Mani Mohindru, Novasenta CEO

Ex­clu­sive: UPMC launch­es an­oth­er biotech, root­ed in the tu­mor mi­croen­vi­ron­ment

In Mani Mohindru’s telling, Novasenta is “as biotech-y as you can get.”

The CEO of the latest startup out of UPMC’s sprawling research apparatus says her biotech is looking for novel targets to make new cancer therapies, as compared to the proliferation of biotechs popping up with programs going against targets that are already validated or in the public domain.

The company has secured $40 million in Series A funds led by the Pittsburgh institution, based on 10 years of work out of the Hillman Cancer Center’s Tumor Microenvironment Center. Three programs have been propelled to center stage, with one or two of them slated for IND-enabling studies later next year with the aim of clinical trials kicking off in 2024, Mohindru told Endpoints News.

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Jean-Paul Clozel, Idorsia CEO (Patrick Straub/Keystone via AP Images)

Idor­si­a's brain bleed drug flunks PhI­II tri­al, a decade af­ter pre­vi­ous flop

Idorsia’s long journey with clazosentan came to an abrupt “unexpected result” Monday morning with a Phase III flop.

The Swiss biopharma said the drug did not meet the main goal of the late-stage REACT study, conducted in the US, Canada and Europe since early 2019.

The 409-patient trial tested the intravenous drug’s ability to prevent complications due to delayed cerebral ischemia following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH), in which blood vessels in the brain narrow and blood accumulates around the brain’s surface, which then dials up the pressure on the brain.

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Kenji Yasukawa, Astellas CEO (Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Astel­las taps chief strat­e­gy of­fi­cer as next CEO to 'go on the ag­gres­sive'

Five years into its big R&D revamp, Astellas says it’s time for a changing of the guard.

Kenji Yasukawa, who took over as president and CEO in 2018, will step down to become chairman of the board in April, making room for Naoki Okamura to take over. Okamura joined the company in 1986 and has served in a variety of finance, business and strategy roles, including most recently as chief strategy officer.

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Clin­i­cal tri­al di­ver­si­ty da­ta show mis­match be­tween en­roll­ment and dis­ease preva­lence, GSK says

A lack of diversity in clinical trials has persisted despite decades of initiatives to try to turn the tide.

In a recent review of 17 years of clinical trials, drugmaker GSK found that there were some mismatches between the demographics of its US-based trials and how prevalent diseases were in those populations.

The results, the company says, will help GSK and others design studies that better represent epidemiological rates within races and ethnicities.

The Big Phar­ma dis­card pile; Lay­offs all around while some biotechs bid farewell; New Roche CEO as­sem­bles top team; 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.

With earnings seasons in full swing, we’ve listened in on all the calls so you don’t have to. But news is popping up from all corners, so make sure you check out our other updates, too.

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Raymond Stevens, Structure Therapeutics CEO

Be­hind Fri­day's $161M IPO: A star sci­en­tist, GPCR drug dis­cov­ery and a plan to chal­lenge phar­ma in di­a­betes

What does it take to pull off a $161 million biotech IPO these days?

In Structure Therapeutics’ case, it means having a star scientist co-founder paired with the computational drug discovery company Schrödinger, $198 million in private funding from blue-chip investors, almost six years of research work on G protein-coupled receptors and a slate of oral, small-molecule drugs, with an eye on the huge and growing diabetes and weight-loss market.

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#JPM23: Is 2023 go­ing to be a bet­ter year for biotech deal­mak­ing?

Last year offered a disappointing stretch for biotech, with fewer deals than expected and lots more headwinds. Endpoints News Editor-in-Chief John Carroll sat down with some of the industry’s top dealmakers to explore what happened, and what’s ahead in 2023. This transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.

John Carroll:

I’d say this is one of the most important conversations that’s going on right now. Particularly, of course, at JP Morgan, because so many people have come here, specifically to get involved in a deal, to see what they can do about a deal, to see what the deal potential is, where things are headed, what the trends are. Everything that we’re going to be covering here in the next hour.

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Laurent Audoly, former Parthenon CEO

Parthenon Ther­a­peu­tics CEO ex­its weeks af­ter co-founder leaves

Parthenon Therapeutics’ CEO and co-founder Laurent Audoly is no longer steering the ship of the cancer biotech, Endpoints News has learned.

Audoly’s departure comes just weeks after co-founder and chief business and operating officer Olga Granaturova left to take on the same posts at Normunity, another privately-held immunotherapy startup. CSO Tamas Oravecz also traded in his CSO hat for the same role at Simcere last August.

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Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/Politico via AP Images)

In­fla­tion re­bates in­com­ing: Wyden calls on CMS to move quick­ly as No­var­tis CEO pledges re­ver­sal

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) this week sent a letter to the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeking an update on how and when new inflation-linked rebates will take effect for drugs that see major price spikes.

The newly signed Inflation Reduction Act requires manufacturers to pay a rebate to Medicare when they increase drug prices faster than the rate of inflation.

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Trodelvy notch­es a win in most com­mon form of breast can­cer

Following a promise last year to go “big and fast in breast cancer,” Gilead has secured a win for Trodelvy in the most common form.

The drug was approved to treat HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer patients who’ve already received endocrine-based therapy and at least two other systemic therapies for metastatic cancer, Gilead announced on Friday.

Trodelvy won its first indication in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer back in 2020, and has since added urothelial cancer to the list. HR-positive HER2-negative breast cancer accounts for roughly 70% of new breast cancer cases worldwide per year, according to senior VP of oncology clinical development Bill Grossman, and many patients develop resistance to endocrine-based therapies or worsen on chemotherapy.