Trou­bled MiMedx ax­es a quar­ter of its work­force in the wake of a C-suite purge

Re­mem­ber when MiMedx $MXDG got rid of its CEO and COO to pre­pare the com­pa­ny “for its next chap­ter”? The trou­bled biotech now says that 240 of its full-time em­ploy­ees will be left out of that chap­ter.

The lay­offs, which ac­count for 24% of MiMedx’s to­tal work­force, are part of a sweep­ing re­or­ga­ni­za­tion with the aim of slim­ming down its cost struc­ture to stay afloat.

David Coles

MiMedx’s woes first came un­der the spot­light in Feb­ru­ary, weeks af­ter the FBI showed up at the door of a short sell­er who’s been hurl­ing in­sults against the com­pa­ny and its ex-CEO, Park­er “Pe­te” Pe­tit. The short sell­er, Marc Co­hodes, made a com­plaint to the De­part­ment of Jus­tice.

As it soon emerged, the DOJ seemed to al­ready be busy in­ves­ti­gat­ing MiMedx’s sales and dis­tri­b­u­tion prac­tices.

The com­pa­ny, which makes tis­sue grafts used to treat burns and soft tis­sue wounds, has faced law­suits brought by ex-em­ploy­ees who al­lege the com­pa­ny has fraud­u­lent­ly boost­ed its sales. It’s spent sev­er­al years chal­leng­ing the FDA, which says its grafts don’t meet reg­u­la­to­ry stan­dards.

In Wednes­day’s an­nounce­ment, MiMedx of­fers an up­date from its au­dit com­mit­tee, whose on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion is al­so in­cur­ring “sig­nif­i­cant le­gal and ac­count­ing-re­lat­ed ex­pens­es.” Their find­ings have al­ready led to pro­posed “changes to busi­ness prac­tices to ad­dress is­sues iden­ti­fied in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” the com­pa­ny writes with­out spelling out specifics.

The is­sues run deep, MiMedx says, which is why it will take yet some more time to re­lease the al­ready de­layed fi­nan­cial state­ments for 2017 — to­geth­er with those from the pre­vi­ous five years that it promised to re­state fol­low­ing the in­ter­nal in­ves­tig­tion.

(M)an­age­ment has ex­pand­ed the scope of work in con­nec­tion with the prepa­ra­tion of the Com­pa­ny’s fi­nan­cial state­ments and is un­able to es­ti­mate the ex­pect­ed com­ple­tion date at this time.

De­spite all these, in­ter­im CEO David Coles in­sists there is a way for­ward.

“To­day’s an­nounce­ment is a con­tin­u­a­tion of man­age­ment’s ef­forts to po­si­tion the busi­ness for long-term suc­cess by fo­cus­ing on our wound care busi­ness, where our clin­i­cal stud­ies best sup­port pa­tient out­comes and for which re­im­burse­ment pol­i­cy has tra­di­tion­al­ly been more sta­ble,” he says in a state­ment.

M&A: a crit­i­cal dri­ver for sus­tain­able top-line growth in health­care

2021 saw a record $600B in healthcare M&A activity. In 2022, there is an anticipated slowdown in activity, however, M&A prospects remain strong in the medium to long-term. What are future growth drivers for the healthcare sector? Where might we see innovations that drive M&A? RBC’s Andrew Callaway, Global Head, Healthcare Investment Banking discusses with Vito Sperduto, Global Co-Head, M&A.

15 LGBTQ lead­ers in bio­phar­ma; Paul Stof­fels’ Gala­pa­gos re­vamp; As­traZeneca catch­es up in AT­TR; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

A return to in-person conferences also marks a return to on-the-ground reporting. My colleagues Beth Synder Bulik and Nicole DeFeudis were on-site at Cannes Lions, bringing live coverage of pharma’s presence at the ad festival — accompanied by photos from Clara Bui, our virtual producer, that bring you right to the scene. You can find a recap (and links to all the stories) below.

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Abortion-rights protesters regroup and protest following Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Fol­low­ing SCO­TUS de­ci­sion to over­turn abor­tion pro­tec­tions, AG Gar­land says states can't ban the abor­tion pill

Following the Supreme Court’s historic decision on Friday to overturn Americans’ constitutional right to an abortion after almost 50 years, Attorney General Merrick Garland sought to somewhat reassure women that states will not be able to ban the prescription drug sometimes used for abortions.

Following the decision, the New England Journal of Medicine also published an editorial strongly condemning the reversal, saying it “serves American families poorly, putting their health, safety, finances, and futures at risk.”

AstraZeneca's new Evusheld direct to consumer campaign aims to reach more immunocompromised patients.

As­traZeneca de­buts first con­sumer cam­paign for its Covid-19 pro­phy­lac­tic Evusheld — and a first for EUA drugs

AstraZeneca’s first consumer ad for Evusheld is also a first for drugs that have been granted emergency use authorizations during the pandemic.

The first DTC ad for a medicine under emergency approval, the Evusheld campaign launching this week aims to raise awareness among immunocompromised patients — and spur more use.

Evusheld nabbed emergency authorization in December, however, despite millions of immunocompromised people looking for a solution and now more widespread availability of the drug.

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GSK says its drug for chron­ic hep B could ‘lead to a func­tion­al cure’ — but will it be alone or in com­bi­na­tion?

GSK, newly branded and soon-to-be demerged, shared interim results from its Phase II trial on its chronic hepatitis B treatment, one that it says has the “potential to lead to a functional cure.”

At a presentation at the EASL International Liver Congress, GSK shared that in around 450 patients who received its hep B drug bepirovirsen for 24 weeks, just under 30% had hepatitis B surface antigen and viral DNA levels that were too low to detect.

Sanofi, GSK tout 72% Omi­cron ef­fi­ca­cy in PhI­II tri­al of next-gen, bi­va­lent shot — with an eye to year-end roll­out

Sometimes, being late can give you an advantage.

That’s what Sanofi and GSK are trying to say as the Big Pharma partners report positive results from a late-stage trial of their next-gen bivalent Covid-19 vaccine, which was designed to protect against both the original strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the Beta variant. Specifically, against Omicron, they note, the vaccine delivered 72% efficacy in all adults and 93.2% in those previously infected.

Matt Kapusta, uniQure CEO

In trou­bled Hunt­ing­ton’s space, uniQure’s gene ther­a­py shows ear­ly promise

In randomized clinical trial data from a small number of patients, Dutch biotech uniQure shared that its gene therapy for Huntington’s disease seems to reduce the amount of the mutant protein responsible for the disease over the course of a year.

In seven patients with early-stage Huntington’s — four who got the treatment and three who got a placebo — mutant huntingtin protein levels in the cerebrospinal fluid decreased by an average of just over 50% in patients who got the gene therapy compared to around a 17% drop in patients who got the placebo after a year.

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De­spite a slow start to the year for deals, PwC pre­dicts a flur­ry of ac­tiv­i­ty com­ing up

Despite whispers of a busy year for M&A, deal activity in the pharma space is actually down 30% on a semi-annualized basis, according to PwC’s latest report on deal activity. But don’t rule out larger deals in the second half of the year, the consultants said.

PwC pharmaceutical and life sciences consulting solutions leader Glenn Hunzinger expects to see Big Pharma companies picking up earlier stage companies to try and fill pipeline gaps ahead of a slew of big patent cliffs. Though a bear market continues to maul the biotech sector, Hunzinger said recent deals indicate that pharma companies are still paying above current trading prices.

Joe Wiley, Amryt Pharma CEO

Am­ryt Phar­ma sub­mits a for­mal dis­pute res­o­lu­tion to the FDA over re­ject­ed skin dis­ease drug

The story of Amryt Pharma’s candidate for the genetic skin condition epidermolysis bullosa, or EB, will soon enter another chapter.

After the Irish drugmaker’s candidate, dubbed Oleogel-S10 and marketed as Filsuvez, was handed a CRL earlier this year, the company announced in a press release that it plans to submit a formal dispute resolution request for the company’s NDA for Oleogel-S10.