Vas Narasimhan (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images) and Severin Schwan (Roche)

Vas Narasimhan and Sev­erin Schwan each claimed pay pack­ets worth $12M+ for 2021

Two of the top paid Eu­ro­pean phar­ma CEOs have re­port­ed their in­come for 2021. And while both could boast of some hefty pay pack­ages for the year be­hind us, the num­bers are like­ly to be dwarfed as the US ex­ecs — in­clud­ing some lead­ers of much small­er biotechs — be­gin to re­port their com­pen­sa­tion lat­er in the year.

Roche CEO Sev­erin Schwan jumped in­to the lead in this first cut of the in­come num­bers, though not by much. His com­pen­sa­tion pack­age rang up to 11.5 mil­lion CHF ($12.4 mil­lion). And Vas Narasimhan, who took the helm at No­var­tis just 4 years ago, claimed 11.2 mil­lion ($12 mil­lion) CHF.

While bio­phar­ma has been a dar­ling on Wall Street for much of the pan­dem­ic, the last 6 months haven’t been par­tic­u­lar­ly kind to these com­pa­nies. No­var­tis shares have looped up and down some­what, but are down 6% for the past half-year, while Roche stock is down 4% for the same pe­ri­od.

The Dow dur­ing the same pe­ri­od is up slight­ly.

Narasimhan has had his hands full with San­doz, the big gener­ics unit which ap­pears head­ed in­to an­oth­er down­turn in the year ahead. The game plan now is to see how to get rid of the mill­stone around its neck while look­ing to M&A and deals to grow the pipeline and spark more en­thu­si­asm for the pipeline.

Dave Ricks

In Roche’s case, the glob­al gi­ant has a va­ri­ety of rev­enue streams to de­pend on as they look to shed the lin­ger­ing ef­fects of the pan­dem­ic be­hind and go on to faster growth in the year ahead.

Nei­ther of these play­ers had much to do with fight­ing Covid-19 with new drugs or vac­cines, leav­ing them out of the sweep­stakes play that left Pfiz­er to en­joy the big wind­fall as Mod­er­na and BioN­Tech ben­e­fit­ed from the overnight cre­ation of a mega mar­ket.

Gio­van­ni Caforio

Re­gard­less of over­all per­for­mance, though, the CEOs of the US phar­ma­cy are like­ly to re­port much hefti­er pay pack­ets, if his­to­ry can tell us any­thing. Eli Lil­ly’s Dave Ricks gath­ered $23.7 mil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion in 2020, while Gio­van­ni Caforio at Bris­tol My­ers Squibb claimed $20 mil­lion for the same stretch. The split re­flects 2 en­tire­ly dif­fer­ent mind­sets by in­vestors, with the Eu­ro­peans far more like­ly to blis­ter an ex­ec for any­thing seen as over­reach­ing at their ex­pense.

Susan Galbraith, AstraZeneca EVP, oncology R&D, at EUBIO22 (Rachel Kiki for Endpoints News)

Up­dat­ed: As­traZeneca jumps deep­er in­to cell ther­a­py 2.0 space with $320M biotech M&A

Right from the start, the execs at Neogene had some lofty goals in mind when they decided to try their hand at a cell therapy that could tackle solid tumors.

Its founders have helped hone a new approach that would pack in multiple neoantigen targets to create a personalized TCR treatment that would not just make the leap from blood to solid tumors, but do it with durability. And they managed to make their way rapidly to the clinic, unveiling their first Phase I program for advanced tumors just last May.

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Ei­sai’s ex­pand­ed Alzheimer’s da­ta leave open ques­tions about safe­ty and clin­i­cal ben­e­fit

Researchers still have key questions about Eisai’s investigational Alzheimer’s drug lecanemab following the publication of more Phase III data in the New England Journal of Medicine Tuesday night.

In the paper, which was released in conjunction with presentations at an Alzheimer’s conference, trial investigators write that a definition of clinical meaningfulness “has not been established.” And the relative lack of new information, following topline data unveiled in September, left experts asking for more — setting up a potential showdown to precisely define how big a difference the drug makes in patients’ lives.

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Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News

Twit­ter dis­ar­ray con­tin­ues as phar­ma ad­ver­tis­ers ex­tend paus­es and look around for op­tions, but keep tweet­ing

Pharma advertisers on Twitter are done — at least for now. Ad spending among the previous top spenders flattened even further last week, according to the latest data from ad tracker Pathmatics, amid ongoing turmoil after billionaire boss Elon Musk’s takeover now one month ago.

Among 18 top advertisers tracked for Endpoints News, only two are spending: GSK and Bayer. GSK spending for the full week through Sunday was minimal at just under $1,900. Meanwhile, German drugmaker Bayer remains the industry outlier upping its spending to $499,000 last week from $480,000 the previous week. Bayer’s spending also marks a big increase from a month ago and before the Musk takeover, when it spent $16,000 per week.

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Vi­a­tris with­draws ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval for top­i­cal an­timi­cro­bial 24 years lat­er

After 24 years without confirming clinical benefit, the FDA announced Tuesday morning that Viatris (formed via Mylan and Pfizer’s Upjohn) has decided to withdraw a topical antimicrobial agent, Sulfamylon (mafenide acetate), after the company said conducting a confirmatory study was not feasible.

Sulfamylon first won FDA’s accelerated nod in 1998 as a topical burn treatment, with the FDA noting that last December, Mylan told the agency that it wasn’t running the trial.

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Catal­ent to cut about 200 jobs in Mary­land and Texas

Contract manufacturing company Catalent is cutting about 200 jobs in Maryland and Texas, according to WARN notices, trimming back some of its pandemic-era expansion.

The company will cut 77 jobs by Jan. 15 of next year at a cell therapy facility in Webster, TX, just outside of Houston. In Maryland, the company is reducing staff at two locations, with 82 jobs being eliminated at Catalent’s facility in Gaithersburg, and 53 in Rockville. The layoffs go into effect at those locations on Jan. 14.

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iECURE CEO Joe Truitt and founder Jim Wilson

Jim Wil­son biotech iECURE gets fresh $65M to push pe­di­atric liv­er dis­ease gene ther­a­py in­to the clin­ic

Jim Wilson-founded biotech iECURE has wrapped a $65M Series A extension round to get its lead candidate — a gene replacement therapy for a rare inherited liver disease known as ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency, or OTC — into the clinic.

This round was co-led by Novo Holdings and LYFE Capital, followed by initial investors Versant and OrbiMed as well. In September 2021, iECURE raised a $50 million Series A led by the latter two. The new cash infusion will get iECURE through an initial in-human trial, which CEO Joe Truitt told Endpoints News iECURE hopes to read out in 2024.

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Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: Pfiz­er, BioN­Tech re-up iHeartRa­dio hol­i­day spon­sor­ship; WHO re­names mon­key­pox to 'm­pox'

It’s that time of year again for pop music fans with the return of the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball tour — and Pfizer and BioNTech’s sponsorship. For the second year, the Covid-19 vaccine collaborators are the pharma national sponsors among consumer brand partners, including ESPN, Dunkin, M&Ms, Mercedes and Pepsi.

Pfizer and BioNTech are also sponsoring the official Jingle Ball Radio streaming station on iHeart’s network, programmed with music from past and present concert performers. This year they include Lizzo, Dua Lipa, Dove Cameron and Charlie Puth. Pfizer-sponsored radio ads and online video and digital banner ads encourage listeners to get updated Covid-19 booster shots.

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Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO (AP Images)

Nestlé re­con­sid­ers peanut al­ler­gy pro­gram two years af­ter $2.6B buy­out

It seems Nestlé is experiencing some buyer’s remorse two years after throwing down $2.6 billion for Aimmune Therapeutics and its peanut allergy pill Palforzia.

CEO Mark Schneider announced on Tuesday that Nestlé is “exploring strategic options” for Palforzia following lower-than-expected demand. A company spokesperson declined to confirm whether a potential sale is in consideration.

“The review is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023. Going forward, Nestlé Health Science will sharpen its focus on Consumer Care and Medical Nutrition,” the company said in a news release.

Tim Walbert, Horizon Therapeutics CEO (via YouTube)

Hori­zon Ther­a­peu­tics in takeover talks with Am­gen, J&J, Sanofi as po­ten­tial buy­ers

Amgen, J&J’s Janssen and Sanofi are all in talks to acquire Horizon Therapeutics, the rare disease biotech disclosed late Tuesday.

Horizon confirmed “highly preliminary discussions” with those companies regarding a potential buyout offer after the Wall Street Journal reported takeover interest.

Although the company — which commands a market cap of close to $18 billion — emphasized that “there can be no certainty that any offer will be made for the Company,” shares $HZNP still surged 31% in after-hours trading to near $103, bringing it to the point where it started the year.

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