On­coRe­sponse wraps Se­ries A with $22.5M; Plot­ting IPO, BerGen­Bio part­ners with Mer­ck on can­cer com­bos

→ The im­muno-on­col­o­gy an­ti­body dis­cov­ery com­pa­ny On­coRe­sponse, cre­at­ed by MD An­der­son and Ther­a­clone Sci­ences, just com­plet­ed a long-run­ning Se­ries A with $22.5 mil­lion. The biotech has been piec­ing this to­geth­er for awhile now. Most re­cent­ly in­sid­ers and HT Fam­i­ly Of­fice con­tributed to the round, fol­low­ing Bax­al­ta (now Shire), Great­Point Ven­tures, the Helsinn In­vest­ment Fund, Arch Ven­ture Part­ners, Canaan Part­ners, and MD An­der­son, with William Marsh Rice Uni­ver­si­ty and Alexan­dria Re­al Es­tate Eq­ui­ties al­so par­tic­i­pat­ing. “With the fi­nal clos­ing of our Se­ries A, we look ahead to the con­tin­ued de­vel­op­ment of our re­search pro­grams that aim to ex­pand the promise of im­muno-on­col­o­gy by iden­ti­fy­ing ther­a­peu­ti­cal­ly rel­e­vant an­ti­bod­ies from pa­tients with elite re­sponse to can­cer im­munother­a­py in a num­ber of on­col­o­gy in­di­ca­tions,” said CEO Clif­ford Stocks.

→ Nor­way’s BerGen­Bio has struck a deal to col­lab­o­rate with Mer­ck on a cou­ple of mid-stage stud­ies com­bin­ing their Axl ki­nase in­hibitors with Keytru­da, the big check­point drug. They’re go­ing af­ter non-small cell lung can­cer and triple-neg­a­tive breast can­cer. The biotech al­so an­nounced plans this week to launch on IPO on the Oslo ex­change.

→ TG Ther­a­peu­tics $TGTX didn’t waste much time in fol­low­ing up on its much tout­ed da­ta from its Phase III leukemia study to raise $50 mil­lion in a new stock of­fer­ing. TG en­gi­neered an ear­ly read­out on the study by mod­i­fy­ing the tri­al de­sign, as its not­ed on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions. And as the com­pa­ny al­so in­di­cat­ed in its list of warn­ings on risk on the of­fer­ing, the change vi­o­lat­ed its spe­cial pro­to­col as­sess­ment at the FDA, which could raise prob­lems lat­er on.

Vas Narasimhan (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

No­var­tis de­tails plans to axe 8,000 staffers as Narasimhan be­gins sec­ond phase of a glob­al re­org

We now know the number of jobs coming under the axe at Novartis, and it isn’t small.

The pharma giant is confirming a report from Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger that it is chopping 8,000 jobs out of its 108,000 global staffers. A large segment will hit right at company headquarters in Basel, as CEO Vas Narasimhan axes some 1,400 of a little more than 11,000  jobs in Switzerland.

The first phase of the work is almost done, the company says in a statement to Endpoints News. Now it’s on to phase two. In the statement, Novartis says:

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Bob Nelsen (Lyell)

As bear mar­ket con­tin­ues to beat down biotech, ARCH clos­es a $3B ear­ly-stage fund

One of the biggest names in biotech investing has a whole lot of new money to spend.

ARCH Venture Partners closed its 12th venture fund early Wednesday morning, the firm said, bringing in almost $3 billion to invest in early-stage biotechs. The move comes about a year and a half after ARCH announced its previous fund, for almost $2 billion back in January 2021.

In a statement, ARCH managing director and co-founder Bob Nelsen appeared to brush off concerns about the broader market troubles, alluding to the downturn that’s seen several biotechs downsize and the XBI fall back to almost pre-pandemic levels.

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Sanofi to cut in­sulin prices for unin­sured from $99 to $35, match­ing the in­sulin cap com­ing through Con­gress

As the House-passed bill to cap the monthly price of insulin at $35 nationwide makes its way for a Senate vote soon, Sanofi announced Wednesday morning that beginning next month it will cut the monthly price of its insulins for uninsured Americans to $35, down from $99 previously.

The announcement from Sanofi, which allows the uninsured to buy one or multiple Sanofi insulins (Lantus, Insulin Glargine U-100, Toujeo, Admelog, and Apidra) at $35 for a 30-day supply effective July 1, follows House passage (232-193) of the monthly cap in March, with just 12 Republicans voting in favor of the measure.

Lina Gugucheva, NewAmsterdam Pharma CBO

Phar­ma group bets up to $1B-plus on the PhI­II res­ur­rec­tion of a once dead-and-buried LDL drug

Close to 5 years after then-Amgen R&D chief Sean Harper tamped the last spade of dirt on the last broadly focused CETP cholesterol drug — burying their $300 million upfront and the few remaining hopes for the class with it — the therapy has been fully resurrected. And today, the NewAmsterdam Pharma crew that did the Lazarus treatment on obicetrapib is taking another big step on the comeback trail with a €1 billion-plus regional licensing deal, complete with close to $150 million in upfront cash.

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How pre­pared is bio­phar­ma for the cy­ber dooms­day?

One of the largest cyberattacks in history happened on a Friday, Eric Perakslis distinctly remembers.

Perakslis, who was head of Takeda’s R&D Data Sciences Institute and visiting faculty at Harvard Medical School at the time, had spent that morning completing a review on cybersecurity for the British Medical Journal. Moments after he turned it in, he heard back from the editor: “Have you heard what’s going on right now?”

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Hank Safferstein, Generian CEO

Astel­las sub­sidiary to part­ner with Pitts­burgh up­start in search for 'un­drug­gable' pro­teins

As Astellas continues its drive to build out its gene therapy portfolio and capabilities, a subsidiary of the Japanese pharma company has entered into a collaboration with a little-known Pittsburgh biotech.

Astellas-owned Mitobridge and Generian Pharmaceuticals announced on Wednesday that they will work together in a new deal for “undruggable” protein targets. Generian will net an undisclosed upfront payment and could get up to $180 million in milestones, should anything from its platform prove successful, as well as single-digit royalties on global net sales.

Adam Simpson, Icosavax CEO

Reel­ing from Covid flop, Icosavax says its RSV can­di­date passed ear­ly test. But in­vestors need some more con­vinc­ing

Three months separated from a disappointing readout of its Covid-19 vaccine, Icosavax is back with what it calls positive topline data for a different VLP vaccine candidate — although investors aren’t impressed.

IVX-121, a vaccine candidate for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), appeared to generate “robust” immune responses among both young and older adults, as measured by neutralizing antibodies, and appeared generally well-tolerated, Icosavax reported.

Shehnaaz Suliman, ReCode Therapeutics CEO (Photo by Jennifer Leahy)

Pfiz­er, Sanofi-backed LNP out­fit goes back to the well and draws $120M for its trek to the clin­ic

A preclinical biotech touting a five-lipid drug delivery platform is looking to break out of its preclinical mold, and it just secured a sizable raise to do just that.

ReCode Therapeutics reported Wednesday morning that Leaps by Bayer and Matrix Capital Management affiliate AyurMaya co-led a Series B extension round, adding $120 million to the biotech’s previous Series B haul of $80 million. The biotech has been backed by several players in Big Pharma, notably Pfizer and Sanofi from its original Series B close last fall. And in this extension — featuring all new investors, CEO Shehnaaz Suliman tells Endpoints News — Amgen’s VC arm jumped on board.

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(AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Some phar­ma com­pa­nies promise to cov­er abor­tion-re­lat­ed trav­el costs — while oth­ers won't go that far yet

As the US Department of Health and Human Services promises to support the millions of women who would now need to cross state lines to receive a legal abortion, a handful of pharma companies have said they will pick up employees’ travel expenses.

GSK, Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson, BeiGene, Alnylam and Gilead have all committed to covering abortion-related travel expenses just four days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and revoked women’s constitutional right to an abortion.

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