Dear Alex­ion: Ge­off Meacham has some tough love to of­fer as you plan the rest of your year

Ge­off Meecham, Bar­clays an­a­lyst

Last month Bar­clays se­nior an­a­lyst Ge­off Meacham rocked a few boats by tak­ing a Dutch un­cle’s ap­proach in ad­vis­ing Gilead’s ex­ec­u­tive crew, sug­gest­ing they get dead­ly se­ri­ous about do­ing some­thing dra­mat­ic to cor­rect its drift­ing course. Now, he’s craft­ed a new let­ter filled with tough love for Alex­ion $ALXN, which he sees as a com­pa­ny that could use a buck­et of cold wa­ter in the face to wake up from its cri­sis-plagued ex­is­tence.

First, he of­fers, that em­bar­rass­ing sales probe and the swing­ing door at the ex­ec­u­tive suite has “wreaked hav­oc on in­vestor sen­ti­ment.” Your com­mu­ni­ca­tions strat­e­gy? Sub­op­ti­mal. But let’s not get bogged down by your past short­com­ings.

Look­ing for­ward, Meacham coach­es Alex­ion to throw out some of the dead wood and start ex­e­cut­ing much, much bet­ter.

Lud­wig Hantson

“We think that ful­ly writ­ing down Synage­va is an im­por­tant step to move on from a failed trans­ac­tion; his­to­ry can’t be changed, but as­sur­ances that a more ro­bust deal vet­ting process is be­ing put in place would be help­ful, in our view,” writes the an­a­lyst, tak­ing on an $8.4 bil­lion deal in 2015 that gave them the floun­der­ing Kanu­ma — 2016 sales: $29 mil­lion — and a failed pipeline ther­a­py.

Next steps: Ex­pand the Soliris la­bel, get crack­ing on the de­vel­op­ment of ALXN1210 — an an­ti-C5 an­ti­body that in­hibits ter­mi­nal com­ple­ment for pa­tients with parox­ys­mal noc­tur­nal he­mo­glo­bin­uria (PNH) — and get your ex­ec­u­tive team un­der new CEO Lud­wig Hantson on mes­sage.

He notes:

(M)ore ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion of busi­ness trends and the over­all strat­e­gy would col­lec­tive­ly go a long way in win­ning back in­vestors.

In the mean­time, why don’t you think about ex­e­cut­ing a com­pa­ny sale.

But in the push to re­set the busi­ness and in­vestor ex­pec­ta­tions, we think it is im­por­tant to con­sid­er all strate­gic op­tions, in­clud­ing a po­ten­tial sale of the com­pa­ny, which should be among the top pri­or­i­ties.

The Big Phar­ma dis­card pile; Lay­offs all around while some biotechs bid farewell; New Roche CEO as­sem­bles top team; 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.

With earnings seasons in full swing, we’ve listened in on all the calls so you don’t have to. But news is popping up from all corners, so make sure you check out our other updates, too.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Raymond Stevens, Structure Therapeutics CEO

Be­hind Fri­day's $161M IPO: A star sci­en­tist, GPCR drug dis­cov­ery and a plan to chal­lenge phar­ma in di­a­betes

What does it take to pull off a $161 million biotech IPO these days?

In Structure Therapeutics’ case, it means having a star scientist co-founder paired with the computational drug discovery company Schrödinger, $198 million in private funding from blue-chip investors, almost six years of research work on G protein-coupled receptors and a slate of oral, small-molecule drugs, with an eye on the huge and growing diabetes and weight-loss market.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/Politico via AP Images)

In­fla­tion re­bates in­com­ing: Wyden calls on CMS to move quick­ly as No­var­tis CEO pledges re­ver­sal

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) this week sent a letter to the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeking an update on how and when new inflation-linked rebates will take effect for drugs that see major price spikes.

The newly signed Inflation Reduction Act requires manufacturers to pay a rebate to Medicare when they increase drug prices faster than the rate of inflation.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Trodelvy notch­es a win in most com­mon form of breast can­cer

Following a promise last year to go “big and fast in breast cancer,” Gilead has secured a win for Trodelvy in the most common form.

The drug was approved to treat HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer patients who’ve already received endocrine-based therapy and at least two other systemic therapies for metastatic cancer, Gilead announced on Friday.

Trodelvy won its first indication in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer back in 2020, and has since added urothelial cancer to the list. HR-positive HER2-negative breast cancer accounts for roughly 70% of new breast cancer cases worldwide per year, according to senior VP of oncology clinical development Bill Grossman, and many patients develop resistance to endocrine-based therapies or worsen on chemotherapy.

John Roberts, exiting Vyant Bio CEO

Neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive biotech Vyant warns of po­ten­tial wind-down

The CEO and chief scientific officer of Vyant Bio are out the door as the little-known but publicly-listed neurodegenerative biotech searches for an exit or, if all else fails, a wind-down.

The soul-searching bookends a winding journey for the biotech, which rebranded and transitioned from diagnostics company Cancer Genetics in 2021 after a merger with StemoniX. That came after a failed merger attempt with NovellusDx (now Fore Biotherapeutics) in 2018. In the last few years, units have been sold off and the stock price $VYNT has plummeted from the $30 range to penny stock territory.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Medicago's vaccine greenhouse (Medicago via YouTube)

Cana­di­an plant-based vac­cine de­vel­op­er Med­ica­go shut­ters months af­ter lay­offs

Plant-based Covid-19 vaccine developer Medicago shut down this week with little fanfare. And its two subsidiaries, Medicago R&D and Medicago USA, are also closing their doors, according to a company news release.

The lone shareholder left standing, Japan-based Mitsubishi Chemical Group, “has determined not to make further investments in Medicago and to proceed with an orderly wind-up of its business and operations in Canada and in the United States.”

Af­ter 13 years, Ramy Mah­moud steps in­to CEO seat at Opti­nose; Ru­pert Vessey set to ex­it Bris­tol My­ers in Ju­ly

After 13 years as president and COO at Optinose, Ramy Mahmoud has stepped into a new role as its CEO. He is taking the place of Peter Miller, who stepped down earlier this week, though Miller is still staying with the company as a consultant.

In 2010, the two business partners joined Optinose to take it in a new direction, transforming it from a delivery platform to product company. They previously worked together at Johnson & Johnson, when Miller was president at Janssen and Mahmoud headed medical affairs. Miller said after he learned about Optinose, “I did what I always do, which is find people smarter than me to talk with about the idea. And the first person I called was Ramy … and I said, ‘Hey, Ramy, what do you think of this technology?’”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Ma­gen­ta halts stem cell work and may sell it­self fol­low­ing pa­tient death, clin­i­cal hold

Magenta Therapeutics said it is halting work on its stem cell transplant drug pipeline and may sell itself, a week after the company reported the death of a patient in an early stage trial of its antibody-drug conjugate.

The Cambridge, MA-based company said it will conduct a “review of strategic alternatives,” and that could include an “acquisition, merger, business combination, or other transaction.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Simba Gill, Evelo Biosciences CEO

Sim­ba Gill stay­ing on at Evelo to weath­er lay­offs and a PhII fail

Simba Gill will be staying put as CEO of Evelo Biosciences for now.

Gill announced last year that he would be leaving the head position at Evelo to take on the role of executive partner at Flagship Pioneering. He was aiming to stay on until a successor was selected, but there’s a new course of action in the wake of a Phase II miss and a reduced headcount.

“I want to emphasize that I remain personally committed to Evelo and staying on to lead the organization. I continue to believe that Evelo is a remarkable opportunity in terms of the science, the platform, the type of products that we’re able to produce, and most importantly, the potential of millions of patients suffering from all stages of inflammatory disease,” Gill said on a conference call.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.