Protocols

Spark recruits gene therapy expert Mingozzi as new CSO; Fusion brings venture round to $46M; China OKs Gilead’s Sovaldi for hep C

⇨ Spark Therapeutics $ONCE has recruited Federico Mingozzi, a noted gene therapy expert at INSERM and Genethon in France, as chief scientific officer. Mingozzi picked up his PhD at the University of Ferrara, Italy and an MBA from Drexel University in Philadelphia.

⇨ The former SVP for diabetes marketing at Novo Nordisk has been poached by Biogen to take the same lead on their Alzheimer’s franchise. Camille Lee will be in charge of marketing strategy on Alzheimer’s, provided Biogen gets any through the regulatory approval process. She reports now to Al Sandrock.

⇨ Canada’s Fusion Pharmaceuticals has added a $21 million tranche to its latest venture round, bringing the total to $46 million.  Its lead drug — FPX-01 — uses alpha-particle emitting radioisotopes to attack cancer cells. Terry Gould of Adams Street Partners and Alan O’Connell of Seroba Life Sciences have joined the company’s board of directors.

⇨ Two months after an FDA panel voted overwhelmingly to nix Toronto-based Intellipharmaceutics$IPCI new pain drug Rexista, the agency has formally slammed the door shut. The biotech says that it received a CRL from regulators spelling out the additional clinical data they would need for a return trip to the agency. Company execs say they were pleased to gain the clarity on the road ahead for a therapy they’ve billed —unsuccessfully so far — as an abuse-resistant version of oxy.

⇨ Rhythm Pharmaceuticals has set its terms for an upcoming IPO, looking to sell 6.7 million shares at $14 to $16 a share.

⇨ South San Francisco-based Exelixis $EXEL is reporting that its partner Daiichi Sankyo posted positive top-line results from a Phase III pivotal trial of esaxerenone in patients with essential hypertension in Japan. Daiichi Sankyo plans to submit a Japanese regulatory application for esaxerenone for an essential hypertension indication in the first quarter of 2018.

⇨ New checkpoint combo announcements continue to roll out. This morning it’s Infinity’s $INFI turn to announce a collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb $BMY on a combo of its PI3K-gamma inhibitor IPI-549 with Opdivo. And NewLink $NLNK got a boost from the news that it will sponsor a combination Phase II study using its IDO pathway inhibitor with AstraZeneca’s $AZN durvalumab.

⇨ IsoPlexis, a Brandford, CT-based biotech specializing in single-cell analytics, raised a $13.5 million B roundSpring Mountain Capital led the round with participation by Connecticut Innovations, North Sound Ventures, and Ironwood Capital.

⇨ Gilead has now elbowed its way into the big hep C market in China. The company says regulators in China have OK’d their sale of Sovaldi, the blockbuster med that helped pave the way for a new standard of treatment in the field.


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