Flori­da man faces 100+ years in prison for al­leged­ly dis­trib­ut­ing $230M in adul­ter­at­ed drugs

A Flori­da man al­leged­ly set up an il­lic­it net­work of drug whole­sale op­er­a­tions in the US and used them to har­vest $230 mil­lion from the sale of adul­ter­at­ed and mis­la­beled HIV meds.

Ac­cord­ing to the US De­part­ment of Jus­tice, 51-year-old Lazaro Her­nan­dez was charged with ob­tain­ing a large sup­ply of HIV meds il­le­gal­ly, then cre­at­ing false drug la­bels and doc­u­ments to make it pos­si­ble to sell them at a deep dis­count to co-con­spir­a­tors at “whole­sale phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal dis­trib­u­tors in Mis­sis­sip­pi, Mary­land, and New York.”

The drugs were then sold to phar­ma­cies and billed back to a num­ber of in­sur­ers, in­clud­ing Medicare. Says the DOJ:

As al­leged in the in­dict­ment, be­tween ap­prox­i­mate­ly 2019 and 2021, the whole­sale phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal dis­trib­u­tors paid Her­nan­dez and his co-con­spir­a­tors more than $230 mil­lion for the il­le­gal­ly ac­quired and adul­ter­at­ed pre­scrip­tion drugs. Her­nan­dez al­leged­ly laun­dered those hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars through the use of sev­er­al cor­po­ra­tions in Mi­a­mi.

Now Her­nan­dez is fac­ing a laun­dry list of charges cov­er­ing false doc­u­men­ta­tion, mon­ey laun­der­ing and a con­spir­a­cy to de­liv­er adul­ter­at­ed and mis­la­beled drugs. Al­to­geth­er, he faces more than 100 years in prison. He was al­so in­dict­ed by a grand ju­ry in Mi­a­mi a few days ago.

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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Klick Health gath­ers biotech and phar­ma lu­mi­nar­ies to dis­cuss in­dus­try in­no­va­tions, in­vest­ments and fu­ture

At Klick Health’s first Ideas Exchange conference with biotech and pharma industry insiders since before the pandemic began, it was no surprise many conversations included Covid topics. Yet while vaccines and treatments were discussed, so too were the effects on drug development, federal responses, health inequities — and what to do now and next.

George Yancopoulos, chief scientist and cofounder of Regeneron, opened the conference responding to a question from Acorda CEO Ron Cohen about the spotlight on the industry during Covid and some of the “flak” biopharma has taken in the past.

Pfiz­er sacks phar­ma com­pe­ti­tion in ear­ly NFL TV ad­ver­tis­ing sea­son

If pharma advertising had a fantasy football league, Pfizer would be crushing the competition. A dive into the National Football League’s TV commercial buys across early season games by iSpot shows a hefty lead with its Covid-19 Comirnaty vaccine ads.

More than 175 million impressions with $9.5 million in media spending put Pfizer in the top spot with a 65% share of voice across NFL pharma spending, according to the real-time TV ad tracker. In a distant second place is Bristol Myers Squibb’s Opdivo with 44 million impressions, $5.2 million in spending and a 16% share, followed by BMS’ Zeposia with 31 million impressions, $3.3 million in media buys and an 11% share.

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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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Harris Poll finds eczema and treatments are evolving as health topics among social media influencers.

Eczema over­looked? Har­ris Poll finds low-key so­cial me­dia pro­file even as new meds flood the mar­ket

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, has kept a fairly low profile among social media influencers. However, with a handful of newly approved treatment options over the past year and new advertising and marketing campaign launches, that relative quiet may be about to change.

The Harris Poll tapped into its social media expert network monitoring eczema for Endpoints News to see where the industry stands currently. Its research shows a relatively low-profile condition on one hand, but plenty of opportunity on the other.

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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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