BIO warns mem­bers: No more rau­cous af­ter-hours events — and start putting women in se­nior posts, now

Af­ter a se­ries of rau­cous events at in­dus­try par­ties blew up in­to nasty con­tro­ver­sies — high­light­ing a painful­ly lim­it­ed num­ber of women in se­nior com­pa­ny po­si­tions — the lead­ers of the biotech in­dus­try’s chief trade or­ga­ni­za­tion says they’ve had enough. 

John Maraganore

In a let­ter to its mem­ber­ship that made the rounds on Wednes­day, which I ob­tained,  three top of­fi­cials at BIO — Al­ny­lam CEO John Maraganore, this year’s chair­man, along with Halozyme chief He­len Tor­ley and BIO chief Jim Green­wood — put its ex­ten­sive ros­ter of mem­ber com­pa­nies on no­tice that they have 6 years to achieve se­ri­ous gen­der di­ver­si­ty at the top. They al­so drew a line in the sand for any­one else plan­ning af­ter-hours par­ties like the one at this sum­mer’s BIO con­fab, which fea­tured top­less dancers.

If your com­pa­ny wants to stay in BIO, this mes­sage reads loud and clear, you have a code of con­duct that goes with it.

We are de­ter­mined to come to­geth­er to em­brace equal­i­ty and in­clu­sive­ness, con­front un­con­scious bias, and ad­dress sex­ist bi­as­es in all as­pects of the biotech­nol­o­gy ecosys­tem – in the work­place, in our busi­ness op­er­a­tions, in the prod­ucts we pro­duce, and at all in­dus­try-af­fil­i­at­ed ac­tiv­i­ties and events.

As a re­sult of this com­mit­ment, we stand ready to con­demn those ac­tions, ac­tiv­i­ties, or events that are clear­ly in­con­sis­tent with the val­ues BIO ac­tive­ly is pro­mot­ing through the work of BIO’s WD­DI Com­mit­tee and our gen­er­al mem­ber­ship prin­ci­ples and poli­cies.

He­len Tor­ley

This is­sue blew up first at JP Mor­gan in 2016, when a num­ber of women open­ly com­plained about the an­nu­al par­ty host­ed by LifeSci Ad­vi­sors that fea­tured a bevy of mod­els on staff. (Stung by the at­ten­tion, LifeSci Ad­vi­sors has since be­come a cham­pi­on of gen­der di­ver­si­ty.)

Then this sum­mer — with the #MeToo move­ment in full swing — came an­oth­er Par­ty At BIO Not As­so­ci­at­ed with BIO, or PAB­NAB, with dancers for en­ter­tain­ment. Spon­sors in­clud­ed Bay­er and Se­lex­is. That, too, pro­voked out­rage, with Maraganore and oth­ers con­demn­ing the event.

James Green­wood

What’s like­ly to prove much hard­er than end­ing the risqué events once and for all — per­haps even in­clud­ing Roth Cap­i­tal Part­ners, which re­sist­ed calls for change when their own events were called out for fea­tur­ing scant­i­ly clad dancers in ’16 — BIO ex­pects to see re­al, mea­sur­able and swift im­prove­ment in the num­ber of women who rep­re­sent biotechs at a se­nior-lev­el job.

Women cur­rent­ly oc­cu­py 10% of the in­dus­try’s board seats — BIO wants to move that to 20% by 2025. And they want to see the num­ber of women oc­cu­py­ing C-suite roles to dou­ble in 6 years, leap­ing from 25% to­day to 50%.

BIO is promis­ing to back this up by keep­ing the spot­light fo­cused on gen­der di­ver­si­ty, while al­so pledg­ing to do more on racial di­ver­si­ty as well as in­creased LGBTQ rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

A lab technician works during research on coronavirus at Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutical in Beerse, Belgium, Wednesday, June 17, 2020. (Virginia Mayo/AP Images)

End­points News ranks all 28 play­ers in the Covid-19 vac­cine race. Here's how it stacks up to­day

The 28 players now in or close to the clinical race to get a Covid-19 vaccine over the finish line are angling for a piece of a multibillion-dollar market. And being first — or among the leaders — will play a big role in determining just how big a piece.

Endpoints News writer Nicole DeFeudis has posted a snapshot of all the companies, universities and hospital-based groups now racing through the clinic, ranking them according to their place in the pipeline as well as the latest remarks available on timelines. And we’ll keep this lineup updated right through the end of the year, as the checkered flags start to fall, possibly as early as October.

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Stéphane Bancel speaks to President Donald Trump at the White House meeting on March 2 (AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Mod­er­na of­fers steep dis­count in US sup­ply deal — but still takes the crown with close to $2.5B in vac­cine con­tracts

The US pre-order for Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine is in.

Operation Warp Speed is reserving $1.525 billion for 100 million doses of Moderna’s Phase III mRNA candidate, rounding out to about $15 per dose — including $300 million in incentive payments for timely delivery. Given that Moderna has a two-dose regimen, it’s good for vaccinating 50 million people. The US government also has the option to purchase another 400 million doses for a total of $6.6 billion, or $16.5 per dose.

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Martin Shkreli (AP Images)

Mar­tin Shkre­li's in­fa­mous Dara­prim falls off top 20 most ex­pen­sive drugs list

Martin Shkreli incited a national uproar five years ago when he raised the price of Daraprim by a factor of 56 essentially overnight from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Now that the “Pharma Bro’s” high-priced project has received a generic, it no longer places among the most expensive drugs in the world.

GoodRx is back with the latest update of the top 20 most expensive drugs and Daraprim’s exclusion marks the biggest change. The drug had previously ranked seventh on the list’s last iteration, which came in February before the world went into quarantine. Another of Shkreli’s former companies, Retrophin, saw its Chenodal drug place in the top 10 again.

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Cell and Gene Con­tract Man­u­fac­tur­ers Must Em­brace Dig­i­ti­za­tion

The Cell and Gene Industry is growing at a staggering 30% CAGR and is estimated to reach $14B by 20251. A number of cell, gene and stem cell therapy sponsors currently have novel drug substances and products and many rely on Contract Development Manufacturing Organizations (CDMO) to produce them with adherence to stringent regulatory cGMP conditions. Cell and gene manufacturing for both autologous (one to one) and allogenic (one to many) treatments face difficult issues such as: a complex supply chain, variability on patient and cellular level, cell expansion count and a tight scheduling of lot disposition process. This complexity affects quality, compliance and accountability in the entire vein-to-vein process for critically ill patients.

Roche pulls a tu­mor mi­cro-en­vi­ron­ment drug out of the freez­er, hands it to a UK up­start

Two years after pulling it from clinical development, Roche has handed control of a solid tumor cancer drug to a tiny Oxford University spinout.

For an undisclosed fee, Celleron Therapeutics acquired the drug, an anti-CSF1R antibody that’s designed to modulate the tumor micro-environment — an increasingly popular approach among cancer drug developers. Celleron says it will now put the drug into trials for patients with tenosynovial giant cell tumors, a rare disease where series of benign tumors begin to grow around the joints and tendons. It’s caused by cells over-producing CSF1R.

DFC CEO Adam Boehler and Kodak CEO Jim Continenza (Kodak)

Covid-19 roundup: Ko­dak board mem­ber's gift comes un­der scruti­ny; Red­hill be­gins Phase II/III tri­al for Covid-19 treat­ment in Mex­i­co

Eastman Kodak’s $765 million government loan to boost pharmaceutical manufacturing capacities was put on hold just last week, and now reports of a well-timed charitable donation have come to light.

Kodak board member George Karfunkel and his wife Renee Karfunkel reported in a securities filing a donation valued at $116.3 million to a Jewish synagogue in Brooklyn, NY, according to the Wall Street Journal. Per the filing, the donation took place on July 29, the day that Kodak’s stock hit its highest peak since 2014.

Ian Nicholson (F2G)

No­vo backs 'break­through' an­ti­fun­gal play­er's $60M round — with a fo­cus on rare mold in­fec­tions

The plight of antibiotics developers has been well documented: chronically underfunded research, daunting scientific challenges, and little commercial upside even for the ones that make it to the market. But in an adjacent corner of the antimicrobial space, an antifungal player is out to paint a very different picture.

F2G, a UK-Austria hybrid, has raised $60.8 million for its final push toward the clinic. Clearing the test could pave the way for its drug to be the first new antifungal agent in 20 years.

Bayer's Marianne De Backer with Endpoints founder John Carroll, Endpoints@JPM20 (Jeff Rumans for Endpoints News)

UP­DAT­ED: Hunt­ing a block­buster, Bay­er forges an $875M-plus M&A deal to ac­quire women’s health biotech

Bayer has dropped $425 million in cash on its latest women’s health bet, bringing a UK biotech and its non-hormonal menopause treatment into the fold.

KaNDy Therapeutics had its roots in GlaxoSmithKline, which spun out several neuroscience drugs into NeRRe Therapeutics back in 2012. Five years later the team created a new biotech to focus solely on NT-814 — which they considered “one of the few true innovations in women’s health in more than two decades.”

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Eisai moves to 200 Metro Blvd. by late 2021 (ON3)

Ei­sai is cre­at­ing a new US cor­po­rate, R&D HQ in Roche’s old Nut­ley, NJ cam­pus

Eight years after Roche pulled up stakes from Nutley, NJ in a major R&D reorganization, Japan’s Eisai is moving its US corporate and research hub into their old campus.

Now the ON3 property, Eisai — a longtime Biogen partner focused on neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s — will bring together a staff of up to 1,200 employees. And execs are pitching the move to the New Jersey campus as a cultural game-changer.