NASH hope­ful Gen­fit pro­motes Dean Hum to pres­i­dent; Im­mune Ther­a­peu­tics CEO pass­es ba­ton to suc­ces­sor

In 1999, while Dean Hum was an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at Laval Uni­ver­si­ty in Que­bec, Gen­fit reached out to him. An ex­pert in the mod­u­la­tion of tran­scrip­tion fac­tors and nu­clear re­cep­tors as­so­ci­at­ed with en­docrine and car­diometa­bol­ic dis­eases, Hum jumped aboard the com­pa­ny as CSO and has been with them ever since, cur­rent­ly serv­ing as the com­pa­ny’s COO.

Dean Hum Gen­fit

He has now been ap­point­ed as pres­i­dent of GEN­FIT Corp, GEN­FIT’s sub­sidiary in the US — but will still re­tain his du­ties as COO — and will be mov­ing from the com­pa­ny’s head­quar­ters in Lille, France to Gen­fit’s US-based of­fice near Boston.

“What this move means is that we’re re­al­ly push­ing for­ward to build­ing our pres­ence in the Unit­ed States and car­ry­ing over the lead­er­ship pres­ence we have here in Lille to the tal­ent­ed pool of peo­ple at the Boston group and build­ing up and man­ag­ing that team,” he told End­points News. 

The com­pa­ny is now fo­cus­ing its at­ten­tion on NASH and the up­com­ing Phase III read­out of elafi­bra­nor —  which was award­ed or­phan drug sta­tus, months ago, by US and EU reg­u­la­tors to treat pa­tients with pri­ma­ry bil­iary cholan­gi­tis (PBC) — that is ex­pect­ed in Q1 of 2020.

In ad­di­tion, Suneil Hos­mane has been pro­mot­ed to head of glob­al di­ag­nos­tics af­ter serv­ing as ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of strate­gic de­vel­op­ment.

Suneil Hos­mane

In his new role, Hos­mane will man­age the de­vel­op­ment and mar­ket­ing ac­tiv­i­ties re­lat­ed to NIS4 — the com­pa­ny’s pro­pri­etary blood test de­signed to iden­ti­fy NASH pa­tients el­i­gi­ble for treat­ment.

These tran­si­tions come af­ter Gen­fit CEO Jean-François Mouney an­nounced that he was pass­ing the reigns down to his cho­sen suc­ces­sor, Pas­cal Pri­gent, whilst re­main­ing Chair­man of the Board of Di­rec­tors.

 

 


Im­mune Ther­a­peu­tics — a T-Cell ac­ti­va­tion bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny fo­cused on the treat­ment of au­toim­mune and in­flam­ma­to­ry con­di­tions, can­cer, HIV/AIDS and an­i­mal dis­eases — has tapped Michael Han­d­ley to head the com­pa­ny as CEO and a mem­ber of the board of di­rec­tors. Han­d­ley will suc­ceed Noreen Grif­fin, who is re­sign­ing. Han­d­ley is the cur­rent CEO and chair­man at can­cer-fo­cused Aletheia Ther­a­peu­tics. He draws ex­pe­ri­ence from his pre­vi­ous ex­ec po­si­tions, in­clud­ing CEO and di­rec­tor of Armis Bio­phar­ma, vice pres­i­dent of qual­i­ty, clin­i­cal and reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs at Ves­six Vas­cu­lar (ac­quired by Boston Sci­en­tif­ic) and chief com­pli­ance of­fi­cer and vice pres­i­dent of glob­al reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs at The Spec­tra­net­ics (ac­quired by Phillips). Han­d­ley has al­so held stints at J&J, Am­gen and Genen­tech — where he helped in the launch of Avastin and Tarce­va

→ New York-based Neu­ro­gene — tack­ling rare neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions with a pipeline of gene ther­a­pies us­ing AAV tech — has wel­comed Chris­tine Mikail aboard as the com­pa­ny’s pres­i­dent. Mikail draws from ex­pe­ri­ence as co-founder of Neu­men­tum and Fer­n­dale Ad­vi­sors. She was the chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer and head of ex­ter­nal busi­ness de­vel­op­ment/al­liance man­age­ment & gen­er­al coun­sel at Ax­o­vant Sci­ences, where she helped the team raise $362 mil­lion for the com­pa­ny’s IPO. In ad­di­tion to those, she has held stints at NPS Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Den­dreon, Eli Lil­ly and Im­Clone Sys­tems.

For­ma Ther­a­peu­tics has made some new ad­di­tions to its lead­er­ship team with the ap­point­ments of for­mer Syn­log­ic CFO Todd She­gog as SVP, CFO and Take­da vet Jean­nette Potts as SVP, gen­er­al coun­sel and cor­po­rate sec­re­tary. At the same time, the com­pa­ny re­cent­ly pro­mot­ed Patrick Kel­ly to SVP, CMO and Mary Wadlinger to SVP, cor­po­rate af­fairs and chief hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer. In ad­di­tion, the com­pa­ny al­so ap­point­ed for­mer Boston Con­sult­ing Group prin­ci­pal Scott Boyle as vice pres­i­dent, busi­ness and cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment and Genen­tech vet Bri­an Less­er as vice pres­i­dent, ther­a­peu­tic head. 

Joshua Brumm, COO and CFO of Kalei­do Bio­sciences — fo­cused on the mi­cro­bio­me or­gan to treat dis­ease — is hit­ting the ex­it to serve as pres­i­dent and CEO of an un­named “biotech­nol­o­gy com­pa­ny.” The com­pa­ny has ini­ti­at­ed the search for a new CFO, and in the mean­time, Richard Scal­zo, the com­pa­ny’s cor­po­rate con­troller, has been ap­point­ed to serve as prin­ci­pal ac­count­ing of­fi­cer and will tem­porar­i­ly as­sume Brumm’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. 

Francesco Gal­i­mi

Adicet Bio — fo­cused on the de­vel­op­ment of al­lo­gene­ic cell ther­a­pies for can­cer us­ing gam­ma delta T cells — has en­list­ed Francesco Gal­i­mi as SVP and CMO. Gal­i­mi makes the shift to the com­pa­ny from Am­gen, where he served as glob­al pro­gram gen­er­al man­ag­er, ear­ly de­vel­op­ment. Pri­or to his time at Am­gen, Gal­i­mi was the head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Onyx Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and served at GNF/No­var­tis.

→ James Wil­son’s gene ther­a­py start­up, Pas­sage Bio — which re­cent­ly scored $110 mil­lion in a Se­ries B fi­nanc­ing led by bil­lion­aire Len Blavat­nik’s con­glom­er­ate — has wel­comed Gary Ro­mano as CMO and Edgar (Chip) Cale as gen­er­al coun­sel. Ro­mano joins the com­pa­ny af­ter a stint as the head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment for neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease and the deputy leader of the neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease ther­a­peu­tic area at Janssen. Pri­or to that, he held po­si­tions at Mer­ck Re­search Lab­o­ra­to­ries in the de­part­ments of clin­i­cal neu­ro­science and ex­per­i­men­tal med­i­cine. Cale jumps aboard af­ter a stint as SVP of le­gal cor­po­rate func­tions at GSK and gen­er­al coun­sel of GSK’s vac­cine unit. Pri­or to his time at GSK, Cale was a cor­po­rate and se­cu­ri­ties lawyer at Ven­ture Law Group and Brobeck, Phleger & Har­ri­son

→ Ge­nomics-dri­ven re­search and di­ag­nos­tics com­pa­ny, MedGenome, ap­point­ed An­drew Pe­ter­son as the com­pa­ny’s CSO. Pri­or to his ap­point­ment, Pe­ter­son was the se­nior di­rec­tor of mol­e­c­u­lar bi­ol­o­gy at Genen­tech, fo­cused on the ge­nom­ic ap­pli­ca­tions for ther­a­peu­tics in ar­eas such as car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases and liv­er dis­eases. Pe­ter­son is al­so cred­it­ed with lead­ing the sci­en­tif­ic ef­forts of a con­sor­tium that, as part of the GenomeA­sia 100k con­sor­tium. pro­duced a com­pre­hen­sive cat­a­log of ge­net­ic vari­a­tion in more than 35,000 genomes across Asia.

OnKure has named James Win­kler as vice pres­i­dent of dis­cov­ery and trans­la­tion­al bi­ol­o­gy, R. Michael Car­ruthers as CFO and Kei­th Olivia as gen­er­al coun­sel and vice pres­i­dent of cor­po­rate af­fairs. Win­kler brings ex­pe­ri­ence to this new role from po­si­tions he has served at FOR­MA Ther­a­peu­tics, Arv­inas, Ar­ray Bio­Phar­ma, GSK, SmithK­line Beecham and J&J. Car­ruthers draws from his pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence as CFO at Ni­valis, Ar­ray Bio­Phar­ma and Siev­ers In­stru­ments. Olivia hops aboard the com­pa­ny af­ter serv­ing as OnKure’s out­side cor­po­rate coun­sel since its found­ing in April 2011. 

Joseph Perekup­ka Brain­sway

Pa­lo Al­to Health Sci­ences — whose prod­uct, Frees­pi­ra, is the on­ly FDA-cleared dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tic for treat­ing pan­ic at­tacks, pan­ic re­lat­ed dis­or­ders and PTSD — has an­nounced the ad­di­tion of Joseph Perekup­ka as CCO. Most re­cent­ly, Perekup­ka served as the SVP of North Amer­i­ca at Brain­sway, where he helped with the com­ple­tion of the com­pa­ny’s US IPO ear­li­er this year. Pre­vi­ous­ly, Perekup­ka served in po­si­tions at St Jude Med­ical and Biotron­ik.

EMD Serono — the US bio­phar­ma busi­ness for Mer­ck KGaA — has tapped Kirk Tay­lor as se­nior vice pres­i­dent, North Amer­i­can med­ical af­fairs. Pri­or to join­ing the com­pa­ny, Tay­lor was the se­nior vice pres­i­dent, med­ical af­fairs strat­e­gy and op­er­a­tions for Ve­rastem On­col­o­gy. In ad­di­tion, he has served as chief of strat­e­gy and late phase de­vel­op­ment as well as CMO for Finch Ther­a­peu­tics Group.

Beam Ther­a­peu­tics — which was launched by CRISPR trail­blaz­ers and Ed­i­tas’ sci­en­tif­ic founders David Liu, Feng Zhang, and J Kei­th Jounghas en­list­ed Bri­an Ri­ley as the com­pa­ny’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent of tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions. Pri­or to jump­ing aboard to Beam, Ri­ley led the bi­o­log­ics busi­ness of Catal­ent Phar­ma So­lu­tions. His pre­vi­ous stints in­clude roles at bio­Merieux, Bio­gen, Am­gen and Diosynth Biotech­nol­o­gy

Fang Wang Fog­Phar­ma

Gre­go­ry Ver­dine, founder of Fog­Phar­ma, has made two new ad­di­tions to its team. The com­pa­ny wel­comed Fang Wang as vice pres­i­dent of bi­ol­o­gy and Nan­cy Wilk­er as vice pres­i­dent and lead IP coun­sel. Wang joins the com­pa­ny af­ter a decade at Agios Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, where she was di­rec­tor of bi­ol­o­gy and cham­pi­oned the rare ge­net­ic dis­ease “type II D-2HG aciduria” pro­gram. She al­so led the de­vel­op­ment of the an­ti-mu­tant EGFRT790M an­ti­body at Aveo Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and helped de­vel­op the an­ti-ERBB3 an­ti­body that was part­nered with Bio­gen. Wilk­er hails from Bio­gen, where she held the po­si­tion of IP coun­sel. Pri­or to her time at Bio­gen, Wilk­er served as IP coun­sel at CSL com­pa­ny Se­qirus, was a part­ner at Sun­stein Kann Mur­phy and Tim­bers and held stints at Cell Sig­nal­ing Tech­nol­o­gy, PerkinElmer, Wilmer Cut­ler Pick­er­ing Hale and Dorr and Clark and El­bing

Nan­cy Wilk­er Fog­Phar­ma

Mi­crosoft is try­ing to make a big­ger push to­wards health­care — ink­ing an al­liance with Adap­tive Biotech­nolo­gies to de­vel­op a blood test that can help with the ear­ly de­tec­tion of dis­ease. Mak­ing fur­ther strides to­wards that goal, it was an­nounced that the com­pa­ny had nom­i­nat­ed GSK CEO Em­ma Walm­s­ley to its board of di­rec­tors. In ad­di­tion, the com­pa­ny an­nounced that two of the com­pa­ny’s board mem­bers, Charles Nos­ki, for­mer vice chair­man of AT&T and Bank of Amer­i­ca and Hel­mut Panke, for­mer chair­man of the board of man­age­ment at BMW AG, have de­cid­ed not to seek re-elec­tion to the board. 

Kally­ope CEO Nan­cy Thorn­ber­ry has hopped on­to the board of di­rec­tors at Schrödinger, which re­ceived $110 mil­lion in its first ven­ture round back in May. Thorn­ber­ry will be join­ing GV en­tre­pre­neur-in-res­i­dence Rosana Kapeller on the board, who en­tered in Jan­u­ary

Em­ma Walm­s­ley GSK

William “Bill’’ Alis­ki is join­ing the board of di­rec­tors of X4 Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals — which back in May teamed up to col­lab­o­rate with the Leukemia & Lym­phoma So­ci­ety to ac­cel­er­ate the de­vel­op­ment of their lead prod­uct can­di­date, ma­vorix­afor, for the treat­ment of Waldern­ström’s macroglob­u­line­mia. Alis­ki brings ex­pe­ri­ence to the role from his time as CCO of Fol­dRX Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and as gen­er­al man­ag­er for Bio­marin Eu­rope

→ Sero­tonin 2A re­cep­tor ag­o­nists (or psy­che­delics)-fo­cused Eleu­sis — which re­cent­ly fund­ed a mice study that found that (R)-DOI could be used to treat car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and po­ten­tial­ly curb di­a­betes — has ap­point­ed David Guy­er to its board of di­rec­tors. Cur­rent­ly, Guy­er serves as the ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of IVER­IC bio and has had stints as CEO of Eye­tech Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals (lat­er ac­quired by OSI Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals) and as a part­ner at VC firm SV Life Sci­ences Ad­vis­ers

Nan­cy Thorn­ber­ry Kally­ope

Qrons — a com­pa­ny fo­cused on the de­vel­op­ment of stem cell-syn­thet­ic hy­dro­gel-based so­lu­tions for the treat­ment of trau­mat­ic brain in­juries, like con­cus­sions and pen­e­trat­ing in­juries — has brought on for­mer NFL de­fen­sive line­man Der­rick Cham­bers to the com­pa­ny’s ad­vi­so­ry board. The com­pa­ny’s CEO, Jon­ah Meer, not­ed that Cham­bers will make a great ad­di­tion to the team due to his aware­ness of the “po­ten­tial for Chron­ic Trau­mat­ic En­cephalopa­thy, a pro­gres­sive de­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease of the brain that re­sults from repet­i­tive con­cus­sions and is of­ten found in long­time play­ers of the sport.”

→ A few months af­ter hav­ing their shares dent­ed be­cause of un­der­whelm­ing Phase III HAE da­ta — they failed to cut the at­tack rate by at least 50% — BioCryst has wel­comed He­len Thack­ray to the com­pa­ny’s board of di­rec­tors. Thack­ray is the CMO and se­nior vice pres­i­dent of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Gly­coMimet­ics — which re­cent­ly had its own woes af­ter Pfiz­er dis­missed their lead drug as a Phase III fail­ure. 

He­len Thack­ray Gly­coMimet­ics

Escient Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals — fo­cused on ad­vanc­ing G pro­tein cou­ple re­cep­tor (GCPR)-tar­get­ed drugs — has wel­comed co-founder and for­mer CEO of Plexxikon (lat­er ac­quired by Dai­ichi Sankyo in 2011) K. Pe­ter Hirth to the com­pa­ny’s board of di­rec­tors. Pri­or to his stint at Plexxikon — where two of their drugs, Zelb­o­raf and Tu­ralio, re­ceived FDA ap­proval — Hirth served at Sug­en and Boehringer Mannheim.

Fen­nec Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals — fo­cused on the de­vel­op­ment of PED­MARK (sodi­um thio­sul­fate) for the pre­ven­tion of plat­inum-in­duced oto­tox­i­c­i­ty in pe­di­atric pa­tients — has ap­point­ed Jo­di Cook to the com­pa­ny’s board of di­rec­tors. Cook cur­rent­ly serves as head of gene ther­a­py strat­e­gy at PTC Ther­a­peu­tics. Her pri­or ex­pe­ri­ence spans roles in­clud­ing the COO of Ag­ilis Bio­ther­a­peu­tics and as di­rec­tor of the hear­ing aid pro­gram at Mayo Clin­ic

Paula Soteropou­los Akcea

→ UK-based ear­ly can­cer de­tec­tion com­pa­ny Oncim­mune Hold­ings has wel­comed Tariq Sethi as CSO, Matthew Lut­trell as CMO and Cléa Rosen­feld as head of in­vestor re­la­tions. Sethi is a pro­fes­sor of res­pi­ra­to­ry med­i­cine at King’s Col­lege Lon­don. Be­fore jump­ing on board at Oncim­mune, Sethi was chief physi­cian-sci­en­tist, vice pres­i­dent in the clin­i­cal dis­cov­ery unit at As­traZeneca. He is al­so the founder of Galec­to Biotech. Lut­trell joins the com­pa­ny af­ter a stint as head of hema­tol­ogy, growth and emerg­ing mar­kets at Shire (now Take­da). He’s served in oth­er roles at Eli Lil­ly, No­vo Nordisk, Gilead, and GSK. Rosen­feld brings ex­pe­ri­ence to her new role from her time as head of in­vestor re­la­tions at Shire, where she helped bring the com­pa­ny from an FTSE 250 Com­pa­ny to a top 50 FTSE com­pa­ny.

→ The top 3 ex­ecs run­ning Io­n­is’ ma­jor­i­ty-owned spin­off Akcea are hit­ting the ex­it in a sur­prise twist Mon­day morn­ing. Akcea $AK­CA re­port­ed that CEO Paula Soteropou­los, Pres­i­dent Sarah Boyce and COO Jef­frey Gold­berg are out in a clean sweep. The board has placed Damien McDe­vitt — the chief busi­ness of­fi­cer on the moth­er ship — in the in­ter­im chief ex­ec­u­tive spot as they hunt for some per­ma­nent re­place­ments. Michael J. Yang and Joseph ‘Skip’ Klein III, mean­while have joined the com­pa­ny’s board of di­rec­tors. Mod­er­na vet Soteropou­los and Gold­berg will now switch out to ad­vi­so­ry roles to “help en­sure a smooth tran­si­tion.” 

Bri­an A. Johns HIV Cure Cen­ter

Bri­an A. Johns, a top HIV sci­en­tist at GSK’s Vi­iV, is fol­low­ing the well-trav­eled road in­to biotech, af­ter a 20-year stint as VP in charge of ex­ter­nal dis­cov­ery sci­ences. Not­ed as a co-in­ven­tor of do­lute­gravir — a best­selling HIV drug mar­ket­ed alone as Tivicay — as well as the long-act­ing cabote­gravir, Johns was fea­tured in PhRMA’s Go Bold­ly cam­paign cel­e­brat­ing the in­dus­try’s break­through suc­cess­es and the peo­ple who made them hap­pen. And now he’s join­ing He­mo­S­hear in Char­lottesville, VA as their new CSO. In a state­ment, Johns said he was par­tic­u­lar­ly ex­cit­ed to be fo­cus­ing on rare pe­di­atric meta­bol­ic dis­eases. A cou­ple of years ago He­mo­S­hear al­so lined up a $470 mil­lion col­lab­o­ra­tion with Take­da on NASH, an­oth­er big in­di­ca­tion that has at­tract­ed a slew of com­peti­tors look­ing to make their mark.

→ Uni­ver­si­ty of Basel, Switzer­land spin­out T3 Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals wel­comed aboard Claire Bar­ton as CMO af­ter hav­ing been with the com­pa­ny as a con­sul­tant for the past 18 months. Her pre­vi­ous stints in­clude roles at Glax­oW­ell­come, Lil­ly and Roche. This comes at the same time that the com­pa­ny raised 12 mil­lion CHF at the close of its sec­ond fi­nanc­ing round, which will help pro­pel the can­cer-fo­cused com­pa­ny’s lead prod­uct, T3P-Y058-739, in­to clin­i­cal test­ing, ex­pect­ed to be­gin in the mid­dle of 2020.


In­for­ma­tion added for clar­i­fi­ca­tion re­gard­ing Gen­fit

UP­DAT­ED: In a stun­ning turn­around, Bio­gen says that ad­u­canum­ab does work for Alzheimer's — but da­ta min­ing in­cites con­tro­ver­sy and ques­tions

Biogen has confounded the biotech world one more time.

In a stunning about-face, the company and its partners at Eisai say that a new analysis of a larger dataset on aducanumab has restored its faith in the drug as a game-changer for Alzheimer’s and, after talking it over with the FDA, they’ll now be filing for an approval of a drug that had been given up for dead.

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Vas Narasimhan. Getty Images

UP­DAT­ED: Failed PhI­II fe­vip­iprant tri­als pour more cold wa­ter on No­var­tis' block­buster R&D en­gine — and briefly spread the chill to a high-pro­file biotech

Back in July, during an investor call where Novartis execs ran through an upbeat assessment of their Q2 performance, CEO Vas Narasimhan and development chief John Tsai were pressed to predict which of the two looming Phase III readouts — involving cardio drug Entresto and asthma therapy fevipiprant, respectively — had a higher likelihood of success. Tsai gave the PARAGON-HF study with Entresto minimally better odds, but Narasimhan emphasized that their strategy of giving fevipiprant to more severe patients gave them confidence.

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UP­DAT­ED: The FDA sets a reg­u­la­to­ry speed record, pro­vid­ing a snap OK for Ver­tex's break­through triplet for cys­tic fi­bro­sis

The FDA has approved Vertex’s new triplet for cystic fibrosis at a record-setting speed.

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IM­brave150: Roche’s reg­u­la­to­ry crew plans a glob­al roll­out of Tecen­triq com­bo for liv­er can­cer as PhI­II scores a hit

Just weeks after Bristol-Myers Squibb defended its failed pivotal study pitting Opdivo against Nexavar in liver cancer, Roche says it’s beat the frontline challenge with a combination of their PD-L1 Tecentriq with Avastin. And now they’re rolling their regulatory teams in the US, Europe and China in search of a new approval — badly needed to boost a trailing franchise effort.
Given their breakthrough and Big Pharma status as well as the use of two approved drugs, FDA approval may well prove to be something of a formality. And the Chinese have been clear that they want new drugs for liver cancer, where lethal disease rates are particularly high.
Researchers at their big biotech sub, Genentech, say that the combo beat Bayer’s Nexavar on both progression-free survival as well as overall survival — the first advance in this field in more than a decade. We won’t get the breakdown in months of life gained, but it’s a big win for Roche, which has lagged far, far behind Keytruda and Opdivo, the dominant PD-1s that have captured the bulk of the checkpoint market so far.
Researchers recruited hepatocellular carcinoma — the most common form of liver cancer — patients for the IMbrave150 study who weren’t eligible for surgery ahead of any systemic treatment of the disease.
Roche has a fairly low bar to beat, with modest survival benefit for Nexavar, approved for this indication 12 years ago. But they also plan to offer a combo therapy that could have significantly less toxicity, offering patients a much easier treatment regimen.
Cowen’s Steven Scala recently sized up the importance of IMbrave150, noting:

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UP­DAT­ED: Clay Sie­gall’s $614M wa­ger on tu­ca­tinib pays off with solid­ly pos­i­tive piv­otal da­ta and a date with the FDA

Back at the beginning of 2018, Clay Siegall snagged a cancer drug called tucatinib with a $614 million cash deal to buy Cascadian. It paid off today with a solid set of mid-stage data for HER2 positive breast cancer that will in turn serve as the pivotal win Siegall needs to seek an accelerated approval in the push for a new triplet therapy.

And if all the cards keep falling in its favor, they’ll move from 1 drug on the market to 3 in 2020, which is shaping up as a landmark year as Seattle Genetics prepares for its 23rd anniversary on July 15.

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David Liu, Liu Group

David Liu un­veils newest ad­vance­ment in CRISPR tech: Prime edit­ing

The researcher behind base-editing is out with what some scientists are hailing as the biggest advancement in CRISPR technology since that 2016 breakthrough: “prime editing.” The new molecular gadget is capable of erasing any base pair and stenciling in another and cutting or adding long segments of DNA without breaking both strands of the helix.

David Liu, base editing pioneer and founder of Beam Therapeutics, published the findings in Nature alongside Andrew Anzalone. They estimated that the breakthrough “in principle” puts 89% of human diseases in purview — although experts cautioned that human therapies were a long way off.

Bhaskar Chaudhuri. Frazier Healthcare Partners

Fra­zier Health­care Part­ner­s' der­ma­tol­ogy up­start at­tracts a mar­quee syn­di­cate, $94M+ for 'in-be­tween' top­i­cal drug

For the past three years Frazier Healthcare Partners’ Bhaskar Chaudhuri has been carefully and quietly grooming Arcutis Therapeutics, a new dermatology play he co-founded to deliver topical formulations of well-known drugs. Now that the biotech is poised to enter Phase III, he’s being joined by a marquee syndicate for its $94.5 million Series C.

HBM Healthcare Investments, Vivo Capital, BlackRock, Omega Funds, Pivotal BioVentures, and Goldman Sachs jumped on board, joining Bain Capital Life Sciences, OrbiMed and RA Capital Management in backing Arcutis’ lead topical cream for plaque psoriasis.

A new com­pa­ny en­ters the Tec­fidera fight, of­fer­ing to kill two birds

The remedy for the most common side effect for one of the most common multiple sclerosis drugs is simple: aspirin.

Taking aspirin with Biogen’s Tecfidera will reduce the flush, a sometimes painful form of red skin irritation, many patients experiences. The problem is that the aspirin has to be taken at least 30 minutes before Tecfidera, turning a simple twice-a-day, one-dose oral drug into a staggered two-drug regimen.

UP­DAT­ED: Bris­tol-My­ers makes Op­di­vo pitch for front­line lung can­cer with open la­bel PhI­II study

Despite a head start, when Bristol-Myers Squibb and its pioneering checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo suffered a key lung cancer setback in 2016, they found themselves relegated to the backseat as Merck’s Keytruda seized the wheel on the road to immunotherapy stardom. Bristol-Myers has since suffered blow after blow in its quest to take a big slice of the lucrative market, peppered with some small successes. On Tuesday, the New Jersey drugmaker touted positive data from a Phase III open-label study in a bid to carve itself a piece of the frontline lung cancer market.