Te­va de­nies big lay­offs are planned, but will push greater ef­fi­cien­cy and shut­ter floun­der­ing ef­forts

Te­va Jerusalem – (c) Flash 90 2013

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With its ex­ec­u­tive suite in tur­moil, its flag­ship drug un­der at­tack and its books bur­dened by debt fol­low­ing years of drought in its R&D arm, Te­va is re­port­ed­ly prepar­ing to un­leash a ma­jor re­or­ga­ni­za­tion that will cost thou­sands of jobs. But af­ter first stay­ing mum on the sub­ject, the Is­raeli phar­ma com­pa­ny now says it isn’t bring­ing out the ax but will in­stead pur­sue a va­ri­ety of ef­fi­cien­cy mea­sures.

The Is­raeli news­pa­per Cal­cal­ist re­port­ed that the bio­phar­ma hy­brid, which sells gener­ics as well as brand­ed drugs, is plan­ning to cut up to 6,000 staffers — 11% of its to­tal — af­ter Passover. In a state­ment, though, Te­va fired back that it won’t pink slip thou­sands, pre­fer­ring in­stead to end­ing cer­tain ac­tiv­i­ties, con­sol­i­dat­ing op­er­a­tions and freez­ing any new hires.

Te­va In­ter­im CEO Yitzhak Pe­ter­burg

“The ef­fi­cien­cy pro­gram is an in­te­gral part of Te­va’s busi­ness re­al­i­ty. The pro­gram in­cludes, among oth­er things, end­ing un­prof­itable ac­tiv­i­ties and con­sol­i­dat­ing func­tions, in ad­di­tion to freez­ing re­cruit­ment and nat­ur­al em­ploy­ee turnover,” the com­pa­ny said, ac­cord­ing to Reuters.

The lat­est signs of tur­moil come just weeks af­ter CEO Erez Vigod­man left the com­pa­ny. Vigod­man went out the same door Je­re­my Levin was thrown through in late 2013 af­ter he tried, and failed, to push through a re­struc­tur­ing.

That hap­pened soon af­ter a fed­er­al court tossed sev­er­al patents pro­tect­ing Te­va’s 40 mg dose of Co­pax­one, its mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis main­stay that brought in close to 20% of the com­pa­ny’s rev­enue last year. And the Is­raeli com­pa­ny has been feel­ing the heat af­ter a $40.5 bil­lion gener­ics ac­qui­si­tion deal with Al­ler­gan last year left a heavy debt to work out as gener­ic prices have dropped.

Te­va start­ed the year by low­er­ing its 2017 guid­ance by $1 bil­lion, which did noth­ing to en­dear the com­pa­ny with an­a­lysts and in­vestors.

Ac­tivist in­vestor Ben­ny Lan­da, mean­while, has been push­ing for an ex­pe­ri­enced glob­al play­er to take over the top job. He al­so wants to see the com­pa­ny split up in­to two, with one side tak­ing the gener­ics busi­ness and an­oth­er group spin­ning off the brand di­vi­sion.

There might be some re­luc­tance on the part of the best can­di­dates, how­ev­er. Levin tried to re­or­ga­nize the com­pa­ny and slash staff years ago. But the board re­spond­ed an­gri­ly and pushed him out of the com­pa­ny.

Work­ers won’t take any lay­offs sit­ting down, if it comes to that.

“We were in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion and we went to the bat­tle,” Eli­ran Ko­zlick, the head of Te­va’s work­ers’ com­mit­tee, wrote in a Face­book post ear­ly on Thurs­day, ac­cord­ing to a re­port in Bloomberg. “If the man­age­ment wants to do this again, we will all work to­geth­er and win as we did in the pre­vi­ous strug­gle.”

Te­va, though, is run­ning out of op­tions.

“Every drug com­pa­ny has to change con­stant­ly,” Kite CEO Arie Bellde­grun told Globes af­ter he re­signed from the board. “Te­va was very com­fort­able with Co­pax­one, but it should have al­ready pre­pared 8-10 years ago for its sub­se­quent life, and no such prop­er prepa­ra­tions were made. You can’t ac­cuse the com­pa­ny; it grew so fast. Now it is in­vest­ing in its fu­ture de­vel­op­ment, but a tem­po­rary hole has been left, and must be sur­vived. Te­va’s fu­ture will come from Prof. Michael Hay­den’s de­part­ment (the in­no­v­a­tive de­part­ment, G.W.). Every­one is sor­ry that (for­mer gener­ics di­vi­sion head) Sig­gi (Sig­ur­dur) Olaf­s­son left, but Sig­gi wasn’t work­ing on Te­va’s fu­ture.”

Janet Woodcock (Greg Nash/Pool via AP Images)

'I re­al­ly don’t look back': Janet Wood­cock on her tran­si­tion away from drugs

Janet Woodcock may have one of the most historically long and drug-intense tenures in FDA history, but her new role is outside of all things pharma and the once-acting FDA commissioner isn’t looking back.

“No I really don’t look back,” Woodcock told Endpoints News via email on Monday morning. “Yes I will be transitioning. Longer discussion on infrastructure needed.”

An NYU surgeon transplants an engineered pig kidney into the outside of a brain-dead patient (Joe Carrotta/NYU Langone Health)

'Xeno­trans­plan­ta­tion is com­ing': New NE­JM pa­per gives de­tailed look in­to 2 pig-to-hu­man kid­ney trans­plant cas­es

The thymokidney is a curious organ, if you could call it that. It’s a sort of Frankensteinian creation — a system of pig thymus embedded underneath the outer layer of a pig’s kidney, made for human transplantation.

In the first case of pig-to-human xenotransplantation of a kidney into a brain-dead patient, the thymokidney quietly featured front and center.

In that experiment, which took place in September of last year, NYU researchers led by Robert Montgomery sutured a pig thymokidney onto the leg of a brain-dead 66-year-old woman. That case was widely reported on by a horde of major media outlets, including the New York Times, the BBC, and an in-depth feature by USA Today.

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Vlad Coric, Biohaven CEO

UP­DAT­ED: Fresh off $11.6B sale to Pfiz­er, New Bio­haven hits Phase III set­back just weeks af­ter Vlad Coric chalked up promise

When Pfizer bought up Biohaven’s migraine portfolio in the largest M&A deal of the year earlier this month, Biohaven CEO Vlad Coric promised the rest of the pipeline, which will live on under the umbrella of New Biohaven, still has a lot to offer. But that vision took a dent Monday as the drugmaker revealed it’s once again flopped on troriluzole.

The glutamate regulator failed to meet the primary endpoint on a Phase III study in patients with spinocerebellar ataxia, an inherited disorder that impairs a person’s ability to walk, speak and swallow. SCA can also lead to premature death.

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Bay­er sounds re­treat from a $670 mil­lion CAR-T pact in the wake of a pa­tient death

Two months after Atara Biotherapeutics hit the hold button on its lead CAR-T 2.0 therapy following a patient death, putting the company under the watchful eye of the FDA, its Big Pharma partners at Bayer are bowing out of a $670 million global alliance. And the move is forcing a revamp of Atara’s pipeline plans, even as research execs vow to continue work on the two drugs allied with Bayer 18 months ago, which delivered a $60 million cash upfront.

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Co­pay coupons gone wrong, again: Pfiz­er pays al­most $300K to set­tle com­plaints in four states

Pfizer has agreed to pay $290,000 to settle allegations of questionable copay coupon practices in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, and Vermont from 2014 to 2018.

While the company has not admitted any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, Pfizer has agreed to issue restitution checks to about 5,000 consumers.

A Pfizer spokesperson said the company has “enhanced its co-pay coupons to alleviate the concerns raised by states and agreed to a $30,000 payment to each.”

Delaware court rules against Gilead and Astel­las in years-long patent case

A judge in Delaware has ruled against Astellas Pharma and Gilead in a long-running patent case over Pfizer-onwed Hospira’s generic version of Lexiscan.

The case kicked off in 2018, after Hospira submitted an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for approval to market a generic version of Gilead’s Lexiscan. The drug is used in myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI), a type of nuclear stress test.

Taye Diggs (courtesy Idorsia)

Idor­sia inks an­oth­er celebri­ty en­dors­er deal with ac­tor and dad Taye Dig­gs as Qu­viviq in­som­nia am­bas­sador

Idorsia’s latest Quviviq insomnia campaign details the relatable dad story of a well-known celebrity — actor and Broadway star Taye Diggs.

Diggs stopped sleeping well after the birth of his son, now more than 10 years ago. Switching mom-and-dad nightly shifts to take care of a baby interrupted his sleep patterns and led to insomnia.

“When you’re lucky enough to be living out your dream and doing what you want, but because of something as simple as a lack of sleep, you’re unable to do that, it felt absolutely — it was treacherous,” he says in an interview-style video on the Quviviq website.

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Belén Garijo, Merck KGaA CEO (Kevin Wolf/AP Images for EMD Serono)

Mer­ck KGaA pumps €440M in­to ex­pand­ing and con­struct­ing Irish man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties

The area of Ireland famous for Blarney Castle and its cliffsides along the Atlantic Ocean is seeing Merck KGaA expand its commitment there.

The German drug manufacturer is expanding its membrane and filtration manufacturing capabilities in Ireland. The company will invest approximately €440 million ($470 million) to increase membrane manufacturing capacity in Carrigtwohill, Ireland, and build a new manufacturing facility at Blarney Business Park, in County Cork, Ireland.

Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) (Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/Sipa via AP Images)

House Dems to Sen­ate lead­er­ship: Quick­ly move a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion bill with drug price ne­go­ti­a­tion re­forms

Twenty House Democrats, including Reps. Katie Porter of California and Susan Wild of Pennsylvania, are calling on Senate leaders to move quickly with a reconciliation bill (meaning they only need a simple majority for passage) with prescription drug pricing reforms, and to include adding new authority for Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

They also called on the Senate to specifically follow suit with the House passage of a $35 per month insulin cap (as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s deadline for a vote on that provision has come and gone), and to cap Medicare Part D costs at $2,000 per year for seniors.