Joe Nolan, Jaguar CEO (Jaguar)

Jaguar, Sean Nolan's lat­est biotech, rais­es $139M as they fol­low Taysha's foot­steps

Joe Nolan swears he isn’t try­ing to hur­tle Jaguar Gene Ther­a­py to­ward a 0-to-60 IPO, but it sure looks like it.

Less than two months af­ter launch­ing with Deer­field cash and ex-AveX­is lead­er­ship, Jaguar an­nounced Tues­day they raised a $139 mil­lion Se­ries B led by Eli Lil­ly and Deer­field. That rapid ac­cel­er­a­tion is rem­i­nis­cent of the last biotech launched by the old AveX­is team, when Sean Nolan and RA Ses­sions steered Taysha through back-to-back Se­ries A and B rounds be­fore land­ing a $157 mil­lion IPO last Sep­tem­ber, 5 months af­ter launch.

Sean Nolan

Joe Nolan, who launched Jaguar with Sean Nolan (no re­la­tion) and serves as CEO, said that wasn’t the in­tent, how­ev­er.

“We weren’t plan­ning to go out and raise a Se­ries B as quick­ly as it hap­pened,” he told End­points News, adding, “We haven’t re­al­ly talked much about IPO at all. Again, we’re keep­ing all op­tions open.”

Nolan, who had served as a gen­er­al man­ag­er at AveX­is, said the Se­ries B start­ed af­ter Lil­ly learned of the com­pa­ny through a re­la­tion­ship with Deer­field. They were in­trigued, he said, by the ex­pe­ri­enced team — in ad­di­tion to the Nolans, Jaguar’s R&D chief, COO, CFO and CLO are all ex-AveX­is — and the po­ten­tial to tar­get dis­eases that had larg­er pa­tient pop­u­la­tions.

Jaguar is chas­ing four dif­fer­ent gene ther­a­pies: for type 1 di­a­betes, a sub­set of autism, a group of in­her­it­ed dis­or­ders called galac­tosemia and, through their sub­sidiary Ax­ovia, a rare dis­ease called Bardet-Biedl syn­drome.

A di­a­betes treat­ment would have the largest mar­ket of vir­tu­al­ly any gene ther­a­py now in de­vel­op­ment, though Nolan has been cir­cum­spect about how any of the three main ther­a­pies work, de­clin­ing to name even what genes they’re look­ing to de­liv­er.

The first ther­a­pies are like­ly to en­ter the clin­ic in the first half of 2023, Nolan said. He de­clined to dis­close how much run­way the new round gives them, but Jaguar is plan­ning a sig­nif­i­cant ex­pan­sion, push­ing from 30 em­ploy­ees be­tween their of­fices in Illi­nois and North Car­oli­na at the start of 2021 to around 90 em­ploy­ees by the end of it.

The com­pa­ny is al­so con­tin­u­al­ly look­ing to ex­pand its pipeline with pro­grams from the var­i­ous uni­ver­si­ties Deer­field has part­nered with over the last two years. One of the ther­a­pies in their port­fo­lio al­ready came through that route. They’ve ex­plored 8 ad­di­tion­al aca­d­e­m­ic as­sets so far, he said, though they have yet to li­cense one.

IDC: Life Sci­ences Firms Must Em­brace Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion Now

Pre-pandemic, the life sciences industry had settled into a pattern. The average drug took 12 years and $2.9 billion to bring to market, and it was an acceptable mode of operations, according to Nimita Limaye, Research Vice President for Life Sciences R&D Strategy and Technology at IDC.

COVID-19 changed that, and served as a proof-of-concept for how technology can truly help life sciences companies succeed and grow, Limaye said. She recently spoke about industry trends at Egnyte’s Life Sciences Summit 2022. You should watch the entire session, free and on-demand, but here’s a brief recap of why she’s urging life sciences companies to embrace digital transformation.

Tom Barnes, Orna Therapeutics CEO

UP­DAT­ED: 'We have failed to fail': Mer­ck gam­bles $250M cash on a next-gen ap­proach to mR­NA — af­ter punt­ing its big al­liance with Mod­er­na

Merck went in deep on its collaboration with Moderna on new mRNA programs, and dropped them all over time, including their RSV partnership. But after writing off what turned out as one of the most successful infectious disease players in the business, Merck is coming in this morning with a new preclinical alliance — this time embracing a biotech that hopes to eventually outdo the famously successful mRNA in a new run at vaccines and therapeutics.

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Bayer's first DTC ad campaign for chronic kidney disease drug Kerendia spells out its benefits

Bay­er aims to sim­pli­fy the com­plex­i­ties of CKD with an ABC-themed ad cam­paign

Do you know the ABCs of CKD in T2D? Bayer’s first ad campaign for Kerendia tackles the complexity of chronic kidney disease with a play on the acronym (CKD) and its connection to type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Kerendia was approved last year as the first and only non-steroidal mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist to treat CKD in people with type 2 diabetes.

In the TV commercial launched this week, A is for awareness, B is for belief and C is for cardiovascular, explained in the ad as awareness of the connection between type 2 and kidney disease, belief that something can be done about it, and cardiovascular events that may be reduced with treatment.

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James Mock, incoming CFO at Moderna

Mod­er­na taps new CFO from PerkinElmer af­ter for­mer one-day CFO oust­ed

When Moderna hired a new CFO last year,  it didn’t expect to see him gone after only one day. Today the biotech named his — likely much more vetted — replacement.

The mRNA company put out word early Wednesday that after the untimely departure of then brand-new CFO Jorge Gomez, it has now found a replacement in James Mock, the soon-to-be former CFO at diagnostics and analytics company PerkinElmer.

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Joel Dudley, new partner at Innovation Endeavors (Tempus Labs)

For­mer Google CEO’s VC is mak­ing a big­ger push in­to the biotech world, hir­ing promi­nent Ther­a­nos skep­tic

Venture capital firm Innovation Endeavors has mainly had its focus on investments across the tech space, but it has been slowly turning its attention to the biotech world. Now, a new partner is coming into the fold showing that its interest in biotech is likely to grow further.

The Silicon Valley-based company, which is headed up by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, has brought on Joel Dudley as a partner. According to Dudley’s LinkedIn page, he is joining Innovation Endeavors after serving as the chief science officer of biotech startup Tempus Labs from 2020.

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Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF’s supply division

GSK lands first-ever UNICEF con­tract for malar­ia vac­cine worth $170M

GSK has landed a new first from UNICEF the first-ever contract for malaria vaccines, worth up to $170 million for 18 million vaccine doses distributed over the next three years.

The vaccine, known as Mosquirix or RTS,S, won WHO’s backing last October after a controversial start, but UNICEF said these doses will potentially save thousands of lives every year.

“We hope this is just the beginning,” Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF’s supply division, said. “Continued innovation is needed to develop new and next-generation vaccines to increase available supply, and enable a healthier vaccine market. This is a giant step forward in our collective efforts to save children’s lives and reduce the burden of malaria as part of wider malaria prevention and control programmes.”

Joe Jonas (Photo by Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

So­lo Jonas broth­er car­ries Merz's new tune in Botox ri­val cam­paign

As the lyrics of his band’s 2019 pop-rock single suggest, Joe Jonas is only human — and that means even he gets frown lines. The 33-year-old singer-songwriter is Merz’s newest celebrity brand partner for its Botox rival Xeomin, as medical aesthetics brands target a younger audience.

Merz kicked off its “Beauty on Your Terms” campaign on Tuesday, featuring the Jonas brother in a video ad for its double-filtered anti-wrinkle injection Xeomin.

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Paul Perreault, CSL Behring CEO

CSL CEO Paul Per­reault de­ter­mined to grow plas­ma col­lec­tion af­ter full-year sales dip

As the ink dries on CSL’s $11.7 billion Vifor buyout, the company posted a dip in profits, due in part to a drop in plasma donations amid the pandemic.

However, CEO Paul Perreault assured investors and analysts on the full-year call that the team has left “no stone unturned” when assessing options to grow plasma volumes. The chief executive also spelled out positive results for the company’s monoclonal antibody garadacimab in hereditary angioedema (HAE), though he isn’t revealing the exact numbers just yet.

Blaise Coleman, Endo International CEO

En­do files for Chap­ter 11 as it looks to fin­ish off its opi­oid lit­i­ga­tion

Irish drugmaker Endo International is entering into bankruptcy as it faces the weight of serious litigation related to its involvement in the opioid epidemic in the US.

The company has filed Chapter 11 proceedings in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, with the company expected to file recognition proceedings in Canada, the UK and Australia. The company’s bankruptcy filing showed the company had assets and liabilities in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion.