Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Ic­ahn School of Med­i­cine, RPI launch new in­sti­tute fo­cused on en­gi­neer­ing and pre­ci­sion med­i­cine

An up­state New York uni­ver­si­ty is join­ing forces with a Man­hat­tan in­sti­tu­tion to bridge med­ical re­search and en­gi­neer­ing.

The Troy, NY-based Rens­se­laer Poly­tech­nic In­sti­tute (RPI) and the Ic­ahn School of Med­i­cine at Mount Sinai have band­ed to­geth­er to cre­ate the Cen­ter for En­gi­neer­ing and Pre­ci­sion Med­i­cine (CEPM) in New York City.

Ac­cord­ing to RPI, the PhD pro­gram for the cen­ter will ac­com­mo­date 30 to 40 stu­dents, with the cen­ter aim­ing to bring 100 or more Rens­se­laer un­der­grad­u­ates on a steady ba­sis to New York City as re­search stu­dents, for cap­stone de­sign or in­tern­ships.

While RPI did not con­firm any fi­nan­cial terms to End­points News, ac­cord­ing to a New York re­al es­tate pub­li­ca­tion The Re­al Deal, a lease for 23,000 square feet was signed by RPI. The Re­al Deal stat­ed that rent at the cen­ter’s list­ed ad­dress sits in the low $100s per square foot on a net ba­sis.

“This trans­for­ma­tive part­ner­ship be­tween Rens­se­laer and Ic­ahn Mount Sinai rec­og­nizes that en­gi­neer­ing and en­gi­neer­ing sci­ence is fun­da­men­tal to the un­der­stand­ing of bio­med­ical phe­nom­e­na and is es­sen­tial to the de­vel­op­ment of the next gen­er­a­tion of pre­ci­sion di­ag­nos­tics and ther­a­peu­tics, hu­man health and well-be­ing and to the train­ing of ad­vanced re­searchers and physi­cians,” said RPI pres­i­dent Shirley Ann Jack­son in a state­ment.

The cen­ter will ini­tial­ly fo­cus on three re­search ar­eas in­ter­sect­ing en­gi­neer­ing and pre­ci­sion med­i­cine and will be open for lab re­search in Ju­ly 2023, ac­cord­ing to RPI. Re­search, PhD ap­provals and hir­ing have al­ready be­gun.

Ex­pect­ed re­search in­cludes mi­cro­engi­neer­ing, tar­get­ing neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases; neu­ro-di­ag­nos­tics; and com­pu­ta­tion­al neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gy, RPI says. It will al­so fo­cus on im­mu­no­engi­neer­ing in can­cer and in­fec­tious dis­ease space. Oth­er re­search will al­so in­clude de­vel­op­ing med­i­cines for tis­sue re­pair and cel­lu­lar re­pro­gram­ming, among oth­er func­tions.

CEPM will de­vel­op a five-year joint PhD in en­gi­neer­ing and pre­ci­sion med­i­cine as well as oth­er mas­ter’s de­grees and cer­tifi­cate pro­grams. The cen­ter has al­so ini­ti­at­ed the process of se­cur­ing state ap­proval for such ini­tia­tives.

The Ic­ahn School of Med­i­cine and RPI have had a work­ing re­la­tion­ship dat­ing back sev­er­al years. Since 2013, RPI has been the in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary hub for an in­sti­tute-wide part­ner­ship with Ic­ahn, as the part­ner­ship serves as both re­search-cen­tered and en­tre­pre­neur­ial, the par­ties say. The part­ner­ship be­tween Mount Sinai and RPI has se­cured $70 mil­lion in shared re­search fund­ing since 2013.

M&A: a crit­i­cal dri­ver for sus­tain­able top-line growth in health­care

2021 saw a record $600B in healthcare M&A activity. In 2022, there is an anticipated slowdown in activity, however, M&A prospects remain strong in the medium to long-term. What are future growth drivers for the healthcare sector? Where might we see innovations that drive M&A? RBC’s Andrew Callaway, Global Head, Healthcare Investment Banking discusses with Vito Sperduto, Global Co-Head, M&A.

15 LGBTQ lead­ers in bio­phar­ma; Paul Stof­fels’ Gala­pa­gos re­vamp; As­traZeneca catch­es up in AT­TR; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

A return to in-person conferences also marks a return to on-the-ground reporting. My colleagues Beth Synder Bulik and Nicole DeFeudis were on-site at Cannes Lions, bringing live coverage of pharma’s presence at the ad festival — accompanied by photos from Clara Bui, our virtual producer, that bring you right to the scene. You can find a recap (and links to all the stories) below.

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David Loew (Ipsen)

Ipsen snags an ap­proved can­cer drug in $247M M&A deal as an­oth­er bat­tered biotech sells cheap

You can add Paris-based Ipsen to the list of discount buyers patrolling the penny stock pack for a cheap M&A deal.

The French biotech, which has had plenty of its own problems to grapple with, has swooped in to buy Epizyme $EPZM for $247 million in cash and a CVR with milestones attached to it. Epizyme shareholders, who had to suffer through a painfully soft launch of their EZH2a inhibitor cancer drug Tazverik, will get $1.45 per share along with a $1 CVR tied to achieving $250 million in sales from the drug over four consecutive quarters as well as an OK for second-line follicular lymphoma by 1 Jan. 2028.

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AstraZeneca's new Evusheld direct to consumer campaign aims to reach more immunocompromised patients.

As­traZeneca de­buts first con­sumer cam­paign for its Covid-19 pro­phy­lac­tic Evusheld — and a first for EUA drugs

AstraZeneca’s first consumer ad for Evusheld is also a first for drugs that have been granted emergency use authorizations during the pandemic.

The first DTC ad for a medicine under emergency approval, the Evusheld campaign launching this week aims to raise awareness among immunocompromised patients — and spur more use.

Evusheld nabbed emergency authorization in December, however, despite millions of immunocompromised people looking for a solution and now more widespread availability of the drug.

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Spanish Prime Minister Pédro Sanchez and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

EU to launch vac­cine de­vel­op­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ner­ship with Latin Amer­i­can and Caribbean coun­tries

While European companies, including BioNTech, are focused on increasing vaccine access to African countries by setting up vaccine manufacturing facilities, the European Union is looking westward to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Speaking at a press conference with Spanish Prime Minister Pédro Sanchez, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said that the EU is launching a new initiative for vaccines and medicines manufacturing in Latin America, to get drugs to Latin America and the Caribbean faster.

Man­u­fac­tur­ing roundup: GSK opens a new fa­cil­i­ty at Barnard Cas­tle lo­ca­tion; Tenaya Ther­a­peu­tics com­pletes build­out of Bay Area ge­net­ic med­i­cine man­u­fac­tur­ing site

GSK is continuing to build out its Barnard Castle site in the UK.

According to the company, it has opened a new aseptic smart manufacturing facility at the site, which is located in County Durham in the northeast of England.

The new facility, known as Q Block, is a fully automated and digital facility that leverages digital technology to make manufacturing operations as efficient as possible.

The 11,500-square-meter facility started construction in 2018 and according to the UK news site Business Live, the costs for the new building were £90 million, or around $110 million.

FDA warns Mex­i­can glyc­erin man­u­fac­tur­er for re­fus­ing an in­spec­tion

A drug manufacturing facility in Mexico is drawing the ire of the FDA after it ignored the US regulator’s inspection requests and phone calls.

According to the warning letter issued on June 13, Glicerinas Industriales refused a pre-announced inspection during a phone call with FDA prior to the inspection at the company’s facility in Zapopan, Mexico, a city next to Guadalajara, which was planned for May 16 to May 20.

Rwanda president Paul Kagame and BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin (via BioNTech)

BioN­Tech breaks ground on first mR­NA vac­cine man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ty in Africa

Covid vaccine access to lower- and middle-income nations has been a concern during the length of the pandemic, but BioNTech is now pushing forward with plans to increase vaccine access for Africa.

Construction work has kicked off for an mRNA manufacturing facility in Kigali, Rwanda. According to BioNTech, the facility, dubbed the African modular mRNA manufacturing facility, has a target for the first set of manufacturing tools to be delivered to the site by the end of this year.

GSK says its drug for chron­ic hep B could ‘lead to a func­tion­al cure’ — but will it be alone or in com­bi­na­tion?

GSK, newly branded and soon-to-be demerged, shared interim results from its Phase II trial on its chronic hepatitis B treatment, one that it says has the “potential to lead to a functional cure.”

At a presentation at the EASL International Liver Congress, GSK shared that in around 450 patients who received its hep B drug bepirovirsen for 24 weeks, just under 30% had hepatitis B surface antigen and viral DNA levels that were too low to detect.