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Rob Califf (AP Images)

Does bio­phar­ma sup­port the Califf nom for FDA? Yeah, what­ev­er

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Clockwise from L: John Maraganore, Andrew Lo and Mark McClellan

The renowned drug hunter, the Wash­ing­ton in­sid­er, the MIT strate­gist: How did one low-pro­file biotech en­list a dream team of top biotech ad­vi­sors?

When you’re heading up a fledgling biotech out to make a name for yourself in the middle of a wild industry boom, there’s one sure way to differentiate yourself that’s bound to attract universal nods.

It doesn’t involve lots of money — plenty of that going around — and it isn’t constrained by timelines.

You enlist some great scientists, and you put together a dream team of high-profile industry leaders to mentor you through the long and arduous process of drug development ahead.

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John Maraganore, Alnylam CEO (Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

John Maraganore steps in­to a new role at an up­start biotech as the god­fa­ther phase of his ca­reer takes shape

John Maraganore isn’t wasting any time shifting to a new post-Alnylam phase in his long biotech career. Startup wunderkind Beam Therapeutics has lured the soon-to-be ex-CEO to its board, where Maraganore can begin to play godfather to the next generation of biotechs looking to follow his footsteps from the lab to the marketplace.

In selecting the Beam offer — and it’s unlikely there will be any kind of shortage on that front — Maraganore will now play godfather to an upstart out of David Liu’s lab looking to do new things in gene editing. That fits snugly with Maraganore’s intention of stepping back from the day-to-day grind of the C-suite while advising startups on the long road ahead. And it’s a coup for Beam CEO John Evans, as every face on the board represents another opportunity to build credibility and attract new investors.

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The End­points 100 gives a C-suite thumbs down on 'crip­pling' price pro­pos­als and Aduhelm. Plus: Is any­one go­ing to JP Mor­gan?

After tracking the opinion of the Endpoints 100 — biotech execs, mostly CEOs, who give us semi-annual feedback on key issues and trends — for the past four years, one thing stands out: Opinions tend to run along lines of consensus; by and large they track as a pack.

So when right at 60% of the 81 execs participating in the H2 survey turn thumbs down on whether the FDA should have OK’d Aduhelm — that ultra controversial and very expensive Alzheimer’s drug waved through at the agency despite the clear lack of positive efficacy data — it’s not hard to conclude that a clear majority aren’t having it. With another 22% undecided still, you have some lingering doubts that need to be resolved. But only 18% are in the solid ‘yes’ camp — leaving Biogen with little in the way of professional industry support in its lonely corner.

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Care about R&D strate­gies? Have we got a sum­mit for you

If there’s one underlying lesson I’ve learned watching biopharma in action over the past 20 years or so, it’s that no R&D organization can rest on its laurels. Especially the larger ones. You’ve had a big success? Great. Now how do you plan to follow up on that? And how soon? Hit by failure? What’s Plan B, C, D and E?

And that’s the central message of my upcoming European Biopharma Summit coming up next week. I’ll be talking to 5 top biopharma executives about their next-gen game plans.

Is the biotech boom start­ing to fade? The roar­ing ‘20s starts to look a lit­tle fa­tigued. Plus: Top 5 deals, IPOs, pacts of Q3

Biotech deal cash continued to gush through Q3, but a careful look at the details in aggregate suggests that the rosy tint to the biotech boom has started to lose some of its color.

Once again, deal master Chris Dokomajilar at DealForma has crunched the numbers on all the gauges we use to assess the performance of the biotech sector. And there’s been a distinct cooling of overall activity, particularly around IPOs and venture cash infusions.

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Dave Lennon, former president of Novartis Gene Therapies

So what hap­pened with No­var­tis Gene Ther­a­pies? Here's your an­swer

Over the last couple of days it’s become clear that the gene therapy division at Novartis has quietly undergone a major reorganization. We learned on Monday that Dave Lennon, who had pursued a high-profile role as president of the unit with 1,500 people, had left the pharma giant to take over as CEO of a startup.

Like a lot of the majors, Novartis is an open highway for head hunters, or anyone looking to staff a startup. So that was news but not completely unexpected.

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Jacob Van Naarden (Eli Lilly)

Ex­clu­sives: Eli Lil­ly out to crash the megablock­buster PD-(L)1 par­ty with 'dis­rup­tive' pric­ing; re­veals can­cer biotech buy­out

It’s taken 7 years, but Eli Lilly is promising to finally start hammering the small and affluent PD-(L)1 club with a “disruptive” pricing strategy for their checkpoint therapy allied with China’s Innovent.

Lilly in-licensed global rights to sintilimab a year ago, building on the China alliance they have with Innovent. That cost the pharma giant $200 million in cash upfront, which they plan to capitalize on now with a long-awaited plan to bust up the high-price market in lung cancer and other cancers that have created a market worth tens of billions of dollars.

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#ES­MO21 is loom­ing, and we have a great group of ex­perts lined up to help make sense of the news

The one international science conference I always enjoyed attending most has been ESMO. You mix some high-octane cancer R&D news with one of the best collection of global experts in the field. It was education, breaking news and a great European location all built into one packed weekend.

ASCO is great — but the ESMO package has been phenomenal.

We’ve lost the location, for now, but everything else is still in place for a big weekend. Managing editor Kyle Blankenship is leading the coverage on the news front, with the rest of the team pitching in to help. And we’ll have the full lineup of stories from the conference in a special report on Monday, Sept. 20. Be sure to check it out. And follow us on Twitter through the weekend for breaking news.

Adam Koppel, Bain Capital managing director (William Penn Charter School via website)

Scoop: Adam Kop­pel's Bain team has an­oth­er $1.9B to wa­ger on life sci com­pa­nies. And he likes their odds

Adam Koppel filed his first Form D for his life sciences group at Bain almost exactly 5 years ago. After jumping from a strategy post at Biogen, he had some clear ideas on exactly how he and his then-fledgling team at Bain Capital Life Sciences would invest a sizable amount of capital in the industry.

He didn’t know it at the time, but it was extraordinarily good timing. Perfect timing for an industry that has been making landmark advances at the center of the world stage.

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