Ipsen adds cowork­ing to new Boston HQ with Bi­o­Labs part­ner­ship; NYC gets biotech start­up ac­cel­er­a­tor, fund­ed with $25M from state

→ French phar­ma Ipsen is go­ing to be play­ing host to a cowork­ing fa­cil­i­ty in Boston. Just weeks af­ter an­nounc­ing it was mov­ing its US head­quar­ters from New Jer­sey to Boston, Ipsen an­nounced Thurs­day that its shiny new HQ will have shared “in­no­va­tion” space. The phar­ma is team­ing up with Bi­o­Labs, a net­work of biotech cowork­ing spaces that has lo­ca­tions all over the coun­try.

The shared lab­o­ra­to­ry space, called the Ipsen In­no­va­tion Cen­ter – Bi­o­Labs, will span 15,000 square-feet. It will in­clude of­fice and lab­o­ra­to­ry space to sup­port en­tre­pre­neurs and star­tups. Ipsen is pro­vid­ing the space and some ed­u­ca­tion­al pro­grams, men­tor­ing and of­fice hours with Ipsen R&D teams, while Bi­o­Labs is man­ag­ing the op­er­a­tions. The space will open the first quar­ter of 2019, with Bi­o­Labs ac­cept­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for oc­cu­pan­cy in the com­ing months.

“Ex­ter­nal in­no­va­tion is core to Ipsen’s growth strat­e­gy and we are com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing the biotech ecosys­tem that plays such a vi­tal role in dis­cov­er­ing in­no­v­a­tive new ther­a­pies,” said Ivana Magov­če­vić-Liebisch, EVP and chief busi­ness of­fi­cer at Ipsen, in a state­ment. “Ipsen is ex­cit­ed to part­ner with Bi­o­Labs to es­tab­lish a world-class co-work­ing space that will pro­vide a launch­pad for the next gen­er­a­tion of high-im­pact biotechs.”

→ In the lat­est NYC tac­tic to spur its biotech scene, the state has hand­ed $25 mil­lion in fund­ing to busi­ness ac­cel­er­a­tor In­dieBio. The San Fran­cis­co-based group will be open­ing a space in New York City next year with the funds. In­dieBio is look­ing to work with 20 star­tups a year and says it will pro­vide each with up to $2 mil­lion in in­vest­ment dol­lars (along with the usu­al ac­cel­er­a­tor men­tor­ship). They’re look­ing for a 12,000 to 20,000 square-foot place, prefer­ably in Man­hat­tan near a ma­jor trans­porta­tion hub. “There is a huge amount of tal­ent that is un­tapped po­ten­tial in New York,” founder Arvind Gup­ta told the Wall Street Jour­nal. “Re­al­ly the chal­lenge will be gal­va­niz­ing that ecosys­tem and hav­ing it be­lieve there is a new way of start­ing bio-tech com­pa­nies that can be low­er cost, faster to mar­ket.” The state’s $25 mil­lion in­vest­ment will come over five years and is part of a $620 mil­lion ini­tia­tive to strength­en its life sci­ences re­search clus­ter.

→ The UK’s Do­mainex has opened up BD of­fices in Boston and San Diego.

Hal Barron, GSK

Break­ing the death spi­ral: Hal Bar­ron talks about trans­form­ing the mori­bund R&D cul­ture at GSK in a crit­i­cal year for the late-stage pipeline

Just ahead of GlaxoSmithKline’s Q2 update on Wednesday, science chief Hal Barron is making the rounds to talk up the pharma giant’s late-stage strategy as the top execs continue to woo back a deeply skeptical investor group while pushing through a whole new R&D culture.

And that’s not easy, Barron is quick to note. He told the Financial Times:

I think that culture, to some extent, is as hard, in fact even harder, than doing the science.

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Some Big Phar­mas stepped up their game on da­ta trans­paren­cy — but which flunked the test?

The nonprofit Bioethics International has come out with their latest scorecard on data transparency among the big biopharmas in the industry — flagging a few standouts while spotlighting some laggards who are continuing to underperform.

Now in its third year, the nonprofit created a new set of standards with Yale School of Medicine and Stanford Law School to evaluate the track record on trial registration, results reporting, publication and data-sharing practice.

Busy Gilead crew throws strug­gling biotech a life­line, with some cash up­front and hun­dreds of mil­lions in biobucks for HIV deal

Durect $DRRX got a badly needed shot in the arm Monday morning as Gilead’s busy BD team lined up access to its extended-release platform tech for HIV and hepatitis B.

Gilead, a leader in the HIV sector, is paying a modest $25 million in cash for the right to jump on the platform at Durect, which has been using its technology to come up with an extended-release version of bupivacaine. The FDA rejected that in 2014, but Durect has been working on a comeback.

In­tec blitzed by PhI­II flop as lead pro­gram fails to beat Mer­ck­'s stan­dard com­bo for Parkin­son’s

Intec Pharma’s $NTEC lead drug slammed into a brick wall Monday morning. The small-cap Israeli biotech reported that its lead program — coming off a platform designed to produce a safer, more effective oral drug for Parkinson’s — failed the Phase III at the primary endpoint.

Researchers at Intec, which has already seen its share price collapse over the past few months, says that its Accordion Pill-Carbidopa/Levodopa failed to prove superior to Sinemet in reducing daily ‘off’ time. 

Cel­gene racks up third Ote­zla ap­proval, heat­ing up talks about who Bris­tol-My­ers will sell to

Whoever is taking Otezla off Bristol-Myers Squibb’s hands will have one more revenue stream to boast.

The drug — a rising star in Celgene’s pipeline that generated global sales of $1.6 billion last year — is now OK’d to treat oral ulcers associated with Behçet’s disease, a common symptom for a rare inflammatory disorder. This marks the third FDA approval for the PDE4 inhibitor since 2014, when it was greenlighted for plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

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Francesco De Rubertis

Medicxi is rolling out its biggest fund ever to back Eu­rope's top 'sci­en­tists with strange ideas'

Francesco De Rubertis built Medicxi to be the kind of biotech venture player he would have liked to have known back when he was a full time scientist.

“When I was a scientist 20 years ago I would have loved Medicxi,’ the co-founder tells me. It’s the kind of place run by and for investigators, what the Medicxi partner calls “scientists with strange ideas — a platform for the drug hunter and scientific entrepreneur. That’s what I wanted when I was a scientist.”

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Af­ter a decade, Vi­iV CSO John Pot­tage says it's time to step down — and he's hand­ing the job to long­time col­league Kim Smith

ViiV Healthcare has always been something unique in the global drug industry.

Owned by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer — with GSK in the lead as majority owner — it was created 10 years ago in a time of deep turmoil for the field as something independent of the pharma giants, but with access to lots of infrastructural support on demand. While R&D at the mother ship inside GSK was souring, a razor-focused ViiV provided a rare bright spot, challenging Gilead on a lucrative front in delivering new combinations that require fewer therapies with a more easily tolerated regimen.

They kept a massive number of people alive who would otherwise have been facing a death sentence. And they made money.

And throughout, John Pottage has been the chief scientific and chief medical officer.

Until now.

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Vlad Coric (Biohaven)

In an­oth­er dis­ap­point­ment for in­vestors, FDA slaps down Bio­haven’s re­vised ver­sion of an old ALS drug

Biohaven is at risk of making a habit of disappointing its investors.

Late Friday the biotech $BHVN reported that the FDA had rejected its application for riluzole, an old drug that they had made over into a sublingual formulation that dissolves under the tongue. According to Biohaven, the FDA had a problem with the active ingredient used in a bioequivalence study back in 2017, which they got from the Canadian drugmaker Apotex.

Apotex, though, has been a disaster ground. The manufacturer voluntarily yanked the ANDAs on 31 drugs — in late 2017 — after the FDA came across serious manufacturing deficiencies at their plants in India. A few days ago, the FDA made it official.

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Chas­ing Roche's ag­ing block­buster fran­chise, Am­gen/Al­ler­gan roll out Avastin, Her­ceptin knock­offs at dis­count

Let the long battle for biosimilars in the cancer space begin.

Amgen has launched its Avastin and Herceptin copycats — licensed from the predecessors of Allergan — almost two years after the FDA had stamped its approval on Mvasi (bevacizumab-awwb) and three months after the Kanjinti OK (trastuzumab-anns). While the biotech had been fielding biosimilars in Europe, this marks their first foray in the US — and the first oncology biosimilars in the country.