Luisa Salter-Cid, Pioneering Medicines CSO (Credit: Bristol Myers Squibb via Twitter)

Luisa Salter-Cid joins long­time Bris­tol My­ers col­lab­o­ra­tor Paul Bion­di at Flag­ship's new drug brew­ery

Paul Bion­di is gain­ing a fa­mil­iar re­search chief at his cor­ner of Flag­ship Pi­o­neer­ing.

The am­bi­tious VC — fa­mous for bold plat­form plays such as Mod­er­na — said Luisa Salter-Cid is join­ing Pi­o­neer­ing Med­i­cines as CSO, with the man­date of lever­ag­ing the plat­forms of var­i­ous Flag­ship port­fo­lio com­pa­nies to con­ceive new treat­ments.

The two had crossed paths at Bris­tol My­ers Squibb, where Bion­di brought in a se­ries of new drugs through­out his pro­lif­ic busi­ness de­vel­op­ment stretch while Salter-Cid worked her way up the lad­der to be­come head of im­munol­o­gy, small mol­e­cule im­muno-on­col­o­gy and ge­nomics dis­cov­ery.

In ad­di­tion to help­ing ush­er more than 20 com­pounds in­to the clin­ic, Pi­o­neer­ing Med­i­cines’ state­ment notes, she was al­so in­volved in strat­e­gy and had been the sci­en­tif­ic lead on sev­er­al of Bris­tol My­ers’ ac­qui­si­tions and li­cens­ing deals, like­ly putting her in close con­tact with Bion­di’s team.

Paul Bion­di

Salter-Cid then joined Sheila Gu­jrathi — who had held the same lead­ing role in im­munol­o­gy a few years pri­or — and Fa­heem Has­nain at Gos­samer Bio to build a fresh suite of im­munol­o­gy and I/O pro­grams. De­spite the fan­fare, though, the biotech was hit with ear­ly set­backs in clin­i­cal tri­als, leav­ing the de­vel­op­ment team to ex­plore al­ter­na­tive paths.

All that is be­hind her now. At Pi­o­neer­ing Med­i­cines, she is tasked with con­duct­ing the ear­ly ex­plorato­ry re­search, de­vel­op­ing a tar­get pro­file and shap­ing the as­sets that will ul­ti­mate­ly feed in­to a port­fo­lio that could span mul­ti­ple ther­a­peu­tic ar­eas and modal­i­ties.

The new unit got go­ing in 2020 to ex­plore the full po­ten­tial of all the new tech­nolo­gies be­ing born out of Flag­ship.

“The idea is a recog­ni­tion that we could cre­ate the abil­i­ty to de­vel­op as­sets off the plat­form com­pa­nies that the plat­form com­pa­nies oth­er­wise wouldn’t do,” he pre­vi­ous­ly told End­points News.

That’s some­thing fledg­ling biotechs usu­al­ly re­ly on Big Phar­ma part­ners to do in ex­change for cash. But Flag­ship — with its lav­ish in­vest­ing style, big-pic­ture think­ing and ex­perts on board — is all about rewrit­ing the rules.

Health­care Dis­par­i­ties and Sick­le Cell Dis­ease

In the complicated U.S. healthcare system, navigating a serious illness such as cancer or heart disease can be remarkably challenging for patients and caregivers. When that illness is classified as a rare disease, those challenges can become even more acute. And when that rare disease occurs in a population that experiences health disparities, such as people with sickle cell disease (SCD) who are primarily Black and Latino, challenges can become almost insurmountable.

David Meek, new Mirati CEO (Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fresh off Fer­Gene's melt­down, David Meek takes over at Mi­rati with lead KRAS drug rac­ing to an ap­proval

In the insular world of biotech, a spectacular failure can sometimes stay on any executive’s record for a long time. But for David Meek, the man at the helm of FerGene’s recent implosion, two questionable exits made way for what could be an excellent rebound.

Meek, most recently FerGene’s CEO and a past head at Ipsen, has become CEO at Mirati Therapeutics, taking the reins from founding CEO Charles Baum, who will step over into the role of president and head of R&D, according to a release.

Jacob Van Naarden (Eli Lilly)

Ex­clu­sives: Eli Lil­ly out to crash the megablock­buster PD-(L)1 par­ty with 'dis­rup­tive' pric­ing; re­veals can­cer biotech buy­out

It’s taken 7 years, but Eli Lilly is promising to finally start hammering the small and affluent PD-(L)1 club with a “disruptive” pricing strategy for their checkpoint therapy allied with China’s Innovent.

Lilly in-licensed global rights to sintilimab a year ago, building on the China alliance they have with Innovent. That cost the pharma giant $200 million in cash upfront, which they plan to capitalize on now with a long-awaited plan to bust up the high-price market in lung cancer and other cancers that have created a market worth tens of billions of dollars.

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FDA hands ac­cel­er­at­ed nod to Seagen, Gen­mab's so­lo ADC in cer­vi­cal can­cer, but com­bo stud­ies look even more promis­ing

Biopharma’s resident antibody-drug conjugate expert Seagen has scored a clutch of oncology approvals in recent years, finding gold in what are known as “third-gen” ADCs. Now, another of their partnered conjugates is ready for prime time.

The FDA on Monday handed an accelerated approval to Seagen and Genmab’s Tivdak (tisotumab vedotin-tftv, or “TV”) in second-line patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer who previously progressed after chemotherapy rather than PD-(L)1 systemic therapy, the companies said in a release.

Dave Lennon, former president of Novartis Gene Therapies

Zol­gens­ma patent spat brews be­tween No­var­tis and Re­genxbio as top No­var­tis gene ther­a­py ex­ec de­parts

Regenxbio, a small licensor of gene therapy viral vectors spun out from the University of Pennsylvania, is now finding itself in the middle of some major league patent fights.

In addition to a patent suit with Sarepta Therapeutics from last September, Novartis, is now trying to push its smaller partner out of the way. The Swiss biopharma licensed Regenxbio’s AAV9 vector for its $2.1 million spinal muscular atrophy therapy Zolgensma.

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Volker Wagner (L) and Jeff Legos

As Bay­er, No­var­tis stack up their ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal da­ta at #ES­MO21, a key de­bate takes shape

Ten years ago, a small Norwegian biotech by the name of Algeta showed up at ESMO — then the European Multidisciplinary Cancer Conference 2011 — and declared that its Bayer-partnered targeted radionuclide therapy, radium-223 chloride, boosted the overall survival of castration-resistant prostate cancer patients with symptomatic bone metastases.

In a Phase III study dubbed ALSYMPCA, patients who were treated with radium-223 chloride lived a median of 14 months compared to 11.2 months. The FDA would stamp an approval on it based on those data two years later, after Bayer snapped up Algeta and christened the drug Xofigo.

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Rafaèle Tordjman (Jeito Capital)

Con­ti­nu­ity and di­ver­si­ty: Rafaèle Tord­j­man's women-led VC firm tops out first fund at $630M

For a first-time fund, Jeito Capital talks a lot about continuity.

Rafaèle Tordjman had spotlighted that concept ever since she started building the firm in 2018, promising to go the extra mile(s) with biotech entrepreneurs while pushing them to reach patients faster.

Coincidentally, the lack of continuity was one of the sore spots listed in a report about the European healthcare sector published that same year by the European Investment Bank — whose fund is one of the LPs, alongside the American pension fund Teacher Retirement System of Texas and Singapore’s Temasek, to help Jeito close its first fund at $630 million (€534 million). As previously reported, Sanofi had chimed in €50 million, marking its first investment in a French life sciences fund.

Mi­rati tri­umphs again in KRAS-mu­tat­ed lung can­cer with a close­ly watched FDA fil­ing now in the cards

After a busy weekend at #ESMO21, which included a big readout for its KRAS drug adagrasib in colon cancer, Mirati Therapeutics is ready to keep the pressure on competitor Amgen with lung cancer data that will undergird an upcoming filing.

In topline results from a Phase II cohort of its KRYSTAL-1 study, adagrasib posted a response rate of 43% in second-line-or-later patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer containing a KRAS-G12C mutation, Mirati said Monday.

As­traZeneca, Dai­ichi Sanky­o's ADC En­her­tu blows away Roche's Kad­cy­la in sec­ond-line ad­vanced breast can­cer

AstraZeneca and Japanese drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo think they’ve struck gold with their next-gen ADC drug Enhertu, which has shown some striking data in late-stage breast cancer trials and early solid tumor tests. Getting into earlier patients is now the goal, starting with Enhertu’s complete walkover of a Roche drug in second-line breast cancer revealed Saturday.

Enhertu cut the risk of disease progression or death by a whopping 72% (p=<0.0001) compared with Roche’s ADC Kadcyla in second-line unresectable and/or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer patients who had previously undergone treatment with a Herceptin-chemo combo, according to interim data from the Phase III DESTINY-Breast03 head-to-head study presented at this weekend’s #ESMO21.

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