Protocols

#MeToo: ex-Sanofi employee gets unfair dismissal lawsuit tossed, Aptose inks $125M BET inhibitor deal

Sanofi has found itself in the middle of France’s #MeToo moment after a former exec demanded (and appealed when his case was thrown out) a $1.5 million compensation alleging an unfair dismissal. Jean-Marc Podvin was the French drugmaker’s director of press relations when he was caught sexting his assistant back in 2013. The assistant — who was on a temporary contract — said she was uncomfortable but felt obliged to respond kindly given Podvin’s promise to get her a full-time position, according to the judges in his employment case. Another colleague reported that Povdin exposed himself to her in a car. Declining to comment directly on the court decisions, Sanofi told Bloomberg that it “has always taken all the necessary measures to prevent sexual harassment, to put an end to it and sanction it.”

John Alam

Aptose Biosciences is outlicensing APL-581 as well as related molecules from its dual bromodomain and extra-terminal domain motif (BET) protein and kinase inhibitor program to OHM Oncology. The deal comes with a “nominal” upfront and up to $125 million in milestones.

→ Cambridge startup EIP Pharma has published Phase IIa Alzheimer’s results in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology journal. The company is developing a drug called neflamapimod, a brain penetrant oral small molecule (and old anti-inflammatory drug once at Vertex). The drug improved cognition and memory in a small set of patients with mild Alzheimer’s. Based on the findings from the trial, the company is launching a 6-month Phase IIb study designed to evaluate neflamapimod’s activity in reversing synaptic dysfunction. “Significant unmet need exists for improved Alzheimer’s treatments which is why we are so encouraged by these data demonstrating neflamapimod’s potential to improve memory function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease,” said John Alam, CEO of EIP Pharma, in a statement. “We look forward to reporting top-line results of the recently initiated REVERSE-SD Phase IIb clinical study in the second half of 2019.”


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