Google health tech spin­out Ver­i­ly lays off staff amid ex­ec de­par­tures

Ver­i­ly, spun out of Google par­ent Al­pha­bet, is lay­ing off about 15% of its em­ploy­ees, shak­ing up the ex­ec­u­tive lead­er­ship and nar­row­ing its fo­cus, the com­pa­ny con­firmed to End­points News.

Stephen Gillett

Co-founder Jes­si­ca Mega and health plat­forms pres­i­dent Vi­vian Lee have left the com­pa­ny, ac­cord­ing to LinkedIn up­dates to their pro­files, as first re­port­ed by STAT News. Jor­di Par­ra­mon, pres­i­dent of the com­pa­ny’s de­vices unit, is al­so leav­ing, ac­cord­ing to an in­ter­nal memo from CEO Stephen Gillett.

The health tech com­pa­ny formed in 2015 out of Google X and at­tract­ed big names, in­clud­ing FDA Com­mis­sion­er Robert Califf, who led clin­i­cal pol­i­cy and strat­e­gy be­tween his stints as leader of the US reg­u­la­tor. For­mer prin­ci­pal deputy FDA leader Amy Aber­nethy al­so joined last sum­mer. She be­came med­ical chief and pres­i­dent of prod­uct de­vel­op­ment as part of this week’s C-suite makeover.

Amy Aber­nethy

Ver­i­ly is still search­ing for a new CFO, ac­cord­ing to the memo. For­mer fi­nance chief Deep­ak Ahu­ja left last fall, the com­pa­ny an­nounced at the time of a $1 bil­lion in­vest­ment led by Al­pha­bet. The com­pa­ny seeks a chief sci­en­tif­ic of­fi­cer as well.

The com­pa­ny will end work on re­mote pa­tient mon­i­tor­ing for heart fail­ure and mi­cronee­dles for drug de­liv­ery, per the memo. The fo­cus will nar­row in on “clos­ing the gap be­tween re­search and care, and be­com­ing the da­ta and ev­i­dence back­bone for pre­ci­sion health.”

So­sei Hep­tares, Ot­su­ka, Mayo Clin­ic and L’Oréal are some of the com­pa­ny’s col­lab­o­ra­tors. Ver­i­ly al­so bought out Sig­nal­Path in re­cent years to boost its clin­i­cal tri­al work.

The lay­offs hap­pen as the broad­er tech and bio­phar­ma in­dus­tries go through sweep­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion­al changes in the cur­rent mar­ket. Mul­ti­ple Big Tech gi­ants and more than 100 biotechs have en­act­ed lay­offs in the past year.

Am­gen lays off about 300 work­ers, cit­ing 'in­dus­try head­wind­s'

Amgen has laid off about 300 employees, a company spokesperson confirmed to Endpoints News via email Sunday night.

Employees posted to LinkedIn in recent days about layoffs hitting Amgen last week. The Thousand Oaks, CA-based biopharma, which employs about 24,000 people, said the reduction “mainly” impacted US-based workers on its commercial team.

Drug developers of all sizes, including small upstarts and pharma giants, have let employees go in recent months as the biopharma market drags through a quarters-long winter doldrum.

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Bob Bradway, Amgen CEO (Stephen Lam/Reuters)

Am­gen launch­es the first US Hu­mi­ra biosim­i­lar at two dif­fer­ent list prices

The bizarre dynamics of the US prescription drug market were on full display once again this morning as Amgen announced that it would launch the first US biosimilar for Humira, the best-selling drug of all time, at two completely different list prices.

One price for Amgen’s Amjevita (adalimumab-atto) will be 55% below the current Humira list price, which is about $84,000 per year, and another at a list price 5% below the current Humira list price, but presumably (pharma companies don’t disclose rebates) with high rebates to attract PBMs and payers.

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Dirk Thye, Quince Therapeutics CEO

Af­ter piv­ot­ing from Alzheimer's to bone con­di­tions, biotech piv­ots again — and halves its head­count

When troubled public biotech Cortexyme bought a private startup named Novosteo and handed the keys to its executive team, the company — which changed its name to Quince Therapeutics — said it would shift its focus from an unorthodox Alzheimer’s approach to Novosteo’s bone-targeting drug platform.

Less than a year later, Quince is pivoting again.

The biotech has decided to out-license its bone-targeting drug platform and its lead drug, NOV004, and instead look for clinical-stage programs to in-license or acquire, according to a press release.

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New York City in­vests $20M in­to biotech 'in­no­va­tion space' at the Brook­lyn Navy Yard

New York City is investing $20 million in biotech this year in the form of a 50,000-square-foot “innovation space” at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, complete with offices, research laboratories and events and programming space to grow biotech startups and companies.

Mayor Eric Adams said during his State of The City Address last Thursday that there will be an “emphasis” on making more opportunities for women and people of color to further diversify the industry. The City first reported the news.

Boehringer In­gel­heim touts pre­ven­tion re­sults in rarest form of pso­ri­a­sis

Boehringer Ingelheim uncorked some positive results suggesting that Spevigo can help prevent flare-ups in patients with a severe form of psoriasis, months after the drug was approved to treat existing flares.

Spevigo, an IL-36R antibody also known as spesolimab, met its primary and a key secondary endpoint in the Phase IIb EFFISAYIL 2 trial in patients with generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP), Boehringer announced on Monday. While the company is keeping the hard numbers under wraps until later this year, it said in a news release that it anticipates sharing the results with regulators.

As­traZeneca, No­vo Nordisk and Sanofi score 340B-re­lat­ed ap­peals court win over HHS

AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi won an appeals court win on Monday, as the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit found that the companies cannot be forced to provide 340B-discounted drugs purchased by hospitals from an unlimited number of community and specialty pharmacies.

“Legal duties do not spring from silence,” the decision says as the court makes clear that the federal government’s interpretation of the “supposed requirement” that the 340B program compels drugmakers to supply their discounted drugs to an unlimited number of contract pharmacies is not correct, noting:

Ap­peals court toss­es J&J's con­tro­ver­sial 'Texas two-step' bank­rupt­cy case

A US appeals court has ruled against Johnson & Johnson’s use of bankruptcy to deal with mounting talc lawsuits, deciding that doing so would “create a legal blind spot.”

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a previous bankruptcy court decision on Monday, calling for the dismissal of a Chapter 11 filing by J&J’s subsidiary LTL Management.

Faced with more than 38,000 lawsuits alleging its talc-based products caused cancer, J&J spun its talc liabilities into a separate company called LTL Management back in October 2021 and filed for bankruptcy, a controversial move colloquially referred to as a “Texas two-step” bankruptcy. Claimants argued that the strategy is a misuse of the US bankruptcy code — and on Monday, a panel of judges agreed.

Troy Tazbaz, FDA's newly-named director of the Digital Health Center of Excellence (Oracle via YouTube)

Or­a­cle ex­ec­u­tive Troy Tazbaz named new FDA di­rec­tor of dig­i­tal health

The FDA has found a brand new director of the Digital Health Center of Excellence in Troy Tazbaz, a former senior vice president at Oracle.

According to Tazbaz’s LinkedIn, he took a five-month break after leaving an 11-year career at Oracle before joining the FDA in January. Stat News first reported the hire. Tazbaz also said on his LinkedIn that he biked all the way from Chesapeake Bay to the San Francisco Bay over 58 days during his career break.

Chad Mirkin, Flashpoint co-founder

‘The field is at a flash­point’: New Chad Mirkin-found­ed biotech hopes to make more ef­fec­tive can­cer vac­cines

Following the success of the mRNA Covid vaccines, cancer vaccines are seeing renewed interest after years of middling results. But a group of researchers suggests that more attention needs to be paid not to what goes into those vaccines, but how the parts are put together.

In a recent paper published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, researchers led by Northwestern University’s Chad Mirkin describe how the placement of different antigens in a cancer vaccine impacts its efficacy. The paper builds on past work done by Mirkin’s lab that suggests the structure, or how the parts of a vaccine are arranged, impact a vaccine’s efficacy, not just its components.

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