Say it with us: IQVIA is the new Quin­tiles and IMS Health

A lo­go sign out­side of the head­quar­ters of Quin­tiles Transna­tion­al in Durham, North Car­oli­na on No­vem­ber 29, 2015 AP Im­ages

A year af­ter its trail­blaz­ing merg­er, Quin­tiles­IMS, the world’s largest clin­i­cal out­sourc­ing firm will now be known as IQVIA, the com­pa­ny an­nounced to­day.

The brand new IQVIA web site fea­tures an au­r­al pro­nounc­er but­ton to avoid any con­fu­sion as to how it should sound: “I-Q-via.”

“IQVIA may be ground­ed in the in­tel­li­gence and ca­pa­bil­i­ties of I and Q, but it is ‘via’ the path for­ward that we hope to in­spire and ig­nite re­al change for health­care stake­hold­ers,” a spokesper­son told End­points News.

The ‘I’ and the ‘Q’ harken back to a time when a hand­ful of an­a­lyt­ics shops owned all the post-ap­proval da­ta while CROs sim­ply stayed in their lane and ran clin­i­cal tri­als, a by­gone era dom­i­nat­ed by the now ful­ly sub­sumed IMS Health and Quin­tiles. The not-long-for-this-world Quin­tiles­IMS brand op­er­at­ed for over a year, mak­ing way for a fresh new name the com­pa­ny hopes broad­ens bio­phar­ma’s per­cep­tions of it. Since com­bin­ing, the com­pa­ny has “worked to in­te­grate [their] ca­pa­bil­i­ties in ad­vanced an­a­lyt­ics, lead­ing tech­nolo­gies and ther­a­peu­tic ex­per­tise in­to pow­er­ful, dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed of­fer­ings.”

The de­ci­sion to merge two oth­er­wise dis­parate op­er­a­tions sig­naled a new di­rec­tion for the clin­i­cal out­sourc­ing in­dus­try, where con­sol­i­da­tion and ex­pan­sion in­to new da­ta-dri­ven mar­kets is the name of the game now. And re­brand­ing sea­son isn’t quite over yet in the CRO world. The re­cent­ly merged INC Re­search and in­Ven­tiv Health, #5 on our list of the top 10 CROs, are ex­pect­ed to un­veil their new com­bined brand in 2018.

Ari Bous­bib

IQVIA will trade on the New York Stock Ex­change un­der the new name and new tick­er sym­bol $IQC start­ing on No­vem­ber 15, 2017. Un­til then, the com­pa­ny will con­tin­ue to be list­ed un­der Quin­tiles­IMS and sym­bol $Q.

“To­day is a defin­ing mo­ment for our or­ga­ni­za­tion as we in­tro­duce a new name that aligns with our vi­sion to help stake­hold­ers dri­ve health­care for­ward,” said CEO Ari Bous­bib in a state­ment. “Our vi­sion is to out­pace the in­evitable progress of change across the life sci­ences and ac­cel­er­ate our abil­i­ty to em­pow­er health­care de­ci­sion mak­ers to meet the fu­ture head on.”

The com­pa­ny’s mar­ket cap has risen from $20.74 bil­lion in Au­gust to $23.03 bil­lion.

Drug man­u­fac­tur­ing gi­ant Lon­za taps Roche/phar­ma ‘rein­ven­tion’ vet as its new CEO

Lonza chairman Albert Baehny took his time headhunting a new CEO for the company, making it absolutely clear he wanted a Big Pharma or biotech CEO with a good long track record in the business for the top spot. In the end, he went with the gold standard, turning to Roche’s ranks to recruit Pierre-Alain Ruffieux for the job.

Ruffieux, a member of the pharma leadership team at Roche, spent close to 5 years at the company. But like a small army of manufacturing execs, he gained much of his experience at the other Big Pharma in Basel, remaining at Novartis for 12 years before expanding his horizons.

BiTE® Plat­form and the Evo­lu­tion To­ward Off-The-Shelf Im­muno-On­col­o­gy Ap­proach­es

Despite rapid advances in the field of immuno-oncology that have transformed the cancer treatment landscape, many cancer patients are still left behind.1,2 Not every person has access to innovative therapies designed specifically to treat his or her disease. Many currently available immuno-oncology-based approaches and chemotherapies have brought long-term benefits to some patients — but many patients still need other therapeutic options.3

Por­tion of Neil Wood­ford’s re­main­ing in­vest­ments, in­clud­ing Nanopore, sold off for $284 mil­lion

It’s been precisely one year and one day since Neil Woodford froze his once-vaunted fund, and while a global pandemic has recently shielded him from the torrent of headlines, the fallout continues.

Today, the California-based patent licensing firm Acacia Research acquired the fund’s shares for 19 healthcare and biotech companies for $284 million.  Those companies include shares for public and private companies and count some of Woodford’s most prominent bio-bets, such as Theravance Biopharma, Oxford Nanopore and Mereo Biopharma, according to Sky News, which first reported the sale. It won’t include shares for BenevelontAI, the machine learning biotech once valued at $2 billion.

David Meline (file photo)

Mod­er­na’s new CFO took a cut in salary to jump to the mR­NA rev­o­lu­tion­ary. But then there’s the rest of the com­pen­sa­tion pack­age

David Meline took a little off the top of his salary when he jumped from the CFO post at giant Amgen to become the numbers czar at the upstart vaccines revolutionary Moderna. But the SEC filing that goes with a major hire also illustrates how it puts him in line for a fortune — provided the biotech player makes good as a promising game changer.

To be sure, there’s nothing wrong with the base salary: $600,000. Or the up-to 50% annual cash bonus — an industry standard — that comes with it. True, the 62-year-old earned $999,000 at Amgen in 2019, but it’s the stock options that really count in the current market bliss for all things biopharma. And there Meline did well.

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Covid-19 roundup: Ab­b­Vie jumps in­to Covid-19 an­ti­body hunt; As­traZeneca shoots for 2B dos­es of Ox­ford vac­cine — with $750M from CEPI, Gavi

Another Big Pharma is entering the Covid-19 antibody hunt.

AbbVie has announced a collaboration with the Netherlands’ Utrecht University and Erasmus Medical Center and the Chinese-Dutch biotech Harbour Biomed to develop a neutralizing antibody that can treat Covid-19. The antibody, called 47D11, was discovered by AbbVie’s three partners, and AbbVie will support early preclinical work, while preparing for later preclinical and clinical development.

President Donald Trump (left) and Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed (Alex Brandon, AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: White House names fi­nal­ists for Op­er­a­tion Warp Speed — with 5 ex­pect­ed names and one no­table omis­sion

A month after word first broke of the Trump Administration’s plan to rapidly accelerate the development and production of a Covid-19 vaccine, the White House has selected the five vaccine candidates they consider most likely to succeed, The New York Times reported.

Most of the names in the plan, known as Operation Warp Speed, will come as little surprise to those who have watched the last four months of vaccine developments: Moderna, which was the first vaccine to reach humans and is now the furthest along of any US effort; J&J, which has not gone into trials but received around $500 million in funding from BARDA earlier this year; the joint AstraZeneca-Oxford venture which was granted $1.2 billion from BARDA two weeks ago; Pfizer, which has been working with the mRNA biotech BioNTech; and Merck, which just entered the race and expects to put their two vaccine candidates into humans later this year.

José Basel­ga finds promise in new class of RNA-mod­i­fy­ing can­cer tar­gets, lock­ing in 3 pre­clin­i­cal pro­grams with $55M

Having dived early into some of the RNA breakthroughs of the last decades — betting on Moderna’s mRNA tech and teaming up with Silence on the siRNA front — AstraZeneca is jumping into a new arena: going after proteins that modify RNA.

Their partner of choice is Accent Therapeutics, which is receiving $55 million in upfront payment to steer a selected preclinical program through to the end of Phase I. After AstraZeneca takes over, the Lexington, MA-based startup has the option to co-develop and co-commercialize in the US — and collect up to $1.1 billion in milestones in the long run. The deal also covers two other potential drug candidates.

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Bris­tol My­ers is clean­ing up the post-Cel­gene merg­er pipeline, and they’re sweep­ing out an ex­per­i­men­tal check­point in the process

Back during the lead up to the $74 billion buyout of Celgene, the big biotech’s leadership did a little housecleaning with a major pact it had forged with Jounce. Out went the $2.6 billion deal and a collaboration on ICOS and PD-1.

Celgene, though, also added a $530 million deal — $50 million up front — to get the worldwide rights to JTX-8064, a drug that targets the LILRB2 receptor on macrophages.

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Is a pow­er­house Mer­ck team prepar­ing to leap past Roche — and leave Gilead and Bris­tol My­ers be­hind — in the race to TIG­IT dom­i­na­tion?

Roche caused quite a stir at ASCO with its first look at some positive — but not so impressive — data for their combination of Tecentriq with their anti-TIGIT drug tiragolumab. But some analysts believe that Merck is positioned to make a bid — soon — for the lead in the race to a second-wave combo immuno-oncology approach with its own ambitious early-stage program tied to a dominant Keytruda.

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