Debra Yu (LianBio)

Pfiz­er hands Lian­Bio $70M to tag along Per­cep­tive's Chi­na play, with an eye to beef­ing up re­gion­al port­fo­lio

When Per­cep­tive un­veiled its care­ful­ly cu­rat­ed syn­di­cate for Lian­Bio’s $310 mil­lion Se­ries A, Pfiz­er stood out as the on­ly phar­ma amid a mar­quee group of VCs. It turns out that the drug­mak­er wasn’t on­ly look­ing to share the fruits of Lian­Bio’s la­bor, it al­so wants to get down in­to the trench­es.

Pfiz­er has put an ad­di­tion­al $70 mil­lion on the ta­ble for Lian­Bio — which Per­cep­tive set out to shape in­to a “best-in-class sourc­ing and de­vel­op­ment en­gine” in Chi­na — to in-li­cense pro­grams that they can then co-de­vel­op. If a drug reach­es the mar­ket, Pfiz­er will be first in line to ne­go­ti­ate for stand­alone com­mer­cial deals.

Kon­stan­tin Poukalov

Hav­ing just re­cent­ly signed off on a $480 mil­lion col­lab­o­ra­tion to de­vel­op and com­mer­cial­ize CStone’s PD-1 in Chi­na, Doug Gior­dano, SVP of Pfiz­er world­wide busi­ness de­vel­op­ment, said the new deal ex­pands its “abil­i­ty to part­ner across the biotech ecosys­tem” and de­liv­er med­ical break­throughs to Chi­nese pa­tients.

“We’ve heard this re­peat­ed­ly from Big Phar­mas over the years that they get pro­grams com­ing down from glob­al but there’s of­ten not as much em­pha­sis and lit­tle ac­tiv­i­ty at the re­gion­al lev­el for busi­ness de­vel­op­ment,” De­bra Yu, Lian­Bio’s pres­i­dent/CBO and a Pfiz­er alum, told End­points News.

For Lian­Bio, the al­liance doesn’t just of­fer heavy­weight en­dorse­ment of its mod­el but al­so a way to tap in­to com­mer­cial in­fra­struc­ture that Pfiz­er has built over a decade.

Kon­stan­tin Poukalov, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Per­cep­tive and ex­ec­u­tive chair­man at Lian­Bio, not­ed that the in-kind help that Pfiz­er has com­mit­ted might just be as im­por­tant as the cash. From clin­i­cal tri­al ex­per­tise — Pfiz­er has 60-plus stud­ies un­der­way in the coun­try — and KOL net­work to cre­at­ing mar­ket ac­cess and deal­ing with the re­im­burse­ment process, the phar­ma gi­ant brings sig­nif­i­cant knowl­edge and ca­pac­i­ty to the pact.

Bing Li

In par­tic­u­lar, he adds, Lian­Bio will be pre­sent­ing to Pfiz­er as­sets that re­quire a large, spread-out sales force to cov­er vast ge­o­graph­i­cal re­gions. As­sets that are more tar­get­ed around spe­cif­ic cen­ters of care are more like­ly to be han­dled by the 30-plus Lian­Bio staffers (they’re still re­cruit­ing) CEO Bing Li is lead­ing in Shang­hai and Bei­jing.

As Yu scouts new deals with her New Jer­sey-based team, she be­lieves hav­ing Pfiz­er on board would con­vince biotech part­ners that by li­cens­ing Chi­na rights to Lian­Bio they will get the “best of both worlds.”

“It’s a very spe­cial kind of be­spoke cre­ative part­ner­ship that ben­e­fits all the three par­ties that are in­volved,” she said.

Pre­vi­ous­ly, Lian’s pitch­es main­ly re­volved around de­tailed mar­ket analy­ses and tai­lor-made de­vel­op­ment pro­pos­als that Bridge­Bio CEO Neil Ku­mar has praised as cre­ative. For $26.5 mil­lion in near-term pay­ments, he hand­ed over two tar­get­ed can­cer drug can­di­dates and gave away pref­er­en­tial fu­ture ac­cess to pro­grams across his sub­sidiaries’ port­fo­lio.

MyoKar­dia, mean­while, pro­vid­ed Lian with its first car­dio drug be­fore Bris­tol My­ers Squibb bought it for $13 bil­lion. Lian paid $40 mil­lion up­front for mava­camten and is on the hook for an­oth­er $147.5 mil­lion.

While Lian doesn’t en­vi­sion do­ing an­oth­er deal like the Pfiz­er one — elect­ing in­stead to pri­or­i­tize find­ing new drugs for its pipeline — Poukalov be­lieves oth­er phar­ma gi­ants are sim­i­lar­ly look­ing for ways to get their hands on drugs they may not oth­er­wise have ac­cess to.

“Just like you’ve seen in As­traZeneca’s case where they were able to do re­gion­al spe­cif­ic deals to dri­ve re­gion­al rev­enue, I think that’s top of mind for a lot of oth­er MNCs that are try­ing to evolve and re­al­ly kind of con­tin­ue to an­chor their po­si­tion in the mar­ket­place,” Poukalov said.

A new era of treat­ment: How bio­mark­ers are chang­ing the way we think about can­cer

AJ Patel was recovering from a complicated brain surgery when his oncologist burst into the hospital room yelling, “I’ve got some really great news for you!”

For two years, Patel had been going from doctor to doctor trying to diagnose his wheezing, only to be dealt the devastating news that he had stage IV lung cancer and only six months to live. And then they found the brain tumors.

“What are you talking about?” Patel asked. He had never seen an oncologist so happy.

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David Ricks, Eli Lilly CEO (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Eli Lil­ly set to in­vest $2.1B in home state man­u­fac­tur­ing boost

Eli Lilly is looking to expand its footprint in its home Hoosier State by making a major investment in manufacturing.

The pharma is investing $2.1 billion in two new manufacturing sites at Indiana’s LEAP Lebanon Innovation and Research District in Boone County, northwest of Lilly’s headquarters in Indianapolis.

The two new facilities will expand Lilly’s manufacturing network for active ingredients and new therapeutic modalities, including genetic medicines, according to a press release.

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US sees spike in Paxlovid us­age as Mer­ck­'s mol­nupi­ravir and As­traZeneca's Evusheld are slow­er off the shelf

New data from HHS show that more than 162,000 courses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 antiviral Paxlovid were administered across the US over the past week, continuing a streak of increased usage of the pill, and signaling not only rising case numbers but more awareness of how to access it.

In comparison to this week, about 670,000 courses of the Pfizer pill have been administered across the first five months since Paxlovid has been on the US market, averaging about 33,000 courses administered per week in that time.

Pfiz­er and CD­MOs ramp up Paxlovid man­u­fac­tur­ing with Kala­ma­zoo plant ex­pan­sion lead­ing the way

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve, pharma companies and manufacturers are exploring how to step up production on antivirals.

Pfizer is planning to expand its Kalamazoo-area facility to increase manufacturing capabilities for the oral Covid-19 antiviral Paxlovid, according to a report from Michigan-based news site MLive. The expansion of the facility, which serves as Pfizer’s largest manufacturing location, is expected to create hundreds of “high-skilled” STEM jobs, MLive reported. No details about the project’s cost and timeline have been released, but according to MLive, Pfizer will announce the details of the expansion at some point in early June.

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FDA spells out the rules and re­stric­tions for states seek­ing to im­port drugs from Cana­da

The FDA is offering more of an explanation of the guardrails around its program that may soon allow states to import prescription drugs in some select circumstances from Canada, but only if such imports will result in significant cost reductions for consumers.

While the agency has yet to sign off on any of the 5 state plans in the works so far, and PhRMA’s suit to block the Trump-era rule allowing such imports is stalled, the new Q&A guidance spells out the various restrictions that states will have to abide by, potentially signaling that a state approval is coming.

Franz-Werner Haas, CureVac CEO (Christoph Schmidt/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

Tak­ing an­oth­er shot at mR­NA glo­ry, Cure­Vac inks on­col­o­gy pact while keep­ing up with Covid work

CureVac may have lost out on the initial mRNA race to bring a Covid-19 vaccine to the market, but it’s still eager to prove that it has what it takes to be a serious player in the field.

As it updates investors on its second-generation vaccine candidates for infectious diseases in Q1 results, the German biotech says it’s beefing up its oncology pipeline.

To that end, it has struck a new collaboration with Belgium’s myNEO, which boasts of a neoantigen discovery and selection platform, to identify new targets for mRNA immunotherapies.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla at the World Economic Forum (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP Images)

All about ac­cess: Pfiz­er moves to a non-prof­it mod­el for drug sales in 45 low­er-in­come coun­tries

Leading the way to increase access to cheaper drugs worldwide, Pfizer said Wednesday it will provide all current and future patent-protected medicines and vaccines available in the US or EU on a not-for-profit basis to about 1.2 billion people in 45 lower-income countries.

Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda are the first five countries to sign on to this accord, which will also seek to blaze new paths for quick and efficient regulatory and procurement processes to reduce the usual delays in making new medicines and vaccines available in these countries.

Robert Califf (Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA via AP Images)

House Re­pub­li­cans at­tack Chi­na-on­ly da­ta in FDA sub­mis­sions, seek new in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to re­search in­spec­tions

Three Republican representatives are calling on the FDA to take a closer look at the applications including only clinical data from China.

The letter to FDA commissioner Rob Califf late last week comes as the agency recently rejected Eli Lilly’s anti-PD-1 antibody, which attempted to bring China-only data but ran into a bruising adcomm that may crush the hopes of any other companies looking to bring cheaper follow-ons based only on Chinese data.

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Almirall is tapping artificial intelligence on behalf of its sales force for insights and efficiencies. (via Shutterstock)

Almi­rall rolls out sales rep ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence sys­tem, cut­ting pre-call prep and 'wind­shield time'

Dermatology specialty pharma Almirall is making its sales reps smarter. Not with extra training or educational courses, but instead with artificial intelligence tools.

It began a soft launch of a sales rep AI and machine learning platform it calls Polaris last August in one of its 7 US coverage regions. The platform from Aktana gathers information from across Almirall internal sources and external ones – such as claims and prescribing data – to generate insights for reps. Now, instead of spending hours prepping for a sales call, Polaris can generate details about a physician’s preferences, past behaviors and prescription habits for reps in minutes, said Almirall head of commercial operations Vincent Cerio.

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