'Don't eat me' up­start taps Take­da vet on path to the clin­ic; Greg Mayes leaves An­tios for Cana­di­an psy­che­delics play­er

Ne­nad Gr­musa

Ne­nad Gr­musa was “re­al­ly hap­py” at Take­da, where he’d been for more than a decade in var­i­ous R&D strat­e­gy and fi­nance po­si­tions. How­ev­er, the more he learned about DEM Bio­Phar­ma, the more in­trigued he be­came by can­cer’s un­ex­plored “don’t eat me” sig­nals.

Jonathan Weiss­man and team launched the apt­ly-named biotech back in June to de­ploy macrophages and oth­er myeloid ef­fec­tor cells against tu­mors by us­ing so-called “don’t eat me” and “eat me” sig­nals, which al­low can­cer cells to evade the im­mune sys­tem.

The Long­wood-backed start­up of­fi­cial­ly tapped Gr­musa as CEO on Tues­day, along­side On­corus vet Christophe Qué­va, who’s join­ing as CSO. Qué­va’s re­sume boasts stints at iTeos, as well as As­traZeneca, Am­gen and Gilead. The team al­so took the op­por­tu­ni­ty to in­tro­duce Loise Fran­cis­co-An­der­son, who re­cent­ly joined as VP and head of bi­ol­o­gy.

Christophe Qué­va

“I was amazed how much da­ta the group has gen­er­at­ed in such a short pe­ri­od of time and I’m re­al­ly re­al­ly im­pressed by the qual­i­ty of the sci­en­tif­ic team,” Gr­musa said.

He’s tak­ing over from found­ing CEO David Don­abe­di­an, who will con­tin­ue to ad­vise the com­pa­ny. For­mer Tril­li­um Ther­a­peu­tics CEO Jan Skvar­ka is al­so on board as ex­ec­u­tive chair­man. Up­on launch­ing with a $70 mil­lion Se­ries A, Don­abe­di­an pre­dict­ed that the com­pa­ny might be in the clin­ic in the next two to three years.

Gr­musa con­firmed that time­line on Thurs­day, adding that the com­pa­ny is hop­ing to get IND-en­abling stud­ies un­der its belt by 2024. The start­up’s plat­form, dubbed Co-cul­ture with Hu­man Myeloid Phago­cytes or CHoMP, seeks tar­gets us­ing CRISPR screen­ing.

The team is cur­rent­ly 15-large, though Gr­musa added that the com­pa­ny’s look­ing to grow.

“It’s been a very short pe­ri­od of time, but we’ve re­cruit­ed the top sci­en­tif­ic tal­ent, and I’m amazed,” he said.

Gr­musa’s back­ground is in fi­nance and eco­nom­ics, where he grad­u­at­ed from the Bran­deis In­ter­na­tion­al Busi­ness School with his mas­ter’s. He lat­er held an­a­lyst po­si­tions at Boston Bio­med­ical Con­sul­tants and Mil­len­ni­um Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, be­fore jump­ing to Take­da in 2012. Most re­cent­ly, he was SVP of R&D strat­e­gy and ex­ter­nal in­no­va­tion, and CFO of R&D. — Nicole De­Feud­is


Greg Mayes

Greg Mayes has bolt­ed from An­tios Ther­a­peu­tics, tak­ing over from Joseph del Moral as pres­i­dent and CEO of Toron­to psy­che­delics biotech Re­union Neu­ro­science. On Mayes’ watch, An­tios pulled to­geth­er a $96 mil­lion raise in April 2021 and an­oth­er $75 mil­lion in No­vem­ber to form its Se­ries B, but the biotech ran in­to trou­ble a few months ago when the FDA threw down the stop sticks with a clin­i­cal hold on its HBV drug. As­sem­bly Bio­sciences would pull the plug on its col­lab­o­ra­tion with An­tios as a re­sult.

As del Moral be­comes chair­man, Mayes now leads a com­pa­ny once known as Field Trip Health with its lead pro­gram RE-104 in ear­ly-stage tri­als for treat­ment re­sis­tant de­pres­sion and a Phase II planned in Au­gust 2023 for post­par­tum de­pres­sion. “My goal as pres­i­dent and CEO of Re­union is to lead a com­pa­ny that will bold­ly dis­rupt the men­tal health sec­tor with dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed sero­ton­er­gic psy­che­del­ic ther­a­pies,” Mayes said in a state­ment.

Julie Brown

→ The changes are pro­nounced at GSK as the phar­ma gi­ant con­scious­ly brands it­self as the “New GSK,” spin­ning off its con­sumer health­care busi­ness while plac­ing a pre­mi­um on spe­cial­ty med­i­cine and vac­cine R&D. You can al­so sense it with the lead­er­ship team: R&D chief Hal Bar­ron is gone, land­ing a CEO gig at the am­bi­tious an­ti-ag­ing play Al­tos Labs, and now CFO Iain Mack­ay has de­cid­ed to re­tire in May 2023. Mack­ay will be re­placed by Julie Brown, the chief op­er­at­ing and fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer at Burber­ry who spent a quar­ter-cen­tu­ry with As­traZeneca in a num­ber of ex­ec­u­tive roles, in­clud­ing in­ter­im CFO and VP of group fi­nance. Ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ate­ly, Brown has left the board of di­rec­tors at Roche, and Patrick Frost will re­place her tem­porar­i­ly as chair of the Swiss phar­ma’s au­dit com­mit­tee. Am­ber Tong has more on Brown’s ap­point­ment.

Juan An­dres

→ Us­ing its Covid-19 jab as a spring­board for more po­ten­tial vac­cine launch­es — cy­tomegalovirus and the flu among them — Stéphane Ban­cel will give Juan An­dres a new role on Jan. 1 at Mod­er­na, nam­ing him pres­i­dent, strate­gic part­ner­ships and en­ter­prise ex­pan­sion. Jerh Collins, a 30-year No­var­tis vet who has been the Big Phar­ma’s chief cul­ture of­fi­cer since Sep­tem­ber 2020, will re­place An­dres as chief tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions and qual­i­ty of­fi­cer, and will join the mR­NA biotech three months ear­ly on Oct. 3. An­dres has ties to No­var­tis him­self, serv­ing as glob­al head of tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions there un­til he took off for Mod­er­na as SVP of late-stage tech­ni­cal de­vel­op­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing in Au­gust 2017.

Fred Ka­mal

Fred Ka­mal has been pro­mot­ed to pres­i­dent and COO of 4D Mol­e­c­u­lar Ther­a­peu­tics, the Emeryville, CA gene ther­a­py biotech with pro­grams that go af­ter wet AMD, Fab­ry dis­ease and cys­tic fi­bro­sis. Ka­mal, the op­er­a­tions chief since Feb­ru­ary 2020, came to 4DMT in the fall of 2018 as chief tech­ni­cal of­fi­cer af­ter stints at In­ter­Mune, Juno Ther­a­peu­tics and Avex­is. UCSF pro­fes­sor Noriyu­ki Kasa­hara, prin­ci­pal in­ves­ti­ga­tor at the school’s Brain Tu­mor Cen­ter, has claimed a spot on 4DMT’s board of di­rec­tors.

Mic­ah Ben­son

→ Take­da part­ner KSQ Ther­a­peu­tics has pro­mot­ed head of im­munol­o­gy Mic­ah Ben­son to CSO and has re­cruit­ed Tom Leitch as chief tech­nol­o­gy of­fi­cer. Ben­son was head of tol­er­ance ther­a­peu­tics for Pfiz­er’s im­munol­o­gy and in­flam­ma­tion re­search unit, then signed on as KSQ’s head of im­muno-on­col­o­gy in 2016. An 11-year Mer­ck vet who held lead­er­ship roles at Alex­ion, Leitch is the lat­est to peel away from blue­bird bio in the wake of its two gene ther­a­py ap­provals, mov­ing on to KSQ af­ter two years as blue­bird’s head of man­u­fac­tur­ing and five years over­all. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, Dunad Ther­a­peu­tics chief Pearl Huang is leav­ing the board of di­rec­tors, while Ben­son’s pre­de­ces­sor Frank Stegmeier steps in to keep it a six-mem­ber board.

Dave An­der­son

Dave An­der­son has been named CSO of Philadel­phia’s Code Bio­ther­a­peu­tics, the gene ther­a­py out­fit led by for­mer GSK ex­ec Bri­an McVeigh that made Take­da stand up and take no­tice with a $2 bil­lion AAV deal in Feb­ru­ary. An­der­son once led pre­clin­i­cal re­search for neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­eases at Spark and had just been pro­mot­ed to SVP of re­search at Swan­Bio in June. Code has com­pe­ti­tion with the non-vi­ral ap­proach, as biotechs like Xalud Ther­a­peu­tics and Ver­sant-backed Vec­tor Bio­Phar­ma jock­ey for po­si­tion.

Kevin Bunker

→ New Zen­tal­is CEO Kim Black­well is con­tin­u­ing to tin­ker with the lead­er­ship around her, pro­mot­ing co-founder Kevin Bunker to CSO af­ter swing­ing the door open for med­ical chief Car­rie Brown­stein last week and el­e­vat­ing an­oth­er co-founder, Cam Gal­lagher, to pres­i­dent in her first cou­ple weeks on the job. A for­mer se­nior sci­en­tist in Pfiz­er’s drug dis­cov­ery re­search group, Bunker — hereto­fore the COO at Zen­tal­is — co-found­ed and was CSO of Ka­lyra Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

→ What about Brown­stein’s suc­ces­sor at her for­mer em­ploy­er? Cel­lec­tis is look­ing in­ward for that, as Mark Frat­ti­ni moves in­to the CMO slot. Frat­ti­ni piv­ot­ed to Cel­lec­tis in Au­gust 2020 as SVP of clin­i­cal sci­ences af­ter his turn as ex­ec­u­tive med­ical di­rec­tor, pro­gram lead, glob­al clin­i­cal R&D in the hema­tol­ogy ther­a­peu­tic area for Cel­gene and Bris­tol My­ers Squibb. “Mark al­ready had an im­pres­sive track record be­fore join­ing Cel­lec­tis,” CEO An­dré Chouli­ka said in a state­ment. “He has con­tin­ued to lead our clin­i­cal teams suc­cess­ful­ly over the last two years and I am thrilled to con­tin­ue work­ing with him in this ex­pand­ed role.”

David Poon

→ Van­cou­ver-based Gan­dee­va Ther­a­peu­tics, a cryo­genic elec­tron mi­croscopy (cryo-EM) biotech that notched a $40 mil­lion Se­ries A in Jan­u­ary from the likes of Leaps by Bay­er and Am­gen, has se­lect­ed Matthew Lu­cas as CSO and David Poon as CBO. Lu­cas, the ex-se­nior di­rec­tor of chem­istry at Yu­man­i­ty, closed out his three years at Black Di­a­mond as SVP of drug dis­cov­ery, while Poon is a 15-year Zymeworks vet who was re­cent­ly the heav­i­ly re­struc­tured com­pa­ny’s VP, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and al­liance man­age­ment.

Mayank Gand­hi

→ Af­ter eF­FEC­TOR Ther­a­peu­tics plucked new CMO Dou­glas Warn­er from Am­gen in Au­gust, Mayank Gand­hi has re­placed Alana Mc­Nul­ty as CBO of the Cal­i­for­nia can­cer biotech. In 2020, Gand­hi jumped on the now-rick­ety SPAC band­wag­on as VP of cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment & strat­e­gy at Jiya Ac­qui­si­tion Corp, the blank check com­pa­ny set up by Sri­ni Akkara­ju. Ear­li­er, he con­clud­ed a sev­en-year run at Genen­tech as busi­ness de­vel­op­ment & li­cens­ing di­rec­tor.

Rah­saan Thomp­son

Rick Klaus­ner’s T cell ther­a­py shop Lyell Im­munophar­ma has ap­point­ed Rah­saan Thomp­son as chief le­gal of­fi­cer. Thomp­son is an Acte­lion le­gal vet who moves on to Lyell fol­low­ing his two years as Grit­stone bio’s gen­er­al coun­sel, and it’s the sec­ond big C-suite pick­up for Lyell this year: Gary Lee jumped on board as CSO in late Jan­u­ary. Klaus­ner sold 11,100 shares of Lyell’s stock last Fri­day, with an uptick in the stock price $LYEL most of this week.

Matthew Calde­mey­er

→ Led by for­mer Seagen ex­ec Nan­cy Whit­ing and Blue­print Med­i­cines alums, San Diego’s Re­cludix Phar­ma has en­trust­ed Matthew Calde­mey­er with CBO du­ties. Calde­mey­er just spent four years in busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at Ever­est Med­i­cinesnow un­der new man­age­ment — and the Eli Lil­ly vet has al­so built his BD ré­sumé with Am­gen, Ar­ray Bio­Phar­ma and Am­brx. Re­cludix pulled off the tarp in No­vem­ber 2021 with a $60 mil­lion Se­ries A as the crew takes aim at STAT3 and STAT6.

→ RNA edit­ing up­start ADARx Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has tapped Christo­pher Pren­tiss as CFO. The for­mer fi­nance chief at Adamas Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals comes to a biotech that made a splash a year ago with a $75 mil­lion Se­ries B in a space that al­so in­cludes Shape Ther­a­peu­tics and Pro­QR. Pren­tiss has pri­or fi­nance ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­dus­try with In­ter­Mune, Dy­navax and MannKind.

In­grid De­laet

→ Fresh off its £48.3 mil­lion ($56.57 mil­lion) ac­qui­si­tion of Di­ur­nal Group a month ago, Neu­ro­crine has pro­mot­ed In­grid De­laet to chief reg­u­la­to­ry of­fi­cer. De­laet had been VP of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs since Jan­u­ary 2021, and she was SVP, reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs at In­ter­cept be­fore her move to Neu­ro­crine. In 19 years with Bris­tol My­ers, she worked in clin­i­cal R&D and was ther­a­peu­tic area lead for im­munol­o­gy with­in glob­al reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs.

Karin Schmitt

→ Cam­bridge, UK-based Mursla has wel­comed Karin Schmitt to its lead­er­ship team as COO. Schmitt brings with her a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence from pre­vi­ous stints at Ex­elix­is, Mil­len­ni­um Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Ther­mo Fish­er Sci­en­tif­ic, Hori­zon Dis­cov­ery Group, Pre­dic­tIm­mune and Mo­gri­fy.

Lar­ry Green is seiz­ing the reins once again at Ali­vaM­ab Dis­cov­ery Ser­vices, tak­ing over from Justin Mi­ka. Green was the found­ing CEO of the San Diego-based com­pa­ny and has served as Ali­vaM­ab’s ex­ec­u­tive chair since May 2020. Ear­li­er in his ca­reer, Green served in roles at Am­gen and Ab­genix among oth­ers. Green al­so wears the CEO hat at Ablex­is and will con­tin­ue to serve in his role there.

→ Cal­i­for­nia VC Sec­tion 32 has plugged in Nick Smith as chief in­vestor re­la­tions of­fi­cer. Smith had led in­vestor re­la­tions at Fore­site Cap­i­tal since 2018, and in an­oth­er re­cent stop, he was di­rec­tor and re­gion­al head of client ad­vi­so­ry for Win­ton Group.

Bren­da Van Vreeswyk

→ Just as we were pub­lish­ing last week’s Peer Re­view, T cell en­gager play­er Janux Ther­a­peu­tics wel­comed Bren­da Van Vreeswyk as head of hu­man re­sources. Van Vreeswyk was di­rec­tor of HR dur­ing a six-year stay at Neu­ro­crine be­fore mov­ing on to the Mer­ck part­ner, which al­so added Win­ston Kung to its board of di­rec­tors last week.

Will Lewis

In­smed CEO and Aege­ri­on co-founder Will Lewis has been named chair­man of Adres­tia Ther­a­peu­tics, a GSK-backed “syn­thet­ic res­cue” biotech out of Cam­bridge, UK. Adres­tia al­so has a pair of new ex­ecs: Jen­nifer Mil­lian (VP of US op­er­a­tions) had a near­ly 16-year as­so­ci­a­tion with Sanofi Gen­zyme be­fore join­ing uniQure as di­rec­tor, pro­gram man­age­ment, and she was re­cent­ly VP of pro­gram and al­liance man­age­ment for Affinia Ther­a­peu­tics. And Phil Cox­on (VP of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment) as­cend­ed to se­nior di­rec­tor of trans­ac­tions in glob­al on­col­o­gy busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and li­cens­ing at As­traZeneca last year, af­ter join­ing the Big Phar­ma from Te­va in 2018.

Jen­nifer Nichol­son

→ In­flam­ma­tion-fo­cused RAPT Ther­a­peu­tics has brought in Jen­nifer Nichol­son as SVP of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs and qual­i­ty as­sur­ance, and Ad­nan Rah­man as VP of com­mer­cial. Nichol­son makes her way to RAPT from Kro­nos Bio, where she was VP of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs, and she’s held reg­u­la­to­ry po­si­tions at Roche/Genen­tech, Jazz Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Bavar­i­an Nordic and Ac­er­ta Phar­ma. Rah­man, mean­while, steps away from his gig as glob­al com­mer­cial lead of der­ma­tol­ogy at Pfiz­er sub Are­na Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Ear­li­er, he wrapped up a 16-year ca­reer at Am­gen as US com­mer­cial di­rec­tor of the bone drug Xge­va.

→ In Phase II tri­als with its MK2 in­hibitor zunseme­tinib for rheuma­toid arthri­tis, pso­ri­at­ic arthri­tis and hidradeni­tis sup­pu­ra­ti­va, Aclarus Ther­a­peu­tics has en­list­ed Robert Doo­dy as VP, in­vestor re­la­tions. He just held the same ti­tle at Proven­tion Bio and is the for­mer SVP of in­vestor re­la­tions & cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Idera Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

→ Swiss-based Pure­os Part­ners has tapped Veron­i­ca Gam­bil­lara Fon­ck as a new part­ner. Fon­ck has served in roles at Gly­co­V­axyn, was CEO and co-founder of Lim­maT­e­ch and CEO and founder of Gly­co­Era.

Stu­art Chaf­fee

Affini­vax’s for­mer CBO Stu­art Chaf­fee is mak­ing his way to the board of di­rec­tors at Olaris to be­come ex­ec­u­tive chair­man. Chaf­fee’s pri­or ex­pe­ri­ence in­cludes gigs at Prax­is Pre­ci­sion Med­i­cines (CBO and CFO), At­las Ven­ture (en­tre­pre­neur in res­i­dence), Kymera Ther­a­peu­tics (head of busi­ness op­er­a­tions), Am­gen and Bio­gen.

→ Ex-San­ten chief Adri­enne Graves is head­ed to the board of di­rec­tors at reti­nal dis­ease biotech Opus Ge­net­ics, join­ing its sci­en­tif­ic founder Jean Ben­nett, Opus CEO Ben Yerxa and Rus­sell Kel­ley from the Foun­da­tion Fight­ing Blind­ness. Graves chairs the FFB’s Reti­nal De­gen­er­a­tion Fund and is a board mem­ber at Iver­ic Bio.

Lori Mc­Neill

→ Prince­ton, NJ-based can­cer play­er Son­net Bio­Ther­a­peu­tics has elect­ed Lori Mc­Neill to the board of di­rec­tors. Dur­ing her ca­reer at Pfiz­er from 2001-14, Mc­Neill was chief of staff of glob­al op­er­a­tions in the in­te­grat­ed health busi­ness unit.

→ Grap­pling with its Phase III fail with lenaba­sum and turn­ing its at­ten­tion to pre­clin­i­cal sol­id tu­mor can­di­date CRB-601, Cor­bus Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has re­served a seat for Anne Alt­mey­er on the board of di­rec­tors. The ex-CBO of Sig­ilon Ther­a­peu­tics and Adicet Bio is the pres­i­dent and CEO of TigaTx.

→ US-Dan­ish biotech Al­lar­i­ty Ther­a­peu­tics has pulled out a seat on its board for Jer­ry McLaugh­lin. McLaugh­lin cur­rent­ly serves as CEO and board mem­ber of Life Bio­sciences. McLaugh­lin’s pre­vi­ous stints in­clude roles at Neos Ther­a­peu­tics (CEO and pres­i­dent), Nu­Pathe, En­do Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Mer­ck. McLaugh­lin’s ap­point­ment comes on the heels of the com­pa­ny drop­ping its can­cer drug dovi­tinib from de­vel­op­ment af­ter the FDA re­quest­ed a new tri­al.

Fra­zier Life Sci­ences man­ag­ing di­rec­tor James Top­per is back on the board of di­rec­tors at Phath­om Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, the Take­da spin­out and vono­prazan de­vel­op­er co-cre­at­ed by Fra­zier. Top­per, the chair­man and CEO of Fra­zier Life­sciences Ac­qui­si­tion Cor­po­ra­tion, was a board mem­ber at Phath­om from 2018-21.

Spe­cial thanks to artist Kim Ryu for giv­ing Peer Re­view a new look start­ing this week!

Big Phar­ma's Twit­ter ex­o­dus; Mer­ck wa­gers $1.35B on buy­out; $3.5M gene ther­a­py; 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.

As you start planning for #JPM23, we hope you will consider joining Endpoints News for our live and virtual events. For those who are celebrating Thanksgiving, we hope you are enjoying the long weekend with loved ones. And if you’re not — we’ll see you next week!

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 154,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Paul Perreault, CSL Behring CEO

CSL lands FDA ap­proval for he­mo­phil­ia B gene ther­a­py, sets $3.5M list price

The FDA has approved the world’s first gene therapy for hemophilia B, ushering into the market a treatment that’s historic in both what it promises to do and how much it will cost.

CSL will be marketing the drug, Hemgenix, at a list price of $3.5 million — which sets a new record for the most expensive single-use gene therapy in the US.

In a statement provided to Endpoints News, the Australian company noted that the current costs of treating people with moderate to severe hemophilia B can be significant over a lifetime. By some estimates, healthcare systems could spend more than $20 million per person.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 154,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Elon Musk (GDA via AP Images)

Biggest drug com­pa­nies halt­ed Twit­ter ad buys af­ter Lil­ly in­sulin spoof

Almost all of the drug industry’s biggest advertisers cut their spending on Twitter to zero or near-zero over the last two weeks amid worries about impersonation of their brands by pranksters and the future of the social media company.

Among 18 of the biggest pharmaceutical advertisers in the US market, 12 cut their Twitter ad spending to nothing for the week beginning Nov. 14, according to Pathmatics, which tracks data on prescription drug ad spending as well as general corporate advertising. The list of drugmakers cutting spending to zero includes Merck, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer and others.

Rob Davis, Merck CEO

Up­dat­ed: No Seagen here: 'Do more' means a small $1.35B pur­chase of Ima­go for Mer­ck

Merck is making an acquisition, the Big Pharma announced before Monday’s opening bell. No, Seagen is not entering the fold, as had been speculated for quarters.

Folding under Merck’s wings will be Pfizer-backed Imago BioSciences. For nearly a year, Merck CEO Rob Davis has been saying the pharma giant needs to “do more” on the business development front after its 2021 $11.5 billion acquisition of Acceleron.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 154,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Alzheimer’s drug bites the dust; Re­struc­ture, re­struc­ture, re­struc­ture; Land­mark di­a­betes OK; 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.

Being in the news business can give one a warped sense of time — it feels like quite a while since we published some of these stories below. But next Saturday’s Endpoints Weekly will definitely be shorter, as we take off Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving. We will still have the abbreviated edition in your inbox at the usual time.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 154,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Image: Shutterstock

MIT re­searchers re­veal DNA "Paste" tech be­hind lat­est gene edit­ing start­up

MIT scientists have developed a tool that they say can insert large gene sequences where they want in the genome.

In a paper published Thursday in Nature Biotechnology, MIT fellows Omar Abudayyeh, Jonathan Gootenberg and colleagues detail a technology they call PASTE, which they say can potentially be used to insert long strands of DNA and treat genetic diseases caused by many different mutations, such as cystic fibrosis and Leber congenital amaurosis, a rare eye disorder that causes blindness.

J&J's Spra­va­to pulls a PhI­II win against Sero­quel XR in treat­ment-re­sis­tant de­pres­sion

A day before Thanksgiving, J&J’s Janssen has a new cut of Phase III Spravato data to be grateful for.

The pharma giant announced on Wednesday that its nasal spray, also known as esketamine, beat extended-release quetiapine, previously sold by AstraZeneca as Seroquel XR, in treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Of 676 adults, a significantly higher number of patients on Spravato were able to achieve remission and avoid relapse after 32 weeks, according to J&J.

Dermavant Sciences' first consumer TV ad for its Vtama psoriasis med shows people ready for a new topical treatment.

Roivant’s Der­ma­vant de­buts first-ever TV com­mer­cial for pso­ri­a­sis cream Vta­ma

Dermavant Sciences has been marketing its first product, psoriasis med Vtama, to dermatologists for months, but on Tuesday it rolled out its first consumer campaign. The debut DTC effort including a streaming TV commercial encourages patients to a “Topical Uprising” in a nod to Vtama being a topical cream.

In the new commercial, a swell of people discards scarves and jacket coverings, gathering in the street to converge on a pharmacy to demand a steroid-free prescription. A moment of levity follows when a pharmacist says, “You know you can just talk to your doctor, right?” The gathered crowds collectively says, “Oh.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 154,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

FDA preps for DMD drug gener­ics as Sarep­ta has yet to fin­ish its con­fir­ma­to­ry tri­al

The FDA typically releases guidance to help generic drug manufacturers develop new copycats of small molecule drugs, oftentimes in preparation for a brand name product’s patents or exclusivity to expire.

This week, FDA released such bioequivalence guidance for any generic drugmakers looking to take on Sarepta’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) drug Exondys 51 (eteplirsen), even though the drug’s sponsor has yet to convert the accelerated approval to a full approval, showing clinical benefit.