Andrew Dickinson, Gilead

Gilead­'s chief strat­e­gy ex­ec gets a big pro­mo­tion af­ter or­ches­trat­ing multi­bil­lion-dol­lar deals

Af­ter gain­ing cred­it as the ar­chi­tect of Gilead’s $12 bil­lion Kite buy­out as well as the re­cent $5 bil­lion part­ner­ship with Gala­pa­gos, chief strat­e­gy of­fi­cer An­drew Dick­in­son is be­ing pro­mot­ed to the pres­ti­gious CFO post at the big biotech. And new CEO Daniel O’Day says the lat­est move com­pletes his makeover of the top team.

Dick­in­son will re­main in charge of strat­e­gy in his new post.

A 3-year vet­er­an at Gilead, Dick­in­son joined the bell­wether biotech af­ter a lengthy stint at Lazard Frères & Co, where he was glob­al co-head of health­care in­vest­ing. Be­fore that, iron­i­cal­ly enough, he had been at Myo­gen, which was bought out by Gilead in 2006. Now he’ll be pri­mar­i­ly re­spon­si­ble for build­ing con­fi­dence in the num­bers at a com­pa­ny that has a strong foun­da­tion in HIV, a dis­ap­pear­ing fran­chise in hep C and a CAR-T sub­sidiary in Kite that has a long way to go in es­tab­lish­ing a new busi­ness.

Dick­in­son will get some guid­ance from Robin Wash­ing­ton, who he will be re­plac­ing as CFO. Wash­ing­ton said ear­li­er that she would re­main as an ad­vis­er for the com­pa­ny as she ex­it­ed the C-suite.

O’Day has been mak­ing some sweep­ing changes at the top end of the com­pa­ny since tak­ing the helm. Part­ly that was due to an ex­o­dus of ex­ecs out of R&D as they moved to new jobs run­ning their own biotech com­pa­nies. And CEO John Mil­li­gan and chair­man John Mar­tin both left in tan­dem as Gilead sought a new di­rec­tion in drug de­vel­op­ment that would please an anx­ious Wall Street.

That’s a work in progress. And Jef­feries’ Michael Yee coun­seled pa­tience to in­vestors anx­ious to see bot­tom-line im­prove­ments.

In the last 6 months, O’Day (1) filled the Kite CEO role from LLY, (2) put in a new head of Com­mer­cial from BMY, (3) hired a CMO role from Genen­tech, and (4) filled the CFO role in­ter­nal­ly as Dick­in­son was EVP Cor­po­rate De­vel­op­ment/Strat­e­gy al­ready and has been at GILD since 2016. Of note, Dick­in­son was brought on to join GILD dur­ing the lat­er part of the John Mil­li­gan era. Dick­in­son was close with Mil­li­gan pre­vi­ous­ly hav­ing served for a decade at Lazard to help ad­vise on strate­gic ideas in­clud­ing BD and M&A. Bot­tom line for GILD – in­vestors will need pa­tience. Im­proved sto­ries aren’t made overnight.

“Andy is an ex­cep­tion­al, high­ly strate­gic leader. In ad­di­tion to his im­pres­sive busi­ness and fi­nan­cial acu­men and broad ex­pe­ri­ence, Andy pos­sess­es strong cre­ativ­i­ty and vi­sion. This has been ev­i­dent in the way Gilead has ap­proached ac­qui­si­tions and part­ner­ships un­der Andy’s lead­er­ship,” not­ed O’Day. “Over the past months, one of my key pri­or­i­ties has been to en­sure we have an out­stand­ing team of lead­ers to shape Gilead’s long-term suc­cess. I am pleased that with Andy’s ap­point­ment as CFO, we now have our full lead­er­ship team in place.”

UP­DAT­ED: Roche bags 'break­through' an­ti-fi­bro­sis drug in $1.4B biotech buy­out deal

Roche is snapping up a “breakthrough” anti-fibrotic drug in a $1.4 billion buyout.

The pharma giant announced Friday that it is acquiring Promedior, primarily to get its hands on PRM-151, a recombinant form of human pentraxin-2 (PTX-2) protein that has nailed down mid-stage clinical data on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and demonstrating its potential for a range of fibrotic conditions.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 65,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

(Image: Associated Press)

Amarin emerges from an ex­pert pan­el re­view with a clear en­dorse­ment for Vas­cepa and high odds of suc­cess when the FDA weighs in for­mal­ly

Several FDA experts who gathered Thursday to consider the landmark approval of Vascepa to reduce cardio events in an at-risk population voiced their unease about various aspects of the efficacy and safety data, or ultimately the population it should be used to treat. But the overwhelming belief that the data pointed to the drug’s benefit and clearly outweighed risks carried the day for Amarin.

The panel voted unanimously (16 to 0) to support the company’s positive data presentation — backing an OK for expanding the label to include reducing cardio risk. The vote points Amarin $AMRN down a short path to a formal decision by the FDA, with the odds heavily in its favor. Chances are the rest of the questions about the future of this drug will be hashed out in the label’s small print.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 65,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

No­var­tis spin­out’s first an­ti-ag­ing PhI­II is a flop, so now they’ll turn to Parkin­son’s chal­lenge as shares wilt

Novartis spinout resTORbio is grappling with the collapse of its lead clinical program this morning — an anti-aging R&D failure that will badly damage their rep in the field.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 65,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

(Image: Associated Press)

No­var­tis scores its lat­est FDA OK — this time for a new sick­le cell dis­ease drug picked up in a $665M deal

Novartis’ decision to buy Oklahoma-based biotech Selexys 3 years ago for up to $665 million has paid off with an FDA approval today.

Blessed with the FDA’s breakthrough drug designation for a speedy review, the pharma giant has pinned down an approval for crizanlizumab, a new therapy designed to reduce the frequency of painful incidents of vaso-occlusive crises among sickle cell disease patients 16 or older.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 65,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

As­traZeneca gains EU nod for di­a­betes triple; Am­gen and Duke launch re­al-world PC­SK9 ob­ser­va­tion­al study

→ Weeks after winning EU approval to start marketing dapagliflozin as Forxiga, AstraZeneca has racked up another OK for a triplet combo involving the SGLT2 diabetes drug. Named Qtrilmet, the pill combines Forxiga with the DPP-4 inhibitor Onglyza (saxagliptin) and the bedrock drug metformin in a modified-release format. That 3-in-1 approach proved superior in reducing average blood glucose levels to a number of other dual combinations across 5 Phase III trials, including Forxiga plus metformin, Onglyza with metformin, or glimepiride with metformin.

Five drugs, in­clud­ing two No­var­tis ther­a­pies, win EMA en­dorse­ment

As is custom, an EMA panel on Friday issued its weekly recommendations on marketing applications submitted by drug developers. This week, the agency backed the use of five new therapies — including two Novartis drugs — but issued no negative reviews.

Novartis’ S1P drug for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) drug, Mayzent (known chemically as siponimod), which was approved by the FDA in March — has been given the nod by the EMA. The Swiss drugmaker already sells its other MS drug, Gilenya, in both regions.

Atom­wise's X-37 spin­out gets $14.5 mil­lion to launch AI dis­cov­ery ef­forts

The folks behind Atomwise’s spinout X-37 like to think in cosmological metaphors, and you can think of their AI drug development model as probes sent into space from a central station. That station just got $14.5 million in Series A funding from DCVC Bio, Alpha Intelligence Capital and Hemi Ventures to back those missions.

X-37 uses Atomwise’s AI platform to identify drug targets and – unlike the parent company, which largely sticks to computers  – bring those into a wet lab and preclinical testing.  In addition to AI professionals, it’s led in by part by drug developers from Velocity Pharmaceutical Development.

Ab­bott Lab­o­ra­to­ries CEO Miles White pass­es ba­ton down to suc­ces­sor; Lon­za CEO Marc Funk hits the ex­it

→ Abbott Laboratories has named a successor to CEO Miles White after he announced that he was stepping down in March after 21 years of service. Robert Ford, the company’s COO and president, will take the helm. Ford is known for his work in the $25 billion merger between St. Jude Medical into Abbott in January 2017. White will remain with the company as executive chairman of the board. 

→ After snapping up Novartis’ Swiss facility, Novartis Center of Excellence, in July, Lonza has announced that their CEO, Marc Funk, is hitting the exit for “personal reasons.” Funk has been the CEO of the company for less than a year — brought onto the company back in March. In the meantime, chairman Albert Baehny will serve as interim CEO. 

BeiGene CEO John Oyler at an Endpoints event in Shanghai, October 2018 (Credit: Endpoints News/PharmCube)

UP­DAT­ED: In a first, FDA green-lights use of a Chi­nese built can­cer ther­a­py — and more are com­ing

Weeks after Amgen took a $2.7 billion stake in BeiGene, the Beijing-based biotech has secured its first-ever FDA approval for zanubrutinib, a BTK inhibitor, months ahead of schedule.

BeiGene’s drug, branded as Brukinsa, has secured accelerated approval for adult patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) — a typically aggressive, rare, form of blood cancer — who have received at least one prior therapy.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 65,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.