Tra­di­tion­al­ists at Take­da spark a fam­i­ly feud with CEO Christophe We­ber over his $62B Shire takeover deal

A band of dis­si­dent Take­da share­hold­ers out­raged by CEO Christophe We­ber’s plan to meld Shire in­to the fold through a $62 bil­lion buy­out has found a promi­nent spokesper­son. Kazu Take­da, one of the most se­nior mem­bers of the fam­i­ly that cre­at­ed Take­da, is warn­ing that the M&A deal could spark dis­as­ter by un­der­min­ing the most ba­sic prin­ci­ples of Take­da-ism, which holds that the com­pa­ny makes mon­ey by mak­ing peo­ple hap­py.

“We un­der­stand that scal­ing up is nec­es­sary,” he told The Times, “but Take­da man­age­ment has to think about the tra­di­tion­al cor­po­rate cul­ture and the health of the com­pa­ny. Hasty de­ci­sions on big deals should be avoid­ed. It will lead to dis­as­ter if there are large-scale merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions with­out care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion.”

Right from the start, We­ber has ig­nored the tra­di­tion­al­ists among the share­hold­ers as he pur­sued his own goal to make Take­da in­to a glob­al play­er that can ri­val the world’s biggest op­er­a­tors. And so far, the op­po­si­tion — for­mer staffers and Take­da fam­i­ly mem­bers — has been un­able to change the new course at Take­da one bit, no mat­ter how bit­ter­ly they ob­ject.

Their best hope now is to per­suade gen­er­al stock­hold­ers to op­pose the merg­er ahead of the for­mal com­ple­tion of the deal. But with less than 10% of the tal­ly in one re­cent share­hold­ers’ vote, it’s un­like­ly they’ll be more than a thorn in We­ber’s side.

“The key for us is to glob­al­ize our key prod­ucts and to glob­al­ize the com­pa­ny,” We­ber told CN­BC a year ago, while fo­cus­ing on R&D for the longterm.


Im­age: Christophe We­ber. GET­TY IM­AGES

BiTE® Plat­form and the Evo­lu­tion To­ward Off-The-Shelf Im­muno-On­col­o­gy Ap­proach­es

Despite rapid advances in the field of immuno-oncology that have transformed the cancer treatment landscape, many cancer patients are still left behind.1,2 Not every person has access to innovative therapies designed specifically to treat his or her disease. Many currently available immuno-oncology-based approaches and chemotherapies have brought long-term benefits to some patients — but many patients still need other therapeutic options.3

Fangliang Zhang (Imaginechina via AP Images)

The big mon­ey: Poised to make drug R&D his­to­ry, a Chi­na biotech un­veils uni­corn rac­ing am­bi­tions in a bid to raise $350M-plus on Nas­daq

Almost exactly three years after Shanghai-based Legend came out of nowhere to steal the show at ASCO with jaw-dropping data on their BCMA-targeted CAR-T for multiple myeloma, the little player with Big Pharma connections is taking a giant step toward making it big on Wall Street. And this time they want to seal the deal on a global rep after staking out a unicorn valuation in what’s turned out to be a bull market for biotech IPOs — in the middle of a pandemic.

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Gilead re­leas­es an­oth­er round of murky remde­sivir re­sults

A month after the NIH declared the first trial on remdesivir in Covid-19 a success, Gilead is out with new results on their antiviral. But although the study met one of its primary endpoints, the data are likely to only add to a growing debate over how effective the drug actually is.

In a Phase III trial, patients given a 5-day dose of remdesivir were 65% more likely to show “clinical improvement” compared to an arm given standard-of-care. The trial, though, gave little indication for whether the drug had an impact on key endpoints such as survival or time-to-recovery. And in a surprising twist, a 10-day dosing arm of remdesivir didn’t lead to a statistically significant improvement over standard of care.

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Len Schleifer (left) and George Yancopoulos, Regeneron (Vimeo)

Eyes on he­mo­phil­ia prize, Re­gen­eron adds a $100M wa­ger on joint de­vel­op­ment cam­paign with In­tel­lia

When George Yancopoulos first signed up Intellia to be its CRISPR/Cas9 partner on gene editing projects 4 years ago, the upstart smartly ramped up its IPO at the same time. Today, Regeneron $REGN is coming back in, adding $100 million in an upfront fee and equity to significantly boot up a whole roster of new development projects.

And they’re highlighting some clinical hemophilia research plans in the process.

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Iterum's fu­ture looks un­cer­tain, af­ter lead an­tibi­ot­ic fails con­sec­u­tive piv­otal stud­ies

While the market for antibiotics remains in tatters — unlike many of its bankrupt (or at the brink of bankruptcy) peers — Iterum is suffering not because its antibiotic isn’t selling, but because the compound has now failed back-to-back late-stage studies.

The experimental drug, sulopenem, was designed to tackle drug-resistant infections with an outpatient focus (in addition to hospitals), to avert those reimbursement challenges that incentivize hospitals to prescribe cheaper, generic broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Covid-19 roundup: Did in­sid­ers cash in on pos­i­tive news re­port about Gilead be­fore pub­li­ca­tion?

A series of bullish trades on Gilead options just before the release of a favorable news story is raising questions among regulatory experts, Reuters reported.

On April 16, just hours before STAT published anecdotes from a Chicago hospital that served as one of the clinical sites to test Gilead’s remdesivir in Covid-19 patients, the California-based company’s shares were trading at around $75. Four large blocks of options were purchased for about $1.5 million each, betting that the stock would rise beyond that to as much as $87.5 by mid-August.

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IPOs abound in the time of coro­n­avirus, as For­ma Ther­a­peu­tics pen­cils in $150M Nas­daq de­but

The IPO engine is thriving, never mind the rampage of the coronavirus crisis on R&D timelines.

On Friday, along with synthetic lethality-focused biotech Repare Therapeutics, another Bristol Myers partner Forma Therapeutics also unveiled its plans to vault on to the Nasdaq — penciling in a target of $150 million.

The Watertown, Massachusetts-based company — which poached senior Genentech executive Frank Lee to take over the reins last year after more than a decade under founder Steve Tregay — raised a plump $100 million late last year, while shepherding its sickle cell disease (SCD) drug through an early-stage trial.

Ab­b­Vie grabs SHP2 in­hibitors from Chi­na's Ja­co­bio; Chi-Med set on US fil­ing of su­r­u­fa­tinib

AbbVie has found its next targeted cancer therapy in China, licensing a suite of SHP2 inhibitors from Beijing-based Jacobio. A key node on the RAS/MAP kinase pathway, SHP2 helps drive abnormal cell growth and plays a role in cytokine production as well as immune cell response — which gives two good reasons to block it. Jacobio has so far developed two early-stage oral small molecule candidates, and they will complete early clinical trials on AbbVie’s tab before handing off to the pharma giant.

Jean-Jacques Bienaimé, BioMarin chairman and CEO

Bio­Marin holds the line on bleeds with 4-year val­rox up­date on he­mo­phil­ia A — but what's this about an­oth­er de­cline in Fac­tor 8 lev­els?

BioMarin has posted some top-line results for their 4-year followup on the most advanced gene therapy for hemophilia A — extending its streak on keeping a handful of patients free of bleeds and off Factor VIII therapy, but likely stirring fresh worries over a continued drop in Factor VIII levels.

We just don’t know how big a drop.

We’ll see more data when the results are presented at the World Federation of Hemophilia in a couple of weeks. But in a statement out Sunday night, BioMarin $BMRN reported that none of the patients required Factor VIII treatment, adding:

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