Come join me dur­ing my round-the-world biotech ad­ven­ture in Oc­to­ber, with events in Lon­don and Shang­hai — plus

A few years ago I had a chance to do a half-day event in Lon­don with a top group of biotech ex­ecs, and I’ve been mean­ing to get back to the Gold­en Tri­an­gle for a re­turn event ever since.

Now, with the Great Around the Biotech World Trip I’m plan­ning for Oc­to­ber, that time has ar­rived.

On Oc­to­ber 10, I’m bring­ing to­geth­er a great group of lead­ers in the biotech com­mu­ni­ty for the first an­nu­al End­points News UK Bio­phar­ma Re­search & De­vel­op­ment Sum­mit, host­ed at the Sil­i­con Val­ley Bank au­di­to­ri­um in Lon­don. 

We’ll be cov­er­ing key is­sues like fi­nanc­ing trends, the ROI of drug de­vel­op­ment and new in­no­va­tion, and how top can­cer drug de­vel­op­ers in the coun­try are nav­i­gat­ing the huge burst of new stud­ies that has swelled the pipeline in re­cent years.

Mene Pan­ga­los

My pan­elists in­clude Mene Pan­ga­los, the EVP of In­no­v­a­tive Med­i­cines, at As­traZeneca; Tim Haines

Kate Bing­ham

from Abing­worth; Kate Bing­ham at SV Health In­vestors; John Pot­tage, CSO at Vi­iV; Nooman Haque at SVB; David Grainger at Medicxi; Jack­ie Hunter from Benev­o­len­tAI; Mike Rea from IDEA; Mal­colm Weir, CEO at Hep­tares; Niall Mar­tin, CEO from Ar­tios and David Chiswell, the leg­endary CAT co-founder who now helms Kymab.

Plus a few we have yet to name.

You can read all about the half-day agen­da here. If you want­ed me to sum up the ob­jec­tive here, I’d say I’m look­ing for a clear up­date on the Gold­en Tri­an­gle’s place in this fast-chang­ing biotech world, with in­vestors act­ing more bull­ish­ly than I’ve ever seen. And I’d like to show the bio­phar­ma world what it looks like from the per­spec­tive of some of the bright­est peo­ple in the field.

We have a lim­it­ed num­ber of seats avail­able for an event that will be record­ed for a lat­er broad­cast. And I’m look­ing for an au­di­ence as great as the pan­elists who are ap­pear­ing to dis­cuss cur­rent biotech events at the sum­mit. Bio­phar­ma ex­ecs look­ing to get in­to the con­ver­sa­tion are hearti­ly wel­come. Plus, we have a beer and wine mix­er at the end, which should be fun.

It’s a good thing that we are near­ly squared away on Lon­don, be­cause af­ter a quick trip to Mu­nich for ES­MO, I’ll be head­ed out to Shang­hai for a 2-day event we’re man­ag­ing with our part­ners in Chi­na, Pharm­Cube: US-Chi­na Bio­phar­ma In­no­va­tion & In­vest­ment Sum­mit. We’re still bring­ing to­geth­er the pan­els for this, but we have head­line events planned with en­tre­pre­neur Saman­tha Du, CEO of Zai Labs, Vivek Ra­maswamy from Roivant, John Oyler, the CEO at BeiGene, Jonathan Wang from Or­biMed Asia and Fa­heem Has­nain, co-founder and ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of Gos­samer, who you may re­call arranged the $7.2 bil­lion sale of Re­cep­tos to Cel­gene and re­cent­ly raised $330 mil­lion for his new ven­ture. 

Plus, we have lots and lots more ex­ecs who will be join­ing us.

We’re go­ing to be talk­ing deals, dol­lars and ren­min­bi at a cru­cial in­ter­sec­tion for US, Chi­nese and Eu­ro­pean play­ers. So why are we ask­ing you to join us? By in­ter­min­gling key play­ers on both sides of the Pa­cif­ic — as well as from Eu­rope — we’d like to spark some new talks on col­lab­o­ra­tions, de­vel­op­ment deals and fi­nanc­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. Chi­na’s fast-grow­ing in­dus­try is chang­ing every­thing about the glob­al in­dus­try, and this is the time to ful­ly ex­plore it and make some con­nec­tions.

Fi­nal­ly, I’ll be head­ed down to Aus­tralia to keynote the an­nu­al Aus­Biotech gath­er­ing, which I’m re­al­ly look­ing for­ward to. And then I plan to sleep on the en­tire trip back to Ver­mont.

You may have no­ticed that our mot­to here is End­points News: The bio­phar­ma world is here. We weren’t kid­ding around.

It’s fi­nal­ly over: Bio­gen, Ei­sai scrap big Alzheimer’s PhI­I­Is af­ter a pre­dictable BACE cat­a­stro­phe rais­es safe­ty fears

Months after analysts and investors called on Biogen and Eisai to scrap their BACE drug for Alzheimer’s and move on in the wake of a string of late-stage failures and rising safety fears, the partners have called it quits. And they said they were dropping the drug — elenbecestat — after the independent monitoring board raised concerns about…safety.

We don’t know exactly what researchers found in this latest catastrophe, but the companies noted in their release that investigators had determined that the drug was flunking the risk/benefit analysis.

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Deborah Dunsire. Lundbeck

Deb­o­rah Dun­sire is pay­ing $2B for a chance to leap di­rect­ly in­to a block­buster show­down with a few of the world's biggest phar­ma gi­ants

A year after taking the reins as CEO of Lundbeck, Deborah Dunsire is making a bold bid to beef up the Danish biotech’s portfolio of drugs in what will likely be a direct leap into an intense rivalry with a group of giants now carving up a growing market for new migraine drugs.

Bright and early European time the company announced that it will pay up to about $2 billion to buy Alder, a little biotech that is far along the path in developing a quarterly IV formulation for a CGRP drug aimed at cutting back the number of crippling migraines patients experience each month.

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Lisa M. DeAngelis, MSKCC

MSK picks brain can­cer ex­pert Lisa DeAn­ge­lis as its next CMO — fol­low­ing José Basel­ga’s con­tro­ver­sial ex­it

It’s official. Memorial Sloan Kettering has picked a brain cancer expert as its new physician-in-chief and CMO, replacing José Baselga, who left under a cloud after being singled out by The New York Times and ProPublica for failing to properly air his lucrative industry ties.

His replacement, who now will be in charge of MSK’s cutting-edge research work as well as the cancer care delivered by hundreds of practitioners, is Lisa M. DeAngelis. DeAngelis had been chair of the neurology department and co-founder of MSK’s brain tumor center and was moved in to the acting CMO role in the wake of Baselga’s departure.

Penn team adapts CAR-T tech, reengi­neer­ing mouse cells to treat car­diac fi­bro­sis

After establishing itself as one of the pioneer research centers in the world for CAR-T cancer therapies, creating new attack vehicles to eradicate cancer cells, a team at Penn Medicine has begun the tricky transition of using the basic technology for heart repair work.

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Tal Zaks. Moderna

The mR­NA uni­corn Mod­er­na has more ear­ly-stage hu­man da­ta it wants to show off — reach­ing new peaks in prov­ing the po­ten­tial

The whole messenger RNA field has attracted billions of dollars in public and private investor cash gambled on the prospect of getting in on the ground floor. And this morning Boston-based Moderna, one of the leaders in the field, wants to show off a few more of the cards it has to play to prove to you that they’re really in the game.

The whole hand, of course, has yet to be dealt. And there’s no telling who gets to walk with a share of the pot. But any cards on display at this point — especially after being accused of keeping its deck under lock and key — will attract plenty of attention from some very wary, and wired, observers.

“In terms of the complexity and unmet need,” says Tal Zaks, the chief medical officer, “this is peak for what we’ve accomplished.”

Moderna has two Phase I studies it wants to talk about now.

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It's not per­fect, but it's a good start: FDA pan­elists large­ly en­dorse Aim­mune's peanut al­ler­gy ther­a­py

Two days after a fairly benign review from FDA staff, an independent panel of experts largely endorsed the efficacy and safety of Aimmune’s peanut allergy therapy, laying the groundwork for approval with a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS).

Traditionally, peanut allergies are managed by avoidance, but the threat of accidental exposure cannot be nullified. Some allergists have devised a way to dose patients off-label with peanut protein derived from supermarket products to wean them off their allergies. But the idea behind Aimmune’s product was to standardize the peanut protein, and track the process of desensitization — so when accidental exposure in the real world invariably occurs, patients are less likely to experience a life-threatening allergic reaction.

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Rit­ter bombs fi­nal PhI­II for sole lac­tose in­tol­er­ance drug — shares plum­met

More than two years ago Ritter Pharmaceuticals managed to find enough silver lining in its Phase IIb/III study — after missing the top-line mark — to propel its lactose intolerance toward a confirmatory trial. But as it turned out, the enthusiasm only set the biotech and its investors up to be sorely disappointed.

This time around there’s little left to salvage. Not only did RP-G28 fail to beat placebo in reducing lactose intolerance symptoms, patients in the treatment group actually averaged a smaller improvement. On a composite score measuring symptoms like abdominal pain, cramping, bloating and gas, patients given the drug had a mean reduction of 3.159 while the placebo cohort saw a 3.420 drop on average (one-sided p-value = 0.0106).

Ear­ly snap­shot of Ad­verum's eye gene ther­a­py sparks con­cern about vi­sion loss

An early-stage update on Adverum Biotechnologies’ intravitreal gene therapy has triggered investor concern, after patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) saw their vision deteriorate, despite signs that the treatment is improving retinal anatomy.

Adverum, on Wednesday, unveiled 24-week data from the OPTIC trial of its experimental therapy, ADVM-022, in six patients who have been administered with one dose of the therapy. On average, patients in the trial had severe disease with an average of 6.2 anti-VEGF injections in the eight months prior to screening and an average annualized injection frequency of 9.3 injections.

Alex Ar­faei trades his an­a­lyst's post for a new role as biotech VC; Sanofi vet heads to Vi­for

Too often, Alex Arfaei arrived too late. 

An analyst at BMO Capital Markets, he’d meet with biotech or pharmaceutical heads for their IPO or secondary funding and his brain, trained on a biology degree and six years at Merck and Endo, would spring with questions: Why this biomarker? Why this design? Why not this endpoint? Not that he could do anything about it. These execs were coming for clinical money; their decisions had been made and finalized long ago.