CRO start­up Vial scores $67M Se­ries B led by Gen­er­al Cat­a­lyst

Vial, a CRO spe­cial­iz­ing in of­fer­ing clin­i­cal tri­al ser­vices to biotech com­pa­nies, raised $67 mil­lion in a new round of fund­ing, bring­ing its to­tal mon­ey raised to $100 mil­lion.

The San Fran­cis­co-based com­pa­ny’s Se­ries B round was led by Gen­er­al Cat­a­lyst and sup­port­ed oth­ers such as By­ers Cap­i­tal and Box­Group.

Vial co-founder and CEO Si­mon Burns said the com­pa­ny will use the fund­ing to ex­pand its clin­i­cal op­er­a­tions and strat­e­gy teams in the US and across the Eu­ro­pean Union and Asia-Pa­cif­ic in or­der to sup­port its clients glob­al­ly.

“We will al­so use the pro­ceeds to con­tin­ue scal­ing the Vial tech­nol­o­gy plat­form that en­ables faster, cheap­er tri­als,” Burns said in an in­ter­view.

Vial is not alone in try­ing to change the way clin­i­cal tri­als are done. Com­pa­nies like 4G Clin­i­cal, Hu­ma, Clin­source and Reify Health have tak­en steps to cut down the time and ef­fort it takes to run stud­ies by us­ing cloud-based tri­al ser­vices and new tech­nolo­gies that promise to stream­line clin­i­cal tri­als. In some cas­es, they’ve tak­en on ad­di­tion­al chal­lenges, such as de­cen­tral­iz­ing tri­als and in­creas­ing di­ver­si­ty.

Ac­cord­ing to Vial’s web­site, there are near­ly 30 open po­si­tions the com­pa­ny is hir­ing for across clin­ics, CRO, en­gi­neer­ing, fi­nance, mar­ket­ing, op­er­a­tions, prod­uct man­age­ment and sales.

He­mant Tane­ja

He­mant Tane­ja, Vial board mem­ber and CEO and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Gen­er­al Cat­a­lyst, said his firm joined with Vial to con­tin­ue its mis­sion to “reimag­ine” the in­dus­try.

“The trans­for­ma­tion that we are see­ing hap­pen across health­care has been slow to come to clin­i­cal tri­als,” Tane­ja said in a state­ment.

Vial’s plan is to make clin­i­cal tri­als faster and more ef­fi­cient by in­te­grat­ing tri­al on­board­ing, pa­tient en­roll­ment, site com­mu­ni­ca­tion and da­ta col­lec­tion in­to one con­nect­ed sys­tem with ther­a­peu­tic ar­eas in on­col­o­gy, der­ma­tol­ogy, oph­thal­mol­o­gy, gas­troen­terol­o­gy, neu­rol­o­gy and car­di­ol­o­gy, ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

Found­ed in 2020, Vial has spent the past two years build­ing a team of clin­i­cal op­er­a­tions and strat­e­gy ex­ec­u­tives and paired them with en­gi­neers, prod­uct man­agers and de­sign­ers from Sil­i­con Val­ley, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease.

So­cial: Vial co-founders Si­mon Burns (L) and An­drew Brackin

Am­gen lays off about 300 work­ers, cit­ing 'in­dus­try head­wind­s'

Amgen has laid off about 300 employees, a company spokesperson confirmed to Endpoints News via email Sunday night.

Employees posted to LinkedIn in recent days about layoffs hitting Amgen last week. The Thousand Oaks, CA-based biopharma, which employs about 24,000 people, said the reduction “mainly” impacted US-based workers on its commercial team.

Drug developers of all sizes, including small upstarts and pharma giants, have let employees go in recent months as the biopharma market drags through a quarters-long winter doldrum.

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New York City in­vests $20M in­to biotech 'in­no­va­tion space' at the Brook­lyn Navy Yard

New York City is investing $20 million in biotech this year in the form of a 50,000-square-foot “innovation space” at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, complete with offices, research laboratories and events and programming space to grow biotech startups and companies.

Mayor Eric Adams said during his State of The City Address last Thursday that there will be an “emphasis” on making more opportunities for women and people of color to further diversify the industry. The City first reported the news.

Bob Bradway, Amgen CEO (Stephen Lam/Reuters)

Am­gen launch­es the first US Hu­mi­ra biosim­i­lar at two dif­fer­ent list prices

The bizarre dynamics of the US prescription drug market were on full display once again this morning as Amgen announced that it would launch the first US biosimilar for Humira, the best-selling drug of all time, at two completely different list prices.

One price for Amgen’s Amjevita (adalimumab-atto) will be 55% below the current Humira list price, which is about $84,000 per year, and another at a list price 5% below the current Humira list price, but presumably (pharma companies don’t disclose rebates) with high rebates to attract PBMs and payers.

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Dirk Thye, Quince Therapeutics CEO

Af­ter piv­ot­ing from Alzheimer's to bone con­di­tions, biotech piv­ots again — and halves its head­count

When troubled public biotech Cortexyme bought a private startup named Novosteo and handed the keys to its executive team, the company — which changed its name to Quince Therapeutics — said it would shift its focus from an unorthodox Alzheimer’s approach to Novosteo’s bone-targeting drug platform.

Less than a year later, Quince is pivoting again.

The biotech has decided to out-license its bone-targeting drug platform and its lead drug, NOV004, and instead look for clinical-stage programs to in-license or acquire, according to a press release.

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Boehringer In­gel­heim touts pre­ven­tion re­sults in rarest form of pso­ri­a­sis

Boehringer Ingelheim uncorked some positive results suggesting that Spevigo can help prevent flare-ups in patients with a severe form of psoriasis, months after the drug was approved to treat existing flares.

Spevigo, an IL-36R antibody also known as spesolimab, met its primary and a key secondary endpoint in the Phase IIb EFFISAYIL 2 trial in patients with generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP), Boehringer announced on Monday. While the company is keeping the hard numbers under wraps until later this year, it said in a news release that it anticipates sharing the results with regulators.

As­traZeneca, No­vo Nordisk and Sanofi score 340B-re­lat­ed ap­peals court win over HHS

AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi won an appeals court win on Monday, as the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit found that the companies cannot be forced to provide 340B-discounted drugs purchased by hospitals from an unlimited number of community and specialty pharmacies.

“Legal duties do not spring from silence,” the decision says as the court makes clear that the federal government’s interpretation of the “supposed requirement” that the 340B program compels drugmakers to supply their discounted drugs to an unlimited number of contract pharmacies is not correct, noting:

Ap­peals court toss­es J&J's con­tro­ver­sial 'Texas two-step' bank­rupt­cy case

A US appeals court has ruled against Johnson & Johnson’s use of bankruptcy to deal with mounting talc lawsuits, deciding that doing so would “create a legal blind spot.”

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a previous bankruptcy court decision on Monday, calling for the dismissal of a Chapter 11 filing by J&J’s subsidiary LTL Management.

Faced with more than 38,000 lawsuits alleging its talc-based products caused cancer, J&J spun its talc liabilities into a separate company called LTL Management back in October 2021 and filed for bankruptcy, a controversial move colloquially referred to as a “Texas two-step” bankruptcy. Claimants argued that the strategy is a misuse of the US bankruptcy code — and on Monday, a panel of judges agreed.

Chad Mirkin, Flashpoint co-founder

‘The field is at a flash­point’: New Chad Mirkin-found­ed biotech hopes to make more ef­fec­tive can­cer vac­cines

Following the success of the mRNA Covid vaccines, cancer vaccines are seeing renewed interest after years of middling results. But a group of researchers suggests that more attention needs to be paid not to what goes into those vaccines, but how the parts are put together.

In a recent paper published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, researchers led by Northwestern University’s Chad Mirkin describe how the placement of different antigens in a cancer vaccine impacts its efficacy. The paper builds on past work done by Mirkin’s lab that suggests the structure, or how the parts of a vaccine are arranged, impact a vaccine’s efficacy, not just its components.

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#JPM23: Reg­u­la­to­ry un­cer­tain­ty? What about M&A? Da­ta rule? Alessan­dro Masel­li and John Car­roll take out their crys­tal balls

Endpoints editor and founder John Carroll sat down the Catalent CEO Alessandro Maselli to talk about what’s ahead in 2023. Right or wrong, this covers all the big issues faced by biopharma. This transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.

John Carroll:

I think 2022 had to be one of the worst years ever for crystal balls. You went into 2022 thinking all sorts of nice things about what was ahead, not thinking about a European land war, maybe not thinking that the Federal Reserve was going to be jacking up interest rates as fast as they could to get ahead of inflation. Just a tremendous number of macroeconomic issues that were out there. The sudden and complete collapse of support on the markets in Nasdaq for biotech. A lot of darlings in the industry that had been out there for a while suddenly found themselves moving from a really hot market to a really cold market all of a sudden and had to make a lot of different changes in terms of strategizing.

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