Sanofi is jet­ti­son­ing its in­fec­tious dis­ease unit to Evotec — hand­ing over cash, staff and a pipeline

Sanofi is spin­ning out its in­fec­tious dis­ease re­search unit to Evotec, the Ger­man con­tract de­vel­op­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion known for its deal savvi­ness. And the Paris-based phar­ma gi­ant $SNY — suf­fer­ing from a long drought that has blight­ed its in­ter­nal R&D ops — is hand­ing over €60 mil­lion (around $74 mil­lion) up­front for the op­er­a­tion along with con­tin­ued fi­nanc­ing, 10 ex­per­i­men­tal in­fec­tious dis­ease projects and 100 of its staffers to get it all go­ing.

Wern­er Lan­thaler

A new in­no­va­tion plat­form will open near Ly­on, France. Evotec will run the place, but the phar­ma part­ner re­tains op­tions to de­vel­op and com­mer­cial­ize any po­ten­tial prod­uct can­di­dates. Sanofi’s big vac­cine unit, how­ev­er, is stay­ing strict­ly out of it.

Any or­ga­ni­za­tion in­ter­est­ed in in­fec­tious dis­ease drug de­vel­op­ment, rang­ing from acad­e­mia, biotech/phar­ma com­pa­nies, foun­da­tions to gov­ern­ment agen­cies, are wel­come to col­lab­o­rate.

“Find­ing a way to mo­ti­vate more pub­lic fund­ing and aca­d­e­m­ic ini­tia­tives for the progress of nov­el an­ti-in­fec­tives on Evotecs’ plat­form will be a key suc­cess fac­tor for this ini­tia­tive,” said Evotec CEO Wern­er Lan­thaler in a state­ment.

Elias Zer­houni

Evotec is al­so bring­ing its own team to the Ly­on plat­form. More than 150 of its sci­en­tists will be ac­tive in this ex­pand­ed drug dis­cov­ery and de­vel­op­ment ef­fort. An­ti-in­fec­tives are one of five core ther­a­peu­tic ar­eas Evotec lists as its main ex­per­tise, hav­ing ac­quired in­fec­tious dis­ease spe­cial­ist CRO Eu­pro­tec back in 2014.

Un­der the agree­ment, which is ex­pect­ed to com­plete in a few months, Sanofi will pro­vide “sig­nif­i­cant fur­ther long-term fund­ing” to sup­port the growth of the port­fo­lio, though num­bers were not spec­i­fied.

These kinds of job swap­ping events aren’t all that un­usu­al in bio­phar­ma. GSK trans­ferred a large group of staffers to a CRO when it re­or­ga­nized its re­search group in North Car­oli­na — which sub­se­quent­ly laid off em­ploy­ees. Take­da has been do­ing the same thing while As­traZeneca and oth­ers have spun out com­pa­nies and drugs to star­tups as they re­vamped and re­fo­cused in­ter­nal op­er­a­tions.

Sanofi tried to down­size its French R&D op­er­a­tions un­der for­mer CEO Chris Viehbach­er, but the unions al­lied with gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials man­aged to pre­vent much of the re­struc­tur­ing that was planned. This time, Sanofi isn’t even hint­ing at lay­offs, not­ing that they are pro­vid­ing all de­part­ing staffers with 5-year em­ploy­ment con­tracts.

It’s no co­in­ci­dence that Sanofi al­so closed on its $11.6 bil­lion deal to ac­quire Biover­a­tiv to­day. The buy­out gives Sanofi rev­enue from ex­ist­ing he­mo­phil­ia drugs, and a pipeline of new ther­a­pies to con­tend with. That deal vir­tu­al­ly co­in­cid­ed with a pact to ac­quire Abl­ynx and its an­ti­body plat­form, fi­nal­ly de­liv­er­ing on a longterm promise to buy in new as­sets.

R&D chief Elias Zer­houni said the deal doesn’t mean that Sanofi is giv­ing up on in­fec­tious dis­ease:

Sanofi has a long and es­tab­lished his­to­ry in the fight against in­fec­tious dis­eases, and we re­main com­mit­ted to ad­dress­ing glob­al health chal­lenges through our de­vel­op­ment ef­forts and vac­cines. Re­search in the field of an­ti-in­fec­tives is an area where build­ing crit­i­cal mass through part­ner­ing is par­tic­u­lar­ly im­por­tant. This new French based open in­no­va­tion cen­ter will ben­e­fit from the high qual­i­ty sci­ence ecosys­tem.

Biotech in­vestors and CEOs see two paths to growth, but are they equal­ly vi­able?

The dynamic in the biotech market has been highly volatile in the last few years, from the high peaks immediately after the COVID vaccine in 2021, to the lowest downturns of the last 20 years in 2022. This uncertainty makes calling the exact timing of the market’s turn something of a fool’s errand, according to Dr. Chen Yu, Founder and Managing Partner of TCG Crossover (TCG X). He speaks with RBC’s Noël Brown, Head of US Biotechnology Investment Banking, about the market’s road ahead and two possible paths for growth.

Dave Marek, Myovant CEO

My­ovant board balks as ma­jor­i­ty own­er Sum­it­o­mo swoops in with a $2.5B deal to buy them out

Three years after Sumitomo scooped up Roivant’s 46% stake in the publicly traded Myovant $MYOV as part of a 5-company, $3 billion deal, they’re coming back for the whole thing.

But these other investors at Myovant want more than what the Japanese pharma company is currently offering to pay at this stage.

Sumitomo is bidding $22.75 a share for the outstanding stock, which now represents 48% of the company after Sumitomo bumped its ownership since the original deal with Roivant. Myovant, however, created a special committee on the board, and they’re shaking their heads over the offer.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Justin Klee (L) and Joshua Cohen, Amylyx co-CEOs (Cody O'Loughlin/The New York Times; courtesy Amylyx)

Ad­vo­cates, ex­perts cry foul over Amy­lyx's new ALS drug, cit­ing is­sues with price, PhI­II com­mit­ment

Not 24 hours after earning the first ALS drug approval in five years, Amylyx Pharmaceuticals’ Relyvrio is already drawing scrutiny. And it’s coming from multiple fronts.

In an investor call Friday morning, Amylyx revealed that it would charge about $158,000 per year, a price point that immediately drew backlash from ALS advocates and some outside observers. The cost reveal had been highly anticipated in the immediate hours after Thursday evening’s approval, though Amylyx only teased Relyvrio would cost less than previously approved drugs.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEO (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP)

Can a smart­phone app de­tect Covid? Pfiz­er throws down $116M to find out

What can a cough say about a patient’s illness? Quite a bit, according to ResApp Health — and Pfizer’s listening.

The pharma giant is shelling out about $116 million ($179 million AUD) to scoop up the University of Queensland spinout and its smartphone technology that promises to diagnose Covid and other respiratory illnesses based on cough and breathing sounds, the university announced last week.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Big Phar­ma heavy­weights seek tweaks to FDA's clin­i­cal out­come as­sess­ment guid­ance

Pfizer, GSK, Janssen, Regeneron, Boehringer Ingelheim and at least a half dozen other companies are calling on the FDA to provide significantly more clarity in its draft guidance from this summer on clinical outcome assessments, which are a type of patient experience.

The draft is the third in a series of four patient-focused drug development guidance documents that the FDA had to create as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, and they describe how stakeholders (patients, caregivers, researchers, medical product developers and others) can collect and submit patient experience data and other relevant information for medical product development and regulatory decision-making.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Rob Etherington, Clene CEO

Star­tup's gold nanocrys­tal ALS drug flops a PhII tri­al, a re­minder of the dis­ease's ob­sta­cles de­spite Amy­lyx OK

Despite the FDA approving an ALS drug for the first time in five years last week, the disease continues to fluster researchers, and another biotech is feeling the pain of a mid-stage failure.

Clene Nanomedicine reported early Monday that its ALS program, which uses gold nanocrystals to try to catalyze intracellular reactions, did not achieve its Phase II primary or secondary endpoints. And in a press release, the company noted for the first time that it’s speaking with “potential strategic partners” about the program — language that typically indicates a biotech is preparing to sell off an asset.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Will Lewis, Insmed CEO

In­smed plots up­com­ing med launch­es built on its first drug lessons and con­sumer play­book mar­ket­ing strate­gies

With its first drug launch in the books, Insmed is now focusing on building out a road map for upcoming products – with an eye on consumer marketing strategies.

For CEO Will Lewis, that means tapping consumer insights as early as possible and developing products and packaging that are intuitive and easy to use. It also means translating those patient experiences into creative and atypical biopharma marketing, and in both cases, taking a page from consumer marketers’ playbooks.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Severin Schwan, outgoing Roche CEO (via Getty Images)

Roche hires new di­ag­nos­tics chief from with­in, ahead of C-suite shake-up

More than two months after Severin Schwan announced he’s leaving Roche and handing the reins to diagnostics chief Thomas Schinecker, the pharma giant has revealed who’s taking Schinecker’s place.

Matt Sause, who currently leads Roche’s North American diagnostics business, is popping the cork on the big global promotion to take effect on March 15. The 20-year Roche veteran has served a handful of roles across the company’s diagnostics and pharma units, including a stint at Genentech where he was lifecycle leader for blockbuster Tecentriq’s head and neck cancer programs.

FTC chair Lina Khan with National Community Pharmacists Association CEO Douglas Hoey (NCPA via Twitter)

FTC chair Lina Khan pledges to use all tools to in­ves­ti­gate PBMs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pharmacy benefit managers have become a thorn in the side of the pharma and insurance industries in recent years, and just a couple of months after the Federal Trade Commission signaled it would investigate unlawful PBM practices, FTC chair Lina Khan is looking to turn up the heat even more.

Khan sat down with National Community Pharmacists Association CEO Douglas Hoey on Monday morning at the NCPA’s annual convention, with a fireside chat in the heart of the Midwest.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.