Bluebird’s star gene therapy patient still doing well after 15 months-plus; Takeda, Arix partner on biotech startups

→ Every biotech enjoys a good success story, and bluebird bio $BLUE got their writeup in the New England Journal of Medicine. Patient 1204 in bluebird’s program for LentiGlobin gene therapy program has had more than 15 months of followup, and his physicians say that the teenager has been free of the painful symptoms of sickle cell disease, able to lead a normal life and stop painful transfusions. That’s all a positive, but bluebird’s gene therapy has also proven to be somewhat variable among patients. One success story does not make for a successful therapy, but it’s still a plus.

→ Right on the heels of raising £100 million in an IPO, the UK’s Arix has struck a deal to partner with Takeda in fostering new biotech startups. The Japanese company has been scaling way back on R&D in the country as Takeda revamps its approach to drug development.

→ You make hay while the sun shines, and you sell stock right after good data arrives. So it’s not a big surprise to see Kite line up a sale of 4.75 million shares at $75.00. Its stock $KITE, buoyed by recent 6-month data on its lead CAR-T, is down 5% in morning trading.

→ The UK’s Adaptimmune has opened up its US headquarters in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard. The cancer company has 92 staffers in the area and plans to boost that figure to 120. Adaptimmune is closely tied to GSK, which also has extensive R&D operations in the area.

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