Lab­Corp se­lects its new CEO; Pfiz­er names ex-Genen­tech vet as new head of on­col­o­gy R&D

Adam Schechter The Org

→ Long­time Mer­ck ex­ec­u­tive Adam Schechter will be tak­ing over as CEO and pres­i­dent of Lab­Corp with the re­tire­ment of David King on Oc­to­ber 31— when he will be­come ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of the board of di­rec­tors. The com­pa­ny says that “the board ex­pects to choose one of its mem­bers to be lead in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tor at a lat­er date.”

Schechter has been on Lab­Corp’s board since April 1, 2013, serv­ing as the lead in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tor since Jan­u­ary of this year. Dur­ing his long-time stint at Mer­ck, Schechter helped lead the in­te­gra­tion of Mer­ck and Scher­ing-Plough and held ex­ec­u­tive roles in the com­pa­ny, in­clud­ing pres­i­dent of glob­al hu­man health and pres­i­dent of Mer­ck’s glob­al phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal busi­ness.

Pa­tri­cia Hurter Busi­ness Wire

King has served as CEO for 13 years, start­ing in Jan­u­ary 1, 2007. Pri­or to his ap­point­ment to CEO at Lab­Corp, King was ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent, COO and ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of strate­gic plan­ning and cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment. When King first joined the com­pa­ny in 2001 — he pre­vi­ous­ly served as the prin­ci­pal out­side le­gal coun­sel for sev­er­al years to the com­pa­ny — he served as SVP, gen­er­al coun­sel and chief com­pli­ance of­fi­cer.

Pa­tri­cia Hurter will be at the helm of Lyn­dra Ther­a­peu­tics — which is work­ing on an “ul­tra-long-act­ing oral de­liv­ery sys­tem” — as its CEO ef­fec­tive Sep­tem­ber 3, 2019. Hurter will be suc­ceed­ing co-founder Amy Schul­man, a VC who is be­com­ing ex­ec­u­tive chair. Pri­or to join­ing Lyn­dra, Hurter had a stint at Ver­tex as the com­pa­ny’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and pre­clin­i­cal sci­ences and in­ter­im head of glob­al reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs.

Leif Jo­hans­son As­traZeneca

On­co­Cyte Cor­po­ra­tion — a de­vel­op­er of non-in­va­sive tests for the ear­ly de­tec­tion of lung can­cer — an­nounced that Ronald An­drews will take charge of the com­pa­ny as its CEO, ef­fec­tive Ju­ly 1. On­co­Cyte’s cur­rent CEO, William An­nett, will re­main with the com­pa­ny in an ad­vi­so­ry role dur­ing the tran­si­tion.

With over 30 years in the field, An­drews has had var­i­ous stints, in­clud­ing CEO and founder of Bethes­da Group, CEO of Clar­i­ent (for­mer­ly Chro­maV­i­sion Med­ical Sys­tems), CEO of GE Mol­e­c­u­lar Di­ag­nos­tics, ex­ec­u­tive roles at Roche Mol­e­c­u­lar Di­ag­nos­tics and he sits on the board of di­rec­tors for three com­pa­nies.

Jeff Set­tle­man Cal­i­co

Leif Jo­hans­son’s time as As­traZeneca chair­man is com­ing to an end as re­tire­ment looms. Jo­hans­son has had sev­en event­ful years with the com­pa­ny — sur­viv­ing a takeover bid by Pfiz­er, a turn­around mis­sion and some po­lit­i­cal tur­moil. Un­der FTSE-100 reg­u­la­tions, board mem­bers are not con­sid­ered “in­de­pen­dent” if they re­main in their po­si­tions be­yond nine years.

Jo­hans­son was re­cruit­ed to As­traZeneca’s board in 2012, af­ter stints at AB Elec­trolux and LM Er­ic­s­son. Soon af­ter join­ing the com­pa­ny, he brought on Pas­cal So­ri­ot from Roche to serve as the com­pa­ny’s chief. The two worked to­geth­er to help As­traZeneca bounce back from a raft of patent ex­pi­ra­tions and suc­cess­ful­ly fend­ed off Pfiz­er’s at­tempt to ex­e­cute a $118 bil­lion hos­tile takeover in 2014.

Scott Biller Agios

His pay to­taled £690,000 in 2018, mak­ing him one of the best-paid chairs of an FTSE-100 com­pa­ny ac­cord­ing to Sky News.

Pfiz­er scooped up Cal­i­co ex­ec Jeff Set­tle­man to head its on­col­o­gy R&D ops in La Jol­la. Set­tle­man steps in as the com­pa­ny pre­pares for the re­tire­ment of Robert Abra­ham — whose ex­pe­ri­ence stretch­es back to his ear­ly years at Wyeth.

Set­tle­man is now man­ag­ing 800 em­ploy­ees di­vid­ed be­tween tu­mor cell bi­ol­o­gy, can­cer im­munol­o­gy dis­cov­ery and tar­get ther­a­peu­tics, each with their own lead­ers.

Robert Ian­none Linkedin

Set­tle­man served as a Har­vard fac­ul­ty mem­ber for 18 years and his first en­try to the in­dus­try was in 2010 when he took up a dis­cov­ery po­si­tion at Genen­tech, which has seed­ed the Bay Area biotech hub with sea­soned tal­ent.

Pfiz­er’s on­col­o­gy unit has seen quite a bit of change in re­cent years. Just a few weeks ago, Dim­it­ry Nuyten, clin­i­cal head in im­muno-on­col­o­gy, jumped to Aduro. Charles Hugh-Jones left last Au­gust for Al­ler­gan af­ter a 16-month stint as CMO; on the com­mer­cial side, Liz Bar­rett was snatched up by No­var­tis be­fore mov­ing on to lead the biotech Uro­Gen.

John Oyler BeiGene

→ The CSO of Agios Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Scott Biller, has an­nounced his re­tire­ment — af­ter be­ing with the com­pa­ny for near­ly a decade. Biller will re­tire at the end of 2019, but will con­tin­ue to serve as a strate­gic ad­vi­sor through the end of 2020. The com­pa­ny has ini­ti­at­ed a search for his suc­ces­sor.

→ Ear­li­er in April Rob Ian­none an­nounced that he was leav­ing his po­si­tion as CMO of Im­munomedics to head to Penn­syl­va­nia to be “close to his fam­i­ly.” Well, it looks like Jazz Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals — a com­pa­ny sell­ing and de­vel­op­ing drugs for sleep dis­or­ders and can­cer — has snatched the for­mer As­traZeneca ex­ec to lead its glob­al R&D team. Pri­or to his stint at As­traZeneca, Ian­none worked for Mer­ck, where he helped de­vel­op its PD-1 in­hibitor star, Keytru­da.

Alex­is Borisy Third Rock Ven­tures

→ As Chi­na’s in­flu­ence on glob­al biotech con­tin­ues to grow, Beigene CEO and chair­man John Oyler, who co-found­ed the com­pa­ny in 2010, has been elect­ed to BIO’s board of di­rec­tors as well as the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s health sec­tion gov­ern­ing board.

→ Ahead of Third Rock’s record $770 mil­lion fund for its next wave of in­vest­ments in the life sci­ences field, one key in­vestor, Alex­is Borisy, made an un­ex­pect­ed ex­it from the com­pa­ny. Borisy, who head­ed up in­vest­ments in Ma­gen­ta, Rev­o­lu­tion, Blue­print and more, is head­ed for parts cur­rent­ly un­known. He was not in­volved in rais­ing the last round and won’t be han­dling the in­vest­ment deals.

Robert Pe­tit Ad­vax­is

Caris­ma Ther­a­peu­tics — a bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny fo­cus­ing on de­vel­op­ing cell ther­a­py plat­forms based on en­gi­neered macrophages — has wel­comed Robert Pe­tit as its CSO. Pe­tit joins the biotech af­ter his most re­cent stint as CSO of Ad­vax­is. Pe­tit has a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence, co-found­ing an im­muno-on­col­o­gy pro­gram in the ear­ly days of cell ther­a­py, work­ing as a part of the pi­o­neer­ing team at BMS to es­tab­lish the first check­point in­hibitor ther­a­py, es­tab­lish­ing aca­d­e­m­ic IL-2 LAK and TIL cell treat­ment pro­grams — among oth­er things.

Samuel Zhang NeoIm­muneTech

NeoIm­muneTech (NIT) wel­comed Samuel Zhang to the com­pa­ny as its CBO. Zhang’s most re­cent stint was as VP, prod­uct and port­fo­lio strat­e­gy at Merus. Pri­or to that Zhang held po­si­tions at Eli Lil­ly, Pfiz­er, Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb and No­var­tis On­col­o­gy.

→ While its lead pro­gram ETH42 ad­vances to­ward clin­i­cal tri­als, Ethris — a com­pa­ny spe­cial­iz­ing in mR­NA ther­a­peu­tics, with specifics in pul­monary dis­ease — an­nounced the ap­point­ment of Thomas Lan­genick­el as CMO.  The No­var­tis vet was pre­vi­ous­ly the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and head of res­pi­ra­to­ry pro­fil­ing with­in the trans­la­tion­al med­i­cine group. Pri­or to No­var­tis AG, Lan­genick­el held po­si­tions in dis­cov­ery med­i­cine at Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb.

Thomas Lan­genick­el Ethris

Ned Sharp­less has named Kea­gan Leni­han as the FDA chief of staff, re­plac­ing Lau­ren Sil­vis — who is leav­ing the agency some­time this month af­ter join­ing in May 2017 as deputy cen­ter di­rec­tor for pol­i­cy at the FDA’s Cen­ter for de­vices and ra­di­o­log­i­cal health. Pri­or to join­ing the FDA in Jan­u­ary 2018 as as­so­ciate com­mis­sion­er for strate­gic ini­tia­tives and ex­ter­nal af­fairs, Leni­han served as se­nior coun­selor to then-HHS sec­re­tary Tom Price and se­nior leg­isla­tive as­sis­tant to Price while he rep­re­sent­ed Geor­gia in the House as well as leg­isla­tive di­rec­tor for rep­re­sen­ta­tive Pe­te Ses­sions (R-Texas).

Kea­gan Leni­han FDA

→ Chi­na and US-based can­cer com­pa­ny Zai Lab has wel­comed Va­le­ria Fan­tin as its first-ever CSO. She will be based in the com­pa­ny’s US head­quar­ters in San Fran­cis­co, lead­ing the com­pa­ny’s in­ter­nal drug dis­cov­ery ef­fort on a glob­al ba­sis. Pri­or to join­ing Zai Lab, Fan­tin served as CSO at Oric Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals – where she helped dri­ve its GR an­tag­o­nist ORIC-101 to clin­ic. Pri­or to that Fan­tin has held stints at Pfiz­er, Agios and Mer­ck re­search lab­o­ra­to­ries. Saman­tha Du, Zai Lab’s founder and CEO said that Fan­tin’s over 20-year ex­pe­ri­ence in on­col­o­gy drug dis­cov­ery will help lead with the in­ter­nal dis­cov­ery pipeline — which has a goal to an­nounce one to two INDs per year start­ing in 2020.

Va­le­ria Fan­tin Linkedin

→ Over the last year, BIO has sep­a­rat­ed its pub­lic af­fairs func­tions in­to two new de­part­ments. The in­dus­try or­ga­ni­za­tion an­nounced that ef­fec­tive June 17, Rich Mas­ters will head one de­part­ment as EVP for pub­lic af­fairs. Mas­ters joins from pub­lic af­fairs firm Qorvis com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Last sum­mer, the com­pa­ny named Jeanne Hag­ger­ty as EVP for gov­ern­ment af­fairs and ex­ter­nal re­la­tions of the oth­er de­part­ment. In ad­di­tion, BIO has an­nounced the de­par­ture of Ken Li­saius, the cur­rent SVP for com­mu­ni­ca­tions, ef­fec­tive June 14.  

Rich Mas­ters Qorvis

Leo Phar­ma, who spe­cial­izes in der­ma­tol­ogy, an­nounced that its pres­i­dent and CEO, Gitte Aabo, will be step­ping down af­ter 27 years — 11 as CEO — with the com­pa­ny. Cather­ine Maz­za­c­co will suc­ceed Aabo, ef­fec­tive Au­gust 1. Pre­vi­ous­ly, Maz­za­c­co was the head of glob­al com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions at the bio­phar­ma di­vi­sion of the GE Health­care unit of Gen­er­al Elec­tric.

Cather­ine Maz­za­c­co Busi­ness Wire

Flu­idigm Cor­po­ra­tion an­nounced the ap­point­ment of its first-ever CSO, An­drew Quong, who joins from the Fred­er­ick Na­tion­al Lab­o­ra­to­ry for Can­cer Re­search — which is spon­sored by the Na­tion­al Can­cer In­sti­tute (NIC) — as its di­rec­tor of strate­gic sci­en­tif­ic ini­tia­tives and part­ner­ships. Pri­or to his time at Fred­er­ick Na­tion­al Lab­o­ra­to­ry, Quong served as a fac­ul­ty mem­ber in the De­part­ment of Can­cer Bi­ol­o­gy at Thomas Jef­fer­son Uni­ver­si­ty and the De­part­ment of On­col­o­gy at George­town Uni­ver­si­ty.

Ther­a­vance Ther­a­peu­tics — who J&J gam­bled $1 bil­lion last year in a part­ner­ship with the com­pa­ny in hopes of the next block­buster JAK for Crohn’s, ul­cer­a­tive col­i­tis — has brought on An­drew Hind­man as se­nior vice pres­i­dent and CFO of the com­pa­ny.

An­drew Quong Linkedin

Most re­cent­ly Hind­man served as CBO of Acor­da Ther­a­peu­tics, where he led the com­pa­ny’s ac­qui­si­tions Civ­i­tas Ther­a­peu­tics and Bi­otie Ther­a­pies. Be­fore that, Hind­man was CEO and mem­ber of the board of pri­vate­ly-held biotech­nol­o­gy, To­bi­ra Ther­a­peu­tics, which was ac­quired by Al­ler­gan in 2016. Hind­man has al­so held stints at Nodal­i­ty, Onyx Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Gilead Sci­ences.

→  Ei­sai — the US sub­sidiary of Tokyo-based Ei­sai Co — an­nounced Patrick Coyle as vice pres­i­dent and CFO of the com­pa­ny. He will serve on the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee. Coyle will be re­spon­si­ble for the fi­nan­cial op­er­a­tions of the com­pa­ny in the US and Cana­da. Pri­or to join­ing Ei­sai, Coyle was vice pres­i­dent, fi­nan­cial plan­ning and analy­sis at IN­SMED. In ad­di­tion, he’s had stints in the fi­nance de­part­ments of No­var­tis, Bay­er Health­Care Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Sun Chem­i­cal and Com­put­er Hori­zons Cor­po­ra­tion.

An­drew Hind­man Linkedin

→  Stephen Kennedy joins gene-edit­ing biotech Case­bia Ther­a­peu­tics as its SVP, head of tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions. With 30 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the field un­der his belt, Kennedy will over­see the com­pa­ny’s re­la­tion­ships with CROs and CMOs and will di­rect all man­u­fac­tur­ing and sup­port sup­ply chain, qual­i­ty and reg­u­la­to­ry. He will al­so es­tab­lish the process de­vel­op­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing strat­e­gy for new gene-edit­ing based prod­ucts, both ex vi­vo cell-based and in vi­vo ther­a­pies. Most re­cent­ly, Kennedy served as the COO for restora­tive cell ther­a­py com­pa­ny His­to­gen­ics Cor­po­ra­tion. He’s al­so had stints at Mas­co­ma Corp., The No­var­tis/MIT Cen­ter for Con­tin­u­ous Man­u­fac­tur­ing and Gen­zyme.

Patrick Coyle Cis­ton

→  Eiger Bio­Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cls ap­points Jey­sen Yo­g­a­rat­nam — who spe­cial­izes in He­pati­tis B and C — as vice pres­i­dent of glob­al HDV clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. At his re­cent stint as se­nior med­ical di­rec­tor at Janssen Bio­phar­ma, Yo­g­a­rat­nam led drug de­vel­op­ment of he­pati­tis B virus (HBV) cap­sid as­sem­bly mod­u­la­tors.

“Jey­sen’s back­ground and ex­pe­ri­ence in liv­er dis­ease and an­tivi­ral drug de­vel­op­ment align well with our cur­rent and fu­ture HDV pro­gram needs as we ad­vance Lon­a­farnib in the first-ever Phase III glob­al study for HDV and Pegin­ter­fer­on Lamb­da to­ward Phase III for HDV,” said David Cory, pres­i­dent and CEO of Eiger. In ad­di­tion to his time at Janssen, Yo­g­a­rat­nam has had stints at MIF­COR, Ver­tex – where he was the med­ical lead on the an­ti-HCV pro­tease in­hibitor, telapre­vir (In­civek) and Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb.

Stephen Kennedy Linkedin

→ Cel­lu­lar and im­mune ther­a­peu­tics com­pa­ny, Gami­da Cell, has strength­ened its man­age­ment team with the ad­di­tion of Tracey Lodie as CSO. Lodie will suc­ceed Tony Peled, who is tran­si­tion­ing to the new­ly cre­at­ed role of chief tech­nol­o­gy of­fi­cer at the com­pa­ny.

“We are de­light­ed to wel­come Tracey to Gami­da Cell. Her deep ex­pe­ri­ence in au­toim­mu­ni­ty and im­muno-on­col­o­gy re­search will be crit­i­cal as we con­tin­ue to de­vel­op GDA-201 an in­ves­ti­ga­tion­al, nat­ur­al killer cell-based im­munother­a­py in Phase I de­vel­op­ment with the po­ten­tial to treat hema­to­log­ic ma­lig­nan­cies and sol­id tu­mors,” said Ju­lian Adams, CEO of Gami­da Cell.

Jey­sen Yo­g­a­rat­nam Linkedin

Pri­or to join­ing Gami­da Cell, Lodie served as SVP, trans­la­tion­al im­munol­o­gy at Blue­Rock Ther­a­peu­tics and has had stints at Sy­ros Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Sanofi-Gen­zyme.

Tracey Lodie Linkedin

BiTE® Plat­form and the Evo­lu­tion To­ward Off-The-Shelf Im­muno-On­col­o­gy Ap­proach­es

Despite rapid advances in the field of immuno-oncology that have transformed the cancer treatment landscape, many cancer patients are still left behind.1,2 Not every person has access to innovative therapies designed specifically to treat his or her disease. Many currently available immuno-oncology-based approaches and chemotherapies have brought long-term benefits to some patients — but many patients still need other therapeutic options.3

Pfiz­er’s Doug Gior­dano has $500M — and some ad­vice — to of­fer a cer­tain breed of 'break­through' biotech

So let’s say you’re running a cutting-edge, clinical-stage biotech, probably public, but not necessarily so, which could see some big advantages teaming up with some marquee researchers, picking up say $50 million to $75 million dollars in a non-threatening minority equity investment that could take you to the next level.

Doug Giordano might have some thoughts on how that could work out.

The SVP of business development at the pharma giant has helped forge a new fund called the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative. And he has $500 million of Pfizer’s money to put behind 7 to 10 — or so — biotech stocks that fit that general description.

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Gilead re­leas­es an­oth­er round of murky remde­sivir re­sults

A month after the NIH declared the first trial on remdesivir in Covid-19 a success, Gilead is out with new results on their antiviral. But although the study met one of its primary endpoints, the data are likely to only add to a growing debate over how effective the drug actually is.

In a Phase III trial, patients given a 5-day dose of remdesivir were 65% more likely to show “clinical improvement” compared to an arm given standard-of-care. The trial, though, gave little indication for whether the drug had an impact on key endpoints such as survival or time-to-recovery. And in a surprising twist, a 10-day dosing arm of remdesivir didn’t lead to a statistically significant improvement over standard of care.

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Ken Frazier, AP Images

Why Mer­ck wait­ed, and what they now bring to the Covid-19 fight

Nicholas Kartsonis had been running clinical infectious disease research at Merck for almost 2 years when, in mid-January, he got a new assignment: searching the pharma giant’s vast libraries for something that could treat the novel coronavirus.

The outbreak was barely two weeks old when Kartsonis and a few dozen others got to work, first in small teams and then in a larger task force that sucked in more and more parts of the sprawling company as Covid-19 infected more and more of the globe. By late February, the group began formally searching for vaccine and antiviral candidates to license. Still, while other companies jumped out to announce their programs and, eventually and sometimes controversially, early glimpses at human data, Merck remained silent. They made only a brief announcement about a data collection partnership in April and mentioned vaguely a vaccine and antiviral search in their April 28 earnings call.

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Mark Genovese (Stanford via Twitter)

Gilead woos fil­go­tinib clin­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tor from Stan­ford to lead the charge on NASH, in­flam­ma­to­ry dis­eases

With an FDA OK for the use of filgotinib in rheumatoid arthritis expected to drop any day now, Gilead has recruited a new leader from academia to lead its foray into inflammatory diseases.

Mark Genovese — a longtime Stanford professor and most recently the clinical chief in the division of immunology and rheumatology — was the principal investigator in FINCH 2, one of three studies that supported Gilead’s NDA filing. In his new role as SVP, inflammation, he will oversee the clinical development of the entire portfolio.

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Stephen Isaacs, Aduro president and CEO (Aduro)

Once a high fly­er, a stag­ger­ing Aduro is auc­tion­ing off most of the pipeline as CEO Stephen Isaacs hands off the shell to new own­ers

After a drumbeat of failure, setbacks and reorganizations over the last few years, Aduro CEO Stephen Isaacs is handing over his largely gutted-out shell of a public company to another biotech company and putting up some questionable assets in a going-out-of-business sale.

Isaacs —who forged a string of high-profile Big Pharma deals along the way — has wrapped a 13-year run at the biotech with one program for kidney disease going to the new owners at Chinook Therapeutics. A host of once-heralded assets like their STING agonist program partnered with Novartis (which dumped their work on ADU-S100 after looking over weak clinical results), the Lilly-allied cGAS-STING inhibitor program and the anti-CD27 program out-licensed to Merck will all be posted for auction under a strategic review process.

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Hill­house re­casts spot­light on Chi­na's biotech scene with $160M round for Shang­hai-based an­ti­body mak­er

Almost two years after first buying into Genor Biopharma’s pipeline of cancer and autoimmune therapies, Hillhouse Capital has led a $160 million cash injection to push the late-stage assets over the finish line while continuing to fund both internal R&D and dealmaking.

The Series B has landed right around the time Genor would have listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, according to plans reported by Bloomberg late last year. Insiders had said that the company was looking to raise about $200 million.

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Fangliang Zhang (Imaginechina via AP Images)

The big mon­ey: Poised to make drug R&D his­to­ry, a Chi­na biotech un­veils uni­corn rac­ing am­bi­tions in a bid to raise $350M-plus on Nas­daq

Almost exactly three years after Shanghai-based Legend came out of nowhere to steal the show at ASCO with jaw-dropping data on their BCMA-targeted CAR-T for multiple myeloma, the little player with Big Pharma connections is taking a giant step toward making it big on Wall Street. And this time they want to seal the deal on a global rep after staking out a unicorn valuation in what’s turned out to be a bull market for biotech IPOs — in the middle of a pandemic.

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No­var­tis chips in $10M for IPO-bound part­ner Pli­ant; Tenax shares soar on heart drug da­ta

Novartis is coming in with $10 million to help support the looming IPO of a partner. Pliant Therapeutics posted a new filing with the SEC showing that Novartis is buying the shares at $15, the mid-point of the range. It’s adding several million shares to the offering, bringing the total to around $135 million. Biotech companies have been enjoying quite a run on virtual Wall Street, with investors boosting new offerings to some big hauls.