Tryggvi Thorgeirsson, Sidekick Health co-founder and CEO

Pfiz­er's dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics part­ner is back, this time in a new col­lab with Eli Lil­ly

On the heels of a com­mer­cial launch with Pfiz­er, an Ice­landic dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics biotech is back with an­oth­er Big Phar­ma col­lab­o­ra­tion.

Side­kick Health, less than a month af­ter an­nounc­ing a deal with Pfiz­er for atopic der­mati­tis, re­vealed Thurs­day it’s adding an­oth­er dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics project to its ar­se­nal in con­junc­tion with a Big Phar­ma: Eli Lil­ly, for pa­tients with breast can­cer. Pfiz­er and Side­kick had re­cent­ly launched their fourth of five planned dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics prod­ucts af­ter al­ready start­ing pro­grams in ul­cer­a­tive col­i­tis, Crohn’s dis­ease and rheuma­toid arthri­tis.

Side­kick CEO and co-founder Tryg­gvi Thorgeirs­son did not com­ment on the fi­nan­cial terms of the deal.

Thorgeirs­son tells End­points News that Side­kick and Lil­ly first got con­nect­ed af­ter be­ing in­tro­duced to each oth­er at a med­ical con­fer­ence, and while Thorgeirs­son didn’t spec­i­fy the ex­act time­line, he said the deal has been in the mak­ing for a while.

The col­lab­o­ra­tion will mark the first phase of Side­kick and Lil­ly’s part­ner­ship, ini­tial­ly fo­cus­ing on Ger­many and then po­ten­tial­ly look­ing at oth­er in­ter­na­tion­al mar­kets and oth­er ther­a­peu­tic ar­eas. Side­kick said in a state­ment that the ex­pan­sion in­to breast can­cer will be tai­lored to sup­port the needs of pa­tients with­in Lil­ly’s “on­col­o­gy treat­ment pro­grams.” Side­kick al­so said the ex­pan­sion is al­so not on­ly for breast can­cer pa­tients, but for pa­tients on an as yet-un­spec­i­fied, “brand­ed Lil­ly med­ica­tion.”

Side­kick’s plat­form is de­signed to tar­get lifestyle man­age­ment, uti­liz­ing games and be­hav­ioral mod­i­fiers to dri­ve en­gage­ment and en­cour­age pa­tients to make bet­ter health­care de­ci­sions. The plat­form is built off of “cod­ed be­hav­ioral fre­quen­cy da­ta an­a­lyt­ics” — with al­go­rithms tak­ing in da­ta from user be­hav­ior, pref­er­ences, pa­tient-re­port­ed out­comes and care man­ag­er da­ta to self-im­prove and bet­ter per­son­al­ize the sup­port the plat­form pro­vides.

How that plays out in breast can­cer, ac­cord­ing to Thorgeirs­son, is look­ing at “key pain points” that peo­ple with breast can­cer deal with on a reg­u­lar or even dai­ly ba­sis.

“And that’s, of course, a whole range of things. So I mean, in breast can­cer, it can be pain, or nau­sea, or anx­i­ety, or lack of un­der­stand­ing of your treat­ment, and lack of ad­her­ence to your treat­ment. Al­so, very of­ten, kind of this feel­ing be­ing alone, not be­ing ful­ly con­nect­ed with your care team,” the CEO said.

He added that be­yond these sorts of pain points, it’s an over­all fo­cus on phys­i­cal and men­tal health along­side lifestyle fac­tors, such as phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ty, di­et, sleep and med­ica­tion ad­her­ence.

Lil­ly’s chief dig­i­tal of­fi­cer Rich Carter said in a state­ment that the col­lab­o­ra­tion will com­bine “Lil­ly’s ex­per­tise in dig­i­tal health and med­i­cine de­vel­op­ment with Side­kick’s deep knowl­edge in be­hav­ioral re­search and dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics to work to­wards bet­ter out­comes for peo­ple with breast can­cer. This plat­form will al­low us to ex­tend the reach of our dig­i­tal so­lu­tions and bring on-de­mand and in-the-home so­lu­tions to pa­tients when and where they need them most.”

The launch is sched­uled for next month, and while “next steps for col­lab­o­ra­tion are be­ing con­sid­ered,” specifics re­main undis­closed.

Lina Gugucheva, NewAmsterdam Pharma CBO

Phar­ma group bets up to $1B-plus on the PhI­II res­ur­rec­tion of a once dead-and-buried LDL drug

Close to 5 years after then-Amgen R&D chief Sean Harper tamped the last spade of dirt on the last broadly focused CETP cholesterol drug — burying their $300 million upfront and the few remaining hopes for the class with it — the therapy has been fully resurrected. And today, the NewAmsterdam Pharma crew that did the Lazarus treatment on obicetrapib is taking another big step on the comeback trail with a €1 billion-plus regional licensing deal, complete with close to $150 million in upfront cash.

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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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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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Years af­ter link­ing arms with Bris­tol My­ers and both Mer­cks, Sutro finds its lat­est part­ner in Tokyo

Astellas and Sutro Biopharma are linking arms on a new field of antibody-drug conjugates that they hope will improve upon existing cancer immunotherapies.

The Tokyo pharma will dole out $90 million in cash for the collaboration, the companies said Monday afternoon. That upfront payment will extend the South San Francisco biotech’s runway from late 2023 into the first half of 2024, Cowen analysts noted.

Scoop: Roche scraps one of two schiz­o­phre­nia PhII tri­als af­ter fail­ing the pri­ma­ry end­point

Roche has terminated one of two Phase II trials testing its drug ralmitaront in patients with schizophrenia, the Big Pharma confirmed to Endpoints News.

The study was terminated last month, according to a June 22 update to the registry on clinicaltrials.gov. Begun in September 2020, the trial was looking at ralmitaront in patients with acute schizophrenia. The trial enrolled 286 patients out of an originally planned 308.

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Merdad Parsey, Gilead CMO

Four months af­ter CRL due to con­t­a­m­i­nant wor­ries, Gilead re­turns to FDA for next-gen HIV drug

Just shy of four months ago, Gilead’s next-gen HIV drug candidate lenacapavir got hit with a CRL over CMC issues involving the type of vials planned for use. Now, the pharma is headed back to the FDA for round two.

Gilead announced Monday afternoon that it had refiled its NDA submission filled with new CMC data after the FDA essentially balked at borosilicate glass vials, originally used for the non-oral form of lenacapavir. The drug candidate, which recently won a positive opinion from Europe’s CHMP, is being developed for HIV-1 infection “in heavily treatment-experienced (HTE) people with multi-drug resistant (MDR) HIV-1 infection.”

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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A Mer­ck part­ner is sucked in­to the fi­nan­cial quag­mire as key lender calls in a note

Another biotech standing on shaky financial legs has fallen victim to the bears.

Merck partner 4D Pharma has reported that a key lender, Oxford Finance, shoved the UK company into administration after calling in a $14 million loan they couldn’t immediately make good on. Trading in their stock was halted with a market cap that had fallen to a mere £30 million.

“Despite the very difficult prevailing market conditions,” 4D reported on Friday, the biotech had been making progress on finding some new financing and turned to Oxford with an alternative late on Thursday and then again Friday morning.

Matt Gline, Roivant CEO (John Sciulli/Getty Images for GLG)

Roivant chops sick­le cell gene ther­a­py, der­ma­tol­ogy drugs to fo­cus on 'high­er val­ue pro­ject­s'

Roivant is sweeping a suite of drugs, including a gene therapy for sickle cell disease already in the clinic, out of its pipeline.

Six programs from four of its “vants” are being wound down as part of “a company-wide cost optimization and pipeline reprioritization initiative to reduce our expected operating expenses and prioritize our capital resources.”

When reached by Endpoints News, a spokesperson said, “We don’t anticipate a material reduction in headcount but we will likely reassign some folks to higher value projects as part of winding down specific programs.”

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