[via AP Images]

Pur­due threat­ens to walk away from set­tle­ment, asks to pay em­ploy­ees mil­lions in bonus­es

There are two up­dates on the law­suit against Pur­due Phar­ma over its role in fu­el­ing the opi­oid epi­dem­ic, as the Sack­ler fam­i­ly threat­ens to walk away from their pledge to pay out $3 bil­lion if a bank­rupt­cy judge does not stop out­stand­ing state law­suits against them. At the same time, the com­pa­ny has asked per­mis­sion to pay mil­lions in bonus­es to se­lect em­ploy­ees.

Pur­due filed for chap­ter 11 bank­rupt­cy this week as part of its signed res­o­lu­tion to over 2,000 law­suits. The deal would see the Sack­ler fam­i­ly that owns Pur­due give $3 bil­lion from their per­son­al wealth and the com­pa­ny turned in­to a trust com­mit­ted to curb­ing and re­vers­ing over­dos­es.

But the back­lash to the pro­posed set­tle­ment was al­most im­me­di­ate, with Penn­syl­va­nia At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Josh Shapiro call­ing it a “slap in the face” to fam­i­lies of over­dose vic­tims. AGs from Mass­a­chu­setts, New York, New Jer­sey and Con­necti­cut al­so did not sign the set­tle­ment.

“It al­lows the Sack­ler fam­i­ly to walk away bil­lion­aires and ad­mit no wrong­do­ing,” Shapiro said in a state­ment.

The at­tor­ney gen­er­als asked the fam­i­ly to sell its British com­pa­ny Mundiphar­ma im­me­di­ate­ly, stop cre­at­ing drugs for in­ter­na­tion­al mar­kets and com­mit an­oth­er $1.5 bil­lion.

Now the fam­i­ly is say­ing that if a judge does not halt law­suits from those states for 270 days, they will pull their com­mit­ment.  Lawyers said the com­pa­ny is spend­ing $5 mil­lion per week in le­gal fees that could in­stead go to claimants and the pub­lic if lit­i­ga­tion is stopped.

On Tues­day, Pur­due re­quest­ed per­mis­sion to pay $34 mil­lion in bonus­es to se­lect em­ploy­ees, the Wash­ing­ton Post re­port­ed, say­ing they were vi­tal to keep­ing the com­pa­ny strong as it con­verts in­to a pub­lic trust.

But Con­necti­cut At­tor­ney Gen­er­al William Tong ob­ject­ed in court to the pro­pos­al, say­ing the mon­ey should go to vic­tims. And the re­quest drew larg­er con­dem­na­tion, in­clud­ing from Sen­a­tor Joe Manchin, whose home state of West Vir­ginia has by some mea­sures been the hit the hard­est by the opi­oid epi­dem­ic.

Al­though J&J has al­ready been found guilty and fined by an Ok­la­homa judge for its role in the cri­sis and oth­er com­pa­nies face law­suits, Pur­due is of­ten blamed for start­ing the epi­dem­ic in the 90s through its re­vival of oxy­codone in the form of Oxy­Con­tin and the ag­gres­sive and al­leged­ly mis­lead­ing sales tac­tics it used to mar­ket the drug to doc­tors, which in­clud­ed the claim that con­cerns about opi­oid ad­dic­tion were overblown.

IDC: Life Sci­ences Firms Must Em­brace Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion Now

Pre-pandemic, the life sciences industry had settled into a pattern. The average drug took 12 years and $2.9 billion to bring to market, and it was an acceptable mode of operations, according to Nimita Limaye, Research Vice President for Life Sciences R&D Strategy and Technology at IDC.

COVID-19 changed that, and served as a proof-of-concept for how technology can truly help life sciences companies succeed and grow, Limaye said. She recently spoke about industry trends at Egnyte’s Life Sciences Summit 2022. You should watch the entire session, free and on-demand, but here’s a brief recap of why she’s urging life sciences companies to embrace digital transformation.

Martin Landray, Protas CEO (Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News)

Those big bil­lion-dol­lar PhI­II stud­ies? Mar­tin Lan­dray says they can be done for a tiny frac­tion of the cost

Martin Landray knows what controversy in clinical drug development feels like, from first-hand experience.

Landray was the chief architect of RECOVERY, a study that pitted a variety of drugs against Covid-19. And he offered some landmark data that would help push dexamethasone out into broader use as a cheap treatment, while helping ice hydroxy’s reputation as a clear misfire.

“Lots of people told us we shouldn’t use it,” Landray says about dexamethasone and Covid-19. “It was dangerous. We shouldn’t even do a trial. They also cared about hydroxychloroquine and lots of people said we shouldn’t do a trial because it must be used. I’ve got the letters from both sets of people.”

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FDA ap­proves one of the prici­est new treat­ments of all time — blue­bird's gene ther­a­py for be­ta tha­lassemia

The FDA on Wednesday approved the first gene therapy for a chronic condition — bluebird bio’s new Zynteglo (beti-cel) as a potentially curative treatment for those with transfusion-dependent thalassemia.

The thumbs-up from the FDA follows a unanimous adcomm vote in June, with outside experts pointing to extraordinary efficacy, with 89% of subjects with TDT who received beti-cel having achieved transfusion independence.

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Geoffrey Porges, new Schrödinger CFO

Long­time an­a­lyst Ge­of­frey Porges de­parts SVB to lead fi­nances at a drug dis­cov­ery shop

Geoffrey Porges has ended his two-decade run as a biotech analyst, as the former SVB Securities vice chair began as CFO of Schrödinger on Thursday.

The long-running analyst, who previously headed up vaccines marketing at Merck before the turn of the millennium, will lead the financial operations of the 700-employee company as Schrödinger broadens its focus from a drug discovery partner to also building out an in-house pipeline, with clinical trial No. 1 set to begin next quarter.

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Bayer's first DTC ad campaign for chronic kidney disease drug Kerendia spells out its benefits

Bay­er aims to sim­pli­fy the com­plex­i­ties of CKD with an ABC-themed ad cam­paign

Do you know the ABCs of CKD in T2D? Bayer’s first ad campaign for Kerendia tackles the complexity of chronic kidney disease with a play on the acronym (CKD) and its connection to type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Kerendia was approved last year as the first and only non-steroidal mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist to treat CKD in people with type 2 diabetes.

In the TV commercial launched this week, A is for awareness, B is for belief and C is for cardiovascular, explained in the ad as awareness of the connection between type 2 and kidney disease, belief that something can be done about it, and cardiovascular events that may be reduced with treatment.

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James Mock, incoming CFO at Moderna

Mod­er­na taps new CFO from PerkinElmer af­ter for­mer one-day CFO oust­ed

When Moderna hired a new CFO last year,  it didn’t expect to see him gone after only one day. Today the biotech named his — likely much more vetted — replacement.

The mRNA company put out word early Wednesday that after the untimely departure of then brand-new CFO Jorge Gomez, it has now found a replacement in James Mock, the soon-to-be former CFO at diagnostics and analytics company PerkinElmer.

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Joe Jonas (Photo by Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

So­lo Jonas broth­er car­ries Merz's new tune in Botox ri­val cam­paign

As the lyrics of his band’s 2019 pop-rock single suggest, Joe Jonas is only human — and that means even he gets frown lines. The 33-year-old singer-songwriter is Merz’s newest celebrity brand partner for its Botox rival Xeomin, as medical aesthetics brands target a younger audience.

Merz kicked off its “Beauty on Your Terms” campaign on Tuesday, featuring the Jonas brother in a video ad for its double-filtered anti-wrinkle injection Xeomin.

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Marisol Peron, Genmab SVP of communications and corporate affairs

Gen­mab launch­es cor­po­rate cam­paign am­pli­fy­ing its ‘knock your socks off’ an­ti­bod­ies

Genmab often talks about its “knock-your-socks-off” antibodies — and now the term is getting its own logo and corporate campaign.

The teal and purple logo for the acronym KYSO — Genmab pronounces it “ky-so” — debuts on Wednesday and comes on the heels of Genmab’s newly announced 2030 vision. That aspiration aims to expand Genmab’s drug development beyond oncology to include other serious diseases, while also doubling down on its own drug development.

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President Joe Biden signs the Democrats' landmark climate change and health care bill. From L-R: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL). (Susan Walsh/AP Images)

Pres­i­dent Biden signs ma­jor drug pric­ing re­forms in­to law: What's com­ing for bio­phar­ma?

President Joe Biden yesterday afternoon signed into law historic, decades-in-the-making new drug pricing reforms as part of a wider reconciliation bill that will likely take a chunk out of biopharma companies’ profits for some blockbusters just prior to generic or biosimilar competition.

The partisan bill (all Democrats in the House and Senate voted for it, and all Republicans voted against it) includes not only Medicare price negotiations — which won’t kick off until 2026, leaving ample time for a legal challenge — but mandatory inflation-related rebates, and a $2,000 annual cap on what seniors’ pay for their prescription drugs.

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