DBV es­ti­mates peanut al­ler­gy drug sub­mis­sion in Q3, but it may be too lit­tle too late in race with Aim­mune

DBV Tech­nolo­gies has all but so­lid­i­fied its run­ner up sta­tus in the race to bring a peanut al­ler­gy treat­ment on to the Unit­ed States mar­ket. The French drug de­vel­op­er on Wednes­day said it would re­sub­mit an ap­pli­ca­tion to mar­ket its prod­uct — Vi­askin Peanut — in the third quar­ter, af­ter with­draw­ing its ap­pli­ca­tion late last year in re­sponse to FDA con­cerns about the state of man­u­fac­tur­ing and qual­i­ty con­trol da­ta sub­mit­ted. Mean­while, arch ri­val Aim­mune’s treat­ment AR101 is cur­rent­ly un­der FDA re­view.

DBV $DB­VT re­scind­ed an ap­pli­ca­tion to mar­ket its peanut al­ler­gy patch on De­cem­ber 20, and the fol­low­ing day, Aim­mune $AIMT sub­mit­ted its ap­pli­ca­tion for peanut al­ler­gy im­munother­a­py AR101, in ef­fect leapfrog­ging its com­pe­ti­tion for a first-mover shot at cap­tur­ing the so far un­tapped mar­ket, which is ex­pect­ed to grow to $4.5 bil­lion in 2027 glob­al­ly, ac­cord­ing to Glob­al­Da­ta. The US shut­down be­gan on De­cem­ber 22 af­ter Pres­i­dent Trump in­sist­ed on $5.7 bil­lion from Con­gress to build a wall on the south­west US bor­der.

Bri­an Sko­r­ney

By mid-Jan­u­ary, Aim­mune said the health reg­u­la­tor had no­ti­fied them that it would not be able to re­view the ap­pli­ca­tion un­til the lapse in ap­pro­pri­a­tions end­ed. Ten days lat­er, on Jan­u­ary 25th, the gov­ern­ment re­opened, and the AR101 ap­pli­ca­tion was back in con­tention.

Baird’s Bri­an Sko­r­ney said DBV’s up­date made no dif­fer­ence to his ex­pec­ta­tions.

We con­tin­ue to ex­pect that, should Vi­askin Peanut reach an Ad­Com, the an­tic­i­pat­ed pri­or ap­proval of AR101 will elim­i­nate the “there is noth­ing else avail­able” ar­gu­ment for DBV Tech­nolo­gies and pa­tient ad­vo­cates, mak­ing it more dif­fi­cult for these par­ties to make a strong case for ap­proval of Vi­askin Peanut, giv­en the med­ica­tion’s weak ef­fi­ca­cy pro­file. We be­lieve that this dy­nam­ic may ul­ti­mate­ly pre­vent Vi­askin Peanut from gain­ing reg­u­la­to­ry ap­proval, clear­ing the field for Aim­mune’s AR101.

Mean­while, when Aim­mune an­nounced that the gov­ern­ment shut­down had stymied its ap­pli­ca­tion, FDA com­mis­sion­er Scott Got­tlieb threw an­oth­er span­ner in the works, sug­gest­ing in a se­ries of tweets that al­ler­genic prod­ucts are not cov­ered by user-fees, and con­se­quent­ly do not qual­i­fy for the PDU­FA process.

For Aim­mune’s im­munother­a­py, there is no clar­i­ty on its PDU­FA sta­tus, al­though the com­pa­ny is work­ing with the agency to fig­ure what the time­line for its re­view is, Sko­r­ney not­ed.

DBV’s Vi­askin Peanut — which is de­rived from freeze-dried de­fat­ted peanut flour ex­tract­ed from raw peanuts — is an al­ler­genic ex­tract and has se­cured the FDA’s break­through ther­a­py des­ig­na­tion (BTD) sta­tus. Jef­feries an­a­lyst Eun Yang sug­gest­ed that the treat­ment’s BTD sta­tus would prompt the FDA to com­plete its re­view un­der the pri­or­i­ty re­view time­line, cit­ing a reg­u­la­to­ry ex­pert. Vi­askin Peanut is clas­si­fied as a com­bi­na­tion prod­uct, thus, it will be re­viewed by the CBER (Cen­ter for Bi­o­log­ics Eval­u­a­tion and Re­search) with con­sul­ta­tion from the CDRH (Cen­ter for De­vices and Ra­di­o­log­i­cal Health), al­though CDRH tends to be slow, Yang said, re­fer­ring to the ex­pert’s com­ments.

Leerink fore­cast a US mar­ket en­try in 2021 for Vi­askin Peanut “giv­en the lack of (reg­u­la­to­ry) vis­i­bil­i­ty.”

Chas­ing Roche's ag­ing block­buster fran­chise, Am­gen/Al­ler­gan roll out Avastin, Her­ceptin knock­offs at dis­count

Let the long battle for biosimilars in the cancer space begin.

Amgen has launched its Avastin and Herceptin copycats — licensed from the predecessors of Allergan — almost two years after the FDA had stamped its approval on Mvasi (bevacizumab-awwb) and three months after the Kanjinti OK (trastuzumab-anns). While the biotech had been fielding biosimilars in Europe, this marks their first foray in the US — and the first oncology biosimilars in the country.

Seer adds ex-FDA chief Mark Mc­Clel­lan to the board; Her­cules Cap­i­tal makes it of­fi­cial for new CEO Scott Bluestein

→ On the same day it announced a $17.5 million Series C, life sciences and health data company Seer unveiled that it had lured former FDA commissioner and ex-CMS administrator Mark McClellan on to its board. “Mark’s deep understanding of the health care ecosystem and visionary insights on policy reform will be crucial in informing our thinking as we work to bring our liquid biopsy and life sciences products to market,” said Seer chief and founder Omid Farokhzad in a statement.

Norbert Bischofberger. Kronos

Backed by some of the biggest names in biotech, Nor­bert Bischof­berg­er gets his megaround for plat­form tech out of MIT

A little over a year ago when I reported on Norbert Bischofberger’s jump from the CSO job at giant Gilead to a tiny upstart called Kronos, I noted that with his connections in biotech finance, that $18 million launch round he was starting off with could just as easily have been $100 million or more.

With his first anniversary now behind him, Bischofberger has that mega-round in the bank.

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Francesco De Rubertis

Medicxi is rolling out its biggest fund ever to back Eu­rope's top 'sci­en­tists with strange ideas'

Francesco De Rubertis built Medicxi to be the kind of biotech venture player he would have liked to have known back when he was a full time scientist.

“When I was a scientist 20 years ago I would have loved Medicxi,’ the co-founder tells me. It’s the kind of place run by and for investigators, what the Medicxi partner calls “scientists with strange ideas — a platform for the drug hunter and scientific entrepreneur. That’s what I wanted when I was a scientist.”

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Af­ter a decade, Vi­iV CSO John Pot­tage says it's time to step down — and he's hand­ing the job to long­time col­league Kim Smith

ViiV Healthcare has always been something unique in the global drug industry.

Owned by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer — with GSK in the lead as majority owner — it was created 10 years ago in a time of deep turmoil for the field as something independent of the pharma giants, but with access to lots of infrastructural support on demand. While R&D at the mother ship inside GSK was souring, a razor-focused ViiV provided a rare bright spot, challenging Gilead on a lucrative front in delivering new combinations that require fewer therapies with a more easily tolerated regimen.

They kept a massive number of people alive who would otherwise have been facing a death sentence. And they made money.

And throughout, John Pottage has been the chief scientific and chief medical officer.

Until now.

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Daniel O'Day

No­var­tis hands off 3 pre­clin­i­cal pro­grams to the an­tivi­ral R&D mas­ters at Gilead

Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day’s new task hunting up a CSO for the company isn’t stopping the industry’s dominant antiviral player from doing pipeline deals.

The big biotech today snapped up 3 preclinical antiviral programs from pharma giant Novartis, with drugs promising to treat human rhinovirus, influenza and herpes viruses. We don’t know what the upfront is, but the back end has $291 million in milestones baked in.

Vas Narasimhan, AP Images

On a hot streak, No­var­tis ex­ecs run the odds on their two most im­por­tant PhI­II read­outs. Which is 0.01% more like­ly to suc­ceed?

Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan is living in the sweet spot right now.

The numbers are running a bit better than expected, the pipeline — which he assembled as development chief — is performing and the stock popped more than 4% on Thursday as the executive team ran through their assessment of Q2 performance.

Year-to-date the stock is up 28%, so the investors will be beaming. Anyone looking for chinks in their armor — and there are plenty giving it a shot — right now focus on payer acceptance of their $2.1 million gene therapy Zolgensma, where it’s early days. And CAR-T continues to underperform, but Novartis doesn’t appear to be suffering from it.

So what could go wrong?

Actually, not much. But Tim Anderson at Wolfe pressed Narasimhan and his development chief John Tsai to pick which of two looming Phase III readouts with blockbuster implication had the better odds of success.

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On a glob­al romp, Boehringer BD team picks up its third R&D al­liance for Ju­ly — this time fo­cused on IPF with $50M up­front

Boehringer Ingelheim’s BD team is on a global deal spree. The German pharma company just wrapped its third deal in 3 weeks, going back to Korea for its latest pipeline pact — this time focused on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

They’re handing over $50 million to get their hands on BBT-877, an ATX inhibitor from Korea’s Bridge Biotherapeutics that was on display at a science conference in Dallas recently. There’s not a whole lot of data to evaluate the prospects here.

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Servi­er scoots out of an­oth­er col­lab­o­ra­tion with Macro­Gen­ics, writ­ing off their $40M

Servier is walking out on a partnership with MacroGenics $MGNX — for the second time.

After the market closed on Wednesday MacroGenics put out word that Servier is severing a deal — inked close to 7 years ago — to collaborate on the development of flotetuzumab and other Dual-Affinity Re-Targeting (DART) drugs in its pipeline.

MacroGenics CEO Scott Koenig shrugged off the departure of Servier, which paid $20 million to kick off the alliance and $20 million to option flotetuzumab — putting a heavily back-ended $1 billion-plus in additional biobuck money on the table for the anti-CD123/CD3 bispecific and its companion therapies.