Adrian Rawcliffe, Adaptimmune

James No­ble is tak­ing his last lap at the biotech he found­ed, and saved. It's Adri­an Raw­clif­fe's turn now

Back in the sum­mer of 2014, Adap­ti­m­mune CEO James No­ble had about a mil­lion pounds in the bank. Not too much to sur­vive on, as he told me lat­er in re­count­ing the tale. But af­ter steer­ing the start­up in and out of a buy­out in or­der to stay in busi­ness, it wasn’t his first look over the cliff.

James No­ble [Cred­it: Lon­car Funds]

Click on the im­age to see the full-sized ver­sion

A few months lat­er Glax­o­SmithK­line stepped up with a $350 mil­lion col­lab­o­ra­tion deal, where it is still ac­tive­ly in­volved in push­ing through a lead­ing pro­gram in the T-cell re­cep­tor (TCR) field.

To­day, Adap­ti­m­mune is a much larg­er, pub­lic com­pa­ny $ADAP with op­er­a­tions in the UK and Philadel­phia, much fur­ther along the way in its de­vel­op­ment ef­forts. And No­ble — a 30-year vet­er­an who once op­er­at­ed as co-CEO of Im­muno­core — is hand­ing the reins over to a GSK vet to run the com­pa­ny.

David Mott NEA

Adri­an Raw­cliffe, re­cruit­ed from the phar­ma gi­ant in 2015 as its CFO — just ahead of rak­ing in $191 mil­lion in an IPO — will be of­fi­cial­ly tak­ing the helm on Sep­tem­ber 1. Raw­cliffe spent 27 years at GSK, wind­ing up as head of fi­nance for their North Amer­i­can Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals busi­ness.

David Mott from New En­ter­prise As­so­ci­ates still chairs the board at Adap­ti­m­mune, and he cit­ed that Big Phar­ma ex­pe­ri­ence in of­fer­ing Raw­cliffe the thumbs-up to­day on his new post. Mott and the board will now turn to find­ing Raw­cliffe’s re­place­ment as CFO.

He’ll have some chal­lenges to deal with. The biotech’s shares have dwin­dled sharply since last fall, drop­ping about $10 off the price, which opened to­day at $4.05. The mar­ket cap has dwin­dled to a lit­tle more than $400 mil­lion — which is still a long way from that last mil­lion No­ble was down to in 2014.

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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Why wait? Cel­gene re­struc­tures a big Jounce pact — ze­ro­ing in on new I/O path­way with $530M deal and bump­ing ICOS

Celgene’s business team isn’t waiting for the big merger with Bristol-Myers Squibb to go through before syncing its strategy with the new mother ship.

Tuesday evening the big biotech unveiled a $530 million deal — $50 million in upfront cash — to amend their alliance with Jounce Therapeutics $JNCE to gain worldwide rights to JTX-8064, an antibody that targets the LILRB2 receptor on macrophages. Their old, $2.6 billion deal is being scrapped, leaving Jounce with a pipeline that includes the lead drug, the ICOS-targeting vopratelimab.

Michel Vounatsos, Getty Images

UP­DAT­ED: Stay tuned: Bio­gen’s num­bers are great — it’s their wor­ri­some fu­ture that leaves an­a­lysts skit­tish

Biogen came out with an upbeat assessment of their Q2 numbers today, discounting the arrival of a key rival for its blockbuster Spinraza franchise. But the top execs remain grimly determined to not say much anything new about the sore points that have dragged down its stock, including the future of its big investment in Alzheimer’s or how it plans to invest the considerable cash that the big biotech continues to reap.

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PACT Phar­ma says it's per­fect­ed the tech to se­lect neoanti­gens for per­son­al­ized ther­a­py — now on­to the clin­ic

At PACT Pharma, the lofty goal to unleash a “tsunami” of T cells personalized for each patient has hinged on the ability to correctly identify the neoantigens that form something of a fingerprint for each tumor, and extract the small group of T cells primed to attack the cancer. It still has a long way to go testing a treatment in humans, but the biotech says it has nailed that highly technical piece of the process.

UP­DAT­ED: My­ovan­t's uter­ine fi­broid drug looks com­pet­i­tive in PhI­II — but can they van­quish mighty Ab­b­Vie?

Vivek Ramaswamy’s Myovant $MYOV has closely matched its positive first round of Phase III data for their uterine fibroid drug relugolix, setting up a head-to-head rivalry with pharma giant AbbVie as the little biotech steers to the market with a planned filing in Q4.

Here’s how Myovant plans to prevail over the AbbVie $ABBV empire.

In the study, 71.2% of women receiving once-daily relugolix combination therapy achieved the clinical response they were looking for, compared to only 14.7% in the control arm. The data comfortably reflected the same outcomes in the first Phase III — 73.4% of women receiving once-daily oral relugolix combination therapy achieved the responder criteria compared with 18.9% of women receiving placebo — which will reassure regulators that they are getting the carefully randomized data that qualifies for the FDA’s gold standard for success.

Lit­tle Mar­i­nus sees its shares eclipsed as the Sage ri­val fails to com­pare on PPD in PhII

The executive team at Sage $SAGE have skirted another potential pitfall on its way to racking up a big future for its depression drug Zulresso.

Little Marinus Pharmaceuticals $MRNS had sought to challenge the Sage drug with an IV formulation — followed by an oral version — of ganaxolone for postpartum depression. But researchers say their Phase II study failed to positively differentiate itself from a placebo at 28 days — leaving them to hold up “clinically meaningful” data within the first day of administration compared to the control arm.

Roche cuts loose Tam­i­flu OTC rights, hand­ing Sanofi the keys as the phar­ma gi­ant dou­bles down on Xofluza

Roche set out to make a better flu medicine than Tamiflu as that franchise was headed to a generic showdown. Now they’ll see just how well Xofluza stacks up against the mainstay drug after handing off over-the-counter rights in the US to Sanofi.

Sanofi $SNY says it will now step in to negotiate a deal with the FDA to steer Tamiflu into the OTC market, a role that could well involve new studies to ease passage of the drug out of doctor’s hands and into the consumer end of the market. And the French pharma giant will have first dibs over “selected” OTC markets around the world as they push ahead.

Aca­dia is mak­ing the best of it, but their lat­est PhI­II Nu­plazid study is a bust

Acadia’s late-stage program to widen the commercial prospects for Nuplazid has hit a wall. The biotech reported that their Phase III ENHANCE trial flat failed. And while they $ACAD did their best to cherry pick positive data wherever they can be found, this is a clear setback for the biotech.

With close to 400 patients enrolled, researchers said the drug flunked the primary endpoint as an adjunctive therapy for patients with an inadequate response to antipsychotic therapy. The p-value was an ugly 0.0940 on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, which the company called out as a positive trend.

Their shares slid 12% on the news, good for a $426 million hit on a $3.7 billion market cap at close.

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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.