Gly­coMimet­ics shares crash af­ter Pfiz­er team dis­miss­es their lead drug as a PhI­II fail­ure

Close to 8 years ago, the BD team at Pfiz­er signed a $340 mil­lion deal to li­cense in a mid-stage drug from Gly­coMimet­ics for a par­tic­u­lar­ly painful com­pli­ca­tion of sick­le cell dis­ease. There was no ex­act word on the cash in­volved, but the phar­ma gi­ant agreed to fund the en­tire Phase III ef­fort they would need for an ap­proval.

It didn’t work. 

Af­ter the mar­ket closed on Fri­day, the biotech re­port­ed that Pfiz­er ex­ecs had passed on word that the tri­al failed the pri­ma­ry end­point — time to dis­charge readi­ness — as well as key sec­on­daries. We didn’t get the hard num­bers, just the top-line news.

For Gly­coMimet­ics, which cit­ed this drug as their lead ther­a­py in the pipeline, it was a dis­as­ter. The biotech’s stock $GLYC lost 42% of its val­ue af­ter the bell.

Rachel King

The drug — called riv­ipansel (GMI-1070) — had been de­signed to cir­cum­vent a bi­o­log­ic process that spurs what’s called a va­so-oc­clu­sive cri­sis among sick­le cell pa­tients by bind­ing to all three mem­bers of the se­lectin fam­i­ly.

We found when Gly­coMimet­ics went pub­lic in 2013 that Pfiz­er agreed to pay just $22.5 mil­lion up­front for the deal, with $115 mil­lion — ev­i­dent­ly lat­er ad­just­ed to $80 mil­lion — due for de­vel­op­ment mile­stones. $20 mil­lion was re­served for first dos­ing in the late-stage study.

Biren Amin at Jef­feries al­so isn’t over­ly bull­ish on Gly­coMimet­ics next big Phase III cat­a­lyst in 2020.

The next read­out is from Up­ro PI­II AML tri­al in YE ’20, and we view the PI­II as risky.

“We are both sur­prised and deeply dis­ap­point­ed by this out­come, as we had strong­ly hoped that riv­ipansel would have a pos­i­tive ben­e­fit for peo­ple liv­ing with sick­le cell dis­ease,” said Gly­coMimet­ics CEO Rachel King in a state­ment.

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.

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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.

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Federal Trade Commission commissioner Rohit Chopra testifies on Capitol Hill (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

FTC clears Bris­tol-My­ers’ $74B deal to buy Cel­gene — but Dems sig­nal a po­ten­tial hard shift against Big Phar­ma M&A

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s record $74 billion takeover of Celgene is a done deal. And it will all be over — except for the lingering complaints from die-hard Celgene investors — on Wednesday.

Like much else that’s going on in Washington these days, the vote among the 5 FTC commissioners split along party lines, with the 3 Republicans voting to clear the way and the 2 Democrats steamed over what they see as a major M&A move that will lessen competition and innovation. And that split has big implications for the M&A side of the business if the Dems take the White House in 2020.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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What does $62B buy you these days? A lot, says Take­da ex­ecs as the phar­ma play­er promis­es a block­buster R&D fu­ture

First comes the $62 billion buyout. Then comes the asset auction and reorganization to pay down debt. Now comes the detailed pledge of a bigger, brighter future in drug development.

That’s where Takeda finds itself on R&D day today, about 11 months after closing on their Shire acquisition. R&D chief Andy Plump is joining CEO Christophe Weber and other top members of the team to outline a new set of priorities in the greatly expanded pipeline at Takeda, which has jumped into the top ranks of the world’s pharma giants in the wake of the Shire deal.

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GSK's asth­ma bi­o­log­ic Nu­cala scores in rare blood dis­or­der study

GlaxoSmithKline’s asthma drug Nucala, which received a resounding FDA rejection for use in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) last year, has shown promise in a rare blood disorder.

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Mer­ck buys a fledg­ling neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive biotech spawned by an old GSK dis­cov­ery al­liance. What’s up with that?

Avalon Ventures chief Jay Lichter has a well-known yen for drug development programs picked up in academia. And what he found in Haoxing Xu’s lab at the University of Michigan pricked his interest enough to launch one of his umbrella biotechs in San Diego.

Xu’s work laid the foundation for Avalon to launch Calporta, which has been working on finding small molecule agonists of TRPML1 (transient receptor potential cation channel, mucolipin subfamily, member 1) for lysosomal storage disorders. And that pathway, they believe, points to new approaches on major market neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, ALS and Alzheimer’s.

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