Albert Bourla (Photographer: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Pfiz­er will not make fu­ture in­vest­ments in Rus­sia but stops short of sev­er­ing all busi­ness ties, Bourla says

While many cor­po­ra­tions have end­ed their ties to Rus­sia as it con­tin­ues to wage war on Ukraine, Big Phar­ma has been large­ly ab­sent from its ranks. That changed — slight­ly — on Wednes­day with a new de­c­la­ra­tion from Pfiz­er CEO Al­bert Bourla.

Speak­ing on CBSFace the Na­tion pro­gram Wednes­day, Bourla said Pfiz­er will end plans for fu­ture in­vest­ment in Rus­sia while not cut­ting ties com­plete­ly. Bourla ar­gued that Pfiz­er still needs to pro­vide Russ­ian pa­tients with life­sav­ing drugs, re­gard­less of their gov­ern­ment’s ac­tions.

“How can you say I’m not go­ing to send the can­cer med­i­cines to Rus­sians be­cause of what they did?” Bourla told Face the Na­tion’s Mar­garet Bren­nan.

The im­pact of a full break would not af­fect Pfiz­er’s bot­tom line all that much, Bourla added, be­cause less than half of one per­cent of the com­pa­ny’s rev­enue comes from Rus­sia. Pfiz­er man­u­fac­tures some treat­ments in the coun­try but does not ex­port them.

As Rus­sia con­tin­ues its in­va­sion of Ukraine, com­mit­ting po­ten­tial war crimes in the process with the bomb­ings of res­i­den­tial ar­eas and a ma­ter­ni­ty hos­pi­tal, West­ern com­pa­nies have come un­der pres­sure to end their busi­ness re­la­tion­ships. The grow­ing cho­rus has come not on­ly from the White House and Con­gress but from in­di­vid­u­als as well.

One “naughty or nice” list, in par­tic­u­lar, com­piled by Yale pro­fes­sor Jef­frey Son­nen­feld, went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia af­ter Rus­sia’s ini­tial wave of at­tacks. The pres­sure mount­ed as the war con­tin­ued, and some com­pa­nies that ini­tial­ly were re­luc­tant to pull out — such as Mc­Don­ald’s, Star­bucks and Co­ca-Co­la — sev­ered ties ear­li­er this week.

Gold­man Sachs al­so be­came the first big Amer­i­can bank to say it would leave Rus­sia on Thurs­day, ac­cord­ing to a list com­piled by the New York Times.

But as more cor­po­ra­tions re­think their re­la­tion­ships, Big Phar­ma has not en­tire­ly fol­lowed suit with many life sci­ences com­pa­nies re­it­er­at­ing Bourla’s point of need­ing to pro­vide med­i­cines to pa­tients. The Eu­ro­pean Fed­er­a­tion of Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal In­dus­tries and As­so­ci­a­tions, a lob­by­ing group com­prised of com­pa­nies like Roche, Sanofi and No­vo Nordisk, ar­gued the same Thurs­day.

“Our first pri­or­i­ty is to en­sure that med­i­cines reach the pa­tients that need them in Ukraine, in the neigh­bour­ing EU Mem­ber States, in Rus­sia and in oth­er coun­tries where ac­cess to med­i­cines may be neg­a­tive­ly im­pact­ed,” the group wrote in a state­ment.

But Phar­ma hasn’t been sit­ting idly by, with many in­di­vid­ual com­pa­nies pledg­ing hu­man­i­tar­i­an aid to Ukraine and de­nounc­ing the Russ­ian in­va­sion. Glax­o­SmithK­line has stopped ad­ver­tis­ing in Rus­sia and com­mit­ted more than $4 mil­lion to var­i­ous char­i­ta­ble ef­forts, while As­traZeneca, Boehringer In­gel­heim and Mer­ck KGaA have do­nat­ed more than $1 mil­lion each.

Pfiz­er took a step fur­ther with Bourla’s com­ments on Wednes­day, and it re­mains to be seen whether oth­er Big Phar­ma com­pa­nies will join on.

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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Pearl Huang, Dunad Therapeutics CEO (Ken Richardson, PR Newswire)

Long­time biotech leader Pearl Huang takes the reins as CEO of No­var­tis-backed up­start

It has only been a few months since Pearl Huang exited the top seat at Cygnal Therapeutics, but now she’s back at the helm of another biotech.

After taking a few months off — passing an exam in that time to get her captain’s license from the US Coast Guard — she’s been named CEO of Dunad Therapeutics, a biotech focused on developing a small molecule covalent therapies that was founded in 2020. Huang told Endpoints News that two factors attracted her to going back to the c-suite: the company’s technology and its co-founders.

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Scoop: Boehringer qui­et­ly shut­ters a PhII for one of its top drugs — now un­der re­view

Boehringer Ingelheim has quietly shut down a small Phase II study for one of its lead drugs.

The private pharma player confirmed to Endpoints News that it had shuttered a study testing spesolimab as a therapy for Crohn’s patients suffering from bowel obstructions.

A spokesperson for the company tells Endpoints:

Taking into consideration the current therapeutic landscape and ongoing clinical development programs, Boehringer Ingelheim decided to discontinue our program in Crohn’s disease. It is important to note that this decision is not based on any safety findings in the clinical trials.

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Laurence Reid, Decibel CEO

Still in pre­clin­i­cal test­ing for ear gene ther­a­pies, Deci­bel touts small snap­shot of chemo-in­duced hear­ing loss drug

Though Decibel Therapeutics has largely pivoted toward gene therapies for the inner ear, its lead clinical candidate simply aims to protect cancer patients from chemotherapy-induced hearing loss. On Tuesday, the biotech presented its first efficacy data for the program, and execs like what they see.

Decibel reported interim results from a Phase Ib study showing the experimental drug, dubbed DB-020, largely protected a small group of patients from losing their hearing. Researchers used a particularly unique study design, administering the compound in one of each patients’ ears before they received cisplatin chemotherapy and placebo in the other.

Alex­ion puts €65M for­ward to strength­en its po­si­tion on the Emer­ald Isle

Ireland has been on a roll in 2022, with several large pharma companies announcing multimillion-euro projects. Now AstraZeneca’s rare disease outfit Alexion is looking to get in on the action.

Alexion on Friday announced a €65 million ($68.8 million) investment in new and enhanced capabilities across two sites in the country, including at College Park in the Dublin suburb of Blanchardstown and the Monksland Industrial Park in the central Irish town of Athlone, according to the Industrial Development Agency of Ireland.

Fed­er­al judge de­nies Bris­tol My­er­s' at­tempt to avoid Cel­gene share­hold­er law­suit

Some Celgene shareholders aren’t happy with how Bristol Myers Squibb’s takeover went down.

On Friday, a New York federal judge ruled that they have a case against the pharma giant, denying a request to dismiss allegations that it purposely slow-rolled Breyanzi’s approval to avoid paying out $6.4 billion in contingent value rights (CVR).

When Bristol Myers put down $74 billion to scoop up Celgene back in 2019, liso-cel — the CAR-T lymphoma treatment now marketed as Breyanzi — was supposedly one of the centerpieces of the deal. After going back and forth on negotiations for about six months, BMS put $6.4 billion into a CVR agreement that required an FDA approval for Zeposia, Breyanzi and Abecma, each by an established date.

Ben Zimmer, Priovant CEO

Roivant un­veils lat­est spin­out as Pfiz­er en­trusts JAK1/TYK2 to Pri­o­vant

In November, Pfizer disclosed it’s spun out the Phase II dual JAK1/TYK2 inhibitor to a startup formed in collaboration with an unnamed, experienced partner.

We now know who the partner is. And as Pfizer and Roivant officially take the wraps off Priovant Therapeutics, the companies reveal that they have started two registrational trials of the drug, brepocitinib, as part of a broader plan to develop a big, first-in-class franchise spanning multiple orphan and specialty autoimmune diseases.

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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Am­gen takes next step with its Chi­na am­bi­tions, out-li­cens­ing drugs to Fo­s­un Phar­ma

In a bid to increase its market share in China, Amgen has agreed to a partnership with a Shanghai biotech — a collaboration and out-licensing agreement for two of its drugs.

Amgen and Fosun Pharma announced a deal Monday in a bid to increase Amgen’s presence in the country. The stated goal so far is to commercialize Amgen’s blockbuster psoriasis drug Otezla alongside Parsabiv, a drug for secondary hyperparathyroidism in adults with chronic kidney disease and on a specific type of dialysis.