GSK's R&D site in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England

In­vestors to tap GSK's re­search site for new bil­lion-dol­lar life sci­ences cam­pus — re­port

Two in­vestors, armed with sub­stan­tial fi­nan­cial back­ing, are tak­ing ad­van­tage of 33 acres of land at a Big Phar­ma R&D hub to build a new life sci­ences cam­pus.

A re­port in The Times and retweet­ed by GSK came out ear­ly Mon­day, say­ing that in­vest­ment firm UBS As­set Man­age­ment — a sub­sidiary of Swiss pri­vate mega­bank UBS — has part­nered with prop­er­ty in­vestor Reef Group to in­vest up to £900 mil­lion, or $1.08 bil­lion, to buy up 33 acres of land at one of GSK’s R&D sites, lo­cat­ed in Steve­nage, UK.

An­oth­er re­port from Lon­don busi­ness news­pa­per City AM not­ed that the in­vestors want to make the site the sec­ond-largest “sec­tor clus­ter” af­ter Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty. Con­struc­tion be­gins in 2023, with UBS es­ti­mat­ing the de­vel­op­ment will be worth close to $1.8 bil­lion once done.

A GSK spokesper­son told End­points News that the pair of in­vestors was se­lect­ed to work on the new de­vel­op­ment. Dubbed the Steve­nage Cam­pus, it will pro­vide com­mer­cial and lab space for dif­fer­ent life sci­ences com­pa­nies, and sub­ject to lo­gis­tics, some yet-un­spec­i­fied “el­e­ments” of the cam­pus will be open by 2025.

This de­vel­op­ment has been in the works for a while, with the phar­ma an­nounc­ing al­most a year ago that it would put 33 acres up for sale. At the time, GSK said all it would take is some­one to in­vest more than £400 mil­lion, or $552 mil­lion. GSK al­so said that the land could be de­vel­oped in­to about 100,000 square me­ters of floor space.

GSK’s ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ty, which now sits on 59 acres and down from 92, was to re­main un­af­fect­ed by the de­vel­op­ment plans, aside from widen­ing a pub­lic road to im­prove ac­cess to the site.

This is the newest de­vel­op­ment for GSK when it comes to its head­quar­ters and fa­cil­i­ties. The phar­ma prac­ti­cal­ly aban­doned its icon­ic digs in Re­search Tri­an­gle Park and Philadel­phia last Oc­to­ber af­ter be­ing spurred by the over­all re­duced need for of­fice space, a trend felt across mul­ti­ple in­dus­tries.

“Our new of­fices will em­pha­size team con­nec­tion, dy­nam­ic work­flows and rec­og­nize a pref­er­ence for greater flex­i­bil­i­ty to work from home,” a GSK spokesper­son told End­points at the time.

And speak­ing of oth­er up­com­ing big changes at GSK, its con­sumer health­care unit is set to spin out and of­fi­cial­ly form Ha­le­on in just un­der two weeks, as the phar­ma con­venes a gen­er­al meet­ing at Lon­don’s Heathrow Air­port to­mor­row.

Pi­o­neer­ing Click Chem­istry in Hu­mans

Reimagining cancer treatments

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020, which is nearly one in six deaths. Recently, we have seen incredible advances in novel cancer therapies such as immune checkpoint inhibitors, cell therapies, and antibody-drug conjugates that have revamped cancer care and improved survival rates for patients.

Despite this significant progress in therapeutic targeting, why are we still seeing such a high mortality rate? The reason is that promising therapies are often limited by their therapeutic index, which is a measure of the effective dose of a drug, relative to its safety. If we could broaden the therapeutic indices of currently available medicines, it would revolutionize cancer treatments. We are still on the quest to find the ultimate cancer medicine – highly effective in several cancer types, safe, and precisely targeted to the tumor site.

Justin Klee (L) and Joshua Cohen, Amylyx co-CEOs (Cody O'Loughlin/The New York Times; courtesy Amylyx)

Ad­vo­cates, ex­perts cry foul over Amy­lyx's new ALS drug, cit­ing is­sues with price, PhI­II com­mit­ment

Not 24 hours after earning the first ALS drug approval in five years, Amylyx Pharmaceuticals’ Relyvrio is already drawing scrutiny. And it’s coming from multiple fronts.

In an investor call Friday morning, Amylyx revealed that it would charge about $158,000 per year, a price point that immediately drew backlash from ALS advocates and some outside observers. The cost reveal had been highly anticipated in the immediate hours after Thursday evening’s approval, though Amylyx only teased Relyvrio would cost less than previously approved drugs.

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Land­mark Amy­lyx OK spurs de­bate; Some... pos­i­tive? Alzheimer's da­ta; Can­cer tri­al bot­tle­neck; Sanofi's CRISPR bet; 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.

After brief stops in Paris and Boston, John Carroll and the Endpoints crew are staying on the road in October with their return for a live/streaming EUBIO22 in London. The hybrid event fireside chats and panels on mRNA, oncology and the crazy public market. We hope you can join him there.

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Joshua Cohen (L) and Justin Klee, Amylyx co-CEOs

Up­dat­ed: Af­ter long and wind­ing road, FDA ap­proves Amy­lyx's ALS drug in vic­to­ry for pa­tients and ad­vo­ca­cy groups

For just the third time in its 116-year history, the FDA has approved a new treatment for Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS.

US regulators gave the thumbs-up to the drug, known as Relyvrio, in a massive win for patients and their families. The approval, given to Boston-area biotech Amylyx Pharmaceuticals, comes after two years of long and contentious debates over the drug’s effectiveness between advocacy groups and FDA scientists, following the readout of a mid-stage clinical trial in September 2020.

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#AAO22: J&J’s first look at com­mon eye dis­ease port­fo­lio pads the case for PhII of gene ther­a­py

CHICAGO — While the later-stage drug developers in the geographic atrophy field are near the finish line, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen is taking a more deliberate route, with a treatment that it hopes to be a one-time fix.

The Big Pharma will take its Hemera Biosciences-acquired gene therapy into a Phase II study later this year in patients with GA, a common form of age-related macular degeneration that impacts about five million people worldwide. To get there, Janssen touted early-stage safety data at the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual conference Saturday morning, half a day after competitors Apellis and Iveric Bio revealed their own more-detailed Phase III analyses.

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Nooman Haque, head of life sciences and healthcare at Silicon Valley Bank, and John Carroll

I’m head­ed to Lon­don soon for #EU­BIO22. Care to join me?

It was great getting back to a live ESMO conference/webinar in Paris followed by a live pop-up event for the Endpoints 11 in Boston. We’re staying on the road in October with our return for a live/streaming EUBIO22 in London.

Silicon Valley Bank’s Nooman Haque and I are once again jumping back into the thick of it with a slate of virtual and live events on October 12. I’ll get the ball rolling with a virtual fireside chat with Novo Nordisk R&D chief Marcus Schindler, covering their pipeline plans and BD work.

Some­one old, some­one new: Mod­er­na pro­motes CTO, raids No­var­tis for re­place­ment amid pipeline push

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel made clear on the last quarterly call that “now is not the time to slow down.” On Thursday, he made a bit more room in the cockpit.

The company unveiled a new executive role on Thursday, promoting former chief technical operations and quality officer Juan Andres to president of strategic partnerships and enterprise expansion, and poaching a former Novartis exec to take his place.

Gilead names 'k­ing­pin­s' in coun­ter­feit HIV med law­suit

Gilead is mounting its counterfeit drug lawsuit, naming two “kingpins” and a complex network of conspirators who allegedly sold imitation bottles of its HIV meds, some of which ended up in US pharmacies.

The pharma giant on Wednesday provided an update on what it called a “large-scale, sophisticated counterfeiting conspiracy,” accusing two new defendants of “leading and orchestrating” a scheme to sell hundreds of millions of dollars in illegitimate drugs posing as meds such as Biktarvy and Descovy.

Tar­sus looks to raise aware­ness of eye­lid mite dis­ease in cam­paign aimed at eye­care spe­cial­ists

Eyelid mite disease may be “gross” but it’s also fairly common, affecting about 25 million people in the US.

Called demodex blepharitis, it’s a well-known condition among eyecare professionals, but they often don’t always realize how common it is. Tarsus Pharmaceuticals wants to change that with a new awareness campaign called “Look at the Lids.”

The campaign and website debut Thursday — just three weeks after Tarsus filed for FDA approval for a drug that treats the disease.

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