How much? Pfiz­er leads top phar­ma com­pa­nies' ramped up lob­by spend­ing on Con­gress

K Street saw an­oth­er record year in 2021 for lob­by­ing ex­pen­di­tures, and some of the biggest bio­phar­ma com­pa­nies in the world shelled out mil­lions to sway Con­gress, re­veal­ing some of their key pri­or­i­ties along the way.

Pfiz­er topped the list of the largest phar­ma com­pa­nies in the lat­est quar­ter, spend­ing near­ly $3 mil­lion on lob­by­ing in Q4, which is about half a mil­lion more than they spent in the same quar­ter a year ear­li­er, but not quite as high as its Q1 2020 lev­el of more than $4 mil­lion. In 2021, Pfiz­er spent more than $10.3 mil­lion, about half a mil­lion less than in 2020.

Pfiz­er’s Covid-19 vac­cine com­peti­tor As­traZeneca and phar­ma heavy­weight No­var­tis spent about $1.5 mil­lion each in the lat­est quar­ter on lob­by­ing, which was al­so al­most dou­ble the amount each spent dur­ing the same pe­ri­od the pre­vi­ous year.

No­var­tis list­ed the pro­posed new NIH agency, to be known as the Ad­vanced Re­search Pro­jects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) as a fo­cal point, as well as biosim­i­lars, PDU­FA VII pri­or­i­ties and Cures 2.0.

Ab­b­Vie spent near­ly $1.3 mil­lion in the fourth quar­ter, end­ing the year spend­ing about $1 mil­lion more in 2021 com­pared to 2020. It list­ed sev­er­al in­di­vid­ual bills as “spe­cif­ic lob­by­ing is­sues,” in­clud­ing the Pre­serv­ing Ac­cess to Af­ford­able Gener­ics and Biosim­i­lars Act, which would lim­it “pay-for-de­lay” deals that pre­vent or de­lay gener­ics, and an­oth­er bill that went af­ter prod­uct hop­ping.

GSK al­so spent more than $1 mil­lion more on lob­by­ing in 2021 ver­sus 2020.

Nan­cy Pelosi

Along with the in­di­vid­ual com­pa­nies, in­dus­try groups PhRMA and BIO al­so lob­bied more heav­i­ly to cap­ture Capi­tol Hill at­ten­tion. PhRMA shelled out $7.2 mil­lion in the quar­ter, which was con­sid­er­ably more than the $5.1 mil­lion spent in Q4 2020, and BIO spent an­oth­er $3.4 mil­lion, which was on par with past months.

Joe Manchin

As ex­pect­ed, House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi’s HR 3 was fea­tured atop the list of lob­by­ing is­sues cit­ed among the com­pa­nies, as the bill would have in­tro­duced price ne­go­ti­a­tions in ways that could have cost in­dus­try hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars over sev­er­al decades. The more wa­tered-down ver­sion of those ne­go­ti­a­tions, which was in­clud­ed in the re­cent­ly nixed (by Sen. Joe Manchin of West Vir­ginia, who has said he does back ne­go­ti­a­tions) Build Back Bet­ter Act, which was al­so list­ed as a pri­or­i­ty by just about every com­pa­ny.

Biotech in­vestors and CEOs see two paths to growth, but are they equal­ly vi­able?

The dynamic in the biotech market has been highly volatile in the last few years, from the high peaks immediately after the COVID vaccine in 2021, to the lowest downturns of the last 20 years in 2022. This uncertainty makes calling the exact timing of the market’s turn something of a fool’s errand, according to Dr. Chen Yu, Founder and Managing Partner of TCG Crossover (TCG X). He speaks with RBC’s Noël Brown, Head of US Biotechnology Investment Banking, about the market’s road ahead and two possible paths for growth.

Vlad Coric, Biohaven CEO

Vlad Coric charts course for 'New Bio­haven' with neu­ro­science push and Big Phar­ma vets on board

What’s Biohaven without its CGRP portfolio? That’s what CEO Vlad Coric is tasked with deciding as he maps out the “New Biohaven” post-Pfizer takeover.

Pfizer officially scooped up Biohaven’s CGRP assets on Monday, including blockbuster migraine drug Nurtec and the investigational zavegepant, for $11.6 billion. As a result, Coric spun the broader pipeline into an independent company on Tuesday — with the same R&D team behind Nurtec but about 1,000 fewer staffers and a renewed focus on neuroscience and rare disease.

In AstraZeneca's latest campaign, wild eosinophils called Phils personify the acting up often seen in uncontrolled asthma

As­traZeneca de­buts an­noy­ing pur­ple ‘Phil’ crea­tures, per­son­i­fied asth­ma eosinophils ‘be­hav­ing bad­ly’

There are some odd-looking purple creatures lurking around the halls of AstraZenca lately. The “Phil” character cutouts are purple, personified eosinophils with big buggy eyes and wide mouths, and they’re a part of AZ’s newest awareness effort to help people understand eosinophilic asthma.

The “Asthma Behaving Badly” characters aren’t only on the walls at AZ to show the new campaign to employees, however. The “Phils” are also showing up online on the campaign website, and in digital and social ads and posts on Facebook and Instagram.

Casey McPherson shows his daughters Rose (left) and Weston around Everlum Bio, a lab that he co-founded to spark a treatment for Rose and others with ultra-rare conditions. (Ilana Panich-Linsman)

Fa­ther starts lab af­ter in­tel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty is­sues stymie rare dis­ease drug de­vel­op­ment

Under bright lab lights, Casey McPherson holds his 6-year-old daughter, Rose. His free hand directs Rose’s gaze toward a computer screen with potential clues in treating her one-of-a kind genetic condition.

Gray specks on the screen show her cells that scientists reprogrammed with the goal of zeroing in on a custom medicine. McPherson co-founded the lab, Everlum Bio, to spark a treatment for Rose — and others like her. A regarded singer-songwriter, McPherson never imagined going into drug development.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Ying Huang, Legend CEO

Lentivi­ral vec­tor ramp-up: J&J and Leg­end to in­vest $500M in New Jer­sey man­u­fac­tur­ing to sup­port Carvyk­ti

In response to a question on manufacturing scale at Legend Biotech’s R&D day yesterday, the company’s top exec said its partnership with Johnson & Johnson will be doubling its investment in its New Jersey manufacturing center and will be investing a total of $500 million.

With an eye on their BCMA-directed CAR-T therapy Carvykti (cilta-cel), approved in February as a fifth-line treatment for multiple myeloma, Legend CEO Ying Huang said that the ramp-up in production and the decision to manufacture its own lentiviral vectors — currently in shortage worldwide — means they won’t have to deal with that shortage.

Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: No­var­tis re­cruits NFL coach for Leqvio cam­paign; Pfiz­er pro­motes ‘Sci­ence’ merch on so­cial me­dia

Novartis is turning to a winning coach to talk about Leqvio and the struggles of high cholesterol — including his own. Bruce Arians, the retired NFL head coach of the Arizona Cardinals and Super Bowl-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is partnering with the pharma for its “Coaching Cholesterol” digital, social and public relations effort.

In the campaign, Arians talks about the potential for “great comebacks” in football and heart health. Once nicknamed a “quarterback whisperer,” he is now retired from fulltime coaching (although still a front-office consultant for Tampa Bay), and did a round of media interviews for Novartis, including one with People and Forbes.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Amy West, Novo Nordisk head of US digital innovation and transformation (Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News)

Q&A: No­vo Nordisk dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion chief Amy West dis­cuss­es phar­ma pain points and a health­care 'easy but­ton’

Amy West joined Novo Nordisk more than a decade ago to oversee marketing strategies and campaigns for its US diabetes portfolio. However, her career path shifted into digital, and she hasn’t looked back. West went from leading Novo’s first digital health strategy in the US to now heading up digital innovation and transformation.

She’s currently leading the charge at Novo Nordisk to not only go beyond the pill with digital marketing and health tech, but also test, pilot and develop groundbreaking new strategies needed in today’s consumerized healthcare world.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Benjamine Liu, TrialSpark CEO

Paul Hud­son and Tri­alSpark's mu­tu­al de­sire to speed up de­vel­op­ment con­verges in three-year, six-drug goal

A unicorn startup that originally set out to hasten clinical studies for biopharma partners dug further into its revised path of internal drug development by linking arms with Sanofi in a pact that the biotech’s CEO said originated from the top.

TrialSpark and the Big Pharma on Tuesday committed to in-licensing and/or acquiring six Phase II/Phase III drugs within the next three years.

“I’ve known Paul Hudson for a while and we were discussing the opportunity to really re-imagine a lot of different parts of pharma,” TrialSpark CEO Benjamine Liu told Endpoints News, “and one of the things that we discussed was this opportunity to accelerate the development of new medicines in mutual areas of interest.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Kite Phar­ma gets FDA to sign off on new Cal­i­for­nia-based vec­tor man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ty

Kite Pharma just got FDA approval to kick off operations at a new manufacturing campus.

The cancer-focused, CAR-T cell therapy player made the announcement Monday, saying that the federal regulatory agency gave the green light to Kite’s 100,000 square-foot, retroviral vector manufacturing facility in Oceanside, CA.

Kite’s global head of technical operations Chris McDonald tells Endpoints News that the facility has been in the works for about four years, after Kite teamed up with its parent company Gilead. Gilead acquired Kite Pharma for just shy of $12 billion in 2017.