Ra­mona Se­queira to be­come PhRMA's first fe­male chair; McK­in­sey reach­es near­ly $574 mil­lion set­tle­ment over in­volve­ment in opi­oid cri­sis

PhRMA is get­ting its first fe­male board chair.

On Thurs­day, the trade as­so­ci­a­tion cel­e­brat­ed news that Ra­mona Se­queira, pres­i­dent of Take­da’s US busi­ness, has been named chair-elect. The for­mer board trea­sur­er is set to step up next year, leav­ing her role to No­var­tis CEO Vas Narasimhan.

“Over the past year, the pub­lic has wit­nessed first-hand, the ben­e­fits of in­no­v­a­tive sci­ence as our in­dus­try quick­ly and safe­ly worked to­geth­er to ad­dress one of the great­est health care chal­lenges of our time,” Se­queira said in a state­ment. “Yet, there con­tin­ues to be op­por­tu­ni­ty to im­prove pub­lic per­cep­tion of our in­dus­try.”

Se­queira said build­ing trust across the in­dus­try is a key pri­or­i­ty, “es­pe­cial­ly among com­mu­ni­ties who con­tin­ue to feel the dis­par­i­ties and in­equities of our health care sys­tem.”

The Mc­Mas­ter Uni­ver­si­ty grad has been with Take­da since 2015, where she leads the US busi­ness unit and glob­al port­fo­lio com­mer­cial­iza­tion. Be­fore that, she spent sev­er­al years at Eli Lil­ly in com­mer­cial lead­er­ship and gen­er­al man­age­ment roles span­ning Cana­da, Eu­rope and the US.

Se­queira will re­place Eli Lil­ly CEO David Ricks, who as­sumed his role as board chair back in De­cem­ber.

McK­in­sey reach­es near­ly $574 mil­lion set­tle­ment over in­volve­ment in opi­oid cri­sis

McK­in­sey & Com­pa­ny has agreed to pay near­ly $574 mil­lion to set­tle claims that it helped drug­mak­ers — in­clud­ing Oxy­Con­tin man­u­fac­tur­er Pur­due Phar­ma — ag­gres­sive­ly mar­ket opi­oid painkillers, spurring a dead­ly epi­dem­ic.

The set­tle­ment was reached with at­tor­neys gen­er­al from 47 states, five ter­ri­to­ries and DC. McK­in­sey still de­nies the al­le­ga­tions, and the set­tle­ment con­tains no ad­mis­sion of guilt.

Ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments, McK­in­sey sold mar­ket­ing ideas to Pur­due for more than 15 years, in­clud­ing be­fore and af­ter Pur­due’s 2007 guilty plea for felony mis­brand­ing. McK­in­sey al­leged­ly helped Pur­due de­vise plans to “tur­bocharge” sales un­der a strat­e­gy they called “Evolve 2 Ex­cel­lence,” which sig­nif­i­cant­ly in­creased Oxy­Con­tin sales, a doc­u­ment filed in Mass­a­chu­setts court states..

“Ear­ly in their re­la­tion­ship, McK­in­sey ad­vised Pur­due that it could in­crease Oxy­Con­tin sales through physi­cian tar­get­ing and spe­cif­ic mes­sag­ing to pre­scribers,” the doc­u­ment al­leges. “These McK­in­sey strate­gies formed the pil­lars of Pur­due’s sales tac­tics for the next fif­teen years.”

The set­tle­ment mon­ey will be used by the states to ad­dress the im­pact of the opi­oid epi­dem­ic. And McK­in­sey has reaf­firmed that it will no longer ad­vise clients on any opi­oid-re­lat­ed busi­ness any­where in the world.

“”We chose to re­solve this mat­ter in or­der to pro­vide fast, mean­ing­ful sup­port to com­mu­ni­ties across the Unit­ed States. We deeply re­gret that we did not ad­e­quate­ly ac­knowl­edge the trag­ic con­se­quences of the epi­dem­ic un­fold­ing in our com­mu­ni­ties. With this agree­ment, we hope to be part of the so­lu­tion to the opi­oid cri­sis in the U.S.,” McK­in­sey’s glob­al man­ag­ing part­ner Kevin Snead­er said in a state­ment.

Strides de­merges biotech busi­ness un­der Stelis 

Strides Phar­ma Sci­ence — a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny based in Ban­ga­lore, In­dia — is de­merg­ing its biotech busi­ness un­der Stelis Bio­phar­ma, it an­nounced on Thurs­day.

The board of di­rec­tors is form­ing a com­mit­tee to “ex­plore var­i­ous op­tions of val­ue dis­cov­ery,” in­clud­ing list­ing the busi­ness on a stand­alone ba­sis, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment.

For rea­son­ing, Strides said that Stelis has com­plet­ed its in­cu­ba­tion phase and is en­ter­ing a growth phase, for which it will need $100 mil­lion to fund pro­grams over the next three years.

“As Strides fo­cus­es on build­ing its Core Phar­ma busi­ness, it will not par­tic­i­pate in the new fund­ing round,” a state­ment read.

The Big Phar­ma dis­card pile; Lay­offs all around while some biotechs bid farewell; New Roche CEO as­sem­bles top team; 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.

With earnings seasons in full swing, we’ve listened in on all the calls so you don’t have to. But news is popping up from all corners, so make sure you check out our other updates, too.

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Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/Politico via AP Images)

In­fla­tion re­bates in­com­ing: Wyden calls on CMS to move quick­ly as No­var­tis CEO pledges re­ver­sal

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) this week sent a letter to the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeking an update on how and when new inflation-linked rebates will take effect for drugs that see major price spikes.

The newly signed Inflation Reduction Act requires manufacturers to pay a rebate to Medicare when they increase drug prices faster than the rate of inflation.

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Trodelvy notch­es a win in most com­mon form of breast can­cer

Following a promise last year to go “big and fast in breast cancer,” Gilead has secured a win for Trodelvy in the most common form.

The drug was approved to treat HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer patients who’ve already received endocrine-based therapy and at least two other systemic therapies for metastatic cancer, Gilead announced on Friday.

Trodelvy won its first indication in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer back in 2020, and has since added urothelial cancer to the list. HR-positive HER2-negative breast cancer accounts for roughly 70% of new breast cancer cases worldwide per year, according to senior VP of oncology clinical development Bill Grossman, and many patients develop resistance to endocrine-based therapies or worsen on chemotherapy.

Ei­sai cut­ting 91 jobs af­ter out-li­cense deal; Mer­ck touts first-line Keytru­da re­sults in en­dome­tri­al can­cer

Eisai will eliminate 91 after it out-licensed a seizure drug.

An Eisai spokesperson told Endpoints News that the change-up is tied to Fycompa, a seizure treatment that Florida rare disease biotech Catalyst Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay $160 million to Eisai in exchange for commercial rights back in December. The job cuts were originally flagged in a New Jersey state WARN notice.

The spokesperson said that Catalyst indicated interest in retaining up to 40 employees who work on Fycompa. Those who qualify will have an opportunity to interview with Catalyst.

Raymond Stevens, Structure Therapeutics CEO

Be­hind Fri­day's $161M IPO: A star sci­en­tist, GPCR drug dis­cov­ery and a plan to chal­lenge phar­ma in di­a­betes

What does it take to pull off a $161 million biotech IPO these days?

In Structure Therapeutics’ case, it means having a star scientist co-founder paired with the computational drug discovery company Schrödinger, $198 million in private funding from blue-chip investors, almost six years of research work on G protein-coupled receptors and a slate of oral, small-molecule drugs, with an eye on the huge and growing diabetes and weight-loss market.

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Af­ter 13 years, Ramy Mah­moud steps in­to CEO seat at Opti­nose; Ru­pert Vessey set to ex­it Bris­tol My­ers in Ju­ly

After 13 years as president and COO at Optinose, Ramy Mahmoud has stepped into a new role as its CEO. He is taking the place of Peter Miller, who stepped down earlier this week, though Miller is still staying with the company as a consultant.

In 2010, the two business partners joined Optinose to take it in a new direction, transforming it from a delivery platform to product company. They previously worked together at Johnson & Johnson, when Miller was president at Janssen and Mahmoud headed medical affairs. Miller said after he learned about Optinose, “I did what I always do, which is find people smarter than me to talk with about the idea. And the first person I called was Ramy … and I said, ‘Hey, Ramy, what do you think of this technology?’”

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Ma­gen­ta halts stem cell work and may sell it­self fol­low­ing pa­tient death, clin­i­cal hold

Magenta Therapeutics said it is halting work on its stem cell transplant drug pipeline and may sell itself, a week after the company reported the death of a patient in an early stage trial of its antibody-drug conjugate.

The Cambridge, MA-based company said it will conduct a “review of strategic alternatives,” and that could include an “acquisition, merger, business combination, or other transaction.”

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Giovanni Caforio, Bristol Myers Squibb CEO (Nicolas Messyasz/Sipa via AP Images)

Bris­tol My­ers turns at­ten­tion to new prod­ucts in wake of Revlim­id patent loss

Bristol Myers Squibb CEO Giovanni Caforio is shifting his focus to newer products as generic sales continue to gnaw at the company’s blockbuster myeloma drug Revlimid.

Both Revlimid and Abraxane sales took a dive last year thanks to generic rivals, BMS reported in its Q4 and full-year results on Thursday. As a result, Q4 sales dipped 5% and full-year sales remained flat. However, Caforio sees a silver lining — or rather, two of them.

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Lina Khan, FTC chair (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)

FTC makes an ex­am­ple of GoodRx, bans dis­counter from shar­ing pri­vate health da­ta with ad­ver­tis­ers

Prescription drug discount provider GoodRx will no longer be allowed to share its users’ sensitive health data with advertisers after the Federal Trade Commission charged the online coupon provider with failing to notify consumers of such disclosures to Facebook, Google, and other companies.

GoodRx agreed to pay a $1.5 million civil penalty for violating the FTC’s Health Breach Notification Rule after the FTC said it repeatedly violated a 2017 promise to not share sensitive personal health information. The FTC alleged that the company shared users’ prescription medications and personal health conditions with third party advertisers and platforms like Facebook, Google, Criteo, Branch and Twilio.