Meet Bertrand Bod­son, No­var­tis’ new glob­al dig­i­tal strat­e­gy mae­stro for all things Big Phar­ma

Bertrand Bod­son

Can a man who co-found­ed a com­pa­ny that tried to turn brag­ging rights in­to a vi­able on­line so­cial net­work or­ches­trate an end-to-end dig­i­tal strat­e­gy for the glob­al phar­ma gi­ant No­var­tis?

Bertrand Bod­son in­tends to find out.

No­var­tis just ap­point­ed Bod­son to be its new chief dig­i­tal of­fi­cer, with a guid­ing hand in the way that No­var­tis us­es dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy in every­thing from drug dis­cov­ery and de­vel­op­ment to the way it in­ter­acts with doc­tors and pa­tients around the world. The job al­so en­tails au­tomat­ing busi­ness process­es — per­haps with a par­tic­u­lar eye to win­kling out costs, as No­var­tis is well known for.

Armed with a Har­vard Busi­ness School de­gree, Bod­son has an im­pres­sive dig­i­tal re­sume.

He is com­ing over from Sains­bury’s Ar­gos in the UK, which cred­it­ed him with their shift to on­line re­tail, the kind of ex­pe­ri­ence that will fit in well for the big drug sales op­er­a­tion. He al­so co-found­ed the so­cial net­work site brag­ster.com in Lon­don, which let peo­ple post videos of the things they want­ed to brag about or in re­sponse to a dare, win­ning brag­ging rights along the way. Guin­ness World Records bought out the com­pa­ny in 2010 and then fold­ed it af­ter an­ger­ing their most de­vot­ed fol­low­ers.

No­var­tis has been un­der­go­ing one of its reg­u­lar re­vamps, con­sol­i­dat­ing R&D and root­ing out old jobs in fa­vor of new tech­nolo­gies over the past year. The com­pa­ny has long had one of the most fee­ble me­dia groups in Big Phar­ma, though the Basel-based op­er­a­tion has scored a se­ries of suc­cess­es in the clin­ic and on the mar­ket.

Here’s Bod­son’s pre­pared state­ment:

I am very ex­cit­ed to be join­ing No­var­tis to play a part in its ef­forts to reimag­ine med­i­cine by lever­ag­ing dig­i­tal on be­half of mil­lions of pa­tients and prac­ti­tion­ers. While this will be one of the most im­por­tant and dis­rup­tive chal­lenges in the years to come No­var­tis, as a glob­al leader, is par­tic­u­lar­ly well po­si­tioned to dri­ve this, and have even greater and sus­tain­able im­pact on health­care world­wide.

Sanofi brings in 4 new ex­ec­u­tives in con­tin­ued shake-up, as vac­cines and con­sumer health chief head out the door

In the middle of Sanofi’s multi-pronged race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, David Loew, the head of their sprawling vaccines unit, is leaving – part of the final flurry of moves in the French giant’ months-long corporate shuffle that will give them new-look leadership under new CEO Paul Hudson.

The company also said today that Alan Main, the head of their consumer healthcare unit, is out, and they named 4 executives to fill new or newly vacated positions, 3 of whom come from both outside both Sanofi and from Pharma.

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Pablo Legorreta, founder and CEO of Royalty Pharma AG, speaks at the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Cap­i­tal­iz­ing Pablo: The world’s biggest drug roy­al­ty buy­er is go­ing pub­lic. And the low-key CEO di­vulges a few se­crets along the way

Pablo Legorreta is one of the most influential players in biopharma you likely never heard of.

Over the last 24 years, Legorreta’s Royalty Pharma group has become, by its own reckoning, the biggest buyer of drug royalties in the world. The CEO and founder has bought up a stake in a lengthy list of the world’s biggest drug franchises, spending $18 billion in the process — $2.2 billion last year alone. And he’s become one of the best-paid execs in the industry, reaping $28 million from the cash flow last year while reserving 20% of the cash flow, less expenses, for himself.

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As­traZeneca trum­pets the 'mo­men­tous' da­ta they found for Tagris­so in an ad­ju­vant set­ting for NSCLC — but many of the ex­perts aren’t cheer­ing along

AstraZeneca is rolling out the big guns this evening to provide a salute to their ADAURA data on Tagrisso at ASCO.

Cancer R&D chief José Baselga calls the disease-free survival data for their drug in an adjuvant setting of early stage, epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated NSCLC patients following surgery “momentous.” Roy Herbst, the principal investigator out of Yale, calls it “transformative.”

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Ab­b­Vie wins an ap­proval in uter­ine fi­broid-as­so­ci­at­ed heavy bleed­ing. Are ri­vals My­ovant and Ob­sE­va far be­hind?

Women expel on average about 2 to 3 tablespoons of blood during their time of the month. But with uterine fibroids, heavy bleeding is typical — a third of a cup or more. Drugmakers have been working on oral therapies to try and stem the flow, and as expected, AbbVie and their partners at Neurocrine Biosciences are the first to make it across the finish line.

Known chemically as elagolix, the drug is already approved as a treatment for endometriosis under the brand name Orilissa. It targets the GnRH receptor to decrease the production of estrogen and progesterone.

David Chang, Allogene CEO (Jeff Rumans)

Head­ed to PhII: Al­lo­gene CEO David Chang com­pletes a pos­i­tive ear­ly snap­shot of their off-the-shelf CAR-T pi­o­neer

Allogene CEO David Chang has completed the upbeat first portrait of the biotech’s off-the-shelf CAR-T contender ALLO-501 at virtual ASCO today, keeping all eyes on a drug that will now try to go on to replace the first-wave personalized pioneers he helped create.

The overall response rate outlined in Allogene’s abstract for treatment-resistant patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma slipped a little from the leadup, but if you narrow the patient profile to treatment-naïve patients — removing the 3 who had previous CAR-T therapy who didn’t respond, leaving 16 — the ORR lands at 75% with a 44% complete response rate. And 9 of the 12 responders remained in response at the data cutoff, offering a glimpse on durability that still has a long way to go before it can be completely nailed down.

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Look­ing to move past an R&D fi­as­co, Ipsen poach­es their new CEO from Sanofi

Ipsen has turned to another Paris-based biopharma company for its next CEO.

Sanofi Pasteur chief David Loew — who’s been leading one of the most advanced efforts to develop vaccines for Covid-19 — is making the journey to Ipsen, 5 months after David Meek jumped ship to run a startup in late-stage development.

Loew arrives as Ipsen works to get back on track with their rare bone disease drug palovarotene, picked up in the $1.3 billion Clementia buyout, which was slammed with a partial hold after researchers observed cases of “early growth plate closure” in patients under the age of 14. But they are pushing ahead with the over-14 crowd after writing down slightly more than half of its initial development.

Dan O'Day, Gilead CEO (Andrew Harnik, AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Gilead leas­es part­ner rights to TIG­IT, PD-1 in a $2B deal with Ar­cus. Now comes the hard part

Gilead CEO Dan O’Day has brokered his way to a PD-1 and lined up a front row seat in the TIGIT arena, inking a deal worth close to $2 billion to align the big biotech closely with Terry Rosen’s Arcus. And $375 million of that comes upfront, with cash for the buy-in plus equity, along with $400 million for R&D and $1.22 billion in reserve to cover opt-in payments and milestones..

Hotly rumored for weeks, the 2 players have formalized a 10-year alliance that starts with rights to the PD-1, zimberelimab. O’Day also has first dibs on TIGIT and 2 other leading programs, agreeing to an opt-in fee ranging from $200 million to $275 million on each. There’s $500 million in potential TIGIT milestones on US regulatory events — likely capped by an approval — if Gilead partners on it and the stars align on the data. And there’s another $150 million opt-in payments for the rest of the Arcus pipeline.

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Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Getty Images)

Sanofi CEO Paul Hud­son has $23B burn­ing a hole in his pock­et. And here are some hints on how he plans to spend that

Sanofi has reaped $11.1 billion after selling off a big chunk of its Regeneron stock at $515 a share. And now everyone on the M&A side of the business is focused on how CEO Paul Hudson plans to spend it.

After getting stung in France for some awkward politicking — suggesting the US was in the front of the line for Sanofi’s vaccines given American financial support for their work, versus little help from European powers — Hudson now has the much more popular task of managing a major cash cache to pull off something in the order of a big bolt-on. Or two.

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Roger Perlmutter, Merck R&D chief (YouTube)

UP­DAT­ED: Backed by BAR­DA, Mer­ck jumps in­to Covid-19: buy­ing out a vac­cine, part­ner­ing on an­oth­er and adding an­tivi­ral to the mix

Merck execs are making a triple play in a sudden leap into the R&D campaign against Covid-19. And they have more BARDA cash backing them up on the move.

Tuesday morning the pharma giant simultaneously announced plans to buy an Austrian biotech that has been working on a preclinical vaccine candidate, added a collaboration on another vaccine with the nonprofit IAVI and inked a deal with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics on an early-stage antiviral.

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