Pfiz­er reshuf­fles, split­ting in­to three busi­ness units

Just one day af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ha­rangued Pfiz­er CEO Ian Read in­to de­lay­ing its drug pric­ing hikes, the phar­ma gi­ant has an­nounced it’s split­ting up in­to three busi­ness units: in­no­v­a­tive med­i­cines, es­tab­lished med­i­cines, and con­sumer health­care.

John Young

Un­der the in­no­v­a­tive meds group fall Pfiz­er’s biosim­i­lars and the hos­pi­tal busi­ness unit, which in­cludes an­ti-in­fec­tives and ster­ile in­jecta­bles. Es­tab­lished med­i­cines will in­clude the ma­jor­i­ty of Pfiz­er’s off-patent brands, like Vi­a­gra and Lyri­ca. Then there’s the con­sumer health­care unit, which will in­clude the com­pa­ny’s over-the-counter med­i­cines. But that one may soon be on the chop­ping block.

Back in Oc­to­ber, Pfiz­er said it was look­ing at strate­gic al­ter­na­tives for the con­sumer health­care unit, and they still are. They plan to make a de­ci­sion on that unit’s fate some­time this year.

Ian Read

“This new struc­ture rep­re­sents a nat­ur­al evo­lu­tion of these busi­ness­es giv­en the on­go­ing strength of our in-mar­ket prod­ucts and our late-stage pipeline and the ex­pect­ed sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in the im­pact of patent pro­tec­tion loss­es post-2020 fol­low­ing the loss of ex­clu­siv­i­ty for Lyri­ca in the US which is ex­pect­ed to oc­cur in or af­ter De­cem­ber 2018,” Read said in a state­ment. “As we tran­si­tion to a pe­ri­od post-2020 where we ex­pect a high­er and more sus­tained rev­enue growth pro­file we see this new struc­ture bet­ter po­si­tion­ing each busi­ness to achieve its growth po­ten­tial.”

An­gela Hwang

John Young, the cur­rent group pres­i­dent of Pfiz­er’s in­no­v­a­tive health unit, will lead the new in­no­v­a­tive meds group along­side An­gela Hwang, who used to man­age the es­sen­tial health group. Young has a spe­cial man­date over in­ter­nal med­i­cine, on­col­o­gy (in­clud­ing biosim­i­lars), and rare dis­ease, while Hwang is tasked with the in­flam­ma­tion and im­munol­o­gy (in­clud­ing biosim­i­lars), vac­cines, and hos­pi­tal meds busi­ness.

The change­up at Pfiz­er comes hours af­ter Read rolled back his plans to hike prices on 100 drugs. Pfiz­er, you may re­call, deeply em­bar­rassed the pres­i­dent re­cent­ly when the com­pa­ny hiked its prices on a range of prod­ucts — af­ter Trump had claimed that drug prices would soon be falling dra­mat­i­cal­ly.

Pfiz­er is back­ing it up, say­ing that it will de­fer any price in­creas­es that went in­to ef­fect at the be­gin­ning of the month un­til the end of this year or un­til the pres­i­dent’s drug pric­ing blue­print goes in­to ef­fect – whichev­er is soon­er. It plans to roll back prices as soon as it can — and any price cuts it in­sti­tut­ed will re­main in ef­fect.

BiTE® Plat­form and the Evo­lu­tion To­ward Off-The-Shelf Im­muno-On­col­o­gy Ap­proach­es

Despite rapid advances in the field of immuno-oncology that have transformed the cancer treatment landscape, many cancer patients are still left behind.1,2 Not every person has access to innovative therapies designed specifically to treat his or her disease. Many currently available immuno-oncology-based approaches and chemotherapies have brought long-term benefits to some patients — but many patients still need other therapeutic options.3

Pfiz­er’s Doug Gior­dano has $500M — and some ad­vice — to of­fer a cer­tain breed of 'break­through' biotech

So let’s say you’re running a cutting-edge, clinical-stage biotech, probably public, but not necessarily so, which could see some big advantages teaming up with some marquee researchers, picking up say $50 million to $75 million dollars in a non-threatening minority equity investment that could take you to the next level.

Doug Giordano might have some thoughts on how that could work out.

The SVP of business development at the pharma giant has helped forge a new fund called the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative. And he has $500 million of Pfizer’s money to put behind 7 to 10 — or so — biotech stocks that fit that general description.

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Gilead woos fil­go­tinib clin­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tor from Stan­ford to lead the charge on NASH, in­flam­ma­to­ry dis­eases

With an FDA OK for the use of filgotinib in rheumatoid arthritis expected to drop any day now, Gilead has recruited a new leader from academia to lead its foray into inflammatory diseases.

Mark Genovese — a longtime Stanford professor and most recently the clinical chief in the division of immunology and rheumatology — was the principal investigator in FINCH 2, one of three studies that supported Gilead’s NDA filing. In his new role as SVP, inflammation, he will oversee the clinical development of the entire portfolio.

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Gilead re­leas­es an­oth­er round of murky remde­sivir re­sults

A month after the NIH declared the first trial on remdesivir in Covid-19 a success, Gilead is out with new results on their antiviral. But although the study met one of its primary endpoints, the data are likely to only add to a growing debate over how effective the drug actually is.

In a Phase III trial, patients given a 5-day dose of remdesivir were 65% more likely to show “clinical improvement” compared to an arm given standard-of-care. The trial, though, gave little indication for whether the drug had an impact on key endpoints such as survival or time-to-recovery. And in a surprising twist, a 10-day dosing arm of remdesivir didn’t lead to a statistically significant improvement over standard of care.

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Stephen Isaacs, Aduro president and CEO (Aduro)

Once a high fly­er, a stag­ger­ing Aduro is auc­tion­ing off most of the pipeline as CEO Stephen Isaacs hands off the shell to new own­ers

After a drumbeat of failure, setbacks and reorganizations over the last few years, Aduro CEO Stephen Isaacs is handing over his largely gutted-out shell of a public company to another biotech company and putting up some questionable assets in a going-out-of-business sale.

Isaacs —who forged a string of high-profile Big Pharma deals along the way — has wrapped a 13-year run at the biotech with one program for kidney disease going to the new owners at Chinook Therapeutics. A host of once-heralded assets like their STING agonist program partnered with Novartis (which dumped their work on ADU-S100 after looking over weak clinical results), the Lilly-allied cGAS-STING inhibitor program and the anti-CD27 program out-licensed to Merck will all be posted for auction under a strategic review process.

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No­var­tis chips in $10M for IPO-bound part­ner Pli­ant; Tenax shares soar on heart drug da­ta

Novartis is coming in with $10 million to help support the looming IPO of a partner. Pliant Therapeutics posted a new filing with the SEC showing that Novartis is buying the shares at $15, the mid-point of the range. It’s adding several million shares to the offering, bringing the total to around $135 million. Biotech companies have been enjoying quite a run on virtual Wall Street, with investors boosting new offerings to some big hauls.

Fangliang Zhang (Imaginechina via AP Images)

The big mon­ey: Poised to make drug R&D his­to­ry, a Chi­na biotech un­veils uni­corn rac­ing am­bi­tions in a bid to raise $350M-plus on Nas­daq

Almost exactly three years after Shanghai-based Legend came out of nowhere to steal the show at ASCO with jaw-dropping data on their BCMA-targeted CAR-T for multiple myeloma, the little player with Big Pharma connections is taking a giant step toward making it big on Wall Street. And this time they want to seal the deal on a global rep after staking out a unicorn valuation in what’s turned out to be a bull market for biotech IPOs — in the middle of a pandemic.

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Bris­tol My­ers Squib­b's just-launched MS drug Zeposia makes the cut in key ul­cer­a­tive col­i­tis tri­al

In March, Zeposia became the third oral S1P modulator to secure US approval for multiple sclerosis. Now, the drug has succeeded in a key ulcerative colitis study.

The immunomodulator, akin to others in its class, controls lymphocyte trafficking by limiting the white blood cells to the lymphatic system, in the lymph nodes, and thwarting their ability to jam up lymph nodes — precluding their ability to penetrate the bloodstream and the central nervous system.

Hill­house re­casts spot­light on Chi­na's biotech scene with $160M round for Shang­hai-based an­ti­body mak­er

Almost two years after first buying into Genor Biopharma’s pipeline of cancer and autoimmune therapies, Hillhouse Capital has led a $160 million cash injection to push the late-stage assets over the finish line while continuing to fund both internal R&D and dealmaking.

The Series B has landed right around the time Genor would have listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, according to plans reported by Bloomberg late last year. Insiders had said that the company was looking to raise about $200 million.

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