Eli Lil­ly, Boehringer In­gel­heim re­vise pro­lif­ic di­a­betes pact, fir­ing all cylin­ders for block­buster Jar­diance fran­chise

Eli Lil­ly bet big to en­list Boehringer In­gel­heim as an al­ly in es­tab­lish­ing a di­a­betes king­dom back in 2011, pay­ing €300m ($390m) to get its hands on two of the Ger­man drug­mak­er’s ex­per­i­men­tal com­pounds and more man­pow­er for two of its own drugs. With­in eight years, three of those drugs have grown up to be mar­ket­ed prod­ucts and the part­ners are re­vis­ing their co-par­ent­ing terms.

Carine Brouil­lon

Jar­diance — the SGLT-2 in­hibitor then dubbed BI10773 — emerged as the fa­vorite child of the “mod­ern­ized” deal. Start­ing from next year, it will be the on­ly drug for which Lil­ly and Boehringer con­tin­ue to co-de­vel­op and com­mer­cial­ize. Lil­ly will take pri­ma­ry re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for its in­sulin ana­log Basaglar, while Boehringer will lead projects re­lat­ed to Tra­jen­ta, its DPP-4 drug.

The amend­ment will al­ter the mar­gin shar­ing struc­ture, the com­pa­nies said, though it is not ex­pect­ed to be “fi­nan­cial­ly ma­te­r­i­al.”

“As the ver­sa­til­i­ty of the SGLT2 in­hibitor class con­tin­ues to be re­alised, fo­cus­ing our com­bined ex­per­tise and in­vest­ment to sup­port this im­por­tant treat­ment will not on­ly re­sult in greater val­ue for both com­pa­nies but bet­ter en­able us to help more peo­ple with and with­out type 2 di­a­betes,” Carine Brouil­lon, Boehringer In­gel­heim’s head of glob­al ther­a­peu­tic ar­eas, said in a state­ment.

Jar­diance, which is ap­proved to low­er blood sug­ar and re­duce the risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar death for pa­tients with type 2 di­a­betes, ac­crued €1.8 bil­lion ($2.03 bil­lion) in sales last year.

Mike Ma­son

But Lil­ly and Boehringer have even big­ger am­bi­tions for the drug. As with oth­er drugs in the SGLT-2 class such as As­traZeneca’s Farx­i­ga and J&J’s Farx­i­ga, Jar­diance is be­lieved to have an ef­fect on heart fail­ure and chron­ic kid­ney dis­ease even in peo­ple with­out type 2 di­a­betes.

“Jar­diance has a bright fu­ture, and the Al­liance is ab­solute­ly com­mit­ted to its suc­cess,” said Mike Ma­son, who is set to pre­side over the re­vised al­liance as the pres­i­dent of Lil­ly Di­a­betes start­ing Jan­u­ary 1, 2020.

This is not the first time Lil­ly and Boehringer have re­jigged the al­liance. In late 2014, they nar­rowed the scope of the deal from 50 coun­tries to 17, rep­re­sent­ing what they say is 90% of the an­tic­i­pat­ed glob­al mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ty. For the re­main­ing coun­tries, each com­pa­ny got back rights to the mol­e­cules it brought to the pact.

Ryan Watts, Denali CEO

Bio­gen hands De­nali $1B-plus in cash, $1B-plus in mile­stones to part­ner on late-stage Parkin­son’s drug

Biogen is handing over more than a billion dollars cash to partner with the up-and-coming neurosciences crew at Denali on a new therapy for Parkinson’s. And the big biotech is ready to pile on more than a billion dollars more in milestones — if the alliance is a success.

For Biogen $BIIB, the move on Denali’s small molecule inhibitors of LRRK2 puts them in line to collaborate on a late-stage program for DNL151, which is scheduled to start next year.

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Michel Vounatsos, Biogen CEO (via YouTube)

UP­DAT­ED: Bio­gen scores a pri­or­i­ty re­view for its Alzheimer's drug ad­u­canum­ab, mov­ing one gi­ant leap for­ward in its con­tro­ver­sial quest

Biogen scored a big win at the FDA today as regulators accepted their application for the controversial Alzheimer’s drug aducanumab and gave it a priority review.

The PDUFA date is March 7, 2021.

Significantly, Biogen says it did not use its priority review voucher to win special treatment at the FDA. The agency handed that out gratis.

That’s the ideal scenario Biogen was looking for as disappointed analysts wondered aloud about the delayed application earlier in the year.

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Levi Garraway, Roche CMO (Source: Genentech)

UP­DAT­ED: FDA hands out a quick OK for po­ten­tial SMA block­buster ris­diplam, giv­ing Genen­tech and Roche a chance to chal­lenge ri­vals on the price

US regulators handed Roche and Genentech a big win Friday afternoon, one that has market-shaping potential for its high-priced rivals from Novartis and Biogen.

The FDA has green-lit the companies’ spinal muscular atrophy drug risdiplam, which will be marketed as Evrysdi in the US, for use in patients two months and older. It’s the first SMA drug that can be taken orally, as Biogen’s Spinraza is injected into the spine while Novartis’ Zolgensma is a gene therapy.

Moncef Slaoui, Getty Images

When will it end? Big Phar­ma's top vac­cine ex­pert at OWS of­fers a speedy time­line for a Covid-19 vac­cine — ei­ther be­fore or right af­ter the elec­tion

Moncef Slaoui hasn’t started making plans for his summer vacation next year. But he offers high odds that all Americans will be able to do that in the not too distant future.

In an interview with a pair of sympathetic podcasters at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Slaoui provides an education to listeners on how any drug or vaccine can be sped through trials. And he leaves the door wide open to the notion that the leading vaccine developers can demonstrate efficacy and safety in a compelling fashion as early as October — or as late as the end of this year.

Bio­haven adds near­ly $1B in Nurtec deals with Roy­al­ty Phar­ma, Sixth Street

Biohaven just added nearly $1 billion to their balance sheet.

On Friday morning, the neuroscience biotech announced a pair of creative agreements with Royalty Pharma and the investment firm Sixth Street to bolster the commercial launch of their new migraine drug, Nurtec. Biohaven will sell a sliver of its royalties on Nurtec and 3% of the royalties on their experimental migraine drug zavegepant to Royalty Pharma as part of a larger agreeement that will pay $450 million. At the same time, the company announced they took out a $500 million loan from Sixth Street.

Covid-19 roundup: Gates Foun­da­tion pours $150M in­to In­dia’s Serum In­sti­tute; Pfiz­er teams with Gilead on remde­sivir

By CEO and scion Adar Poonawalla’s estimation, the Serum Institute in India has already poured hundreds of millions of dollars into scaling up the unproven Covid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford for use in low and middle income countries. It’s meant taking on a risk that other companies, including AstraZeneca, have mitigated with huge amounts of government funding.

Now, for the first time, Poonawalla is getting some outside help. The Gates Foundation has agreed to pay the institute $150 million to supply 100 million vaccines to India and other emerging economies next year, Reuters reported. That includes both the vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and the one being developed by Novavax. Those vaccines will be available in 92 countries and be priced at $3 per dose.

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UP­DAT­ED: No­vavax her­alds the lat­est pos­i­tive snap­shot of ear­ly-stage Covid-19 vac­cine — so why did its stock briefly crater?

High-flying Novavax $NVAX became the latest of the Covid-19 vaccine players to stake out a positive set of biomarker data from its early-stage look at its vaccine in humans.

Their adjuvanted Covid-19 vaccine was “well-tolerated and elicited robust antibody responses numerically superior to that seen in human convalescent sera,” the company noted. According to the biotech:

All subjects developed anti-spike IgG antibodies after a single dose of vaccine, many of them also developing wild-type virus neutralizing antibody responses, and after Dose 2, 100% of participants developed wild-type virus neutralizing antibody responses. Both anti-spike IgG and viral neutralization responses compared favorably to responses from patients with clinically significant COVID‑19 disease. Importantly, the IgG antibody response was highly correlated with neutralization titers, demonstrating that a significant proportion of antibodies were functional.

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Ab­b­Vie set­tles in­sur­ance fraud suit, agrees to tweak nurse am­bas­sador pro­gram; CStone aims for NSCLC OK with pos­i­tive PhI­II da­ta

AbbVie has resolved a California lawsuit alleging insurance fraud in the promotion of its cash cow Humira, paying $24 million to settle things with the state’s insurance regulator.

The settlement comes almost four years after a whistleblower first reported AbbVie’s practice of deploying registered nurses to visit patients at home or call them by phone to ensure that Humira prescriptions are filled. AbbVie was also charged with providing illegal kickbacks to doctors in an attempt to encourage them to prescribe Humira for a range of anti-inflammatory diseases.

Per­cep­tive fields SPAC #3 as an­oth­er group of biotechs scoops up $364M in lat­est Nas­daq romp

There’s no sign that the windfall of cash dropping biotech’s way on Wall Street is abating. Three more biopharmas priced IPOs on Thursday and Friday morning, riding a historic boom with a $364 million payoff.

London-based biotech Freeline Therapeutics took home the lion’s share of the cash with $159 million after pricing 8,823,529 shares at $18 a pop. Checkmate Pharmaceuticals, of Cambridge, MA, raised $75 million with an offer of 5 million shares at $15 — right at the midpoint of its range. And Arya Sciences Acquisition Corp III, the third in a series from Perceptive, priced 13,000,000 shares at $10 per share.