Once charged with speed­ing up Eli Lil­ly’s slow-mo R&D group, Anne White is hand­ed the reins at Lil­ly On­col­o­gy

Eli Lil­ly has tapped one of its se­nior R&D ex­ecs to take the top job in charge of Lil­ly On­col­o­gy.

The phar­ma gi­ant an­nounced that Anne White — who’s been play­ing a high-lev­el role in an at­tempt to cut drug de­vel­op­ment times — is tak­ing the reins from Sue Ma­ho­ny, who’s com­plet­ing her planned re­tire­ment from the com­pa­ny to­day. 

Sue Ma­ho­ny

White has been in charge of “next-gen” re­search at Lil­ly, a post that has giv­en her a spot­light role as Eli Lil­ly lays claim to greater R&D ef­fi­cien­cy. Af­ter a no­to­ri­ous­ly long drought in the clin­ic, the com­pa­ny has im­proved con­sid­er­ably on that score in the last few years. But it’s rep for a go-slow ap­proach to drug de­vel­op­ment is deeply en­trenched. Even Lil­ly’s new R&D chief — Dan Skovron­sky — has point­ed to his frus­tra­tion with the com­pa­ny’s fre­quent last-place fin­ish­es in com­pet­i­tive R&D are­nas and the need for much greater speed.

White’s ca­reer has spanned 27 years at Eli Lil­ly, join­ing as an en­gi­neer be­fore shift­ing to drug de­vel­op­ment work. But there was al­so a 5-year gap from 2005 to 2010, when she worked at a com­pa­ny called Tigris Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals as COO, ac­cord­ing to her LinkedIn pro­file.

David Ricks

This new post puts her in charge of Lil­ly’s num­ber two fran­chise are­na, be­hind the all-im­por­tant di­a­betes group. Lil­ly has made Al­im­ta in­to a block­buster, as it fends off gener­ic com­pe­ti­tion for a few more years, with Cyra­mza and Er­bitux of­fer­ing sup­port, along with oth­er drugs.

“She has led and de­liv­ered against our Next Gen­er­a­tion De­vel­op­ment ob­jec­tives, ac­cel­er­at­ing med­i­cines to pa­tients and play­ing a key role in our re­cent R&D pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, de­clared CEO Dave Ricks in a state­ment. “Her ex­pe­ri­ence lead­ing sig­nif­i­cant change trans­for­ma­tion with­in the com­pa­ny will be in­cred­i­bly valu­able as we look to­ward the fu­ture.”

Im­age: Anne White. ELI LIL­LY

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Gold for adults, sil­ver for in­fants: Pfiz­er's Pre­vnar 2.0 head­ed to FDA months af­ter Mer­ck­'s green light

Pfizer was first to the finish line for the next-gen pneumococcal vaccine in adults, but Merck beat its rival with a jab for children in June.

Now, two months after Merck’s 15-valent Vaxneuvance won the FDA stamp of approval for kids, Pfizer is out with some late-stage data on its 20-valent shot for infants.

Known as Prevnar 20 for adults, Pfizer’s 20vPnC will head to the FDA by the end of this year for an approval request in infants, the Big Pharma said Friday morning. Discussions with the FDA will occur first and more late-stage pediatric trials are expected to read out soon, informing the regulatory pathway in other countries and regions.

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FDA ap­proves sec­ond in­di­ca­tion for As­traZeneca and Dai­ichi's En­her­tu in less than a week

AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo’s antibody-drug conjugate Enhertu scored its second approval in less than a week, this time for a subset of lung cancer patients.

Enhertu received accelerated approval on Thursday to treat adults with unresectable or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have activating HER2 (ERBB2) mutations, and who have already received a prior systemic therapy.

J&J to re­move talc prod­ucts from shelves world­wide, re­plac­ing with corn­starch-based port­fo­lio

After controversially spinning out its talc liabilities and filing for bankruptcy in an attempt to settle 38,000 lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson is now changing up the formula for its baby powder products.

J&J is beginning the transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio, the pharma giant announced on Thursday — just months after a federal judge ruled in favor of its “Texas two-step” bankruptcy to settle allegations that its talc products contained asbestos and caused cancer. An appeals court has since agreed to revisit that case.

CSL is gathering its four business units under a unified brand identity strategy (Credit: CSL company site)

CSL brings Se­qirus, Vi­for un­der par­ent um­brel­la brand in iden­ti­ty re­vamp

CSL is gathering its brands under the family name umbrella, renaming its vaccine and newly acquired nephrology specialty businesses with the parent initials.

CSL Seqirus and CSL Vifor join CSL Plasma and CSL Behring as the four now uniformly branded business units of the global biopharma. The Seqirus vaccine division was formed in 2015 with the combination of bioCSL and its purchase of Novartis’ flu vaccine business. CSL picked up Vifor Pharma late last year in an $11.7 billion deal for the nephrology, iron deficiency and cardio-renal drug developer.

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Ab­bott pumps $450M+ in­to new Ire­land-based man­u­fac­tur­ing site project and hir­ing spree

As Ireland continues to see more investments and building projects from pharma companies, another contender is looking to place more investment in the Emerald Isle.

According to a report from The Irish Times on Friday, Abbott Laboratories is investing €440 million, or about $451 million, to build a new manufacturing plant in Kilkenny, located in the country’s southeast, to make more of its glucose monitors.

Tony Coles, Cerevel CEO

Cerev­el takes the pub­lic of­fer­ing route, with a twist — rais­ing big mon­ey thanks to ri­val da­ta

As public biotechs seek to climb out of the bear market, a popular strategy to raise cash has been through public offerings on the heels of positive data. But one proposed raise Wednesday appeared to take advantage not of a company’s own data, but those from a competitor.

Cerevel Therapeutics plans to raise $250 million in a public offering and another $250 million in debt, the biotech announced Wednesday afternoon, even though it did not report any news on its pipeline. However, the move comes days after rival Karuna Therapeutics touted positive Phase III data in schizophrenia, a field where Cerevel is pursuing a similar program.

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Benjamin Oakes, Scribe Therapeutics CEO

CEO of Doud­na spin­out: With­in five years, genome ed­i­tors will have a 're­al­ly big im­pact' on pa­tients' lives

“CRISPR-by-design” is the idea behind Scribe Therapeutics, a company spun out from Jennifer Doudna’s Nobel-winning lab that’s competing in a closely-tracked field of genome editor companies just starting to make their way to the clinic.

After nabbing $100 million last March for its Series B funding round, Scribe is taking a different tack from some of its competitors, crafting a new enzyme isolated from bacteria called CasX, which has now been tweaked extensively and may be targeted to a range of genome-related diseases, offering a plethora of therapeutic options.

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No­var­tis re­ports two pa­tient deaths af­ter treat­ment with Zol­gens­ma

Two children with spinal muscular atrophy have died after receiving Novartis’ Zolgensma, a gene therapy designed as a one-time treatment for the rare fatal disease.

The deaths, which resulted from acute liver failure, occurred in Russia and Kazakhstan, Novartis confirmed in a statement to Endpoints News. Having notified health authorities across all the markets where Zolgensma is available, it will update the drug label “to specify that fatal acute liver failure has been reported,” a spokesperson wrote.

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