Tony Kings­ley takes over the reins at Schol­ar Rock; Idor­sia taps phar­ma vet Pa­tri­cia Torr for new US ops

Tony Kings­ley

Schol­ar Rock — which part­nered with Gilead back in 2018 for a dis­cov­ery pact for fi­brot­ic dis­eases — has passed the CEO and pres­i­dent ba­ton down to Tony Kings­ley, who is tak­ing over from Nagesh Ma­han­thap­pa. Kings­ley joined the com­pa­ny’s board of di­rec­tors in May. Pri­or to his new role, Kings­ley was CEO and pres­i­dent of Taris Bio (ac­quired by Janssen Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals). In ad­di­tion, he served as pres­i­dent and COO of The Med­i­cines Com­pa­ny and held po­si­tions at Bio­gen and McK­in­sey & Com­pa­ny among oth­ers.

In ad­di­tion, the Cam­bridge, Mass­a­chu­setts-based com­pa­ny has named Ed­ward (Ted) Myles as CFO and head of busi­ness op­er­a­tions. Myles has been a mem­ber of Schol­ar Rock’s board of di­rec­tors and will be step­ping down from that po­si­tion with his new ap­point­ment. Most re­cent­ly, Myles served as CFO and COO of AM­AG Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and has pre­vi­ous­ly held roles at Primer­aDX and EMD Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals (now EMD Serono).

Jean-Paul Clozel’s start­up Idor­sia has ex­pand­ed its reach in the US by es­tab­lish­ing com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions in the Philadel­phia sub­urb of Rad­nor, PA. Pa­tri­cia Torr is tak­ing the reins as pres­i­dent and GM of Idor­sia Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals US and has been lin­ing up lead­er­ship for the en­deav­or. Torr was pre­vi­ous­ly VP, glob­al com­mer­cial strat­e­gy for throm­bo­sis and he­mo­sta­sis at CSL Behring; EVP, head of US hema­tol­ogy for Shire; and VP, US sales at J&J.

Join­ing Torr will be the fol­low­ing: Scot­ty Bow­man, VP, head of US mar­ket ac­cess; William Gileza, VP, head of US fi­nance and in­fra­struc­tures; Frances Lil­lo, se­nior di­rec­tor, head of US hu­man re­sources; Michael Moye, VP, head of US mar­ket­ing; Er­ic Siegel, VP, head of US com­pli­ance; and Paul Var­ki, VP, US gen­er­al coun­sel, head of le­gal.

Jen­nifer Simp­son

→ Min­neso­ta-based Sun Bio­Phar­ma, cen­tered on pan­cre­at­ic can­cer, has made Jen­nifer Simp­son their pres­i­dent and CEO. Michael Cullen, who helmed Sun Bio­Phar­ma since Oc­to­ber 2018, will re­main as ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of their board of di­rec­tors. Simp­son start­ed at Del­cath Sys­tems in 2012 as EVP, glob­al mar­ket­ing, and with­in three years, she be­came the com­pa­ny’s pres­i­dent and CEO. From 2008-12, she was VP, glob­al mar­ket­ing, on­col­o­gy brand lead at Im­Clone Sys­tems.

→ Li­cens­ing its pre­clin­i­cal K-NK004 pro­gram to Sanofi last week in a $19.7 mil­lion col­lab­o­ra­tion with al­most a bil­lion dol­lars in mile­stones, nat­ur­al killer bio­phar­ma Kiadis al­so has new faces on their lead­er­ship team, bring­ing in Cru­cell Vac­cines vets Ray Bar­low and Govert Schouten as CBO and head of in­no­va­tion, re­spec­tive­ly. At Cru­cell (ac­quired by J&J), Bar­low was se­nior di­rec­tor of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment, while Schouten was VP of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment.

Bar­low is a for­mer ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment at Am­gen who al­so spent a decade at As­traZeneca. Schouten comes to Dutch-based Kiadis af­ter found­ing Id­mon Con­sult­ing. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, Kiadis an­nounced that SVP of cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment Mar­cel Zwaal has hit the ex­it “to pur­sue oth­er op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Christo­pher Sla­pak

→ Af­ter haul­ing in $110 mil­lion from its Se­ries B last week, Vor Bio­phar­ma has locked in their in­ter­im CMO Christo­pher Sla­pak in­to a per­ma­nent po­si­tion with the com­pa­ny. Sla­pak has served in the po­si­tion since Ju­ly 2019 and hopped aboard the com­pa­ny af­ter a more than 20 year-stint at Eli Lil­ly— serv­ing as in var­i­ous roles, in­clud­ing VP, ear­ly phase re­search.

Daniel­la Beck­man

One oth­er Vor note: Tan­go Ther­a­peu­tics CFO Daniel­la Beck­man has been added to the board of di­rec­tors. She’s al­so been on Trans­late Bio’s board since the fall of 2017.

→ French mi­cro­bio­me biotech MaaT Phar­ma has added some new faces to its ranks. The Ly­on, France-based com­pa­ny has bagged John Wein­berg as CMO and Servi­er ex­ec, Claude Bertrand, as an in­de­pen­dent mem­ber of the com­pa­ny’s board of di­rec­tors. Pri­or to his new role, Wein­berg served as CMO of 4D Phar­ma and has held pre­vi­ous role at Velox­is Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, No­var­tis and En­zon Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. At Servi­er, Bertrand serves as CSO and EVP of R&D. In ad­di­tion, Bertrand brings ex­pe­ri­ence from his times at Ipsen, As­traZeneca, No­var­tis, Roche and Pfiz­er.

Joyson Karakun­nel

Pierre Do­di­on is re­tir­ing af­ter 6 years as CMO of French on­col­o­gy-fo­cused biotech In­nate Phar­ma — which had a par­tial hold on la­cu­tam­ab lift­ed by the FDA in June — and Joyson Karakun­nel has an­swered the bell to re­place him. Karakun­nel comes from a CMO stint at Tizona Ther­a­peu­tics and al­so spent some time at Ar­cus Bio­sciences as VP and head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, reg­u­la­to­ry and safe­ty.

Vi­jay Mod­ur

Sanofi Gen­zyme vet Vi­jay Mod­ur is tak­ing on the role of chief sci­en­tif­ic and med­ical of­fi­cer at Zikani Ther­a­peu­tics, which is de­vel­op­ing nov­el ri­bo­some mod­u­lat­ing agents (RMAs) to treat rare, non­sense mu­ta­tion-dri­ven dis­eases through its Tur­bo-XM plat­form. Mod­ur was Sanofi Gen­zyme’s glob­al project head in rare dis­ease clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and he al­so held po­si­tions at No­var­tis and Mer­ck.

My­ron Czucz­man is head­ed to New Jer­sey-based Citius Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, which fo­cus­es on the de­vel­op­ment of an­ti-in­fec­tive and can­cer care prod­ucts, as their CMO and EVP. Pri­or to Citius, Czucz­man was Cel­gene’s ther­a­peu­tic area head, VP, clin­i­cal R&D, glob­al lym­phoma/CLL pro­gram.

Brit­tany Bradrick

→ Di­a­betes-fo­cused stem cell play­er Vi­a­Cyte has en­list­ed Brit­tany Bradrick as CFO. Bradrick hails from In­sulet, where she was VP, strat­e­gy and cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment. Pri­or to that, she was at Ab­bott Di­a­betes Care and served as di­rec­tor, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and al­liance man­age­ment as well as held roles at Cred­it Su­isse and Piper Jaf­fray.

→ ARCH-backed Au­to­bahn Ther­a­peu­tics, which emerged in June with a $76 mil­lion round to fight CNS dis­or­ders such as MS, has wel­comed Scott For­rest as their CBO. For­rest was most re­cent­ly at In­cep­tion Ther­a­peu­tics, where was chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer. He al­so co-found­ed Black­Thorn Ther­a­peu­tics and was their VP, op­er­a­tions and cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment.

→ Pro­tein degra­da­tion play­er C4 Ther­a­peu­tics, which an­nounced in June that they had scored $170 mil­lion in fi­nanc­ing, has brought on two new ex­ecs. William Mc­K­ee, cur­rent­ly CEO of MB­JC As­so­ci­ates, is now C4’s CFO. The long­time EVP and CFO of Barr Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals be­fore its ac­qui­si­tion by Te­va Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals in 2008, Mc­K­ee held the COO and CFO roles at EKR Ther­a­peu­tics from 2010-12. Af­ter lead­ing the sale of Neon Ther­a­peu­tics to BioN­Tech in May as Neon’s VP, gen­er­al coun­sel, Jolie Siegel has joined C4 as their chief le­gal of­fi­cer.

Er­ic Loumeau

Anap­tys­Bio, which just se­cured or­phan drug des­ig­na­tion from the FDA for im­si­dolimab to treat pa­tients with gen­er­al­ized pus­tu­lar pso­ri­a­sis (GPP), has shak­en up its lead­er­ship team with Den­nis Mul­roy com­ing in as CFO and Er­ic Loumeau mov­ing in­to a new role at the com­pa­ny as chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer. Mul­roy has been the top fi­nance ex­ec at a host of biotechs, most re­cent­ly La­Jol­la Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, where he held the post for 5 years. Loumeau served as Anap­tys­Bio’s in­ter­im CFO since Au­gust, join­ing the com­pa­ny in Au­gust 2018 as their gen­er­al coun­sel; from 2011-13, he was CFO at Rem­pex Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

→ Gas­troin­testi­nal dis­ease-fo­cused Phath­om Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has se­lect­ed Al­ler­gan vet Todd Bran­ning as their CFO, suc­ceed­ing in­ter­im CFO David Sacks, who will con­tin­ue at the New Jer­sey com­pa­ny as a board mem­ber and a strate­gic ad­vi­sor. Bran­ning had spent the last year as CFO at Am­neal Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and from 2016-18 was CFO, glob­al gener­ic med­i­cines di­vi­sion at Te­va Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Be­fore Te­va, he was VP of fi­nance at Al­ler­gan.

→ With its lead can­di­date EYP-1901 in de­vel­op­ment for wet AMD, Eye­point Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has snagged Jay Duk­er as their chief strate­gic sci­en­tif­ic of­fi­cer, step­ping down from the board of di­rec­tors to fill the new­ly-cre­at­ed role. Duk­er has been chair­man of oph­thal­mol­o­gy at Tufts Med­ical Cen­ter for the past 19 years and is the di­rec­tor of the New Eng­land Eye Cen­ter. He al­so chairs the board at Sesen Bio.

Mor­rey Atkin­son

→ With its ex­per­i­men­tal drug CTX001 show­ing demon­stra­ble ef­fi­ca­cy in treat­ing be­ta tha­lassemia and sick­le cell dis­ease in da­ta pre­sent­ed along­side part­ner CRISPR Ther­a­peu­tics, Ver­tex tells Peer Re­view that Mor­rey Atkin­son has been named SVP, head of com­mer­cial man­u­fac­tur­ing and sup­ply chain. Atkin­son is com­ing off 8 years at Bris­tol My­ers Squibb, where he was SVP, glob­al man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions. He was al­so at Eli Lil­ly for 9 years, no­tably as the Big Phar­ma’s head of biotech­nol­o­gy (man­u­fac­tur­ing sci­ences and tech­nol­o­gy).

→ Al­lied with Gilead and Sanofi while scor­ing $120 mil­lion of its own in March, pro­tein degra­da­tion play­er Nurix Ther­a­peu­tics has tapped Ja­son Kan­tor as SVP, fi­nance and in­vest­ment strat­e­gy. Kan­tor comes to San Fran­cis­co-based Nurix from Ar­ti­san Part­ners, where he was a se­nior bio­phar­ma an­a­lyst. He’s pre­vi­ous­ly been a man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, biotech­nol­o­gy an­a­lyst for Cred­it Su­isse and RBC Cap­i­tal Mar­kets.

→ Re­veal­ing en­cour­ag­ing da­ta a month ago in their Phase IIa and IIb stud­ies for TP-03, a nov­el top­i­cal oph­thalmic drug to treat De­mod­ex ble­phar­i­tis, Irvine, CA-based Tar­sus Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has two new ex­ecs on board with Se­sha Neer­van­nan as chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer and Leo Green­stein as CFO. Neer­van­nan heads to Tar­sus from Al­ler­gan, where he was SVP of glob­al phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal de­vel­op­ment. Green­stein is for­mer­ly the SVP of fi­nance & cor­po­rate con­troller for Spec­trum Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

An­drew Par­tridge

→ Can­cer-fo­cused Turn­ing Point Ther­a­peu­tics, which just signed a deal with Zai Lab to sell re­potrec­tinib in Greater Chi­na, has turned to An­drew Par­tridge to take over as EVP and chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer. Be­fore his ar­rival at Turn­ing Point, Par­tridge held the CCO and COO posts at Cen­trex­ion Ther­a­peu­tics. A Scher­ing-Plough, Roche and Am­gen vet, Par­tridge spent 5 years at Ver­tex, where he even­tu­al­ly be­came SVP and head of North Amer­i­can com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions.

→ Af­ter nam­ing Yuk Chun Chiu VP of man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions last week, Ok­la­homa City CD­MO Cy­to­vance Bi­o­log­ics has pro­mot­ed John Mott to VP of de­vel­op­ment. A long­time Up­john and Pfiz­er vet, Mott has been a “close ad­vi­sor to the com­pa­ny” the last 4 years, Cy­to­vance CEO Jesse Mc­Cool says, and was VP of lab­o­ra­to­ry ser­vices for Ara­gen Bio­science be­fore his as­so­ci­a­tion with Cy­to­vance.

Ken­neth Hut­tner has made his way to New York-based Neu­ro­gene, which cen­ters on rare neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­eases, to be their SVP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. Lead­ing up to his ap­point­ment at Neu­ro­gene, Hut­tner was a se­nior trans­la­tion­al med­i­cine ex­pert at No­var­tis be­fore be­com­ing a clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment ex­ec at Biover­a­tiv and Log­icBio Ther­a­peu­tics.

Dirk Hoen­e­mann

→ Shang­hai-based An­ten­gene has called up­on Dirk Hoen­e­mann to be their VP, head of med­ical af­fairs for the Asia Pa­cif­ic Re­gion (APAC) and ear­ly clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. Pri­or to An­ten­gene, which gar­nered ap­proval from the FDA last month for Xpovio (se­linex­or) in pa­tients with re­lapsed or re­frac­to­ry dif­fuse large B cell lym­phoma (DL­B­CL), Hoen­e­mann led ear­ly clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment pro­grams at Cel­gene.

Erik Spek is jump­ing to Michael Gilman’s team at RNA-fo­cused Ar­rakis Ther­a­peu­tics as their VP, le­gal and in­tel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty. Spek held sev­er­al roles at Vedan­ta Bio­sciences, in­clud­ing SVP and head of le­gal af­fairs and in­tel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty, and was al­so di­rec­tor of in­tel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty for Epizyme.

→ Tee­ing up a $150 mil­lion IPO ear­li­er this month, No­var­tis-backed Po­sei­da Ther­a­peu­tics is bring­ing in Har­ry Leon­hardt as gen­er­al coun­sel and gen­er­al com­pli­ance of­fi­cer. Be­fore mak­ing it to Po­sei­da, Leon­hardt was SVP, gen­er­al coun­sel, chief com­pli­ance of­fi­cer and cor­po­rate sec­re­tary, and a mem­ber of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee at Halozyme Ther­a­peu­tics.

→ Cal­i­for­nia genome se­quenc­ing play­er Per­son­alis is shoring up its lead­er­ship team with Leslie Grab as VP of in­tel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty and John Lyle as VP of as­say R&D. Be­fore Per­son­alis, Grab was se­nior coun­sel, patent and em­ploy­ment at Google spin­out Ver­i­ly Life Sci­ences. Lyle hails from Pa­cif­ic Bio­sciences, where he spent 14 years in var­i­ous re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, cul­mi­nat­ing in his role as se­nior di­rec­tor, sin­gle mol­e­cule se­quenc­ing.

Jodie Mor­ri­son

Ca­dent Ther­a­peu­tics CEO Jodie Mor­ri­son is now chair­ing the board at on­col­o­gy biotech Ri­bon Ther­a­peu­tics, which tar­gets monoPARPs that reg­u­late stress re­spons­es. She’s al­so a mem­ber of the board of di­rec­tors at Aileron Ther­a­peu­tics.

El­liott Si­gal has added an­oth­er di­rec­tor­ship to his quiver, this time jump­ing on the board of di­rec­tors at George Scan­gos’ im­munol­o­gy play­er Vir Biotech­nol­o­gy. Si­gal, the for­mer EVP, CSO and pres­i­dent of Bris­tol My­ers Squibb, joined Affinia Ther­a­peu­tics’ board in June.

Alan Dun­ton

Rec­ce Phar­ma — fo­cused on the de­vel­op­ment of syn­thet­ic an­ti-in­fec­tives — has ap­point­ed for­mer J&J ex­ec Alan Dun­ton to its board of di­rec­tors as an in­de­pen­dent non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. In the past, Dun­ton served as pres­i­dent and CEO of Pana­cos Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Metaphore Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

→ South San Fran­cis­co-based Calithera Bio­sciences fo­cused on treat­ing can­cer with the de­vel­op­ment of nov­el small mol­e­cule drugs, has cho­sen Scott Gar­land to be on their board of di­rec­tors. The cur­rent pres­i­dent and CEO of Por­to­la Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Gar­land is al­so a board mem­ber at Karyopharm.

→ Lon­don-based VC shop 4BIO Cap­i­tal, which re­cent­ly had Ky­owa Kirin back its new fund, has tapped Kenya Hon­da for its sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board. Hon­da is a pro­fes­sor in the de­part­ment of mi­cro­bi­ol­o­gy and im­munol­o­gy at Keio Uni­ver­si­ty School of Med­i­cine, Tokyo, Japan. Hon­da’s work is fo­cused on the treat­ment of IBD, au­toim­mu­ni­ty, al­ler­gies and can­cer.

Jan Hatzius (Photographer: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

When will it end? Gold­man econ­o­mist gives late-stage vac­cines a good shot at tar­get­ing 'large shares' of the US by mid-2021 — but the down­side is daunt­ing

It took decades for hepatitis B research to deliver a slate of late-stage candidates capable of reining the disease in.

With Covid-19, the same timeline has devoured all of 5 months. And the outcome will influence the lives of billions of people and a multitrillion-dollar world economy.

Count the economists at Goldman Sachs as optimistic that at least one of these leading vaccines will stay on this furiously accelerated pace and get over the regulatory goal line before the end of this year, with a shot at several more near-term OKs. That in turn should lead to the production of billions of doses of vaccines that can create herd immunity in the US by the middle of next year, with Europe following a few months later.

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UP­DAT­ED: No­vavax her­alds the lat­est pos­i­tive snap­shot of ear­ly-stage Covid-19 vac­cine — so why did its stock briefly crater?

High-flying Novavax $NVAX became the latest of the Covid-19 vaccine players to stake out a positive set of biomarker data from its early-stage look at its vaccine in humans.

Their adjuvanted Covid-19 vaccine was “well-tolerated and elicited robust antibody responses numerically superior to that seen in human convalescent sera,” the company noted. According to the biotech:

All subjects developed anti-spike IgG antibodies after a single dose of vaccine, many of them also developing wild-type virus neutralizing antibody responses, and after Dose 2, 100% of participants developed wild-type virus neutralizing antibody responses. Both anti-spike IgG and viral neutralization responses compared favorably to responses from patients with clinically significant COVID‑19 disease. Importantly, the IgG antibody response was highly correlated with neutralization titers, demonstrating that a significant proportion of antibodies were functional.

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Lund­beck sounds taps on an­oth­er CNS drug, re­treat­ing from a mine field still oc­cu­pied by a Mer­ck team

Lundbeck has snipped another clinical-stage branch of its CNS research, dumping a schizophrenia program after determining that their therapy would have no positive influence on the disease.

Designed originally as a 240-patient study, researchers set out in early 2019 to see if a homegrown drug dubbed Lu AF11167 could make it through a proof-of-concept study. The drug is a PDE10Ai inhibitor, targeting an enzyme which it said at the time offered a new pathway to retuning the body’s neurotransmitter dopamine. The big idea was that by hitting their target, the drug would modulate “dopamine D1 and D2 receptor-mediated intraneuronal signaling without binding to these receptors,” influencing negative symptoms of schizophrenia.

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Sean Nolan and RA Session II

Less than 3 months af­ter launch, the AveX­is crew’s Taysha rais­es $95M Se­ries B. Is an IPO next?

The old AveXis team is moving quickly in Dallas.

Three months ago, they launched Taysha with $30 million in Series A funding and a pipeline of gene therapies out of UT Southwestern. Now, they’ve announced an oversubscribed $95 million Series B. And the biotech is declining all interview requests on the news, the kind of broad silence that can indicate an IPO is in the pipeline.

Biotechs, including those relatively fresh off launch, have been going public at a frenzy since the pandemic began. Investors have showed a willingness to put upwards of $200 million to companies that have yet to bring a drug into the clinic. Still, if Taysha were to go public in the near future, it would be perhaps the shortest path from launch to IPO in recent biotech memory.

Stéphane Bancel, Moderna CEO (Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

Mod­er­na CEO Stéphane Ban­cel out­lines a prospec­tive moth­er­lode of Covid-19 vac­cine rev­enue — will a back­lash fol­low?

Moderna shows no sign of slowing down, or turning charitable when it comes to pricing supplies of its Covid-19 vaccine.

One of the leaders in the Phase III race to get a Covid-19 vaccine across the finish line in record time, Moderna says it’s on track to complete enrollment in one of the most avidly watched studies in the world next month. And the biotech has already banked some $400 million in deposits for vaccine supply as it works through negotiations with countries around the world — as CEO Stéphane Bancel sets out to hire a commercial team.

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Covid-19 roundup: J&J and BAR­DA agree to $1 bil­lion for 100 mil­lion dos­es; Plas­ma re­duces mor­tal­i­ty by 50% — re­ports

J&J has become the latest vaccine developer to agree to supply BARDA with doses of their Covid-19 vaccine, signing an agreement that will give the government 100 million doses in exchange for $1 billion in funding.

The agreement, similar to those signed by Novavax, Sanofi and AstraZeneca-Oxford, provides funding not only for individual doses but to help J&J ramp up manufacturing. Pfizer, by contrast, received $1.95 billion for the doses alone. Still, if one looked at each agreement as purchase amounts, J&J’s deal would be $10 per dose, slotting in between Novavax’s $16 per dose and AstraZeneca’s $4 per dose.

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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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RA, No­var­tis back Gen­tiBio's seed round, plans to launch de­vel­op­ment of En­gTreg ther­a­pies

Boston, MA-based startup GentiBio landed a $20 million seed fund from three investors to dive into engineered regulatory T cell (EngTreg) development.

Marquee investors OrbiMed, Novartis Venture Fund and RA Capital Management have backed GentiBio’s mission to develop EngTregs for the treatment of autoimmune, alloimmune, autoinflammatory, and allergic diseases. Unlike other companies studying treatments using a patient’s own Tregs, GentiBio plans to make use of CD4+ immune cells, found in the blood.

Paul Laikind, ViaCyte CEO

Stem cell play­er Vi­a­Cyte ex­pands col­lab­o­ra­tion with Gore to de­vel­op sub­cu­ta­neous di­a­betes treat­ment

Longtime stem cell player ViaCyte has teamed up with a materials science company in an effort to solve immunosuppression challenges and advance its type 1 diabetes treatments.

Expanding on an existing collaboration, ViaCyte and W.L. Gore have agreed to combine the biotech’s PEC-Encap candidate with a Gore-produced membrane in what they hope will eliminate the need for immunosuppressive drugs. Such treatments have created foreign body responses in the past, and stamping these reactions out is the main goal, ViaCyte CEO Paul Laikind said.