David Meek­er starts a new biotech chap­ter in his ca­reer; Sam Kulka­rni takes the helm at CRISPR

David Meek­er left Gen­zyme last April af­ter a 23-year run, in­clud­ing six years as pres­i­dent af­ter Sanofi stepped in to buy the land­mark biotech six years ago. Five months lat­er, af­ter adding a string of biotech board po­si­tions to his sched­ule, Meek­er has land­ed his next big gig in biotech run­ning KSQ Ther­a­peu­tics in Cam­bridge, MA. At KSQ, he says, you can start an ex­per­i­ment us­ing cut­ting edge tech­nol­o­gy and no bias about out­comes. With CRISPR,“we can study all 20,000 genes in the genome across a mul­ti­tude of dis­ease mod­els and find out which of those tar­gets has the biggest im­pact in mod­u­lat­ing the dis­ease. We can do it one shot, 20,000 genes at a time.”

Sam Kulka­rni

→ Af­ter steer­ing CRISPR Ther­a­peu­tics to an IPO last year as the last of the big three gene edit­ing com­pa­nies to make the leap in­to the pub­lic mar­kets, found­ing CEO Rodger No­vak is step­ping down and hand­ing the reins over to the orig­i­nal chief busi­ness de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer, Samarth Kulka­rni. There’s no spe­cif­ic rea­son giv­en for No­vak’s de­par­ture, oth­er than the gener­ic “per­son­al rea­sons” of­ten cit­ed dur­ing these kinds of change­ups. No­vak is stay­ing on the board.

Shafique Vi­rani, a busi­ness de­vel­op­ment ex­ec at Roche/Genen­tech, has been named the new CEO of Navire Phar­ma. Part­ner­ing with MD An­der­son, the biotech will work on in­hibit­ing SHP2 in fight­ing can­cer tu­mors. “Navire’s com­pounds po­tent­ly bind SHP2 and pre­vent ac­ti­va­tion of the pro­tein, block­ing its abil­i­ty to pro­mote tu­mor growth,” said Vi­rani. Bridge­Bio is bankrolling the start­up to the tune of $30 mil­lion.

Loan Hoang-Sayag is ex­it­ing her post as CMO at Cel­lec­tis, ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ate­ly. Math­ieu Si­mon, the COO/EVP of the im­munother­a­py com­pa­ny, will be step­ping in as the in­ter­im.

An­ge­lo Moess­lang has joined In­Gen­eron as their new CEO. For­mer­ly, Moess­lang was the CFO at Fre­se­nius Med­ical Care North Amer­i­ca, where he worked his way up start­ing in 1995.

Halozyme Ther­a­peu­tics‘ chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Mark Ger­gen is leav­ing to “pur­sue pro­fes­sion­al op­por­tu­ni­ties out­side the Com­pa­ny.”

Sumi­ta Ray is the new gen­er­al coun­sel of Calithera Bio­sciences.

→ Ad­verum Biotech­nolo­gies has added Lin­da Neu­man as VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. She hails from Sune­sis Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

→  Ste­fan Oel­rich worked his way up and is now the ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of Sanofi’s di­a­betes & car­dio­vas­cu­lar unit.

Ganesh Kaun­dinya has been pro­mot­ed to the COO/CSO gig at Mo­men­ta. He is one of the co-founders of the Cam­bridge, MA-based com­pa­ny.

Im­muno­core has ap­point­ed An­drew Hotchkiss as their new chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer. Pre­vi­ous­ly, he worked at Eli Lil­ly, be­gin­ning in ’96.

→  Mar­go Heath-Chiozzi is now SVP of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs at Celldex Ther­a­peu­tics.

→  Amit Shah is the CFO at Ma­ri­na Biotech.

Con­tra­Fect’s new COO is Lisa Ric­cia­r­di.

M&A: a crit­i­cal dri­ver for sus­tain­able top-line growth in health­care

2021 saw a record $600B in healthcare M&A activity. In 2022, there is an anticipated slowdown in activity, however, M&A prospects remain strong in the medium to long-term. What are future growth drivers for the healthcare sector? Where might we see innovations that drive M&A? RBC’s Andrew Callaway, Global Head, Healthcare Investment Banking discusses with Vito Sperduto, Global Co-Head, M&A.

15 LGBTQ lead­ers in bio­phar­ma; Paul Stof­fels’ Gala­pa­gos re­vamp; As­traZeneca catch­es up in AT­TR; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

A return to in-person conferences also marks a return to on-the-ground reporting. My colleagues Beth Synder Bulik and Nicole DeFeudis were on-site at Cannes Lions, bringing live coverage of pharma’s presence at the ad festival — accompanied by photos from Clara Bui, our virtual producer, that bring you right to the scene. You can find a recap (and links to all the stories) below.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 144,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

David Loew (Ipsen)

Ipsen snags an ap­proved can­cer drug in $247M M&A deal as an­oth­er bat­tered biotech sells cheap

You can add Paris-based Ipsen to the list of discount buyers patrolling the penny stock pack for a cheap M&A deal.

The French biotech, which has had plenty of its own problems to grapple with, has swooped in to buy Epizyme $EPZM for $247 million in cash and a CVR with milestones attached to it. Epizyme shareholders, who had to suffer through a painfully soft launch of their EZH2a inhibitor cancer drug Tazverik, will get $1.45 per share along with a $1 CVR tied to achieving $250 million in sales from the drug over four consecutive quarters as well as an OK for second-line follicular lymphoma by 1 Jan. 2028.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 144,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

AstraZeneca's new Evusheld direct to consumer campaign aims to reach more immunocompromised patients.

As­traZeneca de­buts first con­sumer cam­paign for its Covid-19 pro­phy­lac­tic Evusheld — and a first for EUA drugs

AstraZeneca’s first consumer ad for Evusheld is also a first for drugs that have been granted emergency use authorizations during the pandemic.

The first DTC ad for a medicine under emergency approval, the Evusheld campaign launching this week aims to raise awareness among immunocompromised patients — and spur more use.

Evusheld nabbed emergency authorization in December, however, despite millions of immunocompromised people looking for a solution and now more widespread availability of the drug.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 144,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

GSK says its drug for chron­ic hep B could ‘lead to a func­tion­al cure’ — but will it be alone or in com­bi­na­tion?

GSK, newly branded and soon-to-be demerged, shared interim results from its Phase II trial on its chronic hepatitis B treatment, one that it says has the “potential to lead to a functional cure.”

At a presentation at the EASL International Liver Congress, GSK shared that in around 450 patients who received its hep B drug bepirovirsen for 24 weeks, just under 30% had hepatitis B surface antigen and viral DNA levels that were too low to detect.

De­spite a slow start to the year for deals, PwC pre­dicts a flur­ry of ac­tiv­i­ty com­ing up

Despite whispers of a busy year for M&A, deal activity in the pharma space is actually down 30% on a semi-annualized basis, according to PwC’s latest report on deal activity. But don’t rule out larger deals in the second half of the year, the consultants said.

PwC pharmaceutical and life sciences consulting solutions leader Glenn Hunzinger expects to see Big Pharma companies picking up earlier stage companies to try and fill pipeline gaps ahead of a slew of big patent cliffs. Though a bear market continues to maul the biotech sector, Hunzinger said recent deals indicate that pharma companies are still paying above current trading prices.

Abortion-rights protesters regroup and protest following Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Fol­low­ing SCO­TUS de­ci­sion to over­turn abor­tion pro­tec­tions, AG Gar­land says states can't ban the abor­tion pill

Following the Supreme Court’s historic decision on Friday to overturn Americans’ constitutional right to an abortion after almost 50 years, Attorney General Merrick Garland sought to somewhat reassure women that states will not be able to ban the prescription drug sometimes used for abortions.

Following the decision, the New England Journal of Medicine also published an editorial strongly condemning the reversal, saying it “serves American families poorly, putting their health, safety, finances, and futures at risk.”

Joe Wiley, Amryt Pharma CEO

Am­ryt Phar­ma sub­mits a for­mal dis­pute res­o­lu­tion to the FDA over re­ject­ed skin dis­ease drug

The story of Amryt Pharma’s candidate for the genetic skin condition epidermolysis bullosa, or EB, will soon enter another chapter.

After the Irish drugmaker’s candidate, dubbed Oleogel-S10 and marketed as Filsuvez, was handed a CRL earlier this year, the company announced in a press release that it plans to submit a formal dispute resolution request for the company’s NDA for Oleogel-S10.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images)

Phar­ma-friend­ly sen­a­tor calls on FDA for a third time to show patent pro­tec­tions should­n't be blamed for high drug prices

North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis made a name for himself in the 2020 election cycle as the darling of the pharma industry, accepting hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions, even from the likes of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

Those contributions have led Tillis to attempt to re-write patent laws in pharma’s favor, a move which failed to gain steam in 2019, and request for a third time since January that the FDA should help stop “the false narrative that patent protections are to blame for high drug prices.”