For­mer Al­ler­gan ex­ec heads to Re­vance as it chal­lenges Botox; Mark Pruzan­s­ki sur­rounds him­self with more team­mates

David Hol­lan­der

Re­vance feels like it has a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage over Ab­b­Vie’s block­buster Botox with on­ly bian­nu­al in­jec­tions of its fresh­ly ap­proved Daxxi­fy, as op­posed to the in­jec­tions every three or four months that Botox re­quires. But you come at the king, you best not miss, and as Daxxi­fy hits the mar­ket, Re­vance has now tapped David Hol­lan­der as CMO. Hol­lan­der was pre­vi­ous­ly the chief R&D of­fi­cer at Aerie Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, which was sold to Al­con a cou­ple months ago in a $770 mil­lion deal, and he has fa­mil­iar­i­ty with the Botox de­vel­op­er through his 10 years at Al­ler­gan. From 2011-16, he was Al­ler­gan’s VP, glob­al ther­a­peu­tic area head in clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment for an­te­ri­or seg­ment and con­sumer eye care. The Nashville biotech is al­so test­ing Dax­i­bot­u­linum­tox­i­nA in pa­tients with cer­vi­cal dys­to­nia, among oth­er con­di­tions.

Ken­neth At­tie

→ Now un­der the lead­er­ship of ex-In­ter­cept CEO Mark Pruzan­s­ki and part of this year’s End­points 11 class, obe­si­ty start­up Ver­sa­nis Bio has wel­comed Ken­neth At­tie as CMO and Aditya Venu­gopal as SVP, cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment and strate­gic plan­ning. At­tie was one of the staffers left out in the cold at Imara as it whit­tled down to a six-per­son com­pa­ny in April but turned around its for­tunes by re­verse merg­ing with En­liv­en Ther­a­peu­tics last week. Be­fore he was Imara’s med­ical chief, At­tie spent 11 years at Ac­celeron as VP, med­ical re­search. In a mi­ni-re­union, Venu­gopal worked for Pruzan­s­ki at In­ter­cept as head of strate­gic plan­ning, and since 2020 he had been VP of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment for Lu­ca Santarel­li at Vec­tivBio.

Mar­co Tagli­et­ti

→ Whole­sale changes are be­ing made at Scynex­is, and not just with a slimmed-down pipeline as it shops around for a com­mer­cial­iza­tion part­ner with Brex­afemme. CEO Mar­co Tagli­et­ti will re­tire on Dec. 31, set­ting up CMO David An­gu­lo to re­place him as we ring in 2023. Ex-Ei­sai and Ather­sys fi­nance chief Ivor Macleod’s first day as CFO will be Oct. 24, while chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer Chris­tine Coyne’s job has been phased out. Scynex­is will al­so be mak­ing more cuts to a staff that stood at 56 em­ploy­ees as of March 1, but the ex­act num­ber wasn’t re­vealed. Kyle LaHu­cik has more on a com­pa­ny in flux.

Lyn Bara­nows­ki

Lyn Bara­nows­ki has tak­en over for Bruce Mont­gomery as CEO of Seat­tle-based pul­monary dis­ease out­fit Ava­lyn Phar­ma, once known as Genoa Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Since 2018, Bara­nows­ki knows the pul­monary space well from her four years as op­er­a­tions chief at Al­ta­vant, and from 2013-18, the No­var­tis alum was SVP of cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment & strat­e­gy with Melin­ta Ther­a­peu­tics. Ava­lyn’s lead pro­gram is an in­haled ver­sion of pir­fenidone named AP01 for id­io­path­ic pul­monary fi­bro­sis.

→ The CEO sit­u­a­tion has tak­en a turn at Mar­a­vai Life­Sciences, where for­mer Dana­her SVP Trey Mar­tin had suc­ceed­ed Carl Hull ear­li­er this month — or so we thought. Three Dana­her sub­sidiaries have a bone to pick with the ap­point­ment, su­ing Mar­tin and Mar­a­vai, and “al­leg­ing that Mar­tin is in breach of a non­com­pe­ti­tion agree­ment.” With a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der in place, Hull didn’t hide his dis­plea­sure as he re­takes his old po­si­tion. “We have com­plete con­fi­dence in Trey and are ap­palled that Dana­her would seek to lever­age a non­com­pe­ti­tion agree­ment to pre­vent Trey from ad­vanc­ing his ca­reer,” Hull said in a state­ment.

John Ap­ple­gate

Al­ice Zhang’s AI drug dis­cov­ery shop Verge Ge­nomics has in­stalled 14-year Bio­gen vet John Ap­ple­gate as CFO. For­mer­ly the VP of fi­nance & ac­count­ing with Va­lo Health, Ap­ple­gate closed out his Bio­gen ca­reer in 2019 as head of R&D fi­nance. Zhang just con­tributed to Ochre Bio’s $30 mil­lion Se­ries A, while Verge’s lat­est round of fund­ing to­taled $98 mil­lion in De­cem­ber 2021. In an­oth­er Bio­gen con­nec­tion, ex-R&D chief and cur­rent Voy­ager CEO Al San­drock joined the board of di­rec­tors at Verge in Feb­ru­ary.

Zen­tal­is Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has been re­lent­less with its lead­er­ship moves since the Kim Black­well era be­gan in May with a $200 mil­lion cash in­fu­sion, pro­mot­ing co-founders Cam Gal­lagher and Kevin Bunker while pick­ing up a CMO and gen­er­al coun­sel in that span. This week Zen­tal­is re­turns to Peer Re­view with Mark Lack­n­er as chief trans­la­tion­al of­fi­cer, head of bio­mark­er strat­e­gy. Be­fore he was head of bi­ol­o­gy and trans­la­tion­al sci­ences for Ideaya Bio­sciences, Lack­n­er led the on­col­o­gy ear­ly-stage bio­mark­er group as part of his 13 years at Genen­tech.

Joseph Elas­sal

→ Co-found­ed and chaired by Till­man Gern­gross, on­col­o­gy out­fit Ankyra Ther­a­peu­tics has re­cruit­ed Joseph Elas­sal as CMO. Elas­sal has two stints at Re­gen­eron on his ré­sumé: one from 2012-18, and the oth­er as se­nior med­ical di­rec­tor, glob­al med­ical af­fairs, on­col­o­gy since 2020. In be­tween, he was a deputy VP at PhRMA and a se­nior med­ical di­rec­tor for Replimune. Ankyra bagged a $45 mil­lion Se­ries B in No­vem­ber 2021 with the help of Po­laris, GV and a num­ber of oth­er in­vestors.

→ An­oth­er Gern­gross com­pa­ny, In­vivyd, came out swing­ing when it was known as Ada­gio, with big as­pi­ra­tions for its Covid-19 mon­o­clon­al an­ti­body along with big­ger bucks. But the drug struck out against Omi­cron, and Gern­gross was gone as CEO with­in a cou­ple months. The name changed to In­vivyd a few weeks ago, but the un­ease re­mains the same, as CFO/CBO Jane Hen­der­son and chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer Er­ic Kim­ble have packed their bags. Fred Driscoll, a CFO with Ren­o­va­cor, Flex­ion Ther­a­peu­tics and No­vavax, will bridge the gap as in­ter­im fi­nance chief as In­vivyd al­so says good­bye to an un­spec­i­fied num­ber of staffers.

San­dra Ro­jas-Caro

→ Pitts­burgh’s NeuBase Ther­a­peu­tics has al­so been be­set by lay­offs, dis­miss­ing 60% of its em­ploy­ees this week while piv­ot­ing to gene edit­ing. San­dra Ro­jas-Caro, NeuBase’s CMO since May 2021 who al­so be­gan an­oth­er role as head of R&D this past April, hand­ed in her res­ig­na­tion.

→ As George Church’s Colos­sal Bio­sciences con­tin­ues its quest to bring back the wool­ly mam­moth, its com­pu­ta­tion­al bi­ol­o­gy spin­out Form Bio has locked in Mark Swend­sen as chief rev­enue of­fi­cer. Swend­sen held the same po­si­tion at DNAnexus be­fore com­ing to Form Bio, which chris­tened the boat with a $30 mil­lion Se­ries A round in late Sep­tem­ber.

Car­o­line Köhrer

Flag­ship’s All­tr­na has dipped in­to the tal­ent pool of the in­cu­ba­tor’s most fa­mous cre­ation to find its VP, dis­cov­ery plat­form. Car­o­line Köhrer comes to the tR­NA play­er af­ter more than two years as Mod­er­na’s di­rec­tor of RNA sci­ence — a key cog in the de­vel­op­ment of its Covid-19 vac­cine — and five years over­all. All­tr­na chief Michelle Wern­er was part of Flag­ship’s rapid-fire CEO-part­ner ap­point­ments in April that in­clud­ed Mar­go Geor­giadis and for­mer Ab­b­Vie pres­i­dent Michael Sev­eri­no.

Lori Rudolph-Owen

→ While we have Flag­ship com­pa­nies on our mind, Sen­da Bio­sciences has pulled in two new ex­ecs with the ap­point­ments of Lori Rudolph-Owen as COO and Bar­bara Bis­pham as gen­er­al coun­sel. Rudolph-Owen hails from Goldfinch Bio, where she most re­cent­ly served as chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer. Pri­or to that, Rudolph-Owen held a num­ber of roles at Pfiz­er, AM­AG Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, MGI Phar­ma, Ver­tex and Mil­len­ni­um Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Bis­pham joins Sen­da from Bridge­Bio, where she was VP, head of le­gal. Pri­or to that, Bis­pham was with Good­win Proc­ter, Coo­ley and Reed Smith.

→ Not to be con­fused with the great bas­ket­ball Hall of Famer Bob Pet­tit, Robert Pe­tit has be­come the head of ear­ly clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Ori­o­n­is Bio­sciences, a can­cer biotech that racked up $55 mil­lion in fi­nanc­ing this week. Pe­tit chairs the sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board and is the ex-CSO of Ad­vax­is, which hap­pened to make news the same day as Ori­o­n­is’ raise by merg­ing with Ay­ala Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. One more thing about Ori­o­n­is: Cor­morant As­set Man­age­ment founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive Bi­hua Chen is now a mem­ber of the board.

Nigel Horscroft

Nigel Horscroft has set­tled in as CSO of Ger­man an­tivi­ral biotech Atri­va Ther­a­peu­tics, re­plac­ing cur­rent sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board chair­man Oliv­er Planz. Horscroft brings Big Phar­ma cre­den­tials with him from Pfiz­er, and dur­ing his time at Cure­Vac from 2012-20, he was pro­mot­ed to area head, mol­e­c­u­lar ther­a­py. Atri­va has al­so picked up two oth­er clin­i­cal ex­ecs this year: Stephan Witte (VP, clin­i­cal sci­ence and op­er­a­tions) in Jan­u­ary and Tim Ov­erend (VP, clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and reg­u­la­to­ry) in Ju­ly.

→ Stay­ing in Ger­many, Boehringer In­gel­heim and GSK alum Thomas Bo­gen­rieder has joined ade­n­ovirus-based can­cer biotech Aba­los Ther­a­peu­tics as CMO. Bo­gen­rieder had held the role of chief clin­i­cal of­fi­cer at Swiss-based AMAL Ther­a­peu­tics since Ju­ly 2020 and is the ex-med­ical chief of Evax­ion Biotech. A year ago around this time, Aba­los topped off its Se­ries A with $37.6 mil­lion in ad­di­tion­al fund­ing.

Irene Knue­sel

→ In Sep­tem­ber 2021, we told you about Roche vet An­ja Harmeier tak­ing the CEO job at Bel­gian re­myeli­na­tion biotech Rewind Ther­a­peu­tics. Fast for­ward to this week, where Rewind has se­lect­ed Irene Knue­sel as CSO. Knue­sel has Roche ties her­self, clos­ing out her six-year tenure in 2019 as the phar­ma gi­ant’s head of the neu­roim­munol­o­gy and neu­rode­gen­er­a­tion sec­tion. In­ci­den­tal­ly, Roche is un­der the mi­cro­scope again in the Alzheimer’s space as we await da­ta for its re­sus­ci­tat­ed drug gan­tenerum­ab.

Leah Neufeld

→ Tar­get­ing sol­id tu­mors, Im­muneer­ingone of many biotechs that took the Nas­daq plunge at the zenith of IPOs in 2021 — has brought in Leah Neufeld as chief peo­ple of­fi­cer. Neufeld has worked in hu­man re­sources for com­pa­nies of all sizes, with J&J, Dai­ichi Sankyo and Pre­vail pack­ing her ré­sumé. The one-time head of HR at In­ter­cept was re­cent­ly the chief hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer for Jiang­su Hen­grui sub­sidiary Luzsana Biotech­nol­o­gy.

Ash­vattha Ther­a­peu­tics, a hy­drox­yl den­drimer (HD) biotech based in the Bay Area, has pegged Steve Mari­ci­ch as CMO. Mari­ci­ch re­cent­ly held the CMO post at ScrippsCal­i­br, and he’s been the med­ical chief at Al­lievex, the de­vel­op­er of a drug for San­fil­ip­po syn­drome type B that was once in Bio­Marin’s hands.

Jes­si­ca Atkin­son

Jes­si­ca Atkin­son has been ap­point­ed CBO of Im­muneID, a biotech out of Stephen Elledge’s lab at Har­vard that’s ze­ro­ing in on an­ti­bod­ies with its AI plat­form, called aiSPIRE. Atkin­son rose to VP, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at Foun­da­tion Med­i­cine in 2019 af­ter Roche’s $2.4 bil­lion takeover, and she just had a brief run as SVP, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment of Glympse Bio.

→ Plain­ly-named IO Biotech, a Nas­daq new­com­er in 2021 that’s go­ing af­ter IDO and PD-L1 with its can­cer drugs IO102 and IO103, has en­list­ed Amy Sul­li­van as CFO. Sul­li­van had a seat at the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble as chief strat­e­gy of­fi­cer of Kiadis when it was pur­chased by Sanofi for $358 mil­lion. The ex-SVP of cor­po­rate af­fairs at Keryx Bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals was al­so VP, in­vestor re­la­tions and cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions with AM­AG Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

Marc Dechamps

→ Bel­gian biotech Biox­odes is chang­ing up the top ex­ec seat with the ap­point­ment of Marc Dechamps as CEO. Dechamps takes over the reins from com­pa­ny founder Ed­mond God­froid, who is tran­si­tion­ing in­to the roles of COO and CSO. Dechamps brings with him ex­pe­ri­ence from his times at GSK and Vi­iV Health­care to the new role.

→ San Diego RNA edit­ing biotech ADARx Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals is a busy bee in Peer Re­view too, nam­ing Fe­rian­das Gre­b­likas as VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment af­ter hir­ing CFO Chris Pren­tiss and CMC VP Christo­pher Clae­boe this year. A vet­er­an of No­vo Nordisk, Bio­gen and Bax­ter, Gre­b­likas comes to ADARx from Tra­vere Ther­a­peu­tics, where he was a se­nior med­ical di­rec­tor and clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment lead. And in a pre­vi­ous gig, he worked for JJ Bi­en­aimé as Bio­Marin’s med­ical di­rec­tor of phenylke­tonuria clin­i­cal tri­als.

Paul Smith

→ Com­ing up on a year since its $60 mil­lion Se­ries A, STAT3- and STAT6-fo­cused Re­cludix Phar­ma is back in Peer Re­view with Paul Smith as SVP of bi­ol­o­gy. Smith, the ex-glob­al re­search lead for Gilenya with No­var­tis, has al­so been se­nior di­rec­tor of in­flam­ma­tion and au­toim­mu­ni­ty at In­cyte. He held the role of VP, dis­cov­ery bi­ol­o­gy at Con­nect Bio­phar­ma be­fore piv­ot­ing to Re­cludix, a com­pa­ny out of San Diego that in­tro­duced CBO Matthew Calde­mey­er in late Sep­tem­ber.

Hein­rich Farin

→ Transpa­cif­ic on­col­o­gy biotech An­Heart Ther­a­peu­tics, which se­cured a $61 mil­lion Se­ries B round last year, has wel­comed aboard Hein­rich Farin as se­nior med­ical di­rec­tor, clin­i­cal re­search and Michael Humphries as VP, head of US med­ical af­fairs. Farin hails from Mi­rati, where he served as se­nior med­ical di­rec­tor and has a pri­or stint as glob­al se­nior med­ical di­rec­tor, clin­i­cal re­search and de­vel­op­ment at BeiGene. Ear­li­er in his ca­reer, Farin had roles at Ari­ad Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Bax­al­ta. Mean­while, Humphries brings ex­per­tise from his time at Take­da On­col­o­gy, where he served as se­nior sci­en­tif­ic di­rec­tor of glob­al med­ical af­fairs. Pri­or to Take­da, Humphries had gigs at Bay­er Health­care Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Ar­ray Bio­phar­ma.

→ Swiss LIL­RB (leuko­cyte im­munoglob­u­lin-like re­cep­tor sub­fam­i­ly B) biotech Im­munOs Ther­a­peu­tics has pegged Hilmar Ebers­bach as VP, an­ti­body de­vel­op­ment and pro­tein en­gi­neer­ing. Ebers­bach had spent the last 15 years in bio­ther­a­peu­tic en­gi­neer­ing and gene ther­a­py at the No­var­tis In­sti­tutes for Bio­Med­ical Re­search.

Daniel Rip­ley

→ Be­lieve it or not, Daniel Rip­ley has ven­tured off to High­T­ide Ther­a­peu­tics as SVP, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. Rip­ley is an Io­n­is BD vet who led glob­al busi­ness de­vel­op­ment for the last two years at Al­pha Bio­phar­ma, and as the brave souls of High­T­ide give NASH a whirl with its lead pro­gram HTD1801, he al­so has ex­pe­ri­ence in the space as SVP of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment, pro­gram and al­liance man­age­ment at Cona­tus Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, a No­var­tis part­ner plagued by NASH fail­ures that merged with His­to­gen in 2020.

GSK In­dia has named Bhushan Ak­shikar as man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, suc­ceed­ing Srid­har Venkatesh, who is tran­si­tion­ing to a se­nior role with­in the GSK Group. Ak­shikar joined GSK In­dia in Sep­tem­ber 2011. Pri­or to GSK, Ak­shikar had a 15-year stint at J&J’s Janssen.

Bri­an Pereira

→ Ex-AM­AG Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals CEO Bri­an Pereira has been named chair­man at KalVista fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Mar­tin Ed­wards and a re­sound­ing tri­al fail­ure. Ear­li­er this month, KalVista had to stop a Phase II tri­al of its hered­i­tary an­gioede­ma drug KVD824 af­ter is­sues with liv­er en­zymes were de­tect­ed through­out all three treat­ment groups. Pereira has been pres­i­dent and CEO of Ot­su­ka sub Vis­ter­ra since 2013.

→ Pro­teomics biotech So­ma­Log­ic, which re­verse-merged on­to Nas­daq with Eli Cas­din’s SPAC with a $1.2 bil­lion val­u­a­tion last April, has tapped Troy Cox as ex­ec­u­tive chair of the board of di­rec­tors, tak­ing over from Chuck Lil­lis, who will re­main on the board. Cox for­mer­ly served as pres­i­dent and CEO of Foun­da­tion Med­i­cine and was SVP and of­fi­cer at Genen­tech and held roles at UCB, Sanofi-Aven­tis and Scher­ing-Plough.

Gau­rav Shah

Rock­et Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals chief Gau­rav Shah is now chair­man of the board at Swiss gene ther­a­py de­vel­op­er An­jar­i­um Bio­sciences, which un­veiled a $61 mil­lion launch round in Sep­tem­ber 2021 thanks to such big-name in­vestors as Pfiz­er and Abing­worth. And af­ter join­ing the board at On­corus in June, ex-Dicer­na CEO Doug Fam­brough al­so has a place in An­jar­i­um’s board­room.

→ Cell pro­cess­ing shop Cu­rate Bio­sciences has re­served space for Shah’s chief tech­ni­cal of­fi­cer at Rock­et, Mayo Pu­jols, on the board of di­rec­tors. Pu­jols was in charge of glob­al man­u­fac­tur­ing for liso-cel (now Breyanzi) as Cel­gene’s VP of glob­al CAR-T op­er­a­tions and tech­nol­o­gy.

Jeanne Bol­ger

→ Bel­gian in­fec­tious dis­ease biotech Ex­e­Vir has ap­point­ed Jeanne Bol­ger to chair the board of di­rec­tors. Af­ter 13 years at GSK, Bol­ger switched to an­oth­er phar­ma gi­ant as VP of sci­en­tif­ic li­cens­ing at J&J, lat­er be­com­ing the VP of ven­ture in­vest­ing at John­son & John­son In­no­va­tion (JJDC).

The­seus Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals — a TKI play­er from Or­biMed whose stock $THRX re­cent­ly hit its nadir prac­ti­cal­ly a year to the day that it joined Nas­daq in a none-too-shock­ing de­vel­op­ment in this mar­ket — has added In­cyte CMO Steven Stein to the board of di­rec­tors. Stein is a for­mer clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment ex­ec with GSK and No­var­tis On­col­o­gy.

Anil Ka­pur

Geron’s EVP, cor­po­rate strat­e­gy and chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer Anil Ka­pur is mak­ing his way to the board of di­rec­tors at Ve­rastem On­col­o­gy. Ka­pur is the for­mer head of ear­ly as­sets, bio­mark­ers and ex­ter­nal in­no­va­tion for world­wide on­col­o­gy com­mer­cial­iza­tion for Bris­tol My­ers Squibb and the ex-CCO at Ac­tini­um.

→ Chi­na-based Hangzhou Qi­han Biotech has brought on Tony Ho to its board of di­rec­tors. Ho joins af­ter a four-year stint at CRISPR Ther­a­peu­tics, where he most re­cent­ly served as EVP and head of re­search & de­vel­op­ment. Ho’s pri­or ex­pe­ri­ence in­cludes roles as SVP and head of on­col­o­gy in­te­gra­tion and in­no­va­tion at As­traZeneca, head of neu­rol­o­gy and oph­thal­mol­o­gy at Mer­ck and co-founder and CSO at Neu­ronyx.

Nan­na Lüneborg

→ Fol­low­ing a re­cent Se­ries C fi­nanc­ing round, In­ver­sa­go Phar­ma has reeled in Ed Math­ers and Nan­na Lüneborg to its board of di­rec­tors. Math­ers is a gen­er­al part­ner at New En­ter­prise As­so­ci­ates and has pre­vi­ous­ly served as EVP, cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment and ven­ture at Med­Im­mune. Math­ers cur­rent­ly serves as a di­rec­tor to a host of com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Rhythm Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Syn­log­ic, Sen­ti Bio, In­ozyme, Ak­ou­os and Affinia. Mean­while, Lüneborg is a gen­er­al part­ner at For­bion and for­mer­ly served a decade-long stint as a part­ner at No­vo Ven­tures.

→ The Illi­nois Biotech­nol­o­gy In­no­va­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion (iBIO) has added three new faces to its board of di­rec­tors with the ap­point­ments of: Rahul Jerath (se­nior di­rec­tor, head of on­col­o­gy busi­ness de­vel­op­ment & ac­qui­si­tions at Ab­b­Vie), Phil Ten­nant (SVP and head of on­col­o­gy busi­ness unit at Astel­las), and Joe Whalen (SVP, al­liances & in­ter­na­tion­al busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at Hori­zon Ther­a­peu­tics).

Il­lus­tra­tion: Kim Ryu for End­points News

Big Phar­ma's Twit­ter ex­o­dus; Mer­ck wa­gers $1.35B on buy­out; $3.5M gene ther­a­py; and more

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Paul Perreault, CSL Behring CEO

CSL lands FDA ap­proval for he­mo­phil­ia B gene ther­a­py, sets $3.5M list price

The FDA has approved the world’s first gene therapy for hemophilia B, ushering into the market a treatment that’s historic in both what it promises to do and how much it will cost.

CSL will be marketing the drug, Hemgenix, at a list price of $3.5 million — which sets a new record for the most expensive single-use gene therapy in the US.

In a statement provided to Endpoints News, the Australian company noted that the current costs of treating people with moderate to severe hemophilia B can be significant over a lifetime. By some estimates, healthcare systems could spend more than $20 million per person.

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Elon Musk (GDA via AP Images)

Biggest drug com­pa­nies halt­ed Twit­ter ad buys af­ter Lil­ly in­sulin spoof

Almost all of the drug industry’s biggest advertisers cut their spending on Twitter to zero or near-zero over the last two weeks amid worries about impersonation of their brands by pranksters and the future of the social media company.

Among 18 of the biggest pharmaceutical advertisers in the US market, 12 cut their Twitter ad spending to nothing for the week beginning Nov. 14, according to Pathmatics, which tracks data on prescription drug ad spending as well as general corporate advertising. The list of drugmakers cutting spending to zero includes Merck, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer and others.

Rob Davis, Merck CEO

Up­dat­ed: No Seagen here: 'Do more' means a small $1.35B pur­chase of Ima­go for Mer­ck

Merck is making an acquisition, the Big Pharma announced before Monday’s opening bell. No, Seagen is not entering the fold, as had been speculated for quarters.

Folding under Merck’s wings will be Pfizer-backed Imago BioSciences. For nearly a year, Merck CEO Rob Davis has been saying the pharma giant needs to “do more” on the business development front after its 2021 $11.5 billion acquisition of Acceleron.

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Alzheimer’s drug bites the dust; Re­struc­ture, re­struc­ture, re­struc­ture; Land­mark di­a­betes OK; 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.

Being in the news business can give one a warped sense of time — it feels like quite a while since we published some of these stories below. But next Saturday’s Endpoints Weekly will definitely be shorter, as we take off Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving. We will still have the abbreviated edition in your inbox at the usual time.

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MIT re­searchers re­veal DNA "Paste" tech be­hind lat­est gene edit­ing start­up

MIT scientists have developed a tool that they say can insert large gene sequences where they want in the genome.

In a paper published Thursday in Nature Biotechnology, MIT fellows Omar Abudayyeh, Jonathan Gootenberg and colleagues detail a technology they call PASTE, which they say can potentially be used to insert long strands of DNA and treat genetic diseases caused by many different mutations, such as cystic fibrosis and Leber congenital amaurosis, a rare eye disorder that causes blindness.

J&J's Spra­va­to pulls a PhI­II win against Sero­quel XR in treat­ment-re­sis­tant de­pres­sion

A day before Thanksgiving, J&J’s Janssen has a new cut of Phase III Spravato data to be grateful for.

The pharma giant announced on Wednesday that its nasal spray, also known as esketamine, beat extended-release quetiapine, previously sold by AstraZeneca as Seroquel XR, in treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Of 676 adults, a significantly higher number of patients on Spravato were able to achieve remission and avoid relapse after 32 weeks, according to J&J.

Dermavant Sciences' first consumer TV ad for its Vtama psoriasis med shows people ready for a new topical treatment.

Roivant’s Der­ma­vant de­buts first-ever TV com­mer­cial for pso­ri­a­sis cream Vta­ma

Dermavant Sciences has been marketing its first product, psoriasis med Vtama, to dermatologists for months, but on Tuesday it rolled out its first consumer campaign. The debut DTC effort including a streaming TV commercial encourages patients to a “Topical Uprising” in a nod to Vtama being a topical cream.

In the new commercial, a swell of people discards scarves and jacket coverings, gathering in the street to converge on a pharmacy to demand a steroid-free prescription. A moment of levity follows when a pharmacist says, “You know you can just talk to your doctor, right?” The gathered crowds collectively says, “Oh.”

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FDA preps for DMD drug gener­ics as Sarep­ta has yet to fin­ish its con­fir­ma­to­ry tri­al

The FDA typically releases guidance to help generic drug manufacturers develop new copycats of small molecule drugs, oftentimes in preparation for a brand name product’s patents or exclusivity to expire.

This week, FDA released such bioequivalence guidance for any generic drugmakers looking to take on Sarepta’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) drug Exondys 51 (eteplirsen), even though the drug’s sponsor has yet to convert the accelerated approval to a full approval, showing clinical benefit.