Top Woodford lieutenant hits exit in shakeup; Roche posts more impressive data on hemophilia A drug
→ Saku Saha, one of Neil Woodford’s top lieutenants, has left the beleaguered UK company after its controversial closing of the flagship fund following heavy losses, according to a report in the Evening Standard. The move, which was confirmed, comes a decade after Saha began working with Woodford. He was one of three senior fund managers and had been in charge of early-stage biotech investments. According to the report, his departure was handled amicably.
→ Roche is updating its data on Hemlibra, the big new hemophilia drug that has shaken up the market. Over 83 weeks 87% of the hemophilia A patients have had no bleeds, and “over 92 percent of participants experienced no spontaneous bleeds in each interval from week 25.” Those are important markers that could figure prominently as 3 different groups — BioMarin, Spark and Sangamo/Pfizer — rush to gain approvals on new gene therapies for the disease. The leader, which is currently BioMarin, may face a preference by patients to stay on Hemlibra until they get their pick of gene therapies.
→ Gilead has turned to Lyndra Therapeutics to use its platform tech in developing “ultra-long-acting” HIV medicines. Gilead has long been a leader in the HIV field, often going toe-to-toe with GSK’s ViiV on new therapies aimed at containing the virus.
→ Celsius Therapeutics has struck a deal to collaborate with Janssen Biotech, applying its single-cell genomics and machine learning platform to “identify predictive biomarkers of response from Janssen’s VEGA study, a Phase IIa clinical trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of combination therapy with guselkumab and golimumab in patients with ulcerative colitis.”
→ On a deal-making spree, CDMO Catalent has struck a pact with Sanofi in which the pharma giant will provide Catalent with access to spray drying manufacturing services for their customers at Sanofi’s Haverhill, UK facility.