AstraZeneca’s next big cancer drug linked to falsified preclinical data; Harmony raises $270M, nabs development rights to narcolepsy drug

Vasant Narasimhan, Novartis

Retraction Watch reports that one piece of the preclinical puzzle for the BTK drug acalabrutinib was fabricated by a researcher at Acerta. This case involved a mouse model of pancreatic cancer and an abstract that was produced in 2015. That was the same year that AstraZeneca bought a majority stake in the company for up to $7 billion. Just a few weeks ago this drug won breakthrough therapy status at the FDA along with an accelerated review plan for its first approval.

→ Paragon Biosciences subsidiary Harmony Biosciences has nabbed the development rights to a narcolepsy drug called pitolisant from French company Bioprojet SCR, raising $270 million in equity financing to pay its way. The drug is approved in Europe but not in the US. The cash for the Plymouth Meeting, PA-based biotech is coming from Valor Equity Partners, Fidelity Management & Research Company, HBM Healthcare Investments, Vivo Capital, venBio Partners, Novo Holdings and Nan Fung Life Sciences.

Novartis’ next CEO, Vas Narasimhan, is urging the Japanese to adopt value-based pricing centered on patient outcomes. Novartis is steering the world’s first CAR-T to global markets.

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Wren Therapeutics Boston, MA
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Northpond Ventures Washington, DC
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