Saemundur 'Sam' Oddsson, Sidekick Health co-founder and CMO

Pfiz­er teams up with dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics part­ner for next prod­uct launch, this time in atopic der­mati­tis

Big Pharma has been slowly but surely warming up to the potential of digital therapeutics, as evidenced by Sanofi inking a deal two months ago with DarioHealth. And on Thursday, another Big Pharma will take a look at the space in what it deems as simply the next step in an ongoing partnership.

Icelandic biotech Sidekick Health announced the launch of its digital therapeutics product specifically geared for atopic dermatitis Thursday alongside Pfizer, its Big Pharma partner who collaborated on the indication. CMO and co-founder Saemundur “Sam” Oddsson told Endpoints News that this is not the first time that Pfizer and Sidekick Health have worked together — in fact, it is the fourth digital therapeutics product that the pair have co-launched.

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M&A: a crit­i­cal dri­ver for sus­tain­able top-line growth in health­care

2021 saw a record $600B in healthcare M&A activity. In 2022, there is an anticipated slowdown in activity, however, M&A prospects remain strong in the medium to long-term. What are future growth drivers for the healthcare sector? Where might we see innovations that drive M&A? RBC’s Andrew Callaway, Global Head, Healthcare Investment Banking discusses with Vito Sperduto, Global Co-Head, M&A.

15 LGBTQ lead­ers in bio­phar­ma; Paul Stof­fels’ Gala­pa­gos re­vamp; As­traZeneca catch­es up in AT­TR; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

A return to in-person conferences also marks a return to on-the-ground reporting. My colleagues Beth Synder Bulik and Nicole DeFeudis were on-site at Cannes Lions, bringing live coverage of pharma’s presence at the ad festival — accompanied by photos from Clara Bui, our virtual producer, that bring you right to the scene. You can find a recap (and links to all the stories) below.

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David Loew (Ipsen)

Ipsen snags an ap­proved can­cer drug in $247M M&A deal as an­oth­er bat­tered biotech sells cheap

You can add Paris-based Ipsen to the list of discount buyers patrolling the penny stock pack for a cheap M&A deal.

The French biotech, which has had plenty of its own problems to grapple with, has swooped in to buy Epizyme $EPZM for $247 million in cash and a CVR with milestones attached to it. Epizyme shareholders, who had to suffer through a painfully soft launch of their EZH2a inhibitor cancer drug Tazverik, will get $1.45 per share along with a $1 CVR tied to achieving $250 million in sales from the drug over four consecutive quarters as well as an OK for second-line follicular lymphoma by 1 Jan. 2028.

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AstraZeneca's new Evusheld direct to consumer campaign aims to reach more immunocompromised patients.

As­traZeneca de­buts first con­sumer cam­paign for its Covid-19 pro­phy­lac­tic Evusheld — and a first for EUA drugs

AstraZeneca’s first consumer ad for Evusheld is also a first for drugs that have been granted emergency use authorizations during the pandemic.

The first DTC ad for a medicine under emergency approval, the Evusheld campaign launching this week aims to raise awareness among immunocompromised patients — and spur more use.

Evusheld nabbed emergency authorization in December, however, despite millions of immunocompromised people looking for a solution and now more widespread availability of the drug.

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invoX Pharma CEO Ben Toogood (L) and F-star CEO Eliot Forster

F-star bought out in $161M all-cash deal as Hong Kong's Sino Bio­pharm looks to­ward in­ter­na­tion­al ex­pan­sion

After more than a decade and a half of charting its own course, F-star Therapeutics will now settle under a new umbrella company.

The UK biotech will be acquired by invoX Pharma, a subsidiary of Hong Kong’s Sino Biopharm, in a roughly $161 million all-cash deal, the companies announced Thursday morning. F-star’s buyout will value its shares $FSTX at $7.12 apiece, nearly an 80% premium above Wednesday’s closing price.

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VMLY&R execs Claire Gillis and Walter Geer listen to Olympic gold medalist Tianna Bartoletta talk about the importance of diversity at Cannes Lions 2022 (Clara Bui/Endpoints News)

#Can­nes­Lions2022: Why does di­ver­si­ty mat­ter in cre­ativ­i­ty? Olympic gold medal­ist and VM­LY&R ex­plain

CANNES – When Olympic gold medalist Tianna Bartoletta went to the hospital to deliver her son last year, she packed signed advanced directives and her will in her bag. Why? Her past experience with the healthcare system while training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

She was training in sprint and long jump — after winning two golds in 2016 and one in 2012 — when she began to notice changes in her period. While Bartoletta initially rationalized it as stress or training too hard, it kept getting worse — to the point where she had dizzy spells and episodes of passing out. So she went to the doctor.

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From left to right: Shaheed Peera, Ivor Horn, Sommer Bazuro and Pat Setji speak about diversity, equity and inclusion at Cannes Lions 2022 (Clara Bui/Endpoints News)

#Can­nes­Lions2022: Ad­dress­ing clin­i­cal tri­al di­ver­si­ty prob­lems will take 're­al work now,' pan­elists say

CANNES —  As a young scientist, Sommer Bazuro was looking at oncology data when she realized that the patient population was not at all representative of the demographics most likely to suffer and die from cancer.

Thinking it must be an isolated incident, she turned to peer-reviewed publications and began talking to oncologists, only to discover that a lack of diversity in clinical trials was par for the course. Black and Hispanic patients typically don’t even reach levels of representation consistent with the general population.

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GSK says its drug for chron­ic hep B could ‘lead to a func­tion­al cure’ — but will it be alone or in com­bi­na­tion?

GSK, newly branded and soon-to-be demerged, shared interim results from its Phase II trial on its chronic hepatitis B treatment, one that it says has the “potential to lead to a functional cure.”

At a presentation at the EASL International Liver Congress, GSK shared that in around 450 patients who received its hep B drug bepirovirsen for 24 weeks, just under 30% had hepatitis B surface antigen and viral DNA levels that were too low to detect.

De­spite a slow start to the year for deals, PwC pre­dicts a flur­ry of ac­tiv­i­ty com­ing up

Despite whispers of a busy year for M&A, deal activity in the pharma space is actually down 30% on a semi-annualized basis, according to PwC’s latest report on deal activity. But don’t rule out larger deals in the second half of the year, the consultants said.

PwC pharmaceutical and life sciences consulting solutions leader Glenn Hunzinger expects to see Big Pharma companies picking up earlier stage companies to try and fill pipeline gaps ahead of a slew of big patent cliffs. Though a bear market continues to maul the biotech sector, Hunzinger said recent deals indicate that pharma companies are still paying above current trading prices.