Giovanni Caforio, Bristol Myers Squibb CEO (Nicolas Messyasz/Sipa via AP Images)

Bris­tol My­ers Squibb strikes deal to sell NY site to South Ko­re­an con­glom­er­ate — but it's keep­ing qui­et on the de­tails

Bris­tol My­ers Squibb’s man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ty in East Syra­cuse, NY, is about to be swal­lowed up by one of the largest con­glom­er­ates in South Ko­rea.

Lotte Cor­po­ra­tion and BMS un­veiled a fresh deal for the site on Fri­day while keep­ing most of the de­tails — in­clud­ing the fi­nanc­ing — un­der wraps. BMS even de­clined to dis­close the site’s square footage in an email to End­points News. 

Mean­while, South Ko­rea’s Yon­hap News Agency re­port­ed that the deal cost Lotte $160 mil­lion. In re­turn, the con­glom­er­ate gets the site, equip­ment and a work­force with “tech­ni­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties and ex­per­tise.”

How many peo­ple is that? Syra­ re­port­ed that a team of around 400 peo­ple will all be­come Lotte em­ploy­ees up­on clos­ing.

BMS isn’t go­ing far, though. Lotte will con­tin­ue to man­u­fac­ture prod­ucts for the phar­ma gi­ant — $220 mil­lion worth over the next three years, ac­cord­ing to Yon­hap. The deal should close by the sec­ond half of this year.

Once that hap­pens, the East Syra­cuse site will serve as the epi­cen­ter for Lotte’s new bi­o­log­ics con­tract de­vel­op­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion (CD­MO) busi­ness in the Unit­ed States. Even­tu­al­ly, the com­pa­ny hopes to ex­pand its CD­MO of­fer­ings be­yond just BMS. Ac­cord­ing to Yon­hap, Lotte plans to in­vest 2.5 tril­lion won, or $1.9 bil­lion, in the bio sec­tors over the next decade.

“The East Syra­cuse site has been an im­por­tant part of our com­pa­ny’s his­to­ry and our man­u­fac­tur­ing net­work for many decades, and we are con­fi­dent that Lotte will ful­ly lever­age the fa­cil­i­ty, its ca­pa­bil­i­ties and its ex­pe­ri­enced work­force as it con­tin­ues to play a vi­tal role for pa­tients around the world,” Karin Shana­han, EVP of glob­al prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and sup­ply at BMS, said in a state­ment.

The fa­cil­i­ty, ac­cord­ing to BMS, was orig­i­nal­ly es­tab­lished in 1943 to an­swer the US gov­ern­ment’s call for the large-scale pro­duc­tion of peni­cillin. It’s cur­rent­ly li­censed to man­u­fac­ture four prod­ucts: Op­di­vo, Nu­lo­jix, Yer­voy and Em­plic­i­ti.

South Ko­re­an con­glom­er­ates have been mov­ing steadi­ly in­to the CD­MO space. In 2021, SK Bio­sciences moved for­ward with a deal with the Cen­ter for Break­through Med­i­cines (CBM), a Philadel­phia-based CD­MO. Al­so in the same year, Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics inked an agree­ment with Boston biotech Green­Light Bio­Sciences to man­u­fac­ture its mR­NA Covid-19 vac­cine at a com­mer­cial scale.

Vas Narasimhan (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

No­var­tis de­tails plans to axe 8,000 staffers as Narasimhan be­gins sec­ond phase of a glob­al re­org

We now know the number of jobs coming under the axe at Novartis, and it isn’t small.

The pharma giant is confirming a report from Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger that it is chopping 8,000 jobs out of its 108,000 global staffers. A large segment will hit right at company headquarters in Basel, as CEO Vas Narasimhan axes some 1,400 of a little more than 11,000  jobs in Switzerland.

The first phase of the work is almost done, the company says in a statement to Endpoints News. Now it’s on to phase two. In the statement, Novartis says:

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Lina Gugucheva, NewAmsterdam Pharma CBO

Phar­ma group bets up to $1B-plus on the PhI­II res­ur­rec­tion of a once dead-and-buried LDL drug

Close to 5 years after then-Amgen R&D chief Sean Harper tamped the last spade of dirt on the last broadly focused CETP cholesterol drug — burying their $300 million upfront and the few remaining hopes for the class with it — the therapy has been fully resurrected. And today, the NewAmsterdam Pharma crew that did the Lazarus treatment on obicetrapib is taking another big step on the comeback trail with a €1 billion-plus regional licensing deal, complete with close to $150 million in upfront cash.

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How pre­pared is bio­phar­ma for the cy­ber dooms­day?

One of the largest cyberattacks in history happened on a Friday, Eric Perakslis distinctly remembers.

Perakslis, who was head of Takeda’s R&D Data Sciences Institute and visiting faculty at Harvard Medical School at the time, had spent that morning completing a review on cybersecurity for the British Medical Journal. Moments after he turned it in, he heard back from the editor: “Have you heard what’s going on right now?”

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Sanofi to cut in­sulin prices for unin­sured from $99 to $35, match­ing the in­sulin cap com­ing through Con­gress

As the House-passed bill to cap the monthly price of insulin at $35 nationwide makes its way for a Senate vote soon, Sanofi announced Wednesday morning that beginning next month it will cut the monthly price of its insulins for uninsured Americans to $35, down from $99 previously.

The announcement from Sanofi, which allows the uninsured to buy one or multiple Sanofi insulins (Lantus, Insulin Glargine U-100, Toujeo, Admelog, and Apidra) at $35 for a 30-day supply effective July 1, follows House passage (232-193) of the monthly cap in March, with just 12 Republicans voting in favor of the measure.

Aurobindo Pharma co-founders P. V. Ram Prasad Reddy (L) and K. Nityananda Reddy

Au­robindo Phar­ma re­ceives warn­ing let­ter from In­di­a's SEC fol­low­ing more FDA ques­tion marks

Indian-based generics manufacturer Aurobindo Pharma has been in the crosshairs of the FDA for several years now, but the company is also attracting attention from regulators within the subcontinent.

According to the Indian business news site Business Standard, a warning letter was sent to the company from the Securities Exchange Board of India, or SEBI.

The letter is related to disclosures made by the company on an ongoing FDA audit of the company’s Unit-1 API facility in Hyderabad, India as well as observations made by the US regulator between 2019 and 2022.

Peter Marks (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP Images)

FDA's VRB­PAC votes in fa­vor of adapt­ing the Covid-19 vac­cine to the lat­est Omi­cron vari­ant

The FDA’s Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee on Tuesday gave the thumbs up — by a vote of 19-2 — that the FDA should require an Omicron-related component in this next season’s booster dose for Covid-19, which both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are hard at work on.

And while neither booster will likely be ready to go with adequate supplies for all American adults by the beginning of the next school year, the situation is still complex and fluid, with CBER Director Peter Marks telling the committee that it’ll take companies at least three months to ready their supplies for this expected next wave.

Bob Nelsen (Lyell)

As bear mar­ket con­tin­ues to beat down biotech, ARCH clos­es a $3B ear­ly-stage fund

One of the biggest names in biotech investing has a whole lot of new money to spend.

ARCH Venture Partners closed its 12th venture fund early Wednesday morning, the firm said, bringing in almost $3 billion to invest in early-stage biotechs. The move comes about a year and a half after ARCH announced its previous fund, for almost $2 billion back in January 2021.

In a statement, ARCH managing director and co-founder Bob Nelsen appeared to brush off concerns about the broader market troubles, alluding to the downturn that’s seen several biotechs downsize and the XBI fall back to almost pre-pandemic levels.

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Hank Safferstein, Generian CEO

Astel­las sub­sidiary to part­ner with Pitts­burgh up­start in search for 'un­drug­gable' pro­teins

As Astellas continues its drive to build out its gene therapy portfolio and capabilities, a subsidiary of the Japanese pharma company has entered into a collaboration with a little-known Pittsburgh biotech.

Astellas-owned Mitobridge and Generian Pharmaceuticals announced on Wednesday that they will work together in a new deal for “undruggable” protein targets. Generian will net an undisclosed upfront payment and could get up to $180 million in milestones, should anything from its platform prove successful, as well as single-digit royalties on global net sales.

(AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Some phar­ma com­pa­nies promise to cov­er abor­tion-re­lat­ed trav­el costs — while oth­ers won't go that far yet

As the US Department of Health and Human Services promises to support the millions of women who would now need to cross state lines to receive a legal abortion, a handful of pharma companies have said they will pick up employees’ travel expenses.

GSK, Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson, BeiGene, Alnylam and Gilead have all committed to covering abortion-related travel expenses just four days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and revoked women’s constitutional right to an abortion.

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