FDA nom­i­na­tion in hand, Got­tlieb pre­pares to dis­en­tan­gle him­self from a long list of bio­phar­ma jobs and in­vest­ments

Steve Burd (R), pres­i­dent and CEO, Safe­way, Inc. and Scott Got­tlieb (L), res­i­dent fel­low at Amer­i­can En­ter­prise In­sti­tute par­tic­i­pate in a Sen­ate Health, Ed­u­ca­tion, La­bor and Pen­sions Com­mit­tee hear­ing on Capi­tol Hill, June 11, 2009 in Wash­ing­ton, DC. (Cred­it: Mark Wil­son/Get­ty Im­ages)


Scott Got­tlieb wasn’t idle dur­ing the eight years of the Oba­ma ad­min­is­tra­tion. With De­moc­rats in the White House and Re­pub­li­cans out, the for­mer agency of­fi­cial turned to a busy ca­reer work­ing with quite a range of bio­phar­ma in­vestors and com­pa­nies.

Now that Got­tlieb has se­cured Trump’s nom­i­na­tion as the next FDA com­mis­sion­er and lined up an April 5th hear­ing at the Sen­ate, he’s be­gun the process of un­wind­ing those in­vest­ments and busi­ness re­la­tion­ships in bio­phar­ma. Got­tlieb filed a dis­clo­sure form yes­ter­day with the Of­fice of Gov­ern­ment Ethics that will sure­ly pro­vide fod­der for a De­mo­c­ra­t­ic at­tack dur­ing his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings.

And there’s a lot to see.

Got­tlieb’s con­sult­ing work with Glax­o­SmithK­line is well known, and he’s put the phar­ma gi­ant on a long list of com­pa­nies he will steer clear of dur­ing his first year as com­mis­sion­er, re­cus­ing him­self from any FDA ac­tion re­gard­ing GSK. He’s al­so been a board mem­ber of Me­dA­vante, a med­ical de­vice com­pa­ny. Me­dA­vante owes him some com­pen­sa­tion, he says in the ethics form, but he’ll for­feit that if it doesn’t ar­rive ahead of his con­fir­ma­tion. And if it does, he’ll re­cuse him­self for two years.

There were board po­si­tions with Tolero and the clin­i­cal di­ag­nos­tic lab Com­bi­Ma­trix, which he re­signed from last De­cem­ber. And he set up a com­pa­ny to com­plete a sin­gle con­sult­ing con­tract with Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb. More con­sult­ing was done for Ver­tex and he wrote a se­ries of ar­ti­cles for Forbes.

He al­so has a po­si­tion with Amer­i­can Pathol­o­gy Part­ners and Col­lec­tive Health, but he plans to re­sign from those po­si­tions once he is con­firmed, then re­cuse him­self from ac­tions re­lat­ed to those com­pa­nies.

There are stock op­tions in Gradalis, Glytec and Strike Bio. He’s re­signed re­cent­ly from po­si­tions at Gradalis and Strike, and plans to re­cuse him­self from all three, di­vest­ing his in­vest­ments in 90 days af­ter he is con­firmed as com­mis­sion­er.

Got­tlieb was a part­ner at T.R. Win­ston, a bou­tique in­vest­ment bank, where he picked up in­vest­ments in Cell Bio­ther­a­py, An­gion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Chan­ti­cleer Hold­ings and:

  • Em­maus Life Sci­ences
  • In­spyr Ther­a­peu­tics
  • Kure
  • Lil­lis En­er­gy
  • Neu­ral­stem
  • Phar­ma-Bio Serv
  • Pros­et­ta Bio­sciences
  • So­cial Re­al­i­ty
  • Syn­the­sis En­er­gy Sys­tems
  • Tivor­san Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals

All of that will go when he gets the nod from law­mak­ers.

He will still need to re­sign from po­si­tions at Amer­i­can En­ter­prise In­sti­tute, the New York Uni­ver­si­ty School of Med­i­cine, the So­ci­ety of Hos­pi­tal Med­i­cine, the BDO Cen­ter for Health­care Ex­cel­lence and In­no­va­tion, and Daichii Sankyo US.

(Whew.)

And he’ll re­cuse him­self from any ac­tions in­volv­ing all of them.

Chances are that the De­moc­rats will do what it can to paint these ties as an ex­am­ple of Got­tlieb’s too cozy re­la­tion­ship with an in­dus­try he plans to reg­u­late. But with the Re­pub­li­cans in charge of Con­gress and the White House, and bio­phar­ma of­fer­ing sol­id sup­port for the nom­i­na­tion, it’s un­like­ly he’ll be blocked.

The in­dus­try learned to yearn for Got­tlieb at the helm of the FDA pre­cise­ly be­cause his ex­pe­ri­ence had to make him aware of the re­al­i­ties in­volved in de­vel­op­ing ther­a­pies — a per­spec­tive that of­ten seems lack­ing in the White House. There’s no ques­tion his port­fo­lio took him on a glob­al jour­ney in bio­phar­ma that makes him a safe bet to run the agency.

But ex­pect to hear a lot more about this in the weeks to come.

Alice Shaw, Lung Cancer Foundation of America

Top ALK ex­pert and can­cer drug re­searcher Al­ice Shaw bids adieu to acad­e­mia, hel­lo to No­var­tis

Jay Bradner has recruited a marquee oncology drug researcher into the ranks of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. Alice Shaw is jumping from prestigious posts intertwined through Mass General, Harvard and Dana-Farber to take the lead of NIBR’s translational clinical oncology group.

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Hal Barron, GSK's president of R&D and CSO, speaks to Endpoints News founder and editor John Carroll in London at Endpoints' #UKBIO19 summit on October 8, 2019

[Video] Cel­e­brat­ing tri­al fail­ures, chang­ing the cul­ture and al­ly­ing with Cal­i­for­nia dream­ers: R&D chief Hal Bar­ron talks about a new era at GSK

Last week I had a chance to sit down with Hal Barron at Endpoints’ #UKBIO19 summit to discuss his views on R&D at GSK, a topic that has been central to his life since he took the top research post close to 2 years ago. During the conversation, Barron talked about changing the culture at GSK, a move that involves several new approaches — one of which involves celebrating their setbacks as they shift resources to the most promising programs in the pipeline. Barron also discussed his new alliances in the Bay Area — including his collaboration pact with Lyell, which we covered here — frankly assesses the pluses and minuses of the UK drug development scene, and talks about his plans for making GSK a much more effective drug developer.

This is one discussion you won’t want to miss. Insider and Enterprise subscribers can log-in to watch the video.

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Med­ical an­i­ma­tion: Mak­ing it eas­i­er for the site and the pa­tient to un­der­stand

Medical animation has in recent years become an increasingly important tool for conveying niche information to a varied audience, particularly to those audiences without expertise in the specialist area. Science programmes today, for example, have moved from the piece-to-camera of the university professor explaining how a complex disease mechanism works, to actually showing the viewer first-hand what it might look like to shrink ourselves down to the size of an ant’s foot, and travel inside the human body to witness these processes in action. Effectively communicating a complex disease pathophysiology, or the novel mechanism of action of a new drug, can be complex. This is especially difficult when the audience domain knowledge is limited or non-existent. Medical animation can help with this communication challenge in several ways.
Improved accessibility to visualisation
Visualisation is a core component of our ability to understand a concept. Ask 10 people to visualise an apple, and each will come up with a slightly different image, some apples smaller than others, some more round, some with bites taken. Acceptable, you say, we can move on to the next part of the story. Now ask 10 people to visualise how HIV’s capsid protein gets arranged into the hexamers and pentamers that form the viral capsid that holds HIV’s genetic material. This request may pose a challenge even to someone with some virology knowledge, and it is that inability to effectively visualise what is going on that holds us back from fully understanding the rest of the story. So how does medical animation help us to overcome this visualisation challenge?

Flu Virus (Source: CDC)

FDA ex­pands Xofluza ap­proval as Roche strug­gles to catch loom­ing flu mar­ket

As a potentially powerful flu season looms, so does a big test for Roche and its new flu drug, Xofluza. The Swiss giant just got a small boost in advance of that test as the FDA expanded Xofluza’s indication to include patients at high risk of developing flu-related complications.

Xofluza (baloxavir marboxil) was approved last October in the US, the first landmark flu drug approval in 20 years and a much-needed green light for a company that had watched its leading flu drug Tamiflu get eaten alive by generics. Like its predecessor, the pill offered a reduction in flu symptoms but not a cure.

EMA backs sev­en ther­a­pies, in­clud­ing Mer­ck­'s Ebo­la vac­cine

The first-ever Ebola vaccine is on the precipice of approval after the European Medicine’s Agency (EMA) backed the Merck product in this week’s roster of recommendations.

The drugmaker $MRK began developing the vaccine, christened Ervebo, during the West African outbreak that occurred between 2014 and 2016, killing more than 11,000.

The current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has shown case fatality rates of approximately 67%, the agency estimated. Earlier this year, the WHO declared the outbreak — which so far has infected more than 3,000 people — a public health emergency of international concern.

Ronald Herb­st fol­lows Med­Im­mune ex­o­dus to Pyx­is CSO post; Jeff God­dard to suc­ceed CEO of AIT Bio­science

→ The outflow of top execs from MedImmune continues to fill the leadership ranks of smaller biotechs. The latest to take off is Ronald Herbst, the head of oncology research, who’s assuming the CSO post at Pyxis Oncology.  

Herbst was part of the old MedImmune organization AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot restructured earlier this year, reorganizing the company and eliminating the storied subsidiary as a separate organization.

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Mi­rati preps its first look at their KRAS G12C con­tender, and they have to clear a high bar for suc­cess

If you’re a big KRAS G12C fan, mark your calendars for October 28 at 4:20 pm EDT.

That’s when Mirati $MRTX will unveil its first peek at the early clinical data available on MRTX849 in presentations at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Boston.

Mirati has been experiencing the full effect of a rival’s initial success at targeting the G12C pocket found on KRAS, offering the biotech some support on the concept they’re after — and biotech fans a race to the top. Amgen made a big splash with its first positive snapshot on lung cancer, but deflated sky-high expectations as it proved harder to find similar benefits in other types of cancers.

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The FDA will hus­tle up an ex­pe­dit­ed re­view for As­traZeneca’s next shot at a block­buster can­cer drug fran­chise

AstraZeneca paid a hefty price to partner with Daiichi Sankyo on their experimental antibody drug conjugate for HER2 positive breast cancer. And they’ve been rewarded with a fast ride through the FDA, with a straight shot at creating another blockbuster oncology franchise.

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Sean Parker, AP

Sean Park­er helps cre­ate a CRISPRed cell ther­a­py 2.0 play — and he’s got a high-pro­file set of lead­ers on the team

You can rack up one more high-profile debut effort in the wave of activity forming around cell therapy 2.0. It’s another appealing Bay Area group that’s attracted some of the top hands in the business to a multi-year effort to create a breakthrough. And they have $85 million in hand to make that first big step to the clinic.

Today it’s Ken Drazan and the team at South San Francisco-based ArsenalBio that are coming from behind the curtain for a public bow, backed by billionaire Sean Parker and a collection of investors that includes Beth Seidenberg’s new venture investment operation based in LA.
Drazan — a J&J Innovation vet with a long record of entrepreneurial endeavors — exited the stage in 2018 when his last mission ended as he stepped aside as president of Grail. It wasn’t long, though, before he was helping out with a business plan for ArsenalBio that revolved around the work of a large group of interconnected scientists supported by the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunology.

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