Eli Lil­ly R&D chief Jan Lund­berg heads for the ex­it as CEO as­sem­bles a new team at the top

A day af­ter the FDA ap­proved abe­maci­clib, new Eli Lil­ly CEO Dave Ricks has tapped sev­er­al new chiefs for the phar­ma gi­ant’s ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee. And the change-out in­cludes the de­par­ture of R&D chief Jan Lund­berg as Ricks pro­motes Dan Skovron­sky as the new head of sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy and pres­i­dent of Lil­ly Re­search Labs.

Lund­berg has been a cen­tral fig­ure at Lil­ly over the last 8 years, a cru­cial pe­ri­od that saw out the end of John Lech­leit­er’s ca­reer at the top and the be­gin­ning of a stream of new drug ap­provals that are cen­tral to its longterm suc­cess. It hasn’t al­ways been pret­ty, but the R&D group has kept its eyes on chang­ing stan­dards of care in can­cer, di­a­betes and oth­er dis­eases that have seen some big de­vel­op­ments in the re­cent past.

Dan Skovron­sky

The ques­tion now is whether Lund­berg — who al­so led dis­cov­ery re­search at As­traZeneca be­fore mak­ing the leap to Lil­ly — will ac­tu­al­ly go ahead and re­tire or sim­ply jump to a new job af­ter a de­cent in­ter­val, a path fol­lowed by a grow­ing num­ber of se­nior ex­ecs who have found new ca­reers in the com­fort­ing arms of a boom­ing VC com­mu­ni­ty.

Skovron­sky — most re­cent­ly the de­vel­op­ment chief at Lil­ly — joined the com­pa­ny back in 2010, when Lech­leit­er bought out Avid Ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals in or­der to get its hands on a brain-imag­ing tech­nol­o­gy that could high­light be­ta-amy­loid in the brain. Lil­ly has spent years and a for­tune pur­su­ing new ways to al­ter the tra­jec­to­ry of Alzheimer’s, with noth­ing to show for it so far.

The com­pa­ny has had much bet­ter suc­cess with can­cer, as it demon­strat­ed yes­ter­day with the ap­proval of abe­maci­clib, a CDK 4/6 drug which will now go head to head with two ma­jor league ri­vals al­ready on the mar­ket. Lil­ly says the drug will be sold as Verzenio.

Eli Lil­ly has made a shift­ing set of promis­es on the R&D front, with­out ac­tu­al­ly de­liv­er­ing right on sched­ule. One of the lat­est up­dates on that score in­clud­ed a promise of 20 new drugs ap­provals in a decade run stretch­ing from 2014 to 2023. Ricks al­so has been chang­ing up the pipeline fo­cus some­what, while cut­ting in­to the staff in a move to re­duce costs by elim­i­nat­ing 8.5% of its em­ploy­ee ros­ter.

There are sev­er­al oth­er new se­nior ex­ec an­nounce­ments to­day, in­clud­ing:

— The pro­mo­tion of Josh Smi­ley to se­nior vice pres­i­dent and chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer.

— Myles O’Neill is tak­ing over the lead role in man­u­fac­tur­ing.

— Aar­ti Shah, SVP and chief of in­for­ma­tion tech, is be­ing bumped up a lev­el to EVP.


The Eli Lil­ly and Co cor­po­rate head­quar­ters is pic­tured April 26, 2017, in In­di­anapo­lis. AP Pho­to

Ugur Sahin, BioNTech CEO (Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa via AP Images)

BioN­Tech is spear­head­ing an mR­NA vac­cine de­vel­op­ment pro­gram for malar­ia, with a tech trans­fer planned for Africa

Flush with the success of its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine, BioNTech is now gearing up for one of the biggest challenges in vaccine development — which comes without potential profit.

The German mRNA pioneer says it plans to work on a jab for malaria, then transfer the tech to the African continent, where it will work with partners on developing the manufacturing ops needed to make this and other vaccines.

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How one start­up fore­told the neu­ro­science re­nais­sance af­ter '50 years of shit­show'

In the past couple of years, something curious has happened: Pharma and VC dollars started gushing into neuroscience research.

Biogen’s controversial new Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm has been approved on the basis of removing amyloid plaque from the brain, but the new neuro-focused pharma and biotechs have much loftier aims. Significantly curbing or even curing the most notorious disorders would prove the Holy Grail for a complex system that has tied the world’s best drug developers in knots for decades.

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Why is On­col­o­gy Drug De­vel­op­ment Re­search Late to the Dig­i­tal Bio­mark­ers Game?

During the recent Annual ASCO Meeting, thousands of cancer researchers and clinicians from across the globe joined together virtually to present and discuss the latest findings and breakthroughs in cancer research and care. There were more than 5000+ scientific abstracts presented during this event, yet only a handful involved the use of motion-tracking wearables to collect digital measures relating to activity, sleep, mobility, functional status, and/or quality of life. Although these results were a bit disappointing, they should come as no surprise to those of us in the wearable technology field.

Art Levinson (Calico)

Google-backed Cal­i­co dou­bles down on an­ti-ag­ing R&D pact with Ab­b­Vie as part­ners ante up $1B, start to de­tail drug tar­gets

Seven years after striking up a major R&D alliance, AbbVie and Google-backed anti-aging specialist Calico are doubling down on their work with a joint, $1 billion commitment to continuing their work together. And they’re also beginning to offer some details on where this project is taking them in the clinic.

According to their statement, each of the two players is putting up $500 million more to keep the labs humming.

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Bob Bradway, Amgen CEO (Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Am­gen bel­lies back up to the M&A ta­ble for an­oth­er biotech buy­out, this time with a $2.5B deal for an an­ti­body play­er fo­cused on PS­MA

Five months after Amgen CEO Bob Bradway stepped up to the M&A table and acquired Five Prime for $1.9 billion, following up with the smaller Rodeo acquisition, he’s gone back in for another biotech buyout.

This time around, Amgen is paying $900 million cash while committing up to $1.6 billion in milestones to bag the privately held Teneobio, an antibody drug developer that has expertise in developing new bispecifics and multispecifics. In addition, Amgen cited Teneobio’s “T-cell engager platform, which expands on Amgen’s existing leadership position in bispecific T-cell engagers by providing a differentiated, but complementary, approach to Amgen’s current BiTE platform.”

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UP­DAT­ED: Pan­el of neu­ro­science ex­perts lays out the com­pli­ca­tions with us­ing Bio­gen's new Alzheimer's drug

Treatment of early Alzheimer’s patients with Biogen’s new drug Aduhelm should closely resemble how the drug was studied in its pivotal clinical trials, according to new recommendations from a panel of neuroscience experts led by UNLV’s Jeffrey Cummings.

“Those considering aducanumab therapy should understand that the expected benefit is slowing of cognitive and functional decline; improvement of the current clinical state is not anticipated,” they wrote Tuesday in The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease, noting that some of their recommendations are more specific or more restrictive than the information provided in the FDA’s prescribing information.

Luciana Borio (Susan Walsh/AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Bob Nelsen's ARCH adds FDA, biode­fense ex­per­tise with ap­point­ment of Lu­ciana Bo­rio

Once vetted by the Biden team to lead the FDA as commissioner, Luciana Borio is now compiling quite the résumé.

Borio has now been named a venture partner at Bob Nelsen’s ARCH Venture Partners, and Nelsen told Endpoints News, “She will be involved in projects across the portfolio, including ongoing projects in manufacturing, clinical trials, gene therapy and gene editing, cell therapy, and delivery. We are exploring multiple projects in infectious disease, and next generation manufacturing.”

Eye­ing quick ap­proval, Ab­b­Vie of­fers a close-up on their pres­by­opia drug da­ta

AbbVie picked up some bonus points earlier this year as one of its pipeline adds from the $63 billion Allergan buyout hit its top-line marks. And now the researchers have produced the detailed data on the case they are making with regulators, with an eye on a major new market and a hoped-for approval before New Year’s.

AGN-190584 is aiming to be the first easy-on eyedrop for presbyopia, a common ailment for large numbers of people who find it harder and harder to read things like a watch or cell phone close up. Anyone who’s held a book out at arm’s length in order to read it will be very familiar with the condition, if not the exact diagnosis.

Ryan Watts, Denali CEO

De­nali slips as a snap­shot of ear­ly da­ta rais­es some trou­bling ques­tions on its pi­o­neer­ing blood-brain bar­ri­er neu­ro work

Denali Therapeutics had drummed up considerable hype for their blood-brain barrier technology since launching over six years ago, hype that’s only intensified in the last 14 months following the publications of a pair of papers last spring and proof of concept data earlier this year. On Sunday, the South San Francisco-based biotech gave the biopharma world the next look at in-human data for its lead candidate in Hunter syndrome.

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