was on the line with com­pa­ny ex­ec­u­tives to probe in­to the lat­est on the num­bers as well as CEO Brent Saun­ders’ re­cent de­c­la­ra­tion that he’d be do­ing some­thing de­fin­i­tive to help long-suf­fer­ing in­vestors who have watched their shares dwin­dle in val­ue.

He came away with the im­pres­sion that a sig­nif­i­cant com­pa­ny split is on the way. And not on some dis­tant time hori­zon.