Ex-Cel­gene deal­mak­er George Golumbes­ki joins up to guide Car­rick on its can­cer drug quest — and maybe an IPO as well

George Golumbes­ki

Dublin-based Car­rick Ther­a­peu­tics has picked up a clin­i­cal stage can­cer drug, as well as a well-con­nect­ed new chair­man of the board.

Ex-Cel­gene deal­mak­er George Golumbes­ki has added to his con­sid­er­able range of ac­tiv­i­ties by tak­ing the chair at Car­rick, which hit the scene two years ago with a $95 mil­lion start­up round and plans to scoop up a pipeline through a se­ries of part­ner­ing deals.

Speak­ing of which.

The biotech al­so bagged rights to CT900 from BTG, a com­bi­na­tion of tar­get­ing fo­late re­cep­tor α and in­hibit­ing thymidy­late syn­thase. The drug had been in a small, very ear­ly-stage study for ovar­i­an can­cer, with 7 of 10 mol­e­c­u­lar­ly marked pa­tients demon­strat­ing a re­sponse to the drug.

Terms weren’t dis­closed, but the drug is go­ing in­to the pipeline along­side CT7001, an oral CDK7 in­hibitor they got from Can­cer Re­search UK.

Golumbes­ki — now pres­i­dent of Grail — is po­si­tioned to use some of his con­sid­er­able skills and con­nec­tions to help guide Car­rick along. The biotech gained its back­ing from Arch and Wood­ford In­vest­ments, the co-lead­ers of the big A round, with more cash com­ing in from Google’s GV, Cam­bridge En­ter­prise Seed Funds, Cam­bridge In­no­va­tion Cap­i­tal, Evotec AG and Light­stone Ven­tures.

Elaine Sul­li­van

Their mon­ey has been com­mit­ted to build­ing up a new can­cer com­pa­ny by tap­ping Eu­ro­pean sources, where the sci­ence is great and the hunt­ing may be some­what less in­tense than in the US.

The goal at Car­rick re­mains the same as it was at the be­gin­ning, says CEO Elaine Sul­li­van: “Build a sus­tain­able, lead­ing on­col­o­gy biotech based in Eu­rope.”

In Car­rick’s case that meant build­ing a core team of 12, with about 40 FTEs from out­side shops ded­i­cat­ed to their drugs. CT900 has the po­ten­tial to fol­low a rapid route to mar­ket, she tells me, through a piv­otal pro­gram. They have more drugs on the pre­clin­i­cal side as well to beef up the pipeline as the biotech pon­ders a pos­si­ble IPO.

Sul­li­van met Golumbes­ki through her work at Evotec, where she’s on the board. Golumbes­ki — a deal­mak­er with ex­ten­sive glob­al con­nec­tions — helped shape re­search pacts be­tween Cel­gene and Evotec, giv­ing them a chance to get to know one an­oth­er.

The Fac­tors Dri­ving a Rapid Evo­lu­tion of Gene & Cell Ther­a­py and CAR-T Clin­i­cal Re­search in APAC

APAC is the fastest growing region globally for cell & gene therapy trials representing more than a third of all cell & gene studies globally, with China leading in the region. 

APAC is the leading location globally for CAR-T trials with China attracting ~60% of all CAR-T trials globally between 2015-2022. The number of CAR-T trials initiated by Western companies has rapidly increased in recent years (current CAGR of about 60%), with multiple targets being explored including CD19, CD20, CD22, BCMA, CD30, CD123, CD33, CD38, and CD138.

The End­points 11; blue­bird's $3M gene ther­a­py; Bio­gen tout new neu­ro da­ta; Harsh re­views for can­cer drugs; 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.

Reading about John Carroll’s pick of biotech’s most promising startups has become a treasured tradition. If you ever get curious about previous classes of the Endpoints 11, you can find all of them (plus a number of our other regular specials) here.

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EMA warns of short­ages of two Boehringer heart drugs due to a spike in de­mand

The EMA is putting EU member states on alert over the shortage of two drugs that counter heart attacks due to an uptick in demand.

On Friday, the EMA sent out a warning that two Boehringer Ingelheim drugs are experiencing a shortage: Actilyse and Metalyse. The drugs are used as emergency treatments for adults experiencing acute myocardial infarction, or a heart attack, by dissolving blood clots that have formed in the blood vessels.

The End­points 11: The top pri­vate biotechs in pur­suit of new drugs. Push­ing the en­ve­lope with pow­er­ful new tech­nolo­gies

Right around the beginning of the year, we got a close-up look at what happens after a boom ripples through biotech. The crash of life sciences stocks in Q1 was heard around the world.

In the months since, we’ve seen the natural Darwinian down cycle take effect. Reverse mergers made a comeback, with more burned out shells to go public at a time IPOs and road shows are out of favor. And no doubt some of the more recent arrivals on the investing side of the business are finding greener pastures.

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Wendy Lund, WPP chief client officer for health and wellness

WPP taps Organon chief com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Wendy Lund for new health and well­ness client role

Wendy Lund is going home – to WPP, that is. Lund is leaving the Merck women’s health spinoff Organon where she is chief communications officer for a newly created role as WPP chief client officer for health and wellness. Before Organon, Lund led GCI Group, a WPP healthcare communications agency, as CEO for 11 years.

Lund joins WPP’s group of global client leaders who act as a single point of contact or entry for clients with WPP brands and businesses inside the holding company. and in this case, for the WPP health and wellness business.

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As­traZeneca, Mer­ck cull one Lyn­parza in­di­ca­tion in heav­i­ly pre­treat­ed ovar­i­an can­cer pa­tients

Just one day after blockbuster Lynparza got access to another indication in China, its Big Pharma owners have decided to withdraw it in certain patients after reviewing Phase III data.

The two companies that work together on Lynparza decided to recall one of the indications several weeks ago in a specific type of ovarian cancer, Lynparza’s first indication when it was first FDA-approved in 2014. Initial data showed that rates of overall survival in patients with at least three rounds of chemo before getting on the PARP inhibitor were lower than in patients with less previous chemo treatment.

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Fu­ji­film con­tin­ues CD­MO ex­pan­sion, break­ing ground on $435M UK site

Fujifilm’s CDMO arm, Fujifilm Diosynth, has been on a roll this month as the company has recently broken ground on a major project in Europe and it appears to be keeping up the momentum.

Fujifilm Diosynth announced that it has kicked off an expansion project for its microbial manufacturing facility at its campus in the town of Billingham, UK, in the northeast of England.

The 20,000 square-foot, £400 million ($435 million) expansion will add clean rooms, purification suites and a packing area along with more space for the manufacturing itself.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar

Should SCO­TUS hear Am­gen's Repatha case? So­lic­i­tor gen­er­al says no

Back in April, Amgen said it was encouraged by the solicitor general’s anticipated review of its Supreme Court petition to rehear a Repatha patent case. They’re likely much less optimistic about the outcome now.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in a recent 27-page brief that Amgen’s arguments “lack merit and further review is not warranted.”

The case traces back to a suit filed in 2014 against Sanofi and Regeneron’s Praluent, which ended up beating Amgen’s PCSK9 blockbuster Repatha to market by a month just a year later.

Phil Sharp, Nobel Prize laureate (L), and John Carroll, Endpoints News co-CEO (via Michael Last)

The End­points 11: Fire­side chat with No­bel Prize lau­re­ate Phil Sharp

The following Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

John Carroll:

We’ve had a chance to talk a little bit before here about some of the things that you’ve done. Just really remarkably, a lot of the things that you’ve done early in your career puts you in the path with some amazing science that has had an absolutely huge impact in terms of what we’re seeing now on drug development and some of the new technologies that are coming out here, and not only the new technologies, but also some of the most remarkable people ever.

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