Vas Narasimhan, Shutterstock

Thou­sands of lay­offs planned as part of No­var­tis re­struc­tur­ing — re­port

No­var­tis’ sweep­ing re­struc­tur­ing will re­port­ed­ly lead to thou­sands of job cuts world­wide, in­clud­ing a “three-dig­it num­ber” in its home of Switzer­land.

Swiss news­pa­per Tages-Anzeiger first re­port­ed the plans, cit­ing un­named sources. In re­sponse to a query from End­points News, a No­var­tis spokesper­son said roles will “in­evitably” be im­pact­ed but de­clined to dis­cuss num­bers.

The new or­ga­ni­za­tion­al struc­ture which we an­nounced last week is cen­tral to our growth strat­e­gy as it will make us more ag­ile and com­pet­i­tive, en­hance pa­tient and cus­tomer ori­en­ta­tion, un­lock sig­nif­i­cant po­ten­tial in our R&D pipeline and dri­ve val­ue cre­ation through op­er­a­tional ef­fi­cien­cies. These ef­fi­cien­cies will come through lean­er struc­tures and will in­evitably lead to roles be­ing im­pact­ed.

How­ev­er, at this time it is too ear­ly to in­di­cate any spe­cif­ic num­bers. We ex­pect the new struc­ture to be ful­ly in place and op­er­a­tional by end of 2022.

The com­ments echo a pre­vi­ous state­ment from No­var­tis. Lay­offs were ex­pect­ed when CEO Vas Narasimhan an­nounced a plan to chop more than $1 bil­lion in costs by com­bin­ing the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and on­col­o­gy busi­ness­es, meld­ing three groups — cor­po­rate strat­e­gy, R&D port­fo­lio strat­e­gy and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment — in­to one and find­ing ways to con­sol­i­date things bet­ter.

The phar­ma gi­ant cur­rent­ly em­ploys about 108,000 peo­ple around the globe. Three key ex­ecs are al­ready head­ed out as part of the re­vamp: John Tsai, head of de­vel­op­ment and CMO; Su­sanne Schaf­fert, head of on­col­o­gy; and Robert Wel­tevre­den, who has run cus­tomer and tech­nol­o­gy so­lu­tions.

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.

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.

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Fireside chat between Hal Barron and John Carroll, UKBIO19

It’s time we talked about bio­phar­ma — live in Lon­don next week

Zoom can only go so far. And I think at this stage, we’ve all tested the limits of staying in touch — virtually. So I’m particularly happy now that we’ve revved up the travel machine to point myself to London for the first time in several years.

Whatever events we have lined up, we’ve always built in plenty of opportunities for all of us to get together and talk. For London, live, I plan to be right out front, meeting with and chatting with the small crowd of biopharma people we are hosting on October 12 at Silicon Valley Bank’s London headquarters. And there’s a lengthy mixer at the end I’m most looking forward to, with several networking openings between sessions.

Pfizer and BioNTech's original Marvel comic book links evolving Covid vaccine science to Avengers' evolving villain-fighting tools.(Source: Pfizer LinkedIn post)

Pfiz­er, BioN­Tech part­ner with Mar­vel for Avengers and Covid-fight­ing com­ic book

Pfizer and BioNTech are collaborating with Marvel to celebrate “everyday” people getting Covid-19 vaccines in a custom comic book.

In the “Everyday Heroes” digital comic book, an evolving Ultron, one of the Avengers’ leading villains, is defeated by Captain America, Ironman and others. The plotline and history of Ultron is explained by a grandfather who is waiting with his family at a clinic for Covid-19 vaccinations.

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Car­olyn Bertozzi (Illustration: Assistant editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News)

Car­olyn Bertozzi, re­peat biotech founder and launch­er of a field, shares in chem­istry No­bel win

Carolyn Bertozzi, predicted by some to become a Nobel laureate, clinched one of the world’s top awards in the wee hours of Wednesday, winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry alongside a repeat winner and a Copenhagen researcher.

The Stanford professor, Morten Meldal of University of Copenhagen and 2001-awardee K. Barry Sharpless of Scripps shared the prize equally. The Nobel is sometimes split in quarters and/or halves.

Take­da to pull key hy­poparathy­roidism drug from the mar­ket af­ter years of man­u­fac­tur­ing woes

Takeda on Tuesday morning made an announcement that almost 3,000 people with the rare disease known as hypoparathyroidism were fearing.

Due to unresolved supply issues and manufacturing woes, Takeda said it will cut its losses and discontinue its hypoparathyroidism drug, known as Natpara (parathyroid hormone), halting all manufacturing of the drug by the end of 2024, but the entire inventory will be available until depleted or expired, a company spokesperson said via email.

Eli Lil­ly and Te­va pre­pare for court bat­tle over mi­graine med ri­val­ry

It looks like Eli Lilly and Teva Pharmaceuticals are going to trial.

A federal appeals court on Monday refused to invalidate three of Teva’s patents for its migraine treatment Ajovy, while also declining to issue a summary judgment in favor of either company, which would effectively end the case without a full trial.

Teva filed suit against Lilly back in 2018, alleging that the company infringed upon nine patents with its rival migraine drug Emgality. The rival drugs were both approved in September 2018 for the preventative treatment of migraine, and are designed to block calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a protein associated with the onset of migraine pain.

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Kaile Zagger, Infinant Health CEO

UC Davis mi­cro­bio­me spin­out re­brands in­fant sup­ple­ment busi­ness with na­ture fo­cus

When Kaile Zagger took the helm of UC Davis spinout Evolve Biosystems several months ago, the company billed itself as a probiotic maker.

However, she believes the company’s Evivo supplement designed to help infants develop a healthy gut microbiome is “so much more” — and that, she said, calls for a rebrand.

Evolve has, well, evolved into Infinant Health, the company announced on Monday. The new name is a mash-up of the words “infant” and “infinite,” representing the company’s goal of expanding beyond infant care. While its sole product, Evivo, is intended for newborns, Infinant is “quickly developing” an option for kids through the age of two.

Leo Tarkovsky, Fingerpaint Group's new chief commercial officer

Fin­ger­paint Group taps for­mer WPP and Mc­Cann Health ex­ec for new com­mer­cial role

Healthcare agency veteran Leo Tarkovsky has joined Fingerpaint Group as chief commercial officer to oversee its growing portfolio of pharma and healthcare agencies and communications companies.

Tarkovsky came to Fingerpaint from WPP where he was EVP for global healthcare growth over the past year. Before that served at McCann Health for seven years including as president overseeing the New York agencies with pharma clients including AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen.

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