Big Phar­ma CEOs get a face-to-face with Trump and a shot at a ne­go­ti­at­ed cease fire

Pres­i­dent Trump

On Mon­day, as CEOs in the biotech in­dus­try chimed in to crit­i­cize Don­ald Trump’s trav­el ban for 7 Mus­lim coun­tries, the top fig­ures from Big Phar­ma were no­tably silent. None of the CEOs of the top 10 com­pa­nies of­fered a word of protest, and the com­pa­nies that chose to say any­thing large­ly lim­it­ed them­selves to re­as­sur­ing wor­ried staffers of their sup­port. Brent Saun­ders at Al­ler­gan was the on­ly head of a ma­jor com­pa­ny to voice his dis­ap­proval.

One rea­son for their si­lence could be ex­plained by to­day’s White House sched­ule for Trump. Right af­ter the dai­ly brief­ing, he’s sched­uled to meet with PhRMA and some of its top board mem­bers. The list in­cludes No­var­tis CEO Joe Jimenez, Mer­ck’s Ken Fra­zier, Eli Lil­ly chief David Ricks, and prob­a­bly Joaquin Du­a­to, a top J&J ex­ec who’s the new chair­man at PhRMA, as well as PhRMA CEO Steve Ubl.

There’s a lot to talk about.

The drug in­dus­try has al­ready tak­en a thrash­ing at the hands of Trump, who’s ac­cused Big Phar­ma of “get­ting away with mur­der” on drug prices. In a fol­low-up, Trump has be­gun push­ing to al­low Medicare to be­gin ne­go­ti­at­ing drug prices, which could cre­ate a pub­licly avail­able base­line price that would set the bar on dis­counts.

Cur­rent­ly, Medicare does not di­rect­ly use its huge lever­age to ne­go­ti­ate drug prices, and the ma­jor mar­keters do not want that to change. You can al­so ex­pect that they’ll of­fer up a new com­mit­ment by a broad range of drug com­pa­nies to rein in prices with sin­gle-dig­it an­nu­al price in­creas­es, as well as an in­ter­est in mov­ing to­ward val­ue-based pric­ing, as an in­di­ca­tion of their will­ing­ness to help. And there is the prospect that Jimenez and oth­ers can talk about in­vest­ing more in lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Trump, though, has proven to be wild­ly un­pre­dictable when it comes to phar­ma. And he’s al­so proven ready to take a stand on a va­ri­ety of po­si­tions to push an “Amer­i­ca first” agen­da, no mat­ter how much con­tro­ver­sy is stirred in the process.

The big ques­tion is what Trump may Tweet at the in­dus­try af­ter the meet­ing. Clear­ly, none of these CEOs are will­ing to risk a di­rect broad­side aimed at their com­pa­ny. What they’re af­ter is a ne­go­ti­at­ed cease fire, or more hope­ful­ly peace. So don’t look for any de­fi­ance in this group. That’s not their style.

Ab­b­Vie wins an ap­proval in uter­ine fi­broid-as­so­ci­at­ed heavy bleed­ing. Are ri­vals My­ovant and Ob­sE­va far be­hind?

Women expel on average about 2 to 3 tablespoons of blood during their time of the month. But with uterine fibroids, heavy bleeding is typical — a third of a cup or more. Drugmakers have been working on oral therapies to try and stem the flow, and as expected, AbbVie and their partners at Neurocrine Biosciences are the first to make it across the finish line.

Known chemically as elagolix, the drug is already approved as a treatment for endometriosis under the brand name Orilissa. It targets the GnRH receptor to decrease the production of estrogen and progesterone.

As­traZeneca trum­pets the 'mo­men­tous' da­ta they found for Tagris­so in an ad­ju­vant set­ting for NSCLC — but many of the ex­perts aren’t cheer­ing along

AstraZeneca is rolling out the big guns this evening to provide a salute to their ADAURA data on Tagrisso at ASCO.

Cancer R&D chief José Baselga calls the disease-free survival data for their drug in an adjuvant setting of early stage, epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated NSCLC patients following surgery “momentous.” Roy Herbst, the principal investigator out of Yale, calls it “transformative.”

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Pablo Legorreta, founder and CEO of Royalty Pharma AG, speaks at the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Cap­i­tal­iz­ing Pablo: The world’s biggest drug roy­al­ty buy­er is go­ing pub­lic. And the low-key CEO di­vulges a few se­crets along the way

Pablo Legorreta is one of the most influential players in biopharma you likely never heard of.

Over the last 24 years, Legorreta’s Royalty Pharma group has become, by its own reckoning, the biggest buyer of drug royalties in the world. The CEO and founder has bought up a stake in a lengthy list of the world’s biggest drug franchises, spending $18 billion in the process — $2.2 billion last year alone. And he’s become one of the best-paid execs in the industry, reaping $28 million from the cash flow last year while reserving 20% of the cash flow, less expenses, for himself.

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Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Getty Images)

Sanofi CEO Paul Hud­son has $23B burn­ing a hole in his pock­et. And here are some hints on how he plans to spend that

Sanofi has reaped $11.1 billion after selling off a big chunk of its Regeneron stock at $515 a share. And now everyone on the M&A side of the business is focused on how CEO Paul Hudson plans to spend it.

After getting stung in France for some awkward politicking — suggesting the US was in the front of the line for Sanofi’s vaccines given American financial support for their work, versus little help from European powers — Hudson now has the much more popular task of managing a major cash cache to pull off something in the order of a big bolt-on. Or two.

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David Chang, Allogene CEO (Jeff Rumans)

Head­ed to PhII: Al­lo­gene CEO David Chang com­pletes a pos­i­tive ear­ly snap­shot of their off-the-shelf CAR-T pi­o­neer

Allogene CEO David Chang has completed the upbeat first portrait of the biotech’s off-the-shelf CAR-T contender ALLO-501 at virtual ASCO today, keeping all eyes on a drug that will now try to go on to replace the first-wave personalized pioneers he helped create.

The overall response rate outlined in Allogene’s abstract for treatment-resistant patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma slipped a little from the leadup, but if you narrow the patient profile to treatment-naïve patients — removing the 3 who had previous CAR-T therapy who didn’t respond, leaving 16 — the ORR lands at 75% with a 44% complete response rate. And 9 of the 12 responders remained in response at the data cutoff, offering a glimpse on durability that still has a long way to go before it can be completely nailed down.

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Sanofi brings in 4 new ex­ec­u­tives in con­tin­ued shake-up, as vac­cines and con­sumer health chief head out the door

In the middle of Sanofi’s multi-pronged race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, David Loew, the head of their sprawling vaccines unit, is leaving – part of the final flurry of moves in the French giant’ months-long corporate shuffle that will give them new-look leadership under new CEO Paul Hudson.

The company also said today that Alan Main, the head of their consumer healthcare unit, is out, and they named 4 executives to fill new or newly vacated positions, 3 of whom come from both outside both Sanofi and from Pharma.

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Fabrice Chouraqui, Cellarity CEO-partner (LinkedIn)

Drug de­vel­op­er, Big Phar­ma com­mer­cial ex­ec, now an up­start biotech chief — Fab­rice Chouraqui is ready to try some­thing new as a ‘CEO-part­ner’ at Flag­ship

Fabrice Chouraqui’s career has taken some big twists along his life journey. He got his PharmD at Université Paris Descartes and jumped into the drug development game for a bit. Then he took a sharp turn and went back to school to get his MBA at Insead before returning to pharma on the commercial side.

Twenty years later, after steadily rising through the ranks and journeying the globe to nab a top job as president of US pharma for the Basel-based Novartis, Chouraqui exited in another career switch. And now he’s headed into a hybrid position as a CEO-partner at Flagship, where he’ll take a shot at leading Cellarity — one of the VC’s latest paradigm-changing companies of the groundbreaking model that aspires to deliver a new platform to the world of drug R&D.

Dan O'Day, Gilead CEO (Andrew Harnik, AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Gilead leas­es part­ner rights to TIG­IT, PD-1 in a $2B deal with Ar­cus. Now comes the hard part

Gilead CEO Dan O’Day has brokered his way to a PD-1 and lined up a front row seat in the TIGIT arena, inking a deal worth close to $2 billion to align the big biotech closely with Terry Rosen’s Arcus. And $375 million of that comes upfront, with cash for the buy-in plus equity, along with $400 million for R&D and $1.22 billion in reserve to cover opt-in payments and milestones..

Hotly rumored for weeks, the 2 players have formalized a 10-year alliance that starts with rights to the PD-1, zimberelimab. O’Day also has first dibs on TIGIT and 2 other leading programs, agreeing to an opt-in fee ranging from $200 million to $275 million on each. There’s $500 million in potential TIGIT milestones on US regulatory events — likely capped by an approval — if Gilead partners on it and the stars align on the data. And there’s another $150 million opt-in payments for the rest of the Arcus pipeline.

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Roger Perlmutter, Merck R&D chief (YouTube)

UP­DAT­ED: Backed by BAR­DA, Mer­ck jumps in­to Covid-19: buy­ing out a vac­cine, part­ner­ing on an­oth­er and adding an­tivi­ral to the mix

Merck execs are making a triple play in a sudden leap into the R&D campaign against Covid-19. And they have more BARDA cash backing them up on the move.

Tuesday morning the pharma giant simultaneously announced plans to buy an Austrian biotech that has been working on a preclinical vaccine candidate, added a collaboration on another vaccine with the nonprofit IAVI and inked a deal with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics on an early-stage antiviral.

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