Roche, Pfiz­er top list of ESG lead­ers in pa­tient group­s' view, but many still think phar­mas can do bet­ter

The rise of phar­ma en­vi­ron­men­tal, so­cial and gov­er­nance (ESG) ef­forts in the past two years has been me­te­oric as in­vestors turn their at­ten­tion to sus­tain­able fund­ing. How­ev­er, in­vestors aren’t the on­ly ones watch­ing. Pa­tients are be­gin­ning to tune in­to phar­mas’ ESG promis­es too.

Pa­tient ad­vo­ca­cy groups fa­mil­iar with ESG re­gard it as an im­por­tant is­sue and want to be in­clud­ed in help­ing phar­ma com­pa­nies set ESG poli­cies and tar­gets, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port from Pa­tientView. That’s quite dif­fer­ent from what the in­vest­ment com­mu­ni­ty wants across a va­ri­ety of Gart­ner’s de­fined fi­nan­cial, com­pet­i­tive, strate­gic and per­cep­tion goals.

Alex Wyke

“Pa­tient groups want en­gage­ment on ESG and have broad­er and more de­mand­ing tar­gets and ac­tiv­i­ties in mind com­pared with in­vestors,” Pa­tientView CEO Alex Wyke said in an email.

The re­port ranks the phar­ma com­pa­nies that are do­ing the best at adopt­ing and com­mu­ni­cat­ing an ESG agen­da in pa­tient groups’ opin­ions. Roche fin­ished at the top, fol­lowed by Pfiz­er, Vi­iV Health­care, Gilead Sci­ences and Hori­zon Ther­a­peu­tics among groups that are fa­mil­iar with them.

The re­sults were sim­i­lar to pa­tient groups’ rank­ing in Pa­tientView’s over­all as­sess­ment of phar­ma cor­po­rate rep­u­ta­tion this year, but that’s not sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing the rep­u­ta­tion da­ta re­flects what pa­tient groups want from phar­ma, over­lap­ping with more spe­cif­ic ESG ex­pec­ta­tions, Wyke said.

While recog­ni­tion is not ubiq­ui­tous across pa­tient groups — 55% of the 1,500 groups sur­veyed nev­er heard of ESG mea­sures and an­oth­er few “don’t care” about the is­sue — that doesn’t mean phar­ma com­pa­nies shouldn’t be pay­ing at­ten­tion.

“Phar­ma should care what pa­tient groups think if they wish to be pa­tient cen­tric,” she said. “In ad­di­tion, there is a need to have ESG strate­gies that don’t harm health and health­care.”

She point­ed out a case study on aerosol asth­ma in­halers in the UK in­clud­ed in the re­port. Aerosol pro­pel­lants have been rec­og­nized as con­trib­u­tors to glob­al warm­ing, how­ev­er, there’s an­oth­er con­sid­er­a­tion for pa­tients when it comes to chang­ing up med­i­cines. A well-known pa­tient group called Asth­ma + Lung UK is rais­ing con­cerns about switch­ing in­haler types and the po­ten­tial to “com­pro­mise the qual­i­ty of care for pa­tients with res­pi­ra­to­ry con­di­tions.”

Even as some pa­tient groups are just learn­ing about ESG, the back­lash is be­gin­ning to bub­ble up in the in­vest­ment com­mu­ni­ty. There are crit­i­cisms of to­kenism and even some ad­vo­cat­ing for the re­tire­ment of the term.

ESG was first coined in 2004, but its pop­u­lar­i­ty surged in in­vest­ing over the past three years. Morn­ingstar es­ti­mat­ed more than $500 bil­lion in­vest­ed in ESG-re­lat­ed funds last year, mark­ing a whop­ping 55% year-over-year growth in ESG as­sets un­der man­age­ment.

In­vestors’ con­cerns cen­ter on the am­bi­gu­i­ty of the term with sev­er­al cat­e­gories mashed un­der one um­brel­la, and the po­ten­tial to mis­lead in­vestors with dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tions around the non-fi­nan­cial mea­sures.

In a re­cent Fi­nan­cial Times ar­ti­cle, lead­ing sus­tain­able in­vest­ing pi­o­neer Ian Simm said it’s time to “di­al down or even stop us­ing the phrase ESG.” He added that in­stead in­vestors should push for com­pa­nies to be clear about what they mean when they use it, and look for a bet­ter way to la­bel those con­ver­sa­tions.

MedTech clinical trials require a unique regulatory and study design approach and so engaging a highly experienced CRO to ensure compliance and accurate data across all stages is critical to development milestones.

In­no­v­a­tive MedTech De­mands Spe­cial­ist Clin­i­cal Tri­al Reg­u­la­to­ry Af­fairs and De­sign

Avance Clinical is the Australian CRO for international biotechs providing world-class clinical research services with FDA-accepted data across all phases. With Avance Clinical, biotech companies can leverage Australia’s supportive clinical trials environment which includes no IND requirement plus a 43.5% Government incentive rebate on clinical spend. The CRO has been delivering clinical drug development services for international biotechs for FDA and EMA regulatory approval for the past 24 years. The company has been recognized for the past two consecutive years with the prestigious Frost & Sullivan CRO Best Practices Award and a finalist in Informa Pharma’s Best CRO award for 2022.

Ted Love, Global Blood Therapeutics CEO

Up­dat­ed: Pfiz­er scoops up Glob­al Blood Ther­a­peu­tics and its sick­le cell ther­a­pies for $5.4B

Pfizer is dropping $5.4 billion to acquire Global Blood Therapeutics.

Just ahead of the weekend, word got out that Pfizer was close to clinching a $5 billion buyout — albeit with other potential buyers still at the table. The pharma giant, flush with cash from Covid-19 vaccine sales, apparently got out on top.

The deal immediately swells Pfizer’s previously tiny sickle cell disease portfolio from just a Phase I program to one with an approved drug, Oxbryta, plus a whole pipeline that, if all approved, the company believes could make for a $3 billion franchise at peak.

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BREAK­ING: Math­ai Mam­men makes an abrupt ex­it as head of the big R&D group at J&J

In an after-the-bell shocker, J&J announced Monday evening that Mathai Mammen has abruptly exited J&J as head of its top-10 R&D group.

Recruited from Merck 5 years ago, where the soft spoken Mammen was being groomed as the successor to Roger Perlmutter, he had been one of the top-paid R&D chiefs in biopharma. His group spent $12 billion last year on drug development, putting it in the top 5 in the industry.

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No­vavax shares shred­ded as Covid vac­cine sales fall more than 90% in Q2

Months after Novavax celebrated its first profitable quarter as a commercial company, the Gaithersburg, MD-based company is back in the red.

Sales for Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine slipped to $55 million last quarter, down from $586 million in Q1, CEO Stanley Erck revealed on Monday after market close. The company’s stock $NVAX plummeted more than 32% in after-hours trading.

Upon kicking off the call with analysts and investors, Erck addressed the elephant in the room:

Uğur Şahin, BioNTech CEO (Kay Nietfeld/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

De­spite falling Covid-19 sales, BioN­Tech main­tains '22 sales guid­ance

While Pfizer raked in almost $28 billion last quarter, its Covid-19 vaccine partner BioNTech reported a rise in total dose orders but a drop in sales.

The German biotech reported over $3.2 billion in revenue in Q2 on Monday, down from more than $6.7 billion in Q1, in part due to falling Covid sales. While management said last quarter that they anticipated a Covid sales drop — CEO Uğur Şahin said at the time that “the pandemic situation is still very much uncertain” — Q2 sales still missed consensus by 14%.

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Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca CEO (David Zorrakino/Europa Press via AP Images)

As­traZeneca and Dai­ichi Sankyo sprint to mar­ket af­ter FDA clears En­her­tu in just two weeks

Regulators didn’t keep AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo waiting long at all for their latest Enhertu approval.

The partners pulled a win on Friday in HER2-low breast cancer patients who’ve already failed on chemotherapy, less than two weeks after its supplemental BLA was accepted. While this isn’t the FDA’s fastest approval — Bristol Myers Squibb won an OK for its blockbuster checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo in just five days back in March — it comes well ahead of Enhertu’s original Q4 PDUFA date.

Sen­ate Dems cling to a sim­ple ma­jor­i­ty to pass some of the biggest drug pric­ing re­forms ever

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America — and their fleet of drug industry lobbyists on Capitol Hill — are known for never losing.

Whenever a big drug pricing bill comes up, an army of the industry group’s lobbyists descend onto the Hill and either smash it outright or dismantle it piece by piece.

But for perhaps the largest drug pricing reforms ever enacted, after more than a decade of Congress trying and failing to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, those same lobbyists and their biopharma clients were dealt a stunning blow on Sunday afternoon.

Ab­b­Vie sur­veys emo­tion­al im­pact of chron­ic leukemia con­di­tion, finds 'roller coast­er' of emo­tions

Rare diseases often have more than just physical effects on patients — especially when it comes to chronic conditions. In the case of the rare slow-growing blood cancer chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), AbbVie wanted to try to assess the mental and emotional toll on patients.

So it surveyed more than 300 CLL patients, caregivers and physicians. While each group differed in how they felt — caregivers overwhelmingly (81%) felt positive about their role, for instance — patients described a “roller coaster” of emotions traversing diagnosis to treatment to remission and even relapse for some.

Anna Protopapas, Mersana CEO

In $1.36B biobuck deal with GSK, Mer­sana touts 'biggest pre­clin­i­cal ADC deal ever'

Days after Enhertu reeled in another FDA nod, with the first-ever green light for HER2-low breast cancer, another antibody drug conjugate biotech claims it has secured the largest preclinical ADC pact to date for a single asset.

AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo made waves with their nearly $7 billion collaboration back in spring 2019, but at that point, Enhertu was already nearing the FDA’s doors with clinical data. The latest ADC tie-up to enter the biopharma fray centers around a preclinical asset, Mersana Therapeutics’ XMT-2056.