MD An­der­son to biotech bil­lion­aire Soon-Sh­iong: Get your own slo­gan. ‘Moon Shots’ be­longs to us

Dr. Patrick Soon Sh­iong, cred­it NHS Con­fed­er­a­tion

MD An­der­son has been pro­mot­ing its can­cer moon shots pro­grams for four years. The ban­ner for its can­cer re­search ini­tia­tive has helped raise some $380 mil­lion in char­i­ta­ble con­tri­bu­tions over the years. And the vast Hous­ton can­cer cen­ter is not about to let some John­ny-come-late­ly biotech up­start like bil­lion­aire Patrick Soon-Sh­iong come along and take it for him­self.

Now they want a re­strain­ing or­der and dam­ages. And they have one of the top le­gal gun­slingers in the Lone Star state plead­ing their cause.

From the suit:

“Through such years of sub­stan­tial and con­tin­u­ous use, Plain­tiff (that’s MD An­der­son) has ac­quired se­nior valid, sub­sist­ing, and con­tin­u­ous trade­mark rights and as­so­ci­at­ed good­will in and to the Se­nior Marks. Ac­cord­ing­ly, Plain­tiff is the ex­clu­sive own­er of all rights, ti­tles, and in­ter­ests through­out the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca in and to the Se­nior Marks, to­geth­er with all good­will of the busi­ness(es) con­nect­ed with the use of and sym­bol­ized by the Se­nior Marks, which are of sig­nif­i­cant val­ue.”

That’s the gist of a law­suit that MD An­der­son filed in late Oc­to­ber against Soon-Sh­iong and his net­work of Nant-named ven­tures: NantHealth, Nant­Works and Nant Hold­ings.

First re­port­ed by The Can­cer Let­ter, the law­suit spells out the many ways that MD An­der­son used Moon Shots, claim­ing se­nior rights that date back to long be­fore the Nants came along to start us­ing it in late 2015 or ear­ly 2016 as Moon­Shots.

The law­suit was filed by Charles Bab­cock, one of the best known First Amend­ment at­tor­neys in Texas. (Full dis­clo­sure, Chip Bab­cock was my at­tor­ney dur­ing part of my time as pub­lish­er of the Dal­las Busi­ness Jour­nal in the ear­ly ’90s.) Bab­cock rep­re­sent­ed Oprah Win­frey in her free speech de­fense in 1998 for a mad cow dis­ease sto­ry and has the rare dis­tinc­tion of be­ing one of the few, and per­haps the on­ly, tri­al lawyer to ap­pear on her show to dis­cuss the con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­tec­tions for speech.

There is an­oth­er Can­cer Moon­shot at­tract­ing at­ten­tion in the US. Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden has fired up his own cam­paign for a fed­er­al project, which en­list­ed none oth­er than Patrick Soon-Sh­iong for the blue rib­bon pan­el formed for its own pro­mo­tion to tack­le on­col­o­gy. That tie-up ap­par­ent­ly cre­at­ed some­thing of an em­bar­rass­ing over­lap of moon shots. But MD An­der­son doesn’t tar­get Biden or his ri­val fed­er­al moon shot in its law­suit against the biotech bil­lion­aire.

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.

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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The End­points 11: They've got mad mon­ey and huge am­bi­tions. It's time to go big or go home

These days, selecting a group of private biotechs for the Endpoints 11 spotlight begins with a sprint to get ahead of IPOs and the M&A teams at Big Pharma. I’ve had a couple of face plants earlier this year, watching some of the biotechs on my short list choose a quick leap onto Nasdaq or into the arms of a buyer.

Vividion, you would have been a great pick for the Endpoints 11. I’m sorry I missed you.

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Dave Lennon, former president of Novartis Gene Therapies

So what hap­pened with No­var­tis Gene Ther­a­pies? Here's your an­swer

Over the last couple of days it’s become clear that the gene therapy division at Novartis has quietly undergone a major reorganization. We learned on Monday that Dave Lennon, who had pursued a high-profile role as president of the unit with 1,500 people, had left the pharma giant to take over as CEO of a startup.

Like a lot of the majors, Novartis is an open highway for head hunters, or anyone looking to staff a startup. So that was news but not completely unexpected.

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FDA+ roundup: Bs­U­FA III ready for show­time, court tells FDA to re-work com­pound­ing plan, new guid­ance up­dates and more

The FDA has now spelled out what exactly will be included in the third iteration of Biosimilar User Fee Act (BsUFA) from 2023 through 2027, which similarly to the prescription drug deal, sets fees that industry has to pay for submitting applications, in exchange for firm timelines that the agency must meet.

This latest deal includes several sweeteners for the biosimilar industry, which has yet to make great strides in the US market, with shorter review timelines for safety labeling updates and updates to add or remove an indication that does not contain efficacy data.

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Who are the women su­per­charg­ing bio­phar­ma R&D? Nom­i­nate them for this year's spe­cial re­port

The biotech industry has faced repeated calls to diversify its workforce — and in the last year, those calls got a lot louder. Though women account for just under half of all biotech employees around the world, they occupy very few places in C-suites, and even fewer make it to the helm.

Some companies are listening, according to a recent BIO survey which showed that this year’s companies were 2.5 times more likely to have a diversity and inclusion program compared to last year’s sample. But we still have a long way to go. Women represent just 31% of biotech executives, BIO reported. And those numbers are even more stark for women of color.

Maureen Hillenmeyer, Hexagon Bio CEO

Hexa­gon Bio rais­es $61M to con­tin­ue ef­forts to turn fun­gi in­to drugs

A year after raising a $47 million launch round, the fungi-loving drug hunters at Hexagon Bio have more than doubled their coffers.

Hexagon announced today that it raised another $61 million for its efforts to design cancer and infectious disease drugs based on insights mined from the DNA in millions of species of fungi. The new financing brings Hexagon’s committed funding to over $108 million.

Blue­bird sends blood dis­or­der drug to FDA for ap­proval; CG On­col­o­gy en­ters col­lab­o­ra­tion with Roche for Tecen­triq

Bluebird bio announced it completed the rolling submission of its BLA to the FDA for betibeglogene autotemcel gene therapy.

The therapy, designed for patients with beta-thalassemia who require regular red blood cell transfusions, was previously granted breakthrough therapy designation for treating transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia (TDT). If approved, beti-cel will be the first hematopoietic stem cell ex-vivo gene therapy for patients in the US.

Joshua Liang, Clover Biopharmaceuticals CEO

With world still in sore need of dos­es, Clover says its Covid-19 vac­cine is 67% ef­fec­tive in Phase III

With concerns about the Delta variant rising and much of the world still in desperate need of vaccine doses, a Chinese biotech announced Wednesday that a new shot has shown positive results in a large trial against Covid-19, including new variants.

Clover Biopharmaceuticals announced Wednesday that its vaccine candidate showed 79% efficacy against the Delta variant in a Phase II/III trial dubbed Spectra, and 67% effective against Covid-19 overall.