Viswa Colluru, Enveda Biosciences CEO

'As the mar­ket has turned': Enve­da se­cures $68M to move re­vised pipeline in­to the clin­ic in 2023

Enve­da Bio­sciences will en­ter the clin­ic next year with at least one of its three main pro­grams thanks to a $68 mil­lion boost in fi­nanc­ing — about $55 mil­lion via eq­ui­ty and the re­main­der debt.

Found­ed by an ear­ly em­ploy­ee at AI start­up Re­cur­sion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Enve­da has ad­just­ed its pri­or­i­ties since dis­clos­ing a $51 mil­lion Se­ries A in June 2021. At the time, CEO Viswa Col­lu­ru told End­points News the three core ar­eas were Wil­son dis­ease, NASH and Parkin­son’s.

Now, three rel­a­tive­ly new pro­grams are pro­gress­ing in tan­dem, Col­lu­ru told End­points in a pre­view of the Se­ries B, which was an­nounced Wednes­day but closed a few months ago. On deck are mol­e­cules that mod­u­late the in­flam­ma­some path­way; non-opi­oid oral and top­i­cal anal­gesics for pain and itch; and a pro­gram go­ing af­ter neu­trophil and im­mune cell bi­ol­o­gy to po­ten­tial­ly treat fi­brot­ic in­di­ca­tions, the CEO said.

“The as­sets that we had ear­ly on were large­ly in an en­vi­ron­ment where we were will­ing to take on mul­ti­ple dif­fer­ent kinds of risks — so bi­o­log­i­cal risk, fea­si­bil­i­ty risk with large and com­plex dis­eases, as well as ul­ti­mate­ly com­mer­cial risk,” Col­lu­ru ex­plained. “I think as the mar­ket has turned, what we’ve done at Enve­da is to ask, ‘OK, can we use our dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed chem­istry and the broad­ly ap­plic­a­ble bi­o­log­i­cal path­ways that they ac­tu­al­ly help us hit to move to­ward in­di­ca­tions that have greater op­tion­al­i­ty?'”

Ex­pect the first in-hu­man study late next year or ear­ly 2024, he said: “We’re go­ing to push all of our pro­grams in par­al­lel.”

“The in­dus­try is typ­i­cal­ly start­ing with ge­nom­i­cal­ly-dis­cov­ered tar­gets and then em­ploy­ing an ar­se­nal of pu­ri­fied syn­thet­ic com­pounds,” Col­lu­ru said. “On the oth­er hand, we get to play in com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent chem­i­cal spaces. We start with pools of di­verse nat­ur­al com­pounds from, you know, hun­dreds of med­i­c­i­nal plants that have a deep his­to­ry of hu­man use.”

Those chemistries are “not in any­one else’s li­braries,” he con­tin­ued. The pop­u­lar area of pro­tein degra­da­tion is on the biotech’s radar, as is the rel­a­tive­ly new­er off­shoot of pro­tein sta­bi­liza­tion.

Enve­da is far from the on­ly start­up tout­ing the use of ma­chine learn­ing in dis­cov­er­ing new drugs. Schrödinger is en­ter­ing the clin­ic with its first in-house as­set; Benev­o­len­tAI is help­ing As­traZeneca find fi­brot­ic and kid­ney dis­ease tar­gets; Sanofi is in the are­na with Ex­sci­en­tia and Atom­wise; and the list goes on, in­clud­ing Col­lu­ru’s for­mer em­ploy­er.

In re­cent months, Col­lu­ru’s 170-em­ploy­ee start­up ex­pand­ed its ex­ec­u­tive team. For­mer Pear Ther­a­peu­tics and Cull­gen EVP Mark Deeg joined as chief med­ical of­fi­cer in Oc­to­ber, and Vanitha Sekar jumped from Gilead to be­come chief busi­ness of­fi­cer.

Raymond Stevens, Structure Therapeutics CEO

Be­hind Fri­day's $161M IPO: A star sci­en­tist, GPCR drug dis­cov­ery and a plan to chal­lenge phar­ma in di­a­betes

What does it take to pull off a $161 million biotech IPO these days?

In Structure Therapeutics’ case, it means having a star scientist co-founder paired with the computational drug discovery company Schrödinger, $198 million in private funding from blue-chip investors, almost six years of research work on G protein-coupled receptors and a slate of oral, small-molecule drugs, with an eye on the huge and growing diabetes and weight-loss market.

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Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/Politico via AP Images)

In­fla­tion re­bates in­com­ing: Wyden calls on CMS to move quick­ly as No­var­tis CEO pledges re­ver­sal

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) this week sent a letter to the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeking an update on how and when new inflation-linked rebates will take effect for drugs that see major price spikes.

The newly signed Inflation Reduction Act requires manufacturers to pay a rebate to Medicare when they increase drug prices faster than the rate of inflation.

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Teresa Graham, incoming Roche Pharmaceuticals CEO

In­com­ing Roche CEO builds out his top team, tap­ping Genen­tech vet to lead phar­ma di­vi­sion

Roche announced another leadership shuffle Thursday morning – the head of global product strategy, Teresa Graham, will take over as CEO of Roche Pharmaceuticals in March while the company’s corporate executive committee will make a spot for Levi Garraway, CMO and executive VP of global product development.

Thomas Schinecker will take over the top spot as Roche group CEO in March, leaving his spot as head of diagnostics.

Trodelvy notch­es a win in most com­mon form of breast can­cer

Following a promise last year to go “big and fast in breast cancer,” Gilead has secured a win for Trodelvy in the most common form.

The drug was approved to treat HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer patients who’ve already received endocrine-based therapy and at least two other systemic therapies for metastatic cancer, Gilead announced on Friday.

Trodelvy won its first indication in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer back in 2020, and has since added urothelial cancer to the list. HR-positive HER2-negative breast cancer accounts for roughly 70% of new breast cancer cases worldwide per year, according to senior VP of oncology clinical development Bill Grossman, and many patients develop resistance to endocrine-based therapies or worsen on chemotherapy.

Af­ter 13 years, Ramy Mah­moud steps in­to CEO seat at Opti­nose; Ru­pert Vessey set to ex­it Bris­tol My­ers in Ju­ly

After 13 years as president and COO at Optinose, Ramy Mahmoud has stepped into a new role as its CEO. He is taking the place of Peter Miller, who stepped down earlier this week, though Miller is still staying with the company as a consultant.

In 2010, the two business partners joined Optinose to take it in a new direction, transforming it from a delivery platform to product company. They previously worked together at Johnson & Johnson, when Miller was president at Janssen and Mahmoud headed medical affairs. Miller said after he learned about Optinose, “I did what I always do, which is find people smarter than me to talk with about the idea. And the first person I called was Ramy … and I said, ‘Hey, Ramy, what do you think of this technology?’”

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Te­va drops out of in­dus­try trade group PhRMA

Following in AbbVie’s footsteps, Teva confirmed on Friday that it’s dropping out of the industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Teva didn’t give a reason for its decision to leave, saying only in a statement to Endpoints News that it annually reviews “effectiveness and value of engagements, consultants and memberships to ensure our investments are properly seated.”

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Sanofi CFO Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon (L) and CEO Paul Hudson (Romuald Meigneux/Sipa via AP Images)

Sanofi sees downtick in flu sales as it preps for launch of RSV an­ti­body

Sanofi expects its RSV antibody jointly developed with AstraZeneca will be available next season, executive VP of vaccines Thomas Triomphe announced on the company’s quarterly call.

Beyfortus, also known as nirsevimab, was approved in the EU back in November and is currently under FDA review with an expected decision coming in the third quarter of this year. The news comes as the FDA plans to hold advisory committee meetings over the next couple months to review RSV vaccines from Pfizer and GSK.

Christophe Weber, Takeda CEO (Photographer: Shoko Takayasu/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Take­da fo­cus­es on ‘di­verse’ pipeline prospects on heels of two ac­qui­si­tions

After a whopping $4 billion asset buy from Nimbus Therapeutics, along with a $400 million deal with Hutchmed for a colorectal cancer drug, Takeda executives touted pipeline optimism on its latest earnings call this week.

That’s because the TYK2 inhibitor for psoriasis Takeda is getting from Nimbus, along with the Hutchmed fruquintinib commercialization outside of China, are just two of what it reports are 10 late-stage development programs of promising candidates.

Regeneron CSO George Yancopoulos (L) and CEO Len Schleifer at a groundbreaking for its new Tarrytown, NY facility, June 2022 (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In show­down with Roche, Re­gen­eron gears up for po­ten­tial Eylea ex­pan­sion amid Covid de­cline

Regeneron faced a substantial slump in overall revenue last year, but the focus still remains on some of its biggest blockbusters.

The pharma with several high-profile partnerships — Sanofi and Bayer among them — said Friday that Q4 revenue was down 31% for the quarter, and down 24% for the entire year. However, that won’t stop blockbuster expansion plans.

One of those is Eylea, the Bayer-partnered eye disease drug that has been in major competition with Roche’s Vabysmo. While Eylea is currently only approved in a 2 mg dose, the company recently filed for approval to give a 8 mg dose, in hopes of making a longer-lasting treatment.