Moncef Slaoui on Jan. 12, 2021 (Patrick Semansky, Pool AP)

Mon­cef Slaoui re­signs from post-Glax­o­SmithK­line home Medicxi af­ter ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions

Mon­cef Slaoui has stepped down from the Eu­ro­pean VC firm Medicxi, ef­fec­tive­ly com­plet­ing his ex­o­dus from ex­ec­u­tive and board po­si­tions af­ter Glax­o­SmithK­line sub­stan­ti­at­ed sex­u­al ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions against him ear­li­er this week.

Medicxi had been Slaoui’s main pro­fes­sion­al home in the three years be­fore he took the sci­en­tif­ic lead in the Trump Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Op­er­a­tion Warp Speed, help­ing com­pa­nies ac­cel­er­ate and scale the first wave of Covid-19 vac­cines. He took a po­si­tion there as a part­ner three months af­ter re­tir­ing as GSK’s R&D chief in 2017, most re­cent­ly help­ing them launch Centes­sa, a well-heeled biotech based off a sim­i­lar mod­el he set up with­in GSK. Slaoui stepped down from Centes­sa on Thurs­day.

Medicxi an­nounced Slaoui’s de­par­ture in a three-sen­tence state­ment Fri­day. “We would like to re-state that Medicxi’s val­ues are based on re­spect, trust and team­work, and we are com­mit­ted to work­ing in an en­vi­ron­ment which re­flects such val­ues and cul­ture,” they wrote.

Slaoui had al­ready sig­naled he would leave Medicxi, writ­ing in a pub­lic apol­o­gy Wednes­day that he was “tak­ing a leave of ab­sence from my cur­rent pro­fes­sion­al re­spon­si­bil­i­ties ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ate­ly, to fo­cus on my fam­i­ly.”

GSK an­nounced Wednes­day morn­ing that they fired Slaoui from his po­si­tion as chair­man of the board of Gal­vani Bio­elec­tron­ics, a com­pa­ny ma­jor­i­ty owned by GSK. The British drug­mak­er  re­ceived a com­plaint in Feb­ru­ary, CEO Em­ma Walm­s­ley wrote in a memo to em­ploy­ees, and hired an out­side firm to launch an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which ul­ti­mate­ly sub­stan­ti­at­ed the al­le­ga­tions.

Slaoui, hav­ing led Warp Speed since last May, an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion in Jan­u­ary, eight days be­fore Pres­i­dent Biden’s in­au­gu­ra­tion.

At the In­flec­tion Point for the Next Gen­er­a­tion of Can­cer Im­munother­a­py

While oncology researchers have long pursued the potential of cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, it was unclear whether these therapies would ever reach patients due to the complexity of manufacturing and costs of development. Fortunately, the recent successful development and regulatory approval of chimeric antigen receptor-engineered T (CAR-T) cells have demonstrated the significant benefit of these therapies to patients.

Stéphane Bancel, Moderna CEO

'This is not go­ing to be good': Mod­er­na CEO Ban­cel warns of a 'ma­te­r­i­al drop' in vac­cine ef­fi­ca­cy as Omi­cron spreads

Even as public health officials remain guarded about their comments on the likelihood Omicron will escape the reach of the currently approved Covid-19 vaccines, there’s growing scientific consensus that we’re facing a variant that threatens to overwhelm the vaccine barricades that have been erected.

Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, one of the leading mRNA players whose quick vault into the markets with a highly effective vaccine created an instant multibillion-dollar market, added his voice to the rising chorus early Tuesday. According to Bancel, there will be a significant drop in efficacy when the average immune system is confronted by Omicron. The only question now is: How much?

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 124,200+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Philip Dormitzer, new GSK global head of vaccines R&D

Glax­o­SmithK­line poach­es Pfiz­er's vi­ral vac­cines lead in rush to cap­i­tal­ize on fu­ture of mR­NA

GlaxoSmithKline has appointed Philip Dormitzer, formerly chief scientific officer of Pfizer’s viral vaccines unit, as its newest global head of vaccines R&D, looking to leverage one of the leading minds behind Pfizer and BioNTech’s RNA collaboration that led to Covid-19 jab Comirnaty, the British drug giant said Tuesday.

Dormitzer had been with Pfizer for a little more than six years, joining up after a seven-year stint with Novartis, where he reached the role of US head of research and head of global virology for the company’s vaccines and diagnostics unit.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 124,200+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

FDA ad­comm nar­row­ly votes in fa­vor of Mer­ck­'s an­tivi­ral for out­pa­tient Covid-19

With little explanation for why Merck’s potential Covid-19 antiviral was less effective in reducing Covid hospitalizations and deaths in a full analysis of a Phase III trial versus an interim look, the FDA’s antimicrobial drugs advisory committee on Tuesday voted 13-10 in favor of the pill’s benefits outweighing the risks for adults within 5 days of developing Covid symptoms.

Molnupiravir will likely be authorized by FDA in the coming days for adults with mild or moderate Covid-19. While Pfizer’s antiviral may prove to be more effective, Merck’s pill will be another weapon in the armamentarium of Covid-19 treatments for countries around the world, adding to the mAb treatments already in use in the outpatient space from Regeneron, Eli Lilly and Vir/GlaxoSmithKline.

In­tro­duc­ing End­points Stu­dio, a new way to ad­ver­tise with End­points-craft­ed brand­ing cam­paigns

Since our start in 2016, Endpoints has grown fast while executing our mission to cover biopharma’s most critical developments for industry pros worldwide. As readership has grown, our advertising business has too. Endpoints advertising partners support the mission and engage their desired audiences through announcements on our email and web platforms, brand recognition in our event coverage and sponsorships of Endpoints daily and weekly reports.

Ap­peals court puts the fi­nal nail in the cof­fin for Tec­fidera patent, adding to Bio­gen's bur­geon­ing set­backs

In another setback for Biogen, the big biotech lost its appeal to revive a patent for the once-blockbuster drug Tecfidera, marking a likely conclusion to the case.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued the ruling Tuesday morning, saying Biogen failed to satisfy the “written description” requirement for patent law. As a result, Mylan-turned-Viatris will be able to sell its multiple sclerosis generic without fear of infringement and Biogen will have to find a new revenue driver elsewhere.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 124,200+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

As lead drug runs in­to a wall, De­ci­phera slims down its pipeline, puts 140 jobs on the chop­ping block

Barely a month after disappointing data shattered hopes for a major label expansion for the GI tumor drug Qinlock, Deciphera is making a major pivot — scrapping development plans for that drug and discarding another while it hunkers down and focuses on two remaining drugs in the pipeline.

As a result, 140 of its staffers will be laid off.

The restructuring, which claims the equivalent of 35% of its total workforce, will take place across all departments including commercial, R&D as well as general and administrative support functions, Deciphera said, as it looks to streamline Qinlock-related commercial operations in the US while concentrating only on a “select number of key European markets.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 124,200+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Tillman Gerngross (Adagio)

Till­man Gern­gross on Omi­cron: 'It is a grim sit­u­a­tion...we’re go­ing to see a sig­nif­i­cant drop in vac­cine ef­fi­ca­cy'

Tillman Gerngross, the rarely shy Dartmouth professor, biotech entrepreneur and antibody expert, has been warning for over a year that the virus behind Covid-19 would likely continue to mutate, potentially in ways that avoid immunity from infection and the best defenses scientists developed. He spun out a company, Adagio, to build a universal antibody, one that could snuff out any potential mutation.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

In­cor­po­rat­ing Ex­ter­nal Da­ta in­to Clin­i­cal Tri­als: Com­par­ing Dig­i­tal Twins to Ex­ter­nal Con­trol Arms

Most drug development professionals are familiar with the nerve-racking wait for the read-out of a large trial. If it’s negative, is the investigational therapy ineffective? Or could the failure result from an unforeseen flaw in the design or execution of the protocol, rather than a lack of efficacy? The team could spend weeks analyzing data, but a definitive answer may be elusive due to insufficient power for such analyses in the already completed trial. These problems are only made worse if the trial had lower enrollment, or higher dropout than expected due to an unanticipated event like COVID-19. And if a trial is negative, the next one is likely to be larger and more costly — if it happens at all.