Chris Roberts jumps back in­to biotech with CSO gig at Black Di­a­mond; Trou­bled Five Prime ap­points in­ter­im CEO

Chris Roberts Black Di­a­mond

→ Af­ter spend­ing two years as en­tre­pre­neur-in-res­i­dence at SR One — the ven­ture arm of his for­mer em­ploy­er, Glax­o­SmithK­line Chris Roberts is back at the front­lines of biotech.

As CSO of Black Di­a­mond Ther­a­peu­tics, Roberts joins CEO David Ep­stein in dri­ving their tar­get­ed ki­nase in­hibitors to­ward the clin­ic. He will lead re­search and ear­ly de­vel­op­ment on the biotech’s MAP plat­form, which ze­roes in on al­losteric mu­ta­tions of onco­genes. Its lead can­di­date, BDTX-189, tar­gets EGFR and HER2 re­gard­less of tu­mor type.

Can­cer, and par­tic­u­lar­ly ge­net­ic dri­vers of the dis­ease, was some­thing Roberts had some ex­pe­ri­ence with as VP of chem­istry and ear­ly de­vel­op­ment at Sy­ros, where he fo­cused on drug­ging tran­scrip­tion and was cred­it­ed for guid­ing two as­sets in­to clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. Be­fore that, he had spear­head­ed in­fec­tious dis­ease projects at GSK and Genelabs

Cam­bridge, MA-based Black Di­a­mond has al­so re­cruit­ed Matt Lu­cas from Yu­man­i­ty Ther­a­peu­tics to lead chem­istry and Tai-An Lin from Mer­ck KGaA to lead bi­ol­o­gy. Its first Phase I/II tri­al is slat­ed for the first half of next year.

Things haven’t been the same for can­cer-fo­cused Five Prime Ther­a­peu­tics, ever since their part­nered drug cabi­ral­izum­ab in com­bi­na­tion with Op­di­vo showed signs of weak ef­fi­ca­cy and a trou­bling safe­ty pro­file in an ear­ly-stage pan­cre­at­ic can­cer study in late 2017. As a re­sult of that fail­ure, the com­pa­ny axed 41 jobs in Jan­u­ary — rough­ly 20% of the com­pa­ny’s work­force — to fo­cus on late-stage pipelines. The South San Fran­cis­co-based com­pa­ny has tapped William “Bill” Ringo as act­ing in­ter­im CEO, suc­ceed­ing Aron Knicker­bock­er “who has re­signed from the com­pa­ny to pur­sue new chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties.” Cur­rent­ly, Ringo is the chair­man of com­pa­ny’s board of di­rec­tors  — and de­spite his tem­po­rary new role, will re­main in that po­si­tion. Ringo’s past ex­pe­ri­ence in­cludes pres­i­dent and CEO of Ab­genix and gigs at Pfizer and Eli Lil­ly.

Nadir Mah­mood Nkar­ta

→ Af­ter NASH con­tender CymaBay Ther­a­peu­tics re­leased neg­a­tive da­ta back in June show­ing that its lead drug se­ladel­par per­formed worse than a place­bo at a three-month read­out from its on­go­ing 52-week mid-stage study, the com­pa­ny’s stock plum­met­ed about 44.5%. Now, its CMO Pol Boudes is hit­ting the ex­it “to ex­plore oth­er op­por­tu­ni­ties.” Be­fore join­ing CymaBay, Boudes served in the same po­si­tion at Am­i­cus Ther­a­peu­tics and held oth­er stints at Berlex Lab­o­ra­to­ries (lat­er merged with Bay­er Health­Care Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals), Wyeth-Ay­erst Re­search, Hoff­mann-La Roche and Pas­teur-Merieux Serums & Vac­cines. The com­pa­ny has ini­ti­at­ed a search for a suc­ces­sor. 

→ Fol­low­ing plans to map out clin­i­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing of CAR-NK af­ter a $114 mil­lion Se­ries B round led by Sam­sara ear­li­er this month, Nkar­ta Ther­a­peu­tics has pro­mot­ed Nadir Mah­mood from SVP, cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment to the new­ly-cre­at­ed po­si­tion of CBO. Mah­mood pre­vi­ous­ly head­ed cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment at Sec­ond Genome and brings ex­pe­ri­ence from roles at Kythera Bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals (ac­quired by Al­ler­gan) — where he over­saw the pre­clin­i­cal re­search for their lead mol­e­cule, Ky­bel­la — and Gold­man Sachs

An­drew Sto­ber En­cod­ed

→ Back in June, Or­chard Ther­a­peu­tics an­nounced the pric­ing of its IPO — 9 mil­lion Amer­i­can de­posi­tary shares (ADSs) for to­tal gross pro­ceeds of about $128 mil­lion. Now, the UK gene ther­a­py de­vel­op­er has an­nounced that its CCO, Ja­son Meyen­burg is leav­ing the com­pa­ny “to take on a chief ex­ec­u­tive role in the in­dus­try.” Un­til the com­pa­ny can find a per­ma­nent re­place­ment, Mark Rothera, the com­pa­ny’s pres­i­dent and CEO, will as­sume glob­al com­mer­cial lead­er­ship re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. 

→ Gene ther­a­py-fo­cused En­cod­ed Ther­a­peu­tics has ex­pand­ed its lead­er­ship team with the ap­point­ments of An­drew Sto­ber as chief man­u­fac­tur­ing of­fi­cer and David Mc­N­inch as CBO. Sto­ber joins the com­pa­ny af­ter lead­ing gene ther­a­py man­u­fac­tur­ing at No­var­tis and af­ter roles at AveX­is, Bio­gen, Mer­ck and Am­gen. Pre­vi­ous­ly, Mc­N­inch served as chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer at Prothena and dur­ing his stint at In­ter­Mune he helped or­ga­nize the launch of the first treat­ment for IPF and the com­pa­ny’s lat­er ac­qui­si­tion by Roche. Mc­N­inch al­so spent time at Ipsen, Genen­tech, No­var­tis and As­traZeneca pri­or to his new gig.

David Mc­N­inch En­cod­ed

→ In April, Ever­est Med­i­cines inked a deal with Im­munomedics — mak­ing it one of the top 5 in-li­cens­ing com­pa­nies in Chi­na in the past 11 years. Ever­est is now bol­ster­ing its team with sev­er­al new ap­point­ments. Ja­son Brown, who has been serv­ing as the com­pa­ny’s SVP of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment, has been ap­point­ed to the po­si­tion of CBO. In ad­di­tion to his ap­point­ment, Ever­est has named pre­vi­ous Sanofi ex­ec, Frank Grams, as SVP of al­liance man­age­ment; for­mer Sanofi Chi­na head, Sophia Zhu, as SVP of port­fo­lio de­vel­op­ment and strate­gic plan­ning; Ex-Ab­bott gen­er­al man­ag­er, Alex Wang, as head of in­ter­na­tion­al busi­ness and for­mer head of fi­nance of Am­gen Chi­na, Daniel Weng, as vice pres­i­dent of fi­nance.

Flag­ship-backed Foghorn Ther­a­peu­tics has ex­pand­ed its lead­er­ship with the ap­point­ments of Samuel Agres­ta as CMO and Al­lan Reine as CFO. Agres­ta for­mer­ly served in the same po­si­tion at In­fin­i­ty Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals — and has worked as vice pres­i­dent and head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Agios Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, where he over­saw the de­vel­op­ment and reg­is­tra­tion of ivosi­denib (Tib­so­vo) and enasi­denib (Id­hi­fa). Reine hops on board af­ter serv­ing in the same po­si­tion at Pieris Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Stints at Lom­bard Odi­er As­set Man­age­ment, SAC Cap­i­tal Ad­vi­sors and Alexan­dra In­vest­ment Man­age­ment dot Reine’s re­sume.

Salarius Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has ap­point­ed Scott Jor­dan on board as CBO and Mark Rosen­blum as ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent fi­nance and in­ter­im CFO. With these new ad­di­tions, the com­pa­ny can fur­ther op­er­a­tions in its lead clin­i­cal pro­grams in Ew­ing sar­co­ma and ad­vanced sol­id tu­mors to aim at pro­duc­ing po­ten­tial da­ta in 2020. Jor­dan tran­si­tioned to the role af­ter serv­ing as Salarius’ CFO. Pre­vi­ous­ly, he served as CFO at Be­ta Cat Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer at Stingray Ther­a­peu­tics. He’s al­so the co-founder and ad­vi­sor at Health­ios Xchange. Rosen­blum was pre­vi­ous­ly brought on to the com­pa­ny as a fi­nan­cial con­sul­tant to as­sist with the merge with Flex Phar­ma. Pri­or to that role, Rosen­blum served as chair­man and CEO at Ac­tive­Care.

→ Prince­ton, New Jer­sey-based Oys­ter Point Phar­ma has wel­comed Dan Lochn­er as CFO and John Snis­arenko as CCO. Lochn­er joins af­ter a gig as man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Gold­man Sachs. Snis­arenko hops over to the com­pa­ny fol­low­ing time as group vice pres­i­dent and head of Shire’s (now Take­da) oph­thalmic busi­ness, lead­ing sales for Xi­idra, Lu­cen­tis, Rit­ux­an and Actem­ra.

in­sitro — led by AI star Daphne Koller — has added Matthew Ras­mussen as vice pres­i­dent of da­ta en­gi­neer­ing and Du­ane Valz as gen­er­al coun­sel. Ras­mussen joins the com­pa­ny from Myr­i­ad Ge­net­ics as vice pres­i­dent of soft­ware en­gi­neer­ing and a pre­vi­ous stint at Coun­syl. Valz joins from Zymer­gen — where he served as the com­pa­ny’s first in-house lawyer and gen­er­al coun­sel, help­ing to struc­ture their Se­ries B and C fi­nanc­ings. Valz held pre­vi­ous po­si­tions at Google, Ya­hoo! and Howard Rice Ne­merovs­ki Canady Falk & Rabkin (now com­bined with Arnold & Porter). 

→ Back in Ju­ly, Cel­gene col­lab­o­rat­ed with Nim­bus Ther­a­peu­tics to bag an op­tion for their ‘high­ly prized’ I/O tar­get, an HPK1 in­hibitor pro­gram. Now, Chris­tine Loh has joined Nim­bus as their SVP, head of bi­ol­o­gy af­ter spend­ing time as the vice pres­i­dent of trans­la­tion­al med­i­cine at Kymera Ther­a­peu­tics. Pre­vi­ous­ly, she served as the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of re­search — fo­cus­ing on he­mo­phil­ia and sick­le cell dis­ease — at Bio­gen spin­out Biover­a­tiv. She has held po­si­tions at Sir­tris, Pfiz­er and ICOS Cor­po­ra­tion

X4 Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals — which col­lab­o­rat­ed with the Leukemia & Lym­phoma So­ci­ety in May to ac­cel­er­ate the de­vel­op­ment of their lead prod­uct can­di­date ma­vorix­afor for the treat­ment of Walden­ström’s macroglob­u­line­mia — has named one of its orig­i­nal founders, Re­na­to Skerlj, as SVP, re­search and de­vel­op­ment. He draws from his ex­pe­ri­ence as the in­ven­tor of both pler­ix­afor, a stem cell mo­bi­liz­er ap­proved by the FDA in 2008, and er­tapen­em, an an­ti-bac­te­r­i­al ap­proved by the FDA in 2001. Skerlj’s re­sume in­cludes gigs at Lyso­so­mal Ther­a­peu­tics, Gen­zyme and AnorMED

Vi­nee­ta Be­langer Busi­ness Wire

→ Two years af­ter Zosano Phar­ma re­port­ed pos­i­tive Phase III da­ta for its mi­cronee­dle patch sys­tem for de­liv­er­ing an old mi­graine drug — set­ting up a cam­paign to file an NDA — the com­pa­ny has brought on Dushyant Pathak as SVP of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. Most re­cent­ly, Pathak served as the as­so­ciate vice chan­cel­lor of re­search, in­no­va­tion and tech­nol­o­gy com­mer­cial­iza­tion, as well as the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Ven­ture Cat­a­lyst  at Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Davis. Pathak brings ex­pe­ri­ence from his times at iP­ier­ian, as CEO and pres­i­dent of Cellex­i­con, founder of Ven­tureEdge and roles at Axys Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Ch­i­ron

→ While their lead drug can­di­date LYR-210 is in Phase II for the treat­ment of chron­ic rhi­nos­i­nusi­tis, ear, nose and throat dis­eases, Lyra Ther­a­peu­tics has added Vi­nee­ta Be­langer as the com­pa­ny’s SVP of clin­i­cal af­fairs. Be­langer most re­cent­ly served as vice pres­i­dent of clin­i­cal af­fairs at Ave­dro and has held po­si­tions at Iron­wood Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Neu­ro­Vi­sion and Al­con.

Pe­ter Catal­i­no has as­sumed a new gig at Ver­tex as SVP, head glob­al mar­ket­ing. He tran­si­tions to the com­pa­ny af­ter time as glob­al busi­ness fran­chise head car­dio-meta­bol­ic med­i­cines at No­var­tis. While at No­var­tis he worked un­der Paul Hud­son — crank­ing out block­buster heart drug En­tresto  and con­tribut­ing to the Akcea-Io­n­is li­cense deal. Pre­vi­ous­ly, Catal­i­no was an as­so­ciate prin­ci­pal at McK­in­sey & Com­pa­ny

→ Last week, Soli­genix brought Jonathan Guar­i­no on board as their SVP and CFO, suc­ceed­ing Karen Krume­ich who hit the ex­it to pur­sue new op­por­tu­ni­ties. This week the com­pa­ny made the ad­di­tion of Mer­ck vet Daniel Ring as vice pres­i­dent of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and strate­gic plan­ning. Ring brings ex­pe­ri­ence from his time as vice pres­i­dent of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at Ex­ela Phar­ma Sci­ences and as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of cor­po­rate li­cens­ing at Mer­ck

Allen Poir­son has hopped to twoXAR as the com­pa­ny’s SVP of bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. Be­fore join­ing the AI-dri­ven com­pa­ny, Poir­son served as a part­ner at Sil­i­con Val­ley-based VC firm Mighty Cap­i­tal. He for­mer­ly served as the CEO of Sony sub­sidiary Sony Biotech­nol­o­gy and held po­si­tions at NASA and Howard Hugh­es Med­ical In­sti­tute

→ Med­ical de­vice com­pa­ny, BioVen­trix, has tapped Pe­dro Mar­ques as vice pres­i­dent of sales for the Eu­ro­pean mar­ket. Mar­ques pre­vi­ous stints in­clude roles as vice pres­i­dent of glob­al ac­cess and clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Medtron­ic and as VP of in­ter­na­tion­al sales for Heart­Ware

Bio­Th­eryX — fo­cused on mul­ti-ki­nase in­hi­bi­tion and tar­get­ed pro­tein degra­da­tion — has wel­comed Al­ler­gan vet Jef­frey Ed­wards to its board of di­rec­tors. Ed­wards spent 22 years at Al­ler­gan — hold­ing sev­er­al roles in­clud­ing EVP, fi­nance and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and CFO. 

Ted Love, cur­rent pres­i­dent and CEO of Glob­al Blood Ther­a­peu­tics — which re­cent­ly re­ceiv­ing pri­or­i­ty re­view from the FDA for its sick­le cell dis­ease drug — has joined the board of di­rec­tors at Por­to­la Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Love pre­vi­ous­ly worked at Onyx Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Nu­velo, Ther­a­vance and Genen­tech.

→ Cam­bridge-based Verve Ther­a­peu­tics — who is purs­ing a gene-edit­ing ap­proach to coro­nary artery dis­ease — can now count An­drew Geall, as a mem­ber of the com­pa­ny’s sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board. Geall is the vice pres­i­dent of for­mu­la­tions, an­a­lyt­ics and chem­istry at Avid­i­ty Bio­sciences

→  An­a­lysts hate to lose a biotech CFO they’ve come to trust and ad­mire — es­pe­cial­ly if they’re be­ing blind­sided by a sur­prise ex­it. And Alex­ion’s un­ex­pect­ed an­nounce­ment af­ter the mar­ket close on Tues­day that Paul Clan­cy is on his way out — to be re­placed by a strat­e­gy and busi­ness chief they know vir­tu­al­ly noth­ing about — qual­i­fied as a nasty shock for some high-pro­file com­pa­ny ob­servers. 

Arad­hana Sarin

The Q3 re­port will be a joint ef­fort of Clan­cy and his re­place­ment, Arad­hana Sarin, who will then pick up the CFO job as Clan­cy con­tin­ues to ad­vise the com­pa­ny in­to the mid­dle of next year. So what’s up with that? Clan­cy on­ly ar­rived 2 years ago, step­ping in from Bio­gen, where he al­so com­mand­ed lots of re­spect in a spot­light po­si­tion.

His hir­ing was seen as a coup for Alex­ion watch­ers, as CEO Lud­wig Hantson put to­geth­er his new team, re­or­ga­nized the com­pa­ny af­ter a bruis­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion over ethics vi­o­la­tions, moved to Boston and laid out his ba­sic strat­e­gy on pro­tect­ing the big Soliris fran­chise. Sarin will take over with a lot to prove. And some an­a­lysts are set­ting the bar high. 

Patrik Jonsson, the president of Lilly Bio-Medicines

Who knew? Der­mi­ra’s board kept watch as its stock price tracked Eli Lil­ly’s se­cret bid­ding on a $1.1B buy­out

In just 8 days, from December 6 to December 14, the stock jumped from $7.88 to $12.70 — just under the initial $13 bid. There was no hard news about the company that would explain a rise like that tracking closely to the bid offer, raising the obvious question of whether insider info has leaked out to traders.

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2019 Trin­i­ty Drug In­dex Eval­u­ates Ac­tu­al Com­mer­cial Per­for­mance of Nov­el Drugs Ap­proved in 2016

Fewer Approvals, but Neurology Rivals Oncology and Sees Major Innovations

This report, the fourth in our Trinity Drug Index series, outlines key themes and emerging trends in the industry as we progress towards a new world of targeted and innovative products. It provides a comprehensive evaluation of the performance of novel drugs approved by the FDA in 2016, scoring each on its commercial performance, therapeutic value, and R&D investment (Table 1: Drug ranking – Ratings on a 1-5 scale).

How to cap­i­talise on a lean launch

For start-up biotechnology companies and resource stretched pharmaceutical organisations, launching a novel product can be challenging. Lean teams can make setting a launch strategy and achieving your commercial goals seem like a colossal undertaking, but can these barriers be transformed into opportunities that work to your brand’s advantage?
We spoke to Managing Consultant Frances Hendry to find out how Blue Latitude Health partnered with a fledgling subsidiary of a pharmaceutical organisation to launch an innovative product in a
complex market.
What does the launch environment look like for this product?
FH: We started working on the product at Phase II and now we’re going into Phase III trials. There is a significant unmet need in this disease area, and everyone is excited about the launch. However, the organisation is still evolving and the team is quite small – naturally this causes a little turbulence.

Samantha Truex (file photo)

Bruce Booth and Saman­tha Truex's lat­est ven­ture aims just above Hu­mi­ra

In 2000, about a year after the first trial data on Humira came out, a Japanese team identified a new gene that appeared to prevent GI cancer in mice: gasdermin, they called it, after the particular proteins it expressed.

Over the next decade-and-a-half, scientists found five more genes in the same family – often identified as gasdermin A, B, C, D, E and F – and yet their purpose baffled scientists. Mutations in A appeared to make mice bald (alopecia), but deleting it had no effect. Mutations in F and A were linked to deafness. Mutant E caused human cells to self-destruct.

FDA’s golodirsen CRL: Sarep­ta’s Duchenne drugs are dan­ger­ous to pa­tients, of­fer­ing on­ly a small ben­e­fit. And where's that con­fir­ma­to­ry tri­al?

Back last summer, Sarepta CEO Doug Ingram told Duchenne MD families and investors that the FDA’s shock rejection of their second Duchenne MD drug golodirsen was due to some concerns regulators raised about the risk of infection and the possibility of kidney toxicity. But when pressed to release the letter for all to see, he declined, according to a report from BioPharmaDive, saying that kind of move “might not look like we’re being as respectful as we’d like to be.”

He went on to assure everyone that he hadn’t misrepresented the CRL.

But Ingram’s public remarks didn’t include everything in the letter, which — following the FDA’s surprise about-face and unexplained approval — has now been posted on the FDA’s website and broadly circulated on Twitter early Wednesday.

The CRL raises plenty of fresh questions about why the FDA abruptly decided to reverse itself and hand out an OK for a drug a senior regulator at the FDA believed — 5 months ago, when he wrote the letter — is dangerous to patients. It also puts the spotlight back on Sarepta $SRPT, which failed to launch a confirmatory study of eteplirsen, which was only approved after a heated internal controversy at the FDA. Ellis Unger, director of CDER’s Office of Drug Evaluation I, notes that study could have clarified quite a lot about the benefit and risks associated with their drugs — which can cost as much as a million dollars per patient per year, depending on weight.

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Aymeric Le Chatelier, Ipsen

A $1B-plus drug stum­bles in­to an­oth­er big PhI­II set­back — this time flunk­ing fu­til­i­ty test — as FDA hold re­mains in ef­fect for Ipsen

David Meek

At the time Ipsen stepped up last year with more than a billion dollars in cash to buy Clementia and a late-stage program for a rare bone disease that afflicts children, then CEO David Meek was confident that he had put the French biotech on a short path to a mid-2020 launch.

Instead of prepping a launch, though, the company was hit with a hold on the FDA’s concerns that a therapy designed to prevent overgrowth of bone for cases of fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva might actually stunt children’s growth. So they ordered a halt to any treatments for kids 14 and under. Meek left soon after to run a startup in Boston. And today the Paris-based biotech is grappling with the independent monitoring committee’s decision that their Phase III had failed a futility test.

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Roche's check­point play­er Tecen­triq flops in an­oth­er blad­der can­cer sub­set

Just weeks after Merck’s star checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda secured FDA approval for a subset of bladder cancer patients, Swiss competitor Roche’s Tecentriq has failed in a pivotal bladder cancer study.

The 809-patient trial — IMvigor010 — tested the PD-L1 drug in patients with muscle-invasive urothelial cancer (MIUC) who had undergone surgery, and were at high risk for recurrence.

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Stephen Hahn, AP

The FDA has de­val­ued the gold stan­dard on R&D. And that threat­ens every­one in drug de­vel­op­ment

Bioregnum Opinion Column by John Carroll

A few weeks ago, when Stephen Hahn was being lightly queried by Senators in his confirmation hearing as the new commissioner of the FDA, he made the usual vow to maintain the gold standard in drug development.

Neatly summarized, that standard requires the agency to sign off on clinical data — usually from two, well-controlled human studies — that prove a drug’s benefit outweighs any risks.

Over the last few years, biopharma has enjoyed an unprecedented loosening over just what it takes to clear that bar. Regulators are more willing to drop the second trial requirement ahead of an accelerated approval — particularly if they have an unmet medical need where patients are clamoring for a therapy.

That confirmatory trial the FDA demands can wait a few years. And most everyone in biopharma would tell you that’s the right thing for patients. They know its a tonic for everyone in the industry faced with pushing a drug through clinical development. And it’s helped inspire a global biotech boom.

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UP­DAT­ED: New play­ers are jump­ing in­to the scram­ble to de­vel­op a vac­cine as pan­dem­ic pan­ic spreads fast

When the CNN news crew in Wuhan caught wind of the Chinese government’s plan to quarantine the city of 11 million people, they made a run for one of the last trains out — their Atlanta colleagues urging them on. On the way to the train station, they were forced to skirt the local seafood market, where the coronavirus at the heart of a brewing outbreak may have taken root.

And they breathlessly reported every moment of the early morning dash.

In shuttering the city, triggering an exodus of masked residents who caught wind of the quarantine ahead of time, China signaled that they were prepared to take extreme actions to stop the spread of a virus that has claimed 17 lives, sickened many more and panicked people around the globe.

CNN helped illustrate how hard all that can be.

The early reaction in the biotech industry has been classic, with small-cap companies scrambling to headline efforts to step in fast. But there are also new players in the field with new tech that has been introduced since the last of a series of pandemic panics that could change the usual storylines. And they’re volunteering for a crash course in speeding up vaccine development — a field where overnight solutions have been impossible to prove.

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