Atara enlists Juno co-founder Michel Sadelain in CAR-T effort; Valeant no more, Bausch is the new marquee name
→ The day after Atara announced that it is bringing Genentech vet Dietmar Berger on board as R&D chief, the biotech is back with a signed deal aimed at expanding its work with Memorial Sloan Kettering on off-the-shelf CAR-Ts. As part of that arrangement, Atara is getting an exclusive relationship with Michel Sadelain, the top CAR-T investigator who helped create the scientific foundation for Juno. Said Sadelain: “We are eager to work with Atara to continue advancing promising allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy technologies that originated at MSK. The new CAR T technologies seek to overcome persistent therapeutic challenges, such as safety and tolerability, durability of treatment response, and activity in areas of significant unmet medical need that are underserved by the current generation of CAR T immunotherapies.”
→ After being pummeled with bad publicity for its disastrous corporate strategies, Valeant is throwing out its old name in favor of something with considerably less baggage. You can now call the company Bausch Health Companies, says CEO Joe Papa. Adds Papa: “We believe Bausch Health Companies more accurately represents the full scope of the Company today – a leader in the development and manufacture of a wide range of pharmaceutical, medical device and over-the-counter products, primarily in the therapeutic areas of eye health, gastroenterology and dermatology.” The rebranded company will trade under the stock ticker $BHC instead of $VRX.
→ AstraZeneca is selling off more drug rights for some quick cash. In this instance, the pharma giant is selling rights to Seroquel in a number of market, including the UK and China. And it’s getting $260 million now from Luye Pharma as part of a $538 million deal.
→ Spark Therapeutics’ Q1 report included news that its pioneering gene therapy Luxturna has been used on three patients in the rollout. CEO Jeffrey Marrazzo $ONCE says he is encouraged by the initial demand.
→ The mRNA biotech CureVac is seeing a changeup at the top. CEO Ingmar Hoerr plans to transition up to the chairman’s job while Daniel Menichella moves into the CEO suite.