Seattle skyline (TomKli via Shutterstock)

Move over, Boston and San Fran­cis­co? Seat­tle tops list of fastest grow­ing biotech hubs for job op­por­tu­ni­ties — re­port

Boston and San Fran­cis­co have long been es­tab­lished as the two biggest biotechs hubs in the na­tion, homes for R&D that has spread its ten­ta­cles through all lev­els of the in­dus­try. But as the space has grown, those two hubs have im­posed tighter bar­ri­ers to en­try — which means cities like Seat­tle could have a chance to build a hub of in­no­va­tion of their own.

The Seat­tle-Taco­ma-Belle­vue tri­an­gle is the fastest grow­ing area for life sci­ences em­ploy­ment, close­ly fol­lowed by the At­lanta area and the Or­lan­do-Kissim­mee-San­ford tri­an­gle, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port from JLL. The team com­pared em­ploy­ment rates in the in­dus­try be­tween the past five years and the five years pre­ced­ing that.

On that rat­ing, life sci­ence po­si­tions in the Seat­tle area grew at a 3.1% clip, com­pared with 3% for the At­lanta area and 2.9% for the Cen­tral Flori­da tri­an­gle. In terms of wage po­si­tion­ing — a met­ric com­par­ing rel­a­tive wages be­tween biotech hubs — the Seat­tle area ranked fourth just be­hind Los An­ge­les, the Twin Cities and the North Car­oli­na tri­an­gle of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill.

The JLL re­port, ti­tled “Life Sci­ences Emerg­ing Mar­kets In­dex: Poised for a par­a­digm shift,” the team not on­ly looked at biotech hubs’ “mo­men­tum,” but al­so their wealth of avail­able tal­ent and “po­ten­tial” to at­tract a work­force.

“Though Boston, San Fran­cis­co, and San Diego will al­ways oc­cu­py a vault­ed place with­in the life sci­ences pan­theon, the in­cred­i­ble dy­namism of the in­dus­try is jump-start­ing new mar­kets that are of grow­ing in­ter­est to life sci­ences in­vestors and com­pa­nies alike thanks to their lifestyle, cost of liv­ing, and de­mo­graph­ic ad­van­tages,” JLL wrote.

In terms of to­tal STEM de­grees, the megac­i­ties ob­vi­ous­ly topped the list: New York City, Los An­ge­les, Chica­go and Wash­ing­ton, DC. Round­ing out the list there are the Hous­ton and Dal­las ar­eas, San Fran­cis­co, Boston, Toron­to and At­lanta.

The re­port al­so out­lined an in­dex for “po­ten­tial,” which it de­fined as a ma­trix of hous­ing avail­abil­i­ty, an ex­ist­ing mil­len­ni­al work­force, state cor­po­rate tax­es and high­er-ed­u­ca­tion R&D fund­ing. By that met­ric, the Char­lotte-Gas­to­nia-Con­cord tri­an­gle in North Car­oli­na nar­row­ly edged out the Seat­tle area. Just be­low those fron­trun­ners were the Den­ver-Au­ro­ra-Lake­wood area in Col­orado and the Austin, TX re­gion, in­clud­ing two cities along In­ter­state 35 — Round Rock and George­town. A cou­ple oth­er sur­pris­es on the top 10 po­ten­tial list were Boise, ID, and the greater Nashville area.

Part of what de­fined those ar­eas’ po­ten­tial were cor­po­rate tax rates, and on that front Wash­ing­ton and Texas came out on top. Both states boast a 0% cor­po­rate rate — on­ly North Car­oli­na comes close at 2.5%. Mean­while, Cal­i­for­nia, New York and Texas topped the list in terms of high­er-ed­u­ca­tion R&D spend­ing, a guide­post for IP pro­duc­tion and cor­po­rate fol­lowthrough, JLL said.

Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: Pfiz­er de­buts Pre­vnar 20 TV ads; Lil­ly gets first FDA 2022 pro­mo slap down let­ter

Pfizer debuted its first TV ad for its Prevnar 20 next-generation pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine. In the 60-second spot, several people (actor portrayals) with their ages listed as 65 or older are shown walking into a clinic as they turn to say they’re getting vaccinated with Prevnar 20 because they’re at risk.

The update to Pfizer’s blockbuster Prevnar 13 vaccine was approved in June, and as its name suggests is a vaccine for 20 serotypes — the original 13 plus seven more that cause pneumococcal disease. Pfizer used to spend heavily on TV ads to promote Prevnar 13 in 2018 and 2019 but cut back its TV budgets in the past two fall and winter seasonal spending cycles. Prevnar had been Pfizer’s top-selling drug, notching sales of just under $6 billion in 2020, and was the world’s top-selling vaccine before the Covid-19 vaccines came to market last year.

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Albert Bourla (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Pfiz­er fields a CRL for a $295M rare dis­ease play, giv­ing ri­val a big head start

Pfizer won’t be adding a new rare disease drug to the franchise club — for now, anyway.

The pharma giant put out word that their FDA application for the growth hormone therapy somatrogon got the regulatory heave-ho, though they didn’t even hint at a reason for the CRL. Following standard operating procedure, Pfizer said in a terse missive that they would be working with regulators on a followup.

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Graphic: Alexander Lefterov for Endpoints News

Small biotechs with big drug am­bi­tions threat­en to up­end the tra­di­tion­al drug launch play­book

Of the countless decisions Vlad Coric had to make as Biohaven’s CEO over the past seven years, there was one that felt particularly nerve-wracking: Instead of selling to a Big Pharma, the company decided it would commercialize its migraine drug itself.

“I remember some investors yelling and pounding on the table like, you can’t do this. What are you thinking? You’re going to get crushed by AbbVie,” he recalled.

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A new can­cer im­munother­a­py brings cau­tious hope for a field long await­ing the next big break­through

Bob Seibert sat silent across from his daughter at their favorite Spanish restaurant near his home in Charleston County, SC, their paella growing cold as he read through all the places in his body doctors found tumors.

He had texted his wife, a pediatric intensive care nurse, when he got the alert that his online chart was ready. Although he saw immediately it was bad, many of the terms — peritoneal, right iliac — were inscrutable. But she was five hours downstate, at a loud group dinner the night before another daughter’s cheer competition.

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Not cheap­er by the dozen: Bris­tol My­ers be­comes the 12th phar­ma com­pa­ny to re­strict 340B sales

Bristol Myers Squibb recently joined 11 of its peer pharma companies in limiting how many contract pharmacies can access certain drugs discounted by a federal program known as 340B.

Bristol Myers is just the latest in a series of high-profile pharma companies moving in their own direction as the Biden administration’s Health Resources and Services Administration struggles to rein in the drug discount program for the neediest Americans.

Joaquin Duato, J&J CEO (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

New J&J CEO Joaquin Du­a­to promis­es an ag­gres­sive M&A hunt in quest to grow phar­ma sales

Joaquin Duato stepped away from the sideline and directly into the spotlight on Tuesday, delivering his first quarterly review for J&J as its newly-tapped CEO after an 11-year run in senior posts. And he had some mixed financial news to deliver today while laying claim to a string of blockbuster drugs in the making and outlining an appetite for small and medium-sized M&A deals.

Duato also didn’t exactly shun large buyouts when asked about the future of the company’s medtech business — where they look to be in either the top or number 2 position in every segment they’re in — even though the bar for getting those deals done is so much higher.

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Amgen's Twitter campaign #DearAsthma inspired thousands of people to express struggles and frustrations with the disease

Am­gen’s #Dear­Asth­ma spon­sored tweet lands big on game day, spark­ing thou­sands to re­spond

Amgen wanted to know how people with asthma really felt about daily life with the disease. So it bought a promoted tweet on Twitter noting the not-so-simple realities of life with asthma and ended the post with a #DearAsthma hashtag, a megaphone emoji and a re-tweet button.

That was just over one week ago and the responses haven’t stopped. More than 7,000 posts so far on Twitter replied to #DearAsthma to detail struggles of daily life, expressing humor, frustration and sometimes anger. More than a few f-bombs have been typed or gif-ed in reply to communicate just how much many people “hate” the disease.

Pfiz­er, Bris­tol My­ers dom­i­nate top 10 pre­dic­tions for the best-sell­ing drugs of 2022

The annual exercise where analysts try and predict which drugs will become blockbusters and make the most money tends to highlight the biggest trends in biopharma R&D. 2022 is no exception.

The team at Evaluate Vantage published its predictions for the top 10 selling drugs for the year — expecting tens of billions of dollars in sales and highlighting an industry-wide focus on certain diseases and indications.

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Nabiha Saklayen, Cellino co-founder and CEO (via Cellino)

Backed by Bay­er's Leaps, Boston-based Celli­no lands $80M for cell ther­a­py-in-box

The summer before Cellino CEO and co-founder Nabiha Saklayen started at Harvard, she lost her grandmother following complications to diabetes. Before then, she hadn’t taken a biology class since ninth or tenth grade — the mark of a classic physicist — but it was then she decided she wanted the rest to sit at the intersection of the two for the rest of her career

Combine that with being across the way from the University’s stem cell institute in Cambridge, and you get the birth of Cellino, an autonomous cell therapy manufacturing company that just announced the closing of its Series A.