Wel­come Case­bia, the $335M gene edit­ing JV hatched by Bay­er and CRISPR Ther­a­peu­tics

The new gene edit­ing joint ven­ture be­ing formed by Bay­er and CRISPR Ther­a­peu­tics is tak­ing shape. Now dubbed Case­bia Ther­a­peu­tics, the fledg­ling op­er­a­tions has be­gun hir­ing dozens of new staffers, tak­ing up a tem­po­rary res­i­dence while its new home is be­ing built in Kendall Square in Cam­bridge, MA.

The up­start biotech ef­fort just inked a lease on 33,000 square feet of space at 610 Main Street North, a nine-sto­ry build­ing cur­rent­ly un­der con­struc­tion near Kendall Square and ad­ja­cent to the MIT cam­pus. This is the sec­ond MIT-owned build­ing here, with Pfiz­er R&D oc­cu­py­ing the first. The com­pa­ny will be co-lo­cat­ed with CRISPR Ther­a­peu­tics’ R&D ops in the cen­ter of a thriv­ing biotech clus­ter that will be home for up to 80 staffers, while an­oth­er group will be lo­cat­ed in Bay­er’s Mis­sion Bay cam­pus in San Fran­cis­co.

Un­der con­struc­tion: 610 Main Street North

True to its glob­al na­ture, with a pos­si­ble nod to tax re­al­i­ties, the com­pa­ny will be a UK en­ti­ty.

Bay­er and CRISPR an­nounced back at the end of last year that they were form­ing this JV, with the Ger­man phar­ma com­pa­ny com­mit­ting $300 mil­lion to the com­pa­ny. CRISPR is adding $35 mil­lion. The new com­pa­ny will con­cen­trate on blood dis­or­ders, blind­ness and con­gen­i­tal heart dis­eases and Bay­er plans to use this R&D base to take a deep dive in­to gene edit­ing for ag pur­pos­es.

CRISPR Ther­a­peu­tics is one of a hand­ful of gene edit­ing star­tups that have come along to take the aca­d­e­m­ic work in­volved in the field and trans­late that in­to new ther­a­pies. CEO Rodger No­vak re­cent­ly added a large­ly un­need­ed $38 mil­lion to its B round with a group of crossover in­vestors in tow — sig­nal­ing that their S-1 just about ready to roll. Ver­tex Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Bay­er Glob­al In­vest­ments led the fundrais­ing, which brings the to­tal in the B round to a whop­ping $140 mil­lion

Bay­er’s Ax­el Bou­chon will take the helm at Case­bia as in­ter­im CEO. He’s al­so head of the Bay­er Life­Science Cen­ter (BLSC) and new group in­side Bay­er that has been charged with hunt­ing down new life sci­ence deals.

He couldn’t have found a bet­ter place to do that work. Bou­chon re­marked:

“We are ex­cit­ed to en­gage the broad­er life sci­ence com­mu­ni­ty in Boston now through Case­bia. As we es­tab­lish and grow Case­bia’s ther­a­peu­tic pro­grams, this new lo­ca­tion will pro­vide us with state-of-the-art in­fra­struc­ture, ac­cess to the vi­brant biotech en­vi­ron­ment of the Kendall Square area, and fa­cil­i­tate close col­lab­o­ra­tion with CRISPR Ther­a­peu­tics.”

Australia’s Avance Clinical: no IND required and a 43.5% rebate on clinical spend for CGT biotechs

No IND Re­quired for Cell and Gene Ther­a­py Stud­ies with Aus­tralia’s Ac­cred­it­ed CRO Avance Clin­i­cal

Avance Clinical is the specialist Australian CRO, with CGT accreditation, for international biotechs that leverages Australia’s supportive clinical trials environment which includes no IND requirement plus a 43.5% Government incentive rebate on clinical spend.

Learn more about Avance ClinicReady here.
Contact us about your next study.
Download our Frost & Sullivan APAC CRO Report here. 

The cell and gene therapies (CGT) sector offers unprecedented opportunities for patient disease management across virtually all therapeutic areas. However, finding the right accredited clinical teams to take a therapy through to the clinic and manage the regulatory process can be a major challenge for biotechs with a CGT product.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

Omi­cron: Re­searchers scram­ble as new coro­n­avirus mu­ta­tion takes flight around the globe — Pfiz­er/BioN­Tech, Mod­er­na vow swift re­sponse

As Americans were waking up for their Black Friday rituals, they were greeted with the news that a new mutation of the Covid-19 virus has appeared and been sequenced — after it caught an international flight to Hong Kong. And two of the leading Covid-19 vaccine developers promised delivery of a new vaccine “within 100 days” if necessary while a third spelled out its 3-prong strategy hours later.

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Thanks­giv­ing edi­tion: Top 15 End­points sto­ries of 2021; Can you name that vac­cine?; Mer­ck­'s Covid an­tivi­ral dis­ap­points; FDA nom­i­nee's in­dus­try ties; 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.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those who are celebrating it — although, if we are being honest, this week’s abbreviated edition is really for those who are not. Wherever you’re tuning in from, we appreciate your support, hope you find this recap helpful and we wish you a wonderful weekend.

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Troy Wilson, Kura CEO

UP­DAT­ED: FDA hits the red light on an ear­ly-stage AML study af­ter a pa­tient dies

The FDA has slapped a clinical hold on the early-stage program for one of Kura Oncology’s cancer drugs following a patient’s death in a clinical trial.

The biotech $KURA reported early Wednesday that the Phase Ib study of KO-539 for acute myeloid leukemia would be halted, suspending enrollment, while researchers and the FDA probed the death. Patients already on the drug can continue taking it.

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What were End­points read­ers tun­ing in­to this year? Here’s a look at our 15 most pop­u­lar re­ports of the year (so far)

At the beginning of this year, I laid out a basic objective for Endpoints News as we headed to our 5th anniversary. We’ve long been doing a fine job covering the breaking news in R&D — if I do say so myself — but we needed to expand our horizons on industry coverage, increase the staff and go much, much deeper when the stories demanded it.

In a phrase: broader and deeper.

It’s safe to say, based on our daily web traffic, that you all seemed to like this idea. We’ve doubled the staff — thanks to a growing group of paid subscribers — ramped up the daily report and now publish a regular slate of in-depth articles. And traffic — those clicks you always read about — have gone up in volume too. Monthly sessions are up 43%, to close to 1.5 million. Unique readers are up 63%, to 874,480 in October, after setting a record of close to a million the month before. Page views are running at 3 million-plus a month. And the overall number of subscribers has surged to 124,000.

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Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: Am­gen, Lil­ly, Bio­haven mi­graine brand re­call low, study says; No­var­tis looks to re­make drug launch mod­el

Forget the migraine marketing brand wars. When it comes to patients, many can’t even name one despite substantial advertising efforts, according to a new study from Phreesia that concludes CGRP migraine drugmakers still need to work on brand recognition.

Almost half (47%) of the patients Phreesia surveyed couldn’t name one preventative migraine brand. The best performer was Topamax, a small molecule anticonvulsant that’s been around since 2004, which 26% of migraine patients could recall. Among the new CGRP brand names recognized, Amgen’s Aimovig ranked highest with 8% recall, while Eli Lilly’s Emgality and Biohaven’s Nurtec tied at 7% and Teva’s Ajovy was remembered by 3% of patients.

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Emma Walmsley, GlaxoSmithKline CEO (Fang Zhe/Xinhua/Alamy Live News)

Glax­o­SmithK­line places a risky bet on Ar­row­head­'s RNA drug in the fail­ure-strewn NASH field

As activist investors champ at the bit for change at drug giant GlaxoSmithKline, the pharma giant has turned over many rocks to find an R&D success to present to its detractors. In NASH, a field strewn with failures, GSK hopes a new license deal can churn out a much-needed winner.

GSK will pay $120 million in upfront cash and $910 million in downstream milestones to develop and sell ARO-HSD, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals’ RNA interference drug targeting fatty liver disease nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the companies said Monday.

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Name that vac­cine: From Comir­naty to Spike­vax to Nu­vax­ovid, Covid-19 shot­s' brand names re­main lit­tle-known

Most people know if they’re “Team Pfizer” or “Team Moderna,” but few know if they got the Comirnaty or Spikevax Covid-19 vaccine. Those are the brand names of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, respectively, however they have yet to take hold with consumers, media or even medical professionals.

And there are others. Covid vaccine brand names also include AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria, Novavax’s Nuvaxovid, and Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline’s Vidprevtyn. J&J’s Janssen-developed Covid vaccine is the lone major holdout and is still yet to be named, if ever. In EMA filings approving its conditional use, the brand name is listed simply as “Covid-19 Vaccine Janssen.”

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Joan Perelló, Sanifit CEO

Joan Perel­ló set out 17 years ago to de­vel­op a drug. And to­day he's be­ing re­ward­ed with a $424M biotech buy­out

Joan Perelló beat all the odds with his little Spanish biotech startup Sanifit.

Working on the far perimeter of the big US/European drug development scene, he took a drug born out of his PhD work and got enough seed cash to get started. That’s one near miracle. In the second near miracle he gathered a previously unheard of venture raise in Spain — helping build an industry ecosystem from scratch — to pursue a successful search for solid human data for his drug, SNF472. And while gathering a virtual team of developers from Europe and the US, the CEO/co-founder steered it into the late-stage arena.

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