Martin Shkreli (AP Images)

The FDA OKs gener­ic Dara­prim, the Mar­tin Shkre­li ther­a­py that trig­gered an un­end­ing tem­pest over drug pric­ing

The FDA post­ed a new gener­ic drug ap­proval Fri­day af­ter­noon, and this one ar­rived with a lit­tle ex­tra rel­ish added to the cus­tom­ary pro­nounce­ment.

The agency has giv­en Cerovene the green light to sell gener­ic Dara­prim, Mar­tin Shkre­li’s treat­ment for tox­o­plas­mo­sis that det­o­nat­ed a world class brouha­ha over drug pric­ing that has taint­ed the in­dus­try. Shkre­li no soon­er ac­quired the old, once cheap drug than he in­stant­ly raised the price by more than 5,000%, some­thing that the gen­er­al pub­lic — and a big seg­ment of the bio­phar­ma in­dus­try — was pro­found­ly ap­palled by.

It’s tak­en more than 4 years for a gener­ic to come along, and giv­en the way drug pric­ing works in the U.S., there’s a good chance that re­al price re­lief may still be a long way off.

Shkre­li, al­ways ready to play the Jok­er in every phar­ma biopic, blast­ed back against the pub­lic scorn that he stirred, up un­til he was sen­tenced to 7 years for de­fraud­ing in­vestors in the hedge funds he had dri­ven in­to a brick wall be­fore he turned to biotech — fol­low­ing the path of buy­ing drugs and hik­ing the price.

Law­mak­ers put him in the spot­light, but there was no sham­ing Shkre­li. The price stayed high, and the agency even­tu­al­ly wound up us­ing the case to craft new rules that would help pre­vent Shkre­li wannabes from fol­low­ing in his foot­steps.

“Through the FDA’s Drug Com­pe­ti­tion Ac­tion Plan, we’ve worked to re­move bar­ri­ers in gener­ic drug de­vel­op­ment by not on­ly tak­ing ac­tions that im­prove the ef­fi­cien­cy of the de­vel­op­ment, re­view and ap­proval of gener­ic drugs, but al­so by clos­ing loop­holes that al­low brand-name drug com­pa­nies to ‘game’ the rules in ways that de­lay gener­ic com­pe­ti­tion that Con­gress in­tend­ed,” FDA com­mish Stephen Hahn said in a pre­pared state­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent fed­er­al law­suit brought by the FTC and the state of New York, Shkre­li en­gaged in just such be­hav­ior, cook­ing up “an elab­o­rate an­ti­com­pet­i­tive scheme to pre­serve a mo­nop­oly” for Dara­prim. The al­leged of­fens­es ranged from keep­ing sam­ples out of reach for gener­ic drug­mak­ers to block­ing ac­cess to sales rev­enue.

There’s no im­me­di­ate word, though, on what Cerovene plans to charge for the drug. And typ­i­cal­ly, it takes sev­er­al gener­ic drug ri­vals to force the price down sharply. No mat­ter what hap­pens to Dara­prim, though, the drug pric­ing de­bate, and the fall­out that Dara­prim helped cre­ate, has be­come a fix­ture of the US po­lit­i­cal scene and the 2020 elec­tion cy­cle. And some of these can­di­dates are af­ter much big­ger fish than the im­pris­oned Shkre­li.

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 150,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Casey McPherson shows his daughters Rose (left) and Weston around Everlum Bio, a lab that he co-founded to spark a treatment for Rose and others with ultra-rare conditions. (Ilana Panich-Linsman)

Fa­ther starts lab af­ter in­tel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty is­sues stymie rare dis­ease drug de­vel­op­ment

Under bright lab lights, Casey McPherson holds his 6-year-old daughter, Rose. His free hand directs Rose’s gaze toward a computer screen with potential clues in treating her one-of-a kind genetic condition.

Gray specks on the screen show her cells that scientists reprogrammed with the goal of zeroing in on a custom medicine. McPherson co-founded the lab, Everlum Bio, to spark a treatment for Rose — and others like her. A regarded singer-songwriter, McPherson never imagined going into drug development.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Vlad Coric, Biohaven CEO

Vlad Coric charts course for new Bio­haven with neu­ro­science push and Big Phar­ma vets on board

What’s Biohaven without its CGRP portfolio? That’s what CEO Vlad Coric is tasked with deciding as he maps out the new Biohaven post-Pfizer takeover.

Pfizer officially scooped up Biohaven’s CGRP assets on Monday, including blockbuster migraine drug Nurtec and the investigational zavegepant, for $11.6 billion. As a result, Coric spun the broader pipeline into an independent company on Tuesday — with the same R&D team behind Nurtec but about 1,000 fewer staffers and a renewed focus on neuroscience and rare disease.

In AstraZeneca's latest campaign, wild eosinophils called Phils personify the acting up often seen in uncontrolled asthma

As­traZeneca de­buts an­noy­ing pur­ple ‘Phil’ crea­tures, per­son­i­fied asth­ma eosinophils ‘be­hav­ing bad­ly’

There are some odd-looking purple creatures lurking around the halls of AstraZenca lately. The “Phil” character cutouts are purple, personified eosinophils with big buggy eyes and wide mouths, and they’re a part of AZ’s newest awareness effort to help people understand eosinophilic asthma.

The “Asthma Behaving Badly” characters aren’t only on the walls at AZ to show the new campaign to employees, however. The “Phils” are also showing up online on the campaign website, and in digital and social ads and posts on Facebook and Instagram.

Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: No­var­tis re­cruits NFL coach for Leqvio cam­paign; Pfiz­er pro­motes ‘Sci­ence’ merch on so­cial me­dia

Novartis is turning to a winning coach to talk about Leqvio and the struggles of high cholesterol — including his own. Bruce Arians, the retired NFL head coach of the Arizona Cardinals and Super Bowl-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is partnering with the pharma for its “Coaching Cholesterol” digital, social and public relations effort.

In the campaign, Arians talks about the potential for “great comebacks” in football and heart health. Once nicknamed a “quarterback whisperer,” he is now retired from fulltime coaching (although still a front-office consultant for Tampa Bay), and did a round of media interviews for Novartis, including one with People and Forbes.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Amy West, Novo Nordisk head of US digital innovation and transformation (Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News)

Q&A: No­vo Nordisk dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion chief Amy West dis­cuss­es phar­ma pain points and a health­care 'easy but­ton’

Amy West joined Novo Nordisk more than a decade ago to oversee marketing strategies and campaigns for its US diabetes portfolio. However, her career path shifted into digital, and she hasn’t looked back. West went from leading Novo’s first digital health strategy in the US to now heading up digital innovation and transformation.

She’s currently leading the charge at Novo Nordisk to not only go beyond the pill with digital marketing and health tech, but also test, pilot and develop groundbreaking new strategies needed in today’s consumerized healthcare world.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Benjamine Liu, TrialSpark CEO

Paul Hud­son and Tri­alSpark's mu­tu­al de­sire to speed up de­vel­op­ment con­verges in three-year, six-drug goal

A unicorn startup that originally set out to hasten clinical studies for biopharma partners dug further into its revised path of internal drug development by linking arms with Sanofi in a pact that the biotech’s CEO said originated from the top.

TrialSpark and the Big Pharma on Tuesday committed to in-licensing and/or acquiring six Phase II/Phase III drugs within the next three years.

“I’ve known Paul Hudson for a while and we were discussing the opportunity to really re-imagine a lot of different parts of pharma,” TrialSpark CEO Benjamine Liu told Endpoints News, “and one of the things that we discussed was this opportunity to accelerate the development of new medicines in mutual areas of interest.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Christophe Bourdon, Leo Pharma CEO

Leo Phar­ma looks 'be­yond the skin' in atopic der­mati­tis aware­ness cam­paign

As Leo Pharma aims to take on heavyweight champ Dupixent in atopic dermatitis, the company is launching “AD Days Around the World,” an awareness campaign documenting real patient stories across Europe.

The project, unveiled on Monday, spotlights four patients: Marjolaine, Laura, Julia and África from France, Italy, Germany and Spain, respectively, in short video clips on the challenges of living with AD, the most common form of eczema.