Muzammil Mansuri. Sanofi

Sanofi's strat­e­gy head to re­tire by month end, as com­pa­ny gears up for De­cem­ber strate­gic up­date

While spec­u­la­tion that Sanofi is con­sid­er­ing op­tions for its con­sumer health­care unit erupts ahead of a planned strate­gic up­date next month, it looks like the French drug­mak­er is los­ing a se­nior ex­ec­u­tive in charge of strat­e­gy.

Al­ban de La Sabliere

Muza­m­mil Mansuri, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of strat­e­gy, and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment — and mem­ber of Sanofi’s ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee — is set to leave the com­pa­ny by the end of No­vem­ber, Reuters re­port­ed on Fri­day, cit­ing an in­ter­nal memo.

A Sanofi spokesper­son con­firmed the de­par­ture.

Mansuri, as planned, has de­cid­ed to re­tire at the end of the month af­ter play­ing a key role in re­shap­ing the com­pa­ny’s strat­e­gy, over­see­ing ac­qui­si­tions and struc­tur­ing part­ner­ships and al­liances, the spokesper­son told End­points News.

Mansuri start­ed out as a re­search sci­en­tist at the en­er­gy com­pa­ny Shell be­fore mov­ing to Bris­tol-My­ers. His last role pri­or to join­ing Sanofi in 2016 was se­nior VP of R&D strat­e­gy and cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment at Gilead Sci­ences.

Al­ban de La Sabliere, cur­rent­ly Sanofi’s head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment, and Lau­rent van Ler­berghe, head of strat­e­gy, will ex­pand their roles to take on al­liance man­age­ment, com­pet­i­tive in­tel­li­gence, and Sanofi Ven­tures as well as port­fo­lio an­a­lyt­ics and cor­po­rate strat­e­gy, re­spec­tive­ly, the spokesper­son said.

Lau­rent van Ler­berghe

New­ly crowned chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Hud­son, who took charge of Sanofi on Sep­tem­ber 1, is set to ad­dress in­vestors and of­fer a ‘strate­gic up­date’ for a cap­i­tal mar­kets day in Cam­bridge, Mass­a­chu­setts on De­cem­ber 10. In prepa­ra­tion for the event, all of Sanofi’s busi­ness­es are un­der­go­ing a thor­ough re­view.

Hud­son, who suc­ceed­ed Olivi­er Brandi­court, in­her­it­ed a com­pa­ny with a slip­ping stock price, a di­a­betes arm large­ly in de­cline due to US pric­ing pres­sures, and an R&D de­part­ment that lags be­hind its com­pa­tri­ots, par­tic­u­lar­ly af­ter some key hic­cups in on­col­o­gy. In an in­ter­view with a gag­gle of jour­nal­ists last month, he hint­ed that the com­pa­ny is work­ing on jazz­ing up its prospects in can­cer and ex­pand­ing its reach in Chi­na, ex­pect­ing 30 drug launch­es in the re­gion by 2025.

J&J gets a fresh OK for es­ke­t­a­mine, but is it re­al­ly the game-chang­er for de­pres­sion Trump keeps tweet­ing about?

Backed by an enthusiastic set of tweets from President Trump and a landmark OK for depression, J&J scooped up a new approval from the FDA for Spravato today. But this latest advance will likely bring fresh scrutiny to a drug that’s spurred some serious questions about the data, as well as the price.

First, the approval.

Regulators stamped their OK on the use of Spravato — developed as esketamine, a nasal spray version of the party drug Special K or ketamine — for patients suffering from major depressive disorder with acute suicidal ideation or behavior.

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FDA hands Mor­phoSys and In­cyte a quick OK on their po­ten­tial block­buster CAR-T al­ter­na­tive

Nearly three years after okaying the CAR-Ts Yescarta and Kymriah, the FDA has approved a new CD19 therapy.

MorphoSys’ Monjuvi, or tafasitamab-cxix, was cleared Friday for use in refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DBLCL). The approval sets up both MorphoSys and their commercial partner Incyte to compete with Gilead and Novartis in the ultra-competitive indication, where similar trial results and far easier delivery could allow them to cut a fair share of the market.

Rich Heyman (ARCH)

Rich Hey­man joins PMV Phar­ma, a p53 biotech, as it adds $70 mil­lion in Se­ries D

Less than a year after pulling in an impressive $62 million Series C round, PMV Pharma is back at it again.

The Cranbury, NJ-based biotech announced Monday an additional $70 million in Series D financing as it seeks to develop cancer therapies targeting p53 mutations. Additionally, PMV also introduced longtime biotech entrepreneur Rich Heyman as chairman of the board of directors.

“This financing provides PMV Pharma with the resources to expand our pipeline and to potentially advance multiple p53 therapies into the clinic,” said PMV president and CEO David Mack in a statement.

Sev­en plucky di­ag­nos­tics com­pa­nies win a $249M round of con­tracts af­ter sur­viv­ing NI­H's Covid-19 'Shark Tank' com­pe­ti­tion

As US Covid-19 deaths creep past 150,000 and officials stress the importance of contact tracing, the NIH’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) program has inked contracts totaling $248.7 million to expand testing capabilities.

The seven contracts, which were chosen “Shark Tank”-style from a pool of 100 proposals, are part of an effort to bump daily testing capacity to 2% of the country’s population by late summer or fall. That would be about 6 million people per day, compared to the current 520,000 to 823,000 tests being administered daily.

Covid-19 roundup: Eli Lil­ly retro­fits RVs for first-of-its-kind an­ti­body tri­al with NIH; Am­gen, Ab­b­Vie, Take­da team on a drug

Eli Lilly and the NIH are about to start a first-of-its-kind trial that researchers and developers have talked about for months as a way of providing temporary immunity to the most at-risk populations.

Lilly announced this morning that it will start a 2,400-person trial with the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases to test whether its experimental Covid-19 neutralizing antibody can prevent people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities from developing the disease. The idea, known as passive immunity, is that rather than waiting on a vaccine to induce people to develop antibodies, doctors can give them lab-grown antibodies. Ideally, those antibodies will either attack the new SARS-CoV-2 infection, if the patient has recently been exposed, or persist in the blood for several weeks and prevent infection or disease for that period.

Frank Zhang (AP Images)

CAR-T fil­ing in sight, Frank Zhang grabs full con­trol of J&J-part­nered Leg­end Biotech, steps down from Gen­Script

Two months after Yuan Xu steered Legend Biotech to a $424 million public debut on the Nasdaq, founder and chairman Frank Zhang is grabbing the reins as CEO.

In conjunction with the move, Zhang is also stepping down from the helm of GenScript — a position he’s held for 18 years. GenScript, a Hong Kong-listed CRO, hatched Legend as a subsidiary in 2015 before spinning it out, and remains a majority shareholder.

So Covid-19 leader BioN­Tech has a can­cer vac­cine in de­vel­op­ment? Yes, and Re­gen­eron just jumped in for the PhII com­bo study

Before the coronavirus global emergency stole the R&D show in biopharma, the leaders in the race to develop new mRNA therapies had a big interest in determining if their tech could be used to create an effective cancer vaccine after all the first-gen tries had failed to impress. So perhaps it’s not surprising that an early cut of the data at frontrunner BioNTech went largely unnoticed.

Unless you were at Regeneron.

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Sanofi un­der for­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tion for De­pakine al­le­ga­tions; Beam li­cens­es CAR-T tech from Ox­ford Bio­med­ica

Sanofi is facing a formal investigation on manslaughter charges, due to accusations that its epilepsy drug Depakine caused birth malfunctions and slow neurological development when taken during pregnancy.

The French pharma was formally charged in February, years after evidence surfaced that the drug, sodium valproate, posed neurodevelopmental risks. Sodium valproate first hit the market in 1967 for the treatment of epilepsy and bipolar disorder, and is currently prescribed in more than 100 countries.

Days af­ter seal­ing Sanofi pact, Kymera beats a path to the Nas­daq with $100M IPO pitch

Back in March, when Kymera Therapeutics closed $102 million in Series C funding led by Biotechnology Value Fund and Redmile Group, CEO Nello Mainolfi noted the protein degradation player was “at the cusp of transitioning” into a fully integrated R&D company. Five months and a major Sanofi pact later, he’s back asking for another little push to get there.

Kymera has penciled in $100 million in its first IPO pitch — although given the public market’s seemingly insatiable appetite for biotechs these days the final figure is anyone’s guess.