Cheers! End­points News turns 1 to­day — and we're un­wrap­ping in­fo on a new sub­scrip­tion plan

To­day, End­points News is one year old. Like any thriv­ing in­fant, we’ve been grow­ing at a fast pace, out­grow­ing a hasti­ly craft­ed chris­ten­ing gar­ment.

Start­ing from scratch, with just so­cial me­dia and a lot of word of mouth to re­ly on, web traf­fic to End­points was less than 14,000 vis­its per week. To­day we notch 14,000 per day, with a to­tal of 139,000 unique read­ers com­ing to the web­site in May.

Email sub­scrip­tions — the most im­por­tant met­ric we track — grew from zilch to 16,000 dai­ly bio­phar­ma sub­scribers drawn to our in­de­pen­dent style of jour­nal­ism. This was a re­sult of or­gan­ic, word-of-mouth ad­vo­ca­cy from our biggest fans. End­points’ “open rate”, the per­cent­age of read­ers who ac­tu­al­ly open and read the email re­ports, has nev­er fall­en be­low 40% — far above in­dus­try av­er­ages and more than dou­ble the rate you see at sim­i­lar pub­li­ca­tions.

I’ve writ­ten — this is a rough ball­park fig­ure — more than 650,000 words on R&D over the past 12 months. And we con­tin­ue to grow our traf­fic month­ly at a dou­ble-dig­it rate.

I am es­sen­tial­ly at about 60% of the read­er­ship I had be­fore I de­cid­ed to do a boot­strap start­up pub­li­ca­tion for bio­phar­ma R&D. And be­lieve me, it’s the best 60%, as I’ve found dur­ing events we’ve host­ed along the way of our maid­en voy­age in San Fran­cis­co and Boston and Eu­rope. The rest will come along, and we’ll be ready to shoot past old mark­ers and fo­cus on achiev­ing big­ger goals in the year ahead.

So where do we go from here?

Com­mit­ment to open-ac­cess and high ex­pec­ta­tions for free con­tent

My part­ner, Ar­salan Arif, and I grew up in this on­line busi­ness me­dia world. We be­lieve that to get a big au­di­ence you need to con­cen­trate on an open-ac­cess mod­el.

In plain Eng­lish, the news must re­main free.

That hasn’t changed and it’s not go­ing to. But we are look­ing to grow the team here at End­points, adding con­tent as we ex­pand read­er­ship fur­ther. And that’s go­ing to take new rev­enue, on top of the ad­ver­tis­ing we’ve built up and con­tin­ue to grow.

A few weeks ago, we ran a read­er sur­vey ask­ing you whether you would con­sid­er pay­ing $200 a year for a sub­scrip­tion. Most said there wasn’t a chance. You have high ex­pec­ta­tions for free con­tent and you weren’t about to change. Some said they’d pay, but the fig­ure sound­ed high. And you were fine with the email blasts from ad­ver­tis­ers.

To all of you, we say thank you for spend­ing part of your work day with us. We’ll work for you every day of the week.

But about 20% of you felt that you would glad­ly pay that, ei­ther to sup­port the work we’re do­ing here or to pay for di­rect ac­cess to the re­port with­out any email blasts from ad­ver­tis­ers.

It was, in fact, about 50/50 on that score.

An­nounc­ing End­points In­sid­er

On Ju­ly 10, we’ll roll out End­points In­sid­er, our paid sub­scrip­tion mod­el. If you’d like to sup­port our work here — or sim­ply want all the con­tent with­out the ad­ver­tis­ing — please sign up here. The cost is $200/year (no pay­ment de­tails re­quired to­day).

End­points In­sid­er pre-reg­is­tra­tion
No pay­ment de­tails re­quired to­day

In ad­di­tion to sup­port­ing us and en­joy­ing an ad-free ex­pe­ri­ence, I’ll be mov­ing my opin­ion pieces be­hind the pay­wall, of­fer­ing eas­i­er ac­cess to the ed­i­to­r­i­al team for any queries you may have, and In­sid­ers can in­stant­ly down­load print-ready PDF ver­sions of all ar­ti­cles so you can print or share in­ter­nal­ly on your terms. Lat­er we’ll add a few oth­er sub­scriber-on­ly pieces, but all of the dai­ly bio­phar­ma news we pub­lish will re­main free and eas­i­ly ac­cessed to those of you who like things as they are. That is not go­ing to change and you don’t have to do any­thing to keep re­ceiv­ing End­points News and mes­sages from our ad­ver­tis­ers.

I’d like to thank you all for the lit­er­al­ly thou­sands of mes­sages of sup­port we’ve re­ceived along the way. When you start up your own in­de­pen­dent busi­ness in an in­dus­try like this, you find lots of sup­port for the en­tre­pre­neur­ial at­ti­tude we’ve adopt­ed. And if you would like to add your sub­scrip­tion to help sup­port that, we’d ap­pre­ci­ate that as well.

One way or the oth­er, we’ll keep work­ing 24/7 on your be­half. It’s been quite a ride, and we’re just get­ting start­ed putting can­dles on that cake. But with­out you, this all means noth­ing. — John Car­roll

Here comes the oral GLP-1 drug for di­a­betes — but No­vo Nordisk is­n't dis­clos­ing Ry­bel­sus price just yet

Novo Nordisk’s priority review voucher on oral semaglutide has paid off. The FDA approval for the GLP-1 drug hit late Friday morning, around six months after the NDA filing.

Rybelsus will be the first GLP-1 pill to enter the type 2 diabetes market — a compelling offering that analysts have pegged as a blockbuster drug with sales estimates ranging from $2 billion to $5 billion.

Ozempic, the once-weekly injectable formulation of semaglutide, brought in around $552 million (DKK 3.75 billion) in the first half of 2019.

As Nas­daq en­rolls the fi­nal batch of 2019 IPOs, how have the num­bers com­pared to past years?

IGM Biosciences’ upsized IPO haul, coming after SpringWorks’ sizable public debut, has revved up some momentum for the last rush of biotech IPOs in 2019.

With 39 new listings on the books and roughly two more months to go before winding down, Nasdaq’s head of healthcare listings Jordan Saxe sees the exchange marking 50 to 60 biopharma IPOs for the year.

“December 15 is usually the last possible day that companies will price,” he said, as companies get ready for business talks at the annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in January.

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A fa­vorite in Alex­ion’s C-suite is leav­ing, and some mighty sur­prised an­a­lysts aren’t the least bit hap­py about it

Analysts hate to lose a biotech CFO they’ve come to trust and admire — especially if they’re being blindsided by a surprise exit.

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Oxitec biologist releases genetically modified mosquitoes in Piracicaba, Brazil in 2016 [credit: Getty Images]

In­trex­on unit push­es back against claims its GM mos­qui­toes are mak­ing dis­ease-friend­ly mu­tants

When the hysteria of Zika transmission sprang into the American zeitgeist a few years ago, UK-based Oxitec was already field-testing its male Aedes aegypti mosquito, crafted to possess a gene engineered to obliterate its progeny long before maturation.

But when a group of independent scientists evaluated the impact of the release of these genetically-modified mosquitoes in a trial conducted by Oxitec in Brazil between 2013 and 2015, they found that some of the offspring had managed to survive — prompting them to speculate what impact the survivors could have on disease transmission and/or insecticide resistance.

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[via AP Images]

Pur­due threat­ens to walk away from set­tle­ment, asks to pay em­ploy­ees mil­lions in bonus­es

There are two updates on the lawsuit against Purdue Pharma over its role in fueling the opioid epidemic, as the Sackler family threatens to walk away from their pledge to pay out $3 billion if a bankruptcy judge does not stop outstanding state lawsuits against them. At the same time, the company has asked permission to pay millions in bonuses to select employees.

Purdue filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy this week as part of its signed resolution to over 2,000 lawsuits. The deal would see the Sackler family that owns Purdue give $3 billion from their personal wealth and the company turned into a trust committed to curbing and reversing overdoses.

Aerial view of Genentech's campus in South San Francisco [Credit: Getty]

Genen­tech sub­mits a big plan to ex­pand its South San Fran­cis­co foot­print

The sign is still there, a quaint reminder of whitewashed concrete not 5 miles from Genentech’s sprawling, chrome-and-glass campus: South Francisco The Industrial City. 

The city keeps the old sign, first erected in 1923, as a tourist site and a kind of civic memento to the days it packed meat, milled lumber and burned enough steel to earn the moniker “Smokestack of the Peninsula.” But the real indication of where you are and how much has changed both in San Francisco and in the global economy since a couple researchers and investors rented out an empty warehouse 40 years ago comes in a far smaller blue sign, resembling a Rotary Club post, off the highway: South San Francisco, The Birthplace of Biotech.

While No­var­tis ban­ish­es Zol­gens­ma scan­dal scars — Bio­gen goes on a Spin­raza 'of­fen­sive'

While Novartis painstakingly works to mop up the stench of the data manipulation scandal associated with its expensive gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) Zolgensma— rival Biogen is attempting to expand the use of its SMA therapy, Spinraza. 

The US drugmaker $BIIB secured US approval for Spinraza for use in the often fatal genetic disease in 2016. The approval covered a broad range of patients with infantile-onset (most likely to develop Type 1) SMA. 

Jason Kelly. Mike Blake/Reuters via Adobe

Eye­ing big ther­a­peu­tic push, Gink­go bags $290M to build a cell pro­gram­ming em­pire

Ginkgo Bioworks is on a roll. Days after publicizing a plan to nurture new startups via partnerships with accelerators Y Combinator and Petri, the Boston biotech says it has raised another $290 million for its cell programming platform to reach further and wider.

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UP­DAT­ED: Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi to un­veil bill for fed­er­al­ly ne­go­ti­at­ed drug prices

After months of buzz from both sides of the aisle, Speaker Nancy Pelosi will today introduce her plan to allow the federal government to negotiate prices for 250 prescription drugs, setting up a showdown with a pharmaceutical industry working overtime to prevent it.

The need to limit drug prices is a rare point of agreement between President Trump and Democrats, although the president has yet to comment on the proposal and will likely face pressure to back a more conservative option or no bill at all. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is reportedly lobbying his fellow party members on a more modest proposal he negotiated with Democratic Senator Ron Wyden in July.