Ipsen recruits Steven Hildemann as CMO; Eli Lilly offers two more low-cost insulin options
→ After losing their CEO last month, Ipsen — who’s grappling with an FDA hold after safety concerns emerged from late-stage studies of its lead rare disease drug palovarotene — has tapped former Merck Serono exec Steven Hildemann as EVP, chief medical officer, head of global medical affairs and pharmacovigilance. During his time at Merck, Hildemann served as CMO and SVP and head of global medical affairs and patient safety. His previous experience spans Merck/Schering Plough, Amgen and Pfizer/Pharmacia.
→ In a new attempt to address criticism on the high cost of insulin, Eli Lilly is rolling out two additional cost-saving options to Humalog Mix75/25 KwikPen (insulin lispro protamine and insulin lispro injectable suspension 100 units/mL) and Humalog Junior KwikPen (insulin lispro injection 100 units/mL). The list prices of both will be 50% lower compared to the branded versions and will be available by mid-April. The company offered its first half-price alternative to Humalog, Insulin Lispro injection (100 units/mL), in May 2019, though senators have since slammed Lilly for not living up to its promise as the injection is still not widely available (an accusation that CEO Dave Ricks called “nonsense“).
→ With rivals gunning at their star blockbuster Soliris, Alexion is focusing on initiating a Phase III study of their follow-on drug Ultomiris (ravulizumab) in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. CHAMPION-ALS will be a 50-week global study with approximately 350 adult patients. The primary endpoint of the study, which the biotehc expects to launch this quarter, will be change in the ALS functional rating scale-revised (ALSFRS-R) score.
→ Pfizer is teaming up with Alex Zhavoronkov’s AI-shop Insilico Medicine to utilize Insilico’s tech and pandomics discovery platform. The goal of the collaboration is to identify real-world evidence for potential therapeutic targets implicated in a variety of diseases.
→ DNA sequencing giant Illumina — who just tore up a $1.2 billion buyout of Pacific Biosciences due to FTC “monopolist” accusations — has forged a 15 year, non-exclusive collaboration agreement with Roche. The deal will help “accelerate the availability of distributable NGS-based in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) tests on Illumina’s diagnostic (Dx) sequencing systems.”
→ Oyster Point Pharma has rolled out positive data from its Phase II MYSTIC study in testing their nasal spray against dry eye disease. The results showed a statistically significant improvement in Schirmer’s score from baseline at Day 84 in both doses as compared to the control group. The study demonstrated that OC-01 was well-tolerated at the two doses tested and there were no reports of serious treatment-emergent adverse events.
→ Adimab is extending its license agreement with Novo Nordisk that it started in 2013. Under the terms of agreement, the Danish drugmaker will have continued access to a human antibody library and will receive a license to the Adimab platform for use on an unlimited number of targets. Adimab is receiving an undisclosed extension fee as well as development and sales milestones plus tiered royalties on the annual net sales.