Lil­ly inks R&D deal with An­i­ma, pay­ing $44M in re­search fund­ing and up­front pay­ments

Eli Lil­ly $LLY is com­mis­sion­ing a small team in New Jer­sey to im­ple­ment its un­usu­al ap­proach to drug dis­cov­ery on a few of Lil­ly’s tar­gets, pay­ing out $30 mil­lion in an up­front fee plus some cash to get the re­search start­ed.

The new part­ner is An­i­ma Biotech, a tiny com­pa­ny that’s tar­get­ing dis­ease-caus­ing pro­teins way up­stream with a new class of drugs. The com­pa­ny’s co-founder and CEO Yochi Slonim de­scribes An­i­ma’s plat­form tech this way:

Yochi Slonim

Small mol­e­cule drugs work by bind­ing to dis­ease-caus­ing pro­teins to mod­i­fy their chem­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ty but most pro­teins lack ac­ces­si­ble bind­ing sites and as re­sult, many dis­eases re­main with­out ef­fec­tive treat­ments. An­i­ma’s Trans­la­tion Con­trol Ther­a­peu­tics plat­form is a new strat­e­gy against these un­drug­gable tar­get pro­teins. Rather than at­tempt to drug them af­ter they are al­ready made, we dis­cov­er drugs that work one step be­fore, by in­hibit­ing (de­creas­ing) or in­creas­ing the ac­tu­al pro­duc­tion by ri­bo­somes of those pro­teins. This dif­fer­ent ap­proach is based on our nov­el sci­ence and patent­ed tech­nol­o­gy and we be­lieve it can lead to many new drugs.

The ex­clu­sive col­lab­o­ra­tion is a mul­ti-year agree­ment fo­cus­ing on “sev­er­al” undis­closed Lil­ly tar­gets. The phar­ma gi­ant is tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for any clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and com­mer­cial­iza­tion that re­sults from the col­lab­o­ra­tion.

On top of An­i­ma’s $30 mil­lion up­front fee, it al­so got $14 mil­lion in re­search fund­ing. An­i­ma could re­ceive up to $1.05 bil­lion in fu­ture de­vel­op­ment and mile­stone pay­ments, if all goals are achieved.

A new era of treat­ment: How bio­mark­ers are chang­ing the way we think about can­cer

AJ Patel was recovering from a complicated brain surgery when his oncologist burst into the hospital room yelling, “I’ve got some really great news for you!”

For two years, Patel had been going from doctor to doctor trying to diagnose his wheezing, only to be dealt the devastating news that he had stage IV lung cancer and only six months to live. And then they found the brain tumors.

“What are you talking about?” Patel asked. He had never seen an oncologist so happy.

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David Ricks, Eli Lilly CEO (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Eli Lil­ly set to in­vest $2.1B in home state man­u­fac­tur­ing boost

Eli Lilly is looking to expand its footprint in its home Hoosier State by making a major investment in manufacturing.

The pharma is investing $2.1 billion in two new manufacturing sites at Indiana’s LEAP Lebanon Innovation and Research District in Boone County, northwest of Lilly’s headquarters in Indianapolis.

The two new facilities will expand Lilly’s manufacturing network for active ingredients and new therapeutic modalities, including genetic medicines, according to a press release.

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Pfiz­er and CD­MOs ramp up Paxlovid man­u­fac­tur­ing with Kala­ma­zoo plant ex­pan­sion lead­ing the way

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve, pharma companies and manufacturers are exploring how to step up production on antivirals.

Pfizer is planning to expand its Kalamazoo-area facility to increase manufacturing capabilities for the oral Covid-19 antiviral Paxlovid, according to a report from Michigan-based news site MLive. The expansion of the facility, which serves as Pfizer’s largest manufacturing location, is expected to create hundreds of “high-skilled” STEM jobs, MLive reported. No details about the project’s cost and timeline have been released, but according to MLive, Pfizer will announce the details of the expansion at some point in early June.

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FDA spells out the rules and re­stric­tions for states seek­ing to im­port drugs from Cana­da

The FDA is offering more of an explanation of the guardrails around its program that may soon allow states to import prescription drugs in some select circumstances from Canada, but only if such imports will result in significant cost reductions for consumers.

While the agency has yet to sign off on any of the 5 state plans in the works so far, and PhRMA’s suit to block the Trump-era rule allowing such imports is stalled, the new Q&A guidance spells out the various restrictions that states will have to abide by, potentially signaling that a state approval is coming.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla at the World Economic Forum (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP Images)

All about ac­cess: Pfiz­er moves to a non-prof­it mod­el for drug sales in 45 low­er-in­come coun­tries

Leading the way to increase access to cheaper drugs worldwide, Pfizer said Wednesday it will provide all current and future patent-protected medicines and vaccines available in the US or EU on a not-for-profit basis to about 1.2 billion people in 45 lower-income countries.

Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda are the first five countries to sign on to this accord, which will also seek to blaze new paths for quick and efficient regulatory and procurement processes to reduce the usual delays in making new medicines and vaccines available in these countries.

ProFound Therapeutics founding team

Flag­ship's lat­est biotech could turn some of the thou­sands of new pro­teins it dis­cov­ered in­to ther­a­pies — and it has $75M to start

Flagship Pioneering, the incubator of Moderna and dozens of other biotechs, says it has landed upon tens of thousands of previously undiscovered human proteins. The VC shop wants to potentially turn them into therapeutics.

Like other drug developers that have turned proteins into therapeutics (think insulin for diabetes), Flagship’s latest creation, ProFound Therapeutics, wants to tap into this new trove of proteins as part of its mission to treat indications ranging from rare diseases to cancer to immunological diseases.

Richard Silverman, Akava Therapeutics founder and Northwestern professor

This time around, Lyri­ca's in­ven­tor is de­vel­op­ing his North­west­ern dis­cov­er­ies at his own biotech

Richard Silverman was left in the dark for the last five years of clinical development of the drug he discovered. The Northwestern University professor found out about the first approval of Lyrica, in the last few days of 2004, like most other people: in the newspaper.

What became one of Pfizer’s top-selling meds, at $5 billion in 2017 global sales before losing patent protection in 2019, started slipping out of his hands when Northwestern licensed it out to Parke-Davis, one of two biotechs that showed interest in developing the drug in the pre-email days, when the university’s two-person tech transfer team had to ship out letters to garner industry appetite.

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Cracks in the fa­cade: Is phar­ma's pan­dem­ic ‘feel good fac­tor’ wan­ing?

The discordant effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on pharma reputation continues. While the overall industry still retains a respectable halo from its Covid-19 quick response and leadership, a new patient group study reveals a different story emerging in the details.

On one hand, US patient advocacy groups rated the industry higher-than-ever overall. More than two-thirds (67%) of groups gave the industry a thumbs up for 2021, a whopping 10 percentage point increase over the year before, according to the PatientView annual study, now in its 9th year.

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Michael Corbo, Pfizer CDO of inflammation & immunology

UP­DAT­ED: Plan­ning ahead for crowd­ed ul­cer­a­tive col­i­tis mar­ket, Pfiz­er spells out PhI­II da­ta on $6.7B Are­na drug

Pfizer has laid out the detailed results behind its boast that etrasimod — the S1P receptor modulator at the center of its $6.7 billion buyout of Arena Pharma — is the winner of the class, potentially leapfrogging an earlier entrant from Bristol Myers Squibb.

Pivotal data from the ELEVATE program in ulcerative colitis — which consists of two Phase III trials, one lasting 52 weeks and the other just 12 weeks — illustrate an “encouraging balance of efficacy and safety,” according to Michael Corbo, chief development officer of inflammation & immunology at Pfizer. The company is presenting the results as a late breaker at Digestive Disease Week.

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