Pfiz­er on­col­o­gy head Liz Bar­rett jumps ship to No­var­tis as Bruno St­rig­i­ni steps aside

Liz Bar­rett

No­var­tis $NVS has found a suc­ces­sor to out­go­ing on­col­o­gy chief Bruno St­rig­i­ni — at Pfiz­er. Liz Bar­rett, cur­rent glob­al pres­i­dent of on­col­o­gy at Pfiz­er, has been tapped to run the show at No­var­tis.

Bruno St­rig­i­ni

Bar­rett has big shoes to fill. The Swiss drug­mak­er has tak­en up a large pres­ence in can­cer since hir­ing St­rig­i­ni — who’s says he’s re­tir­ing from the in­dus­try al­to­geth­er — from a se­nior Mer­ck po­si­tion in the sum­mer of 2014. Par­tic­u­lar­ly mem­o­rable are its role in spear­head­ing the first CAR-T to hit the mar­ket and the in­te­gra­tion of GSK’s on­col­o­gy port­fo­lio.

But Bar­rett’s CV sug­gests she’s well equipped for the task. A J&J vet­er­an, Bar­rett has been with Pfiz­er $PFE since 2009. Dur­ing the last three years when she was glob­al pres­i­dent of on­col­o­gy, the phar­ma gi­ant has man­aged to ac­com­plish some break­throughs in that field — first launch­ing breast can­cer ther­a­py Ibrance in­to block­buster ter­ri­to­ry, then mak­ing its way in­to the PD-1/L1 race with Mer­ck KGaA-part­nered Baven­cio. A few months ago Pfiz­er won an ac­cel­er­at­ed OK for its CD22-tar­get­ed can­cer drug Be­spon­sa (in­o­tuzum­ab), for which an­a­lysts are pre­dict­ing peak sales of $2 bil­lion.

Andy Schmeltz

Ac­cord­ing to a Pfiz­er spokesper­son, Andy Schmeltz will suc­ceed Bar­rett in run­ning Pfiz­er’s glob­al can­cer drug unit. Schmeltz is cur­rent­ly SVP, pa­tient & health im­pact, with pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence lead­ing the North Amer­i­ca on­col­o­gy busi­ness dur­ing his 15-year tenure at the com­pa­ny. In that post, he over­saw the launch­es of Xalko­ri, In­ly­ta and Bo­sulif.

“On­col­o­gy re­mains a pri­or­i­ty growth area for Pfiz­er sup­port­ed by ro­bust prod­uct port­fo­lio and de­vel­op­ment pipeline,” the spokesper­son told End­points. “We thank Liz for her con­tri­bu­tions dur­ing her tenure at Pfiz­er.”

The ap­point­ment will bring Bar­rett, who’s cur­rent­ly based in New York City, to Basel, Switzer­land. She’s no stranger to Eu­rope, as she had a short stint in the UK as Pfiz­er’s pres­i­dent in the con­ti­nent.

Vas­ant Narasimhan

She will start on Feb­ru­ary 1, the same day Vas Narasimhan, No­var­tis’ glob­al head of drug de­vel­op­ment, is of­fi­cial­ly el­e­vat­ed as CEO.

“[Liz] has been in­stru­men­tal in cre­at­ing new com­mer­cial mod­els, dri­ving in­no­va­tion in close part­ner­ship with re­search and de­vel­op­ment and lever­ag­ing busi­ness de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Narasimhan said. “Her long-time com­mer­cial phar­ma in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence, mar­ket­ing skills and per­spec­tives make Liz a great fit to fur­ther de­vel­op our on­col­o­gy busi­ness.”

Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Getty Images)

Sanofi CEO Paul Hud­son has $23B burn­ing a hole in his pock­et. And here are some hints on how he plans to spend that

Sanofi has reaped $11.1 billion after selling off a big chunk of its Regeneron stock at $515 a share. And now everyone on the M&A side of the business is focused on how CEO Paul Hudson plans to spend it.

After getting stung in France for some awkward politicking — suggesting the US was in the front of the line for Sanofi’s vaccines given American financial support for their work, versus little help from European powers — Hudson now has the much more popular task of managing a major cash cache to pull off something in the order of a big bolt-on. Or two.

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The Advance Clinical leadership team: CEO Yvonne Lungershausen, Sandrien Louwaars - Director Business Development Operations, Gabriel Kremmidiotis - Chief Scientific Officer, Ben Edwards - Chief Strategy Officer

How Aus­tralia De­liv­ers Rapid Start-up and 43.5% Re­bate for Ear­ly Phase On­col­o­gy Tri­als

About Avance Clinical

Avance Clinical is an Australian owned Contract Research Organisation that has been providing high-quality clinical research services to the local and international drug development industry for 20 years. They specialise in working with biotech companies to execute Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials to deliver high-quality outcomes fit for global regulatory standards.

As oncology sponsors look internationally to speed-up trials after unprecedented COVID-19 suspensions and delays, Australia, which has led the world in minimizing the pandemic’s impact, stands out as an attractive destination for early phase trials. This in combination with the streamlined regulatory system and the financial benefits including a very favourable exchange rate and the R & D cash rebate makes Australia the perfect location for accelerating biotech clinical programs.

Dan O'Day, Gilead CEO (Andrew Harnik, AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Gilead leas­es part­ner rights to TIG­IT, PD-1 in a $2B deal with Ar­cus. Now comes the hard part

Gilead CEO Dan O’Day has brokered his way to a PD-1 and lined up a front row seat in the TIGIT arena, inking a deal worth close to $2 billion to align the big biotech closely with Terry Rosen’s Arcus. And $375 million of that comes upfront, with cash for the buy-in plus equity, along with $400 million for R&D and $1.22 billion in reserve to cover opt-in payments and milestones..

Hotly rumored for weeks, the 2 players have formalized a 10-year alliance that starts with rights to the PD-1, zimberelimab. O’Day also has first dibs on TIGIT and 2 other leading programs, agreeing to an opt-in fee ranging from $200 million to $275 million on each. There’s $500 million in potential TIGIT milestones on US regulatory events — likely capped by an approval — if Gilead partners on it and the stars align on the data. And there’s another $150 million opt-in payments for the rest of the Arcus pipeline.

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Covid-19 roundup: Roche pairs Actem­ra with remde­sivir in new PhI­II; GSK makes its own 1B vac­cine man­u­fac­tur­ing plan

A month after a small study in France suggested that Roche’s IL-6 inhibitor Actemra helped Covid-19 patients do better — even as Sanofi and Regeneron found somewhat disappointing results with their rival drug — Roche is doubling down on the strategy.

The Swiss pharma giant is kicking off a second Phase III global placebo-controlled study involving Actemra. But rather than testing it as a monotherapy, they will add Gilead’s remdesivir to the regimen.

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Fabrice Chouraqui, Cellarity CEO-partner (LinkedIn)

Drug de­vel­op­er, Big Phar­ma com­mer­cial ex­ec, now an up­start biotech chief — Fab­rice Chouraqui is ready to try some­thing new as a ‘CEO-part­ner’ at Flag­ship

Fabrice Chouraqui’s career has taken some big twists along his life journey. He got his PharmD at Université Paris Descartes and jumped into the drug development game for a bit. Then he took a sharp turn and went back to school to get his MBA at Insead before returning to pharma on the commercial side.

Twenty years later, after steadily rising through the ranks and journeying the globe to nab a top job as president of US pharma for the Basel-based Novartis, Chouraqui exited in another career switch. And now he’s headed into a hybrid position as a CEO-partner at Flagship, where he’ll take a shot at leading Cellarity — one of the VC’s latest paradigm-changing companies of the groundbreaking model that aspires to deliver a new platform to the world of drug R&D.

via Shutterstock

Ex-biotech chief pleads guilty in col­lege ad­mis­sions scan­dal, faces a 10-month prison stretch in plea deal

The ex-CEO of Harmony Biosciences — as well as former board member for Biohaven — has agreed to plead guilty to two counts of mail fraud after getting caught up in the college admissions scandal.

Charged with paying Georgetown University’s former tennis coach more than $50,000 to get his daughter admitted to the university as a new recruit for the team, Bob Repella took the plea deal, which comes with a recommended sentence of 10 months in prison, with a year of supervised release and a $40,000 fine.

Stymied by the pan­dem­ic, Im­munomedic­s' new CEO bows out, tak­ing a mil­lion bucks plus perks as he heads out the vir­tu­al ex­it

Just a little more than a month since taking over as the latest CEO to helm Immunomedics, $IMMU Harout Semerjian is exiting the company after being confronted by “logistical” obstacles thrown up by the pandemic that made it impossible for him to move from London to carry out the job. And he’s getting a little over a million dollars in cash plus perks to grease the skids on the way out.

Word of the changeup arrived right after the market closed Wednesday.

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Roger Perlmutter, Merck R&D chief (YouTube)

UP­DAT­ED: Backed by BAR­DA, Mer­ck jumps in­to Covid-19: buy­ing out a vac­cine, part­ner­ing on an­oth­er and adding an­tivi­ral to the mix

Merck execs are making a triple play in a sudden leap into the R&D campaign against Covid-19. And they have more BARDA cash backing them up on the move.

Tuesday morning the pharma giant simultaneously announced plans to buy an Austrian biotech that has been working on a preclinical vaccine candidate, added a collaboration on another vaccine with the nonprofit IAVI and inked a deal with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics on an early-stage antiviral.

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Bryan Roberts, Venrock

Ven­rock sur­vey shows grow­ing recog­ni­tion of coro­n­avirus toll, wan­ing con­fi­dence in ar­rival of vac­cines and treat­ments

When Venrock partner Bryan Roberts went to check the results from their annual survey of healthcare leaders, what he found was an imprint of the pandemic’s slow arrival in America.

The venture firm had sent their form out to hundreds of insurance and health tech executives, investors, officials and academics on February 24 and gave them two weeks to fill it out. No Americans had died at that point but the coronavirus had become enough of a global crisis that they included two questions about the virus, including “Total U.S. deaths in 2020 from the novel coronavirus will be:”.