As­traZeneca throws a mon­key wrench in new GSK CEO’s first hir­ing de­ci­sion, su­ing Luke Miels

Luke Miels

Back at the be­gin­ning of this year, one of Em­ma Walm­s­ley’s first moves as in­com­ing CEO of Glax­o­SmithK­line was to poach Luke Miels from As­traZeneca to head up the glob­al phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals busi­ness. Miels’ ex­pe­ri­ence in phar­ma and his ear­li­er role man­ag­ing the port­fo­lio and strat­e­gy at As­traZeneca, she said, gave him in­sights on R&D and the in­dus­try that would make him unique­ly suit­ed to the job.

Ev­i­dent­ly, As­traZeneca be­lieves he may be too suit­ed to the job.

The phar­ma gi­ant has now sued Miels in a UK Court, ac­cord­ing to a re­port in Bloomberg. As­traZeneca al­leges that Miels is in vi­o­la­tion of his con­tract, but ev­i­dent­ly didn’t spec­i­fy which sec­tions of the con­tract had been vi­o­lat­ed.

Em­ma Walm­s­ley

In the mean­time, Miels — four months af­ter he ac­cept­ed the new job — is now on “gar­den­ing leave.”

As­traZeneca CEO Pas­cal So­ri­ot, who was him­self poached from Roche for the top job, has watched a num­ber of R&D ex­ecs leave the com­pa­ny over the past year with­out trig­ger­ing a law­suit.

A spokesper­son for the com­pa­ny tells me via email:

Luke gave no­tice to ter­mi­nate his em­ploy­ment with As­traZeneca in Jan­u­ary 2017. In line with his con­tract and in view of the com­mer­cial­ly com­pet­i­tive na­ture, Luke left his po­si­tion with im­me­di­ate ef­fect and was placed on gar­den leave for the du­ra­tion of his no­tice pe­ri­od. The suit seeks to con­firm Luke is re­quired to abide by the terms of his con­tract of em­ploy­ment.

Be­cause this is an on­go­ing mat­ter I can’t com­ment fur­ther.

GSK says it will be wait­ing for Miels with open arms, when the time ar­rives. Said a spokesper­son:

“Luke is a very tal­ent­ed in­di­vid­ual that we’ve ap­point­ed to lead our phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals busi­ness. We look for­ward to wel­com­ing him to GSK in due course.”

Walm­s­ley, in the mean­time, has had to deal with rebel in­vestors and some great ex­pec­ta­tions about how she plans to make her stint at the top of the phar­ma gi­ant a suc­cess. Neil Wood­ford, a long­time crit­ic of the com­pa­ny’s un­ex­cit­ing pipeline, bolt­ed days ago, say­ing he ex­pect­ed that GSK’s one vi­brant arm, Vi­iV, was about to get ham­mered by a ri­val HIV drug from Gilead. The CEO in turn is re­port­ed­ly prep­ping a buy­out of No­var­tis’ por­tion of their JV on con­sumer health, a $10.3 bil­lion wa­ger.

Here’s what she had to say about Miels’ par­tic­i­pa­tion last Jan­u­ary:

We are now en­ter­ing a crit­i­cal pe­ri­od of com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion for our new phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts and, over the next two to three years, we have im­por­tant da­ta to come on our ear­ly-stage pipeline. Luke will bring a strong new voice to the de­ci­sions and choic­es we will have to make for our Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals busi­ness. I am de­light­ed he has agreed to join GSK and look for­ward to wel­com­ing him to the ex­ec­u­tive team.

That wel­com­ing par­ty will have to wait for now.

MedTech clinical trials require a unique regulatory and study design approach and so engaging a highly experienced CRO to ensure compliance and accurate data across all stages is critical to development milestones.

In­no­v­a­tive MedTech De­mands Spe­cial­ist Clin­i­cal Tri­al Reg­u­la­to­ry Af­fairs and De­sign

Avance Clinical is the Australian CRO for international biotechs providing world-class clinical research services with FDA-accepted data across all phases. With Avance Clinical, biotech companies can leverage Australia’s supportive clinical trials environment which includes no IND requirement plus a 43.5% Government incentive rebate on clinical spend. The CRO has been delivering clinical drug development services for international biotechs for FDA and EMA regulatory approval for the past 24 years. The company has been recognized for the past two consecutive years with the prestigious Frost & Sullivan CRO Best Practices Award and a finalist in Informa Pharma’s Best CRO award for 2022.

Gold for adults, sil­ver for in­fants: Pfiz­er's Pre­vnar 2.0 head­ed to FDA months af­ter Mer­ck­'s green light

Pfizer was first to the finish line for the next-gen pneumococcal vaccine in adults, but Merck beat its rival with a jab for children in June.

Now, two months after Merck’s 15-valent Vaxneuvance won the FDA stamp of approval for kids, Pfizer is out with some late-stage data on its 20-valent shot for infants.

Known as Prevnar 20 for adults, Pfizer’s 20vPnC will head to the FDA by the end of this year for an approval request in infants, the Big Pharma said Friday morning. Discussions with the FDA will occur first and more late-stage pediatric trials are expected to read out soon, informing the regulatory pathway in other countries and regions.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 147,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/POLITICO via AP Images)

Sen­ate Fi­nance Chair con­tin­ues his in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to phar­ma tax­es with re­quests for Am­gen

Amgen is the latest pharma company to appear on the radar of Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR), who is investigating the way pharma companies are using subsidiaries in low- or zero-tax countries to lower their tax bills.

Like its peers Merck, AbbVie and Bristol Myers Squibb, Wyden notes how Amgen uses its Puerto Rico operations to consistently pay tax rates that are substantially lower than the U.S. corporate tax rate of 21%, with an effective tax rate of 10.7% in 2020 and 12.1% in 2021.

FDA ap­proves sec­ond in­di­ca­tion for As­traZeneca and Dai­ichi's En­her­tu in less than a week

AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo’s antibody-drug conjugate Enhertu scored its second approval in less than a week, this time for a subset of lung cancer patients.

Enhertu received accelerated approval on Thursday to treat adults with unresectable or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have activating HER2 (ERBB2) mutations, and who have already received a prior systemic therapy.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 147,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Pharma brands are trying to figure out new ways to better reach patients and doctors, but also measure results. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Do phar­ma TV and so­cial ads work? Phar­ma mar­ket­ing agen­cies adopt­ing new tech so­lu­tions to find out

It’s a timeworn advertising question — is my ad campaign working? In pharma, that can be an especially difficult question to answer in part because of privacy regulations, but also because the brands spend a lot of money on TV commercials where viewers can’t directly click on an ad.

Healthcare marketing services companies like Lasso and CMI Media Group are trying to change that with new measurement methods and partnerships that aim to get closer to patients’ and physicians’ actions.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 147,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Corey McCann, Pear Therapeutics CEO

Pear Ther­a­peu­tics touts Q2 growth while scal­ing back full-year goals and chop­ping 9% of staff

Pear Therapeutics set some ambitious goals back in March, predicting a five-fold boost in revenue and a surge in new prescriptions for its digital therapeutics. Now the company is scaling back those estimates and chopping 9% of its workforce — an all-too-common occurrence in biotech lately.

CEO Corey McCann unveiled Pear’s Q2 numbers on Thursday, touting a 20% quarter-over-quarter revenue growth totaling $3.3 million. That’s more than double what the company made in Q2 2021, and McCann thinks the team could see a nearly four-fold jump in revenue this year, falling in the range of $14 million to $16 million.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 147,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Seagen interim CEO Roger Dansey and Daiichi Sankyo CEO Sunao Manabe

Paving the way for Mer­ck­'s buy­out, Seagen los­es ar­bi­tra­tion dis­pute with Dai­ichi over ADC tech

As Seagen awaits a final buyout offer from Merck that could be in the territory of $40 billion, Seagen revealed Friday afternoon that it lost an arbitration dispute with Daiichi Sankyo relating to the companies’ 2008 collaboration around the use of antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology.

But that loss likely won’t matter much when it comes to Merck’s deal.

After breaking off its pact with Daiichi in mid-2015, the two companies battled over “linker” tech — a chemical bridge between an ADC’s antibody component and the cytotoxic payload — that Seagen claims Daiichi would improve upon and implement in its current generation of ADCs.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 147,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

J&J to re­move talc prod­ucts from shelves world­wide, re­plac­ing with corn­starch-based port­fo­lio

After controversially spinning out its talc liabilities and filing for bankruptcy in an attempt to settle 38,000 lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson is now changing up the formula for its baby powder products.

J&J is beginning the transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio, the pharma giant announced on Thursday — just months after a federal judge ruled in favor of its “Texas two-step” bankruptcy to settle allegations that its talc products contained asbestos and caused cancer. An appeals court has since agreed to revisit that case.

CSL is gathering its four business units under a unified brand identity strategy (Credit: CSL company site)

CSL brings Se­qirus, Vi­for un­der par­ent um­brel­la brand in iden­ti­ty re­vamp

CSL is gathering its brands under the family name umbrella, renaming its vaccine and newly acquired nephrology specialty businesses with the parent initials.

CSL Seqirus and CSL Vifor join CSL Plasma and CSL Behring as the four now uniformly branded business units of the global biopharma. The Seqirus vaccine division was formed in 2015 with the combination of bioCSL and its purchase of Novartis’ flu vaccine business. CSL picked up Vifor Pharma late last year in an $11.7 billion deal for the nephrology, iron deficiency and cardio-renal drug developer.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 147,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.