Albert Wong, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks CEO

Boehringer In­gel­heim to in­cu­bate biotechs with Hong Kong R&D leader

Fol­low­ing the suit of As­traZeneca last Feb­ru­ary, Boehringer In­gel­heim will team up with a lead­ing R&D hub in Hong Kong to seed biotechs.

Where­as As­traZeneca fo­cused on can­cer drugs and di­ag­nos­tics, the Ger­man gi­ant will work with Hong Kong Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Parks on in­cu­bat­ing in­fec­tious dis­ease and im­munol­o­gy drug de­vel­op­ers.

HK­STP and Boehringer, through its ven­ture arm, will sup­port the up­starts with up to $6 mil­lion HK (about $600,000 USD) each to bankroll ear­ly-stage op­er­a­tions and clin­i­cal tri­als, said Grace Lau, head of HK­STP’s in­sti­tute for trans­la­tion­al re­search, in a state­ment.

The fo­cus is on ear­ly-stage star­tups and uni­ver­si­ty spin­offs that are en­ter­ing the R&D stage. Lo­cal and glob­al star­tups are able to ap­ply.

The Hong Kong part­ner will pro­vide busi­ness de­vel­op­ment ex­per­tise, men­tor­ship and in­vest­ment ini­tia­tives, such as help­ing with fi­nan­cial sub­si­dies and up­front grants. The group will al­so lend guid­ance on com­mer­cial­iza­tion, man­u­fac­tur­ing, scal­ing-up and mar­ket­ing strate­gies.

Boehringer will lend in­vest­ment in­sight and pro­vide ac­cess to its fund­ing net­work.

The pair kept de­tails slim on the length of the part­ner­ship and how many biotechs they look to build. More than 150 biotechs are al­ready part of HK­STP, the group says, which is a three­fold in­crease in the past five years. The rapid rise is part of the gov­ern­ment’s in­vest­ment in­to bio­med­ical tech­nol­o­gy with the in­fu­sion of $10 bil­lion HK ($1.27 bil­lion USD) ded­i­cat­ed to­ward life and health tech.

The rise has been so strong that HK­STP CEO Al­bert Wong claims Hong Kong is the world’s sec­ond largest fundrais­ing hub for biotech, ce­ment­ing its mark as the largest in Asia.

“Now we’re thrilled to see that the bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try is pick­ing up rapid­ly in the Guang­dong–Hong Kong–Macau Greater Bay Area, it’s a great op­por­tu­ni­ty for us to part­ner with HK­STP to de­vel­op the lo­cal ecosys­tem, and fur­ther en­hance Chi­na’s dual-cir­cu­la­tion scheme,” Boehringer Chi­na CEO and pres­i­dent Fe­lix Gutsche said in a state­ment. “We hope to of­fer our con­tin­u­ous sup­port to more home-grown in­no­va­tions to be rec­og­nized on the glob­al mar­ket and even­tu­al­ly ben­e­fit the pa­tients world­wide.”

Fledg­ling biotechs in­volved in the pro­gram can al­so tap in­to HK­STP’s 11,000-re­searcher tal­ent pool.

Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Cyril Marcilhacy/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

FDA side­lines Paul Hud­son's $3.7B MS drug af­ter es­tab­lish­ing link to liv­er dam­age

One of Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson’s top picks in the pipeline — picked up in a $3.7 billion buyout 2 years ago — has just been sidelined in the US by a safety issue.

The pharma giant put out word early Thursday that the FDA has put their Phase III studies of tolebrutinib in multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis on partial clinical hold, halting enrollment and suspending dosing for patients who have been on the drug for less than 60 days. Patients who have completed at least 60 days of treatment can continue therapy as researchers explore a “limited” — but unspecified in Sanofi’s statement — number of cases of liver injury.

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Phar­ma re­acts to post-Roe; Drug­mak­ers beef up cy­ber de­fense; Boehringer, Roche qui­et­ly axe drugs; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

As a reminder, we are off on Monday for the Fourth of July. I hope this recap will kick off your (long) weekend well and that the rest of it will be just what you need. See you next week for a shortened edition!

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Eric Hughes, incoming Teva EVP of global R&D and CMO

Te­va chief raids Ver­tex for his new glob­al head of re­search and de­vel­op­ment

Teva CEO Kåre Schultz has found his new R&D chief and CMO in Vertex’s ranks.

The global generics giant, which has some 3,500 staffers in the R&D group, has named Eric Hughes to the top research spot in the company. He’ll be replacing Hafrun Fridriksdottir, who held the role for close to five years, on Aug. 1.

Hughes hasn’t been at Vertex for long, though. He jumped from Novartis less than a year ago, after heading the immunology, hepatology & dermatology global development unit. Before that, he completed a five-year stint as head of early clinical research for the specialty discovery medicine department in the exploratory clinical & translational research group at Bristol Myers Squibb, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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#BIO22: Man­ag­ing a biotech in tur­bu­lent times. 'There's a per­fect shit­show out there'

On Tuesday, June 14, Endpoints News EIC John Carroll sat down with a group of biotech execs to discuss the bear market for industry stocks and how they were dealing with it. Here’s the conversation, which has been lightly edited for brevity.

Martin Meeson, sponsor opening:

Thank you, John. Hello everyone. My name’s Martin Meeson, I’m the CEO of Fujifilm Diosynth. For those of you who don’t know Fujifilm Diosynth, we operate in the development of clinical and commercial product scale up, we have facilities in Europe and the US, and around about 4,000 employees. We run on average about 150 programs, so when it comes to managing in turbulent times over the last two years, we’ve had quite a lot of experience of that. Not just keeping the clinical pipelines and the commercial pipelines open, but also our response to the pandemic and the molecules that we’ve had within there. One of the phrases that I coined probably about a year ago when we were talking at JP Morgan, was I talked about managing through turbulent times. Well, it’s become the fact that we are not managing and leading through these times, we are managing in them, which is why that’s really the purpose of and the topic that we’ve got today.

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Anand Parikh, Faeth Therapeutics CEO

Sid Mukher­jee, Lew Cant­ley be­hind new can­cer biotech with food+drug com­bo treat­ment am­bi­tions 

Famed oncologist Sid Mukherjee and repeat biotech co-founder Lew Cantley have teamed up to form Faeth Therapeutics, a startup aiming to treat cancer the way other conditions are addressed: pairing nutrition with therapeutics.

The goal is to transform cancer treatment with nutrition and make it the fourth “pillar” in the oncology regimen, which to date has centered on radiotherapy, surgery and drugs, Faeth CEO Anand Parikh told Endpoints News. Other conditions have already been addressed with a side of nutrients or diet, he said, pointing to diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome and other diseases.

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Amgen's taking social media followers around the globe as it introduces the many different

From Tam­pa to Mu­nich, Am­gen’s ‘Places’ cam­paign in­tro­duces its lo­ca­tions around the world

Amgen is taking social media followers around the world with its latest corporate campaign. Called “Places of Amgen,” the twice monthly posts highlight the biopharma’s different offices and sites – and the people who work there.

Each post runs on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram with details about the work Amgen does in that location, when it was established, comments from people who work there and other interesting facts. The most recent one about Paris, France, for example, notes that Amgen France last year signed a French association charter committed to the inclusion of LBGT+ people in the workplace.

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On Friday, Lonza announced plans to construct a large-scale commercial drug product fill and finish facility in the town of Stein, Switzerland.

Lon­za to in­vest $500M+ on fill-fin­ish fa­cil­i­ty on its home turf

Lonza has been expanding its reach across the globe, bringing sites in China and the US online this year, but now they are looking closer to home for their next major investment.

The Swiss manufacturer on Friday announced plans to construct a large-scale commercial drug fill and finish facility in the town of Stein, Switzerland. The new facility will be delivered through an investment of approximately CHF 500 million, or $519 million, and is expected to be completed in 2026. The facility will also be constructed on the same campus as Lonza’s current clinical drug product facility.

Credit: Shutterstock

Bio­haven takes mi­graine cam­paign to pa­tients' Twit­ter feeds, months ahead of Pfiz­er takeover

Two weeks ago, Biohaven hit an all-time high in weekly Nurtec prescriptions. CEO Vlad Coric attributes at least some of that success to a new interactive Twitter campaign that encourages patients to free their feed of potential migraine triggers.

Earlier this month, Biohaven in partnership with Twitter launched the #RelieveYourFeed campaign that allows users to customize their app settings based on their migraine triggers.

Oncologists on Twitter are talking up ASCO studies, health equity and burnout, according to new deep dive research from Harris Poll (via Shutterstock)

What’s been on in­flu­en­tial on­col­o­gist­s' minds? Most­ly AS­CO, but al­so health eq­ui­ty, ac­cord­ing to new Har­ris Poll re­search

Over the past few months, oncologists have been talking a lot about the ASCO conference. Not surprising considering its import and the study data presented, but what may be less expected is the second most talked about topic of health equity.

That’s according to data from The Harris Poll and the new expert network the researcher is building out. While the company has been doing deep data dives into specific health issues or conditions for pharma clients, it’s now monitoring influencer networks of therapy area specialists to find out what experts are really thinking about.