End­points In­sid­er: The world’s old­est new biotech pub ends its 12th month on a roll

We’ve been watch­ing our web traf­fic grow month-to-month at a dou­ble-dig­it pace. In June, traf­fic at End­points News hit 313,439, ex­act­ly 10% high­er than the month be­fore, with 161,226 unique vis­i­tors to the site. And our sub­scriber list broke the 16,000 mark – heav­i­ly con­cen­trat­ed among bio­phar­ma ex­ec­u­tives — as we head straight to 20,000 this fall.

I like to say that End­points is the old­est new bio­phar­ma pub on the block. For those of you who have fol­lowed me over the past 15 years – in­clud­ing much of the 14 years be­fore Ar­salan Arif and I part­nered on the launch on June 20, 2016 – it’s that track record and abil­i­ty to swift­ly add con­text to the news that makes this pub dif­fer­ent from all of the rest. And as we grow the staff this sum­mer, you can bet that we’ll be look­ing to con­tin­ue to broad­en our cov­er­age base and ge­o­graph­ic reach as we look to grow the au­di­ence and web traf­fic to 500,000-plus in the near fu­ture.

What I’m par­tic­u­lar­ly hap­py about is that we ac­com­plished this with a small team and ex­act­ly noth­ing to spend on a mar­ket­ing cam­paign. All of our growth has been through word-of-mouth rec­om­men­da­tions and our so­cial me­dia pres­ence, with a big boost re­cent­ly from Google News. When you’re boot-strap­ping a new, dig­i­tal pub like this, you’ve got noth­ing ex­tra for mar­ket­ing. So we’re all ex­tra­or­di­nar­i­ly grate­ful for your sup­port and the steady stream of notes from read­ers.

This lit­er­al­ly could nev­er have hap­pened with­out your help.

To help fund the sec­ond year of growth, Ar­salan and I are prep­ping a sub­scriber cam­paign for End­points In­sid­er that will get un­der­way ear­ly next week. As we’ve al­ready made clear, we are not go­ing be­hind a pay­wall. The news will re­main on­line and eas­i­ly ac­ces­si­ble. We are look­ing for read­ers who sup­port the mis­sion, or sim­ply no longer wish to get emailed ad­ver­tis­ing, to sub­scribe to End­points for $200 a year.

Pre-reg­is­ter for End­points In­sid­er

No pay­ment de­tails re­quired to­day

There’s al­so a $1,000/per year cor­po­rate rate for groups, no mat­ter what size. That in­cludes full reprint and re­pub­lish­ing rights of our con­tent for all le­git­i­mate busi­ness cas­es — per­fect for PR agen­cies who want to send ar­ti­cles in full to clients, cor­po­rate in­tranets, trade show ad­ver­tis­ing, web­site post­ing, and more. Whether you are a multi­na­tion­al cor­po­ra­tion or a small shop, the en­ter­prise rate is the same.

We’ve had a strong re­sponse from our first word on this new cam­paign. And you can add your name to our pre­reg­is­tra­tion list here. (You won’t be billed to­day or asked to pro­vide pay­ment de­tails.)

It’s been a great start. And the rest of 2017 and all of 2018 are go­ing to be gang­busters. I guar­an­tee you won’t want to miss it. — John Car­roll

Forge Bi­o­log­ics’ cGMP Com­pli­ant and Com­mer­cial­ly Vi­able Be­spoke Affin­i­ty Chro­matog­ra­phy Plat­form

Forge Biologics has developed a bespoke affinity chromatography platform approach that factors in unique vector combinations to streamline development timelines and assist our clients in efficiently entering the clinic. By leveraging our experience with natural and novel serotypes and transgene conformations, we are able to accelerate affinity chromatography development by nearly 3-fold. Many downstream purification models are serotype-dependent, demanding unique and time-consuming development strategies for each AAV gene therapy product1. With the increasing demand to propel AAV gene therapies to market, platform purification methods that support commercial-scale manufacturing of high-quality vectors with excellent safety and efficacy profiles are essential.

Mathai Mammen, FogPharma's next CEO

Math­ai Mam­men hands in J&J's R&D keys to lead Greg Ver­dine’s Fog­Phar­ma 

In the early 1990s, Mathai Mammen was a teaching assistant in Greg Verdine’s Science B46 course at Harvard. In June, the former R&D head at Johnson & Johnson will succeed Verdine as CEO, president and chair of FogPharma, the same month the seven-year-old biotech kickstarts its first clinical trial.

After leading R&D at one of the largest drugmakers in the world, taking the company through more than half a dozen drug approvals in the past few years, not to mention a Covid-19 vaccine race, Mammen departed J&J last month and will take the helm of a Cambridge, MA biotech attempting to go after what Verdine calls the “true emperor of all oncogenes” — beta-catenin.

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Sen­ate Fi­nance Com­mit­tee lobs more bi­par­ti­san pres­sure on­to PBMs

Congress is honing in on how it wants to overhaul the rules of the road for pharmacy benefit managers, with a Senate Finance Committee hearing Thursday serving as the latest example of the Hill’s readiness to make changes to how pharma middlemen operate.

While pledging to ensure patients and pharmacies “don’t get a raw deal,” Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) laid out the beginning of what looks like a major bipartisan effort — moves the PBM industry is likely to challenge vigorously.

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Nicklas Westerholm, Egetis Therapeutics CEO

Ac­qui­si­tion talks on­go­ing for Swedish rare dis­ease biotech Egetis, shares up al­most 40%

Shares of the Sweden-based rare disease biotech Egetis Therapeutics skyrocketed on Thursday afternoon as the company said it’s engaged in “ongoing discussion” with external parties regarding a “potential acquisition.”

Egetis confirmed rumors with a statement on Thursday while noting that there is no certainty that a takeover offer will be made.

Nonetheless, the possibility of an acquisition has shot up Egetis’ share price. By the afternoon on Thursday, its stock price was {$EGTX.ST} up over 38%. An Egetis spokesperson told Endpoints News in an email that it has no further comments.

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Lu­pus drug de­vel­op­ment mar­ket heat­ing up, while FDA links with ad­vo­ca­cy group to fur­ther ac­cel­er­ate re­search

The long-underserved systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) market is suddenly buzzing with treatment possibilities. Less than two years after AstraZeneca’s approval for Saphnelo — the first new SLE drug in a decade and joining just one other approved in GSK’s Benlysta – the pipeline of potential drugs numbers in the dozens.

Although most are very early stage — Spherix Global Insights estimates five in Phase II/III — the pharma R&D enthusiasm is catching on among doctors, patients and advocacy groups. On Wednesday, the Lupus Research Alliance and the FDA formed a novel private-public partnership called Lupus Accelerating Breakthroughs Consortium (Lupus ABC) to help advance lupus clinical trial success.

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Stéphane Bancel, Moderna CEO (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Mod­er­na so­lid­i­fies deal with Kenya to build mR­NA man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ty

The mRNA player Moderna is further cementing its presence on the African continent.

Moderna announced on Thursday that it has finalized an agreement with Kenya’s government to partner up and bring an mRNA manufacturing facility to the east African nation. The new facility aims to manufacture up to 500 million doses of vaccines annually. Moderna also said the new facility will have the ability to spike its production capabilities to respond to public health emergencies on the continent or globally.

Luke Miels, GSK chief commercial officer

GSK picks up Scynex­is' FDA-ap­proved an­ti­fun­gal drug for $90M up­front

GSK is dishing out $90 million cash to add an antifungal drug to its commercial portfolio, in a deal spotlighting the pharma giant’s growing focus on infectious diseases.

The upfront will lock in an exclusive license to Scynexis’ Brexafemme, which was approved in 2021 to treat a yeast infection known as vulvovaginal candidiasis, except in China and certain other countries where Scynexis already out-licensed the drug.

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Deborah Waterhouse, ViiV Healthcare CEO

MPP re­cruits three gener­ic man­u­fac­tur­ers to ex­pand use of Vi­iV's in­jectable PrEP drug

ViiV Healthcare has teamed up with the UN-backed Medicines Patent Pool and three generic manufacturers to expand access to medicine that can prevent HIV.

ViiV and the Medicines Patent Pool jointly announced Thursday that the MPP signed sub-licensing agreements with Aurobindo, Cipla and Viatris to manufacture generics of a long-acting form of cabotegravir for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). As a result of the agreement, the manufacturers will be able to develop, manufacture and supply generic versions of cabotegravir LA in 90 countries — subject to regulatory approvals.

Four community leaders who are living with HIV celebrate life and accomplishments in Theratechnologies' new campaign

Re­al pa­tient ‘cham­pi­ons’ liv­ing with HIV star in Ther­at­e­ch­nolo­gies cam­paign

Over the past several years, people living with HIV have been more often telling Theratechnologies that they wanted more representation. Specifically, they wanted more African American people and more focus on living and thriving versus more typical medication regimen messaging.

So Theratechnologies came up with a new campaign called “I Am A Champion,” initially launched at the US Conference on HIV last year. The initial conference, print and digital media efforts highlight the triumphs of four long-term survivors from across the US.

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