When drug val­ue as­sess­ment meets re­al-world ev­i­dence: ICER en­lists Ae­tion in pric­ing eval­u­a­tion

In a union of two of the hottest trends in the US bio­phar­ma world, ICER is team­ing up with a high-pro­file com­pa­ny to in­te­grate re­al-world ev­i­dence in their as­sess­ment of treat­ment val­ue.

The drug pric­ing watch­dog — for­mal­ly the In­sti­tute for Clin­i­cal and Eco­nom­ic Re­view — said it will uti­lize Ae­tion’s ev­i­dence plat­form in “se­lect up­com­ing as­sess­ments” and their new 24-month re-eval­u­a­tions of drugs grant­ed ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval by the FDA.

Even though ICER doesn’t play an of­fi­cial role in set­ting drug prices, its ver­dicts on whether treat­ments are cost-ef­fec­tive are in­creas­ing­ly shap­ing pay­er at­ti­tude and con­sumer per­cep­tion, as well as, gen­er­al dis­course as the heat­ed de­bate around US drug prices rages on.

Car­olyn Mag­ill

Led by Unit­ed­Health vet Car­olyn Mag­ill, Ae­tion de­rives much of its da­ta from in­sur­ance claims, but it al­so works with elec­tron­ic health records, reg­istries and clin­i­cal tri­als. The FDA and Brigham and Women’s Hos­pi­tal have a pact in place with the com­pa­ny to try pre­dict­ing the re­sults of ran­dom­ized clin­i­cal tri­als in a pi­lot project in­volv­ing sev­en stud­ies.

Scott Got­tlieb, who pushed the in­dus­try to try new things with RWE dur­ing his tenure as FDA com­mis­sion­er, joined Ae­tion’s board a few months af­ter leav­ing the agency.

David Whitrap

For its part, ICER has com­mit­ted to ex­pand­ing its RWE use, not on­ly us­ing ex­ist­ing sources such as man­u­fac­tur­ers and pa­tient or­ga­ni­za­tions but ex­plor­ing ways to gen­er­ate da­ta that can com­ple­ment pub­lished sources. The deal with Ae­tion al­lows them to do it at greater scale, David Whitrap, ICER’s VP of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and out­reach, told End­points News.

Where­as RWE can come in handy for com­par­isons to ex­ist­ing treat­ments and the nat­ur­al trend of cer­tain con­di­tions (such as sick­le cell dis­ease, where ICER is con­duct­ing a re­view of ther­a­pies with Ae­tion’s help), their re­la­tion­ship will be most use­ful in the new process they are pi­lot­ing: re-eval­u­at­ing treat­ments af­ter they’ve been on the mar­ket for sev­er­al years.

“Ran­dom­ized clin­i­cal tri­als re­main the gold stan­dard for de­vel­op­ing un­bi­ased ev­i­dence, but as the FDA is in­creas­ing­ly ap­prov­ing treat­ments based on thin­ner clin­i­cal tri­al da­ta, the en­tire health in­dus­try will need to fill larg­er knowl­edge gaps about how well a new drug ac­tu­al­ly works,” he said. “And RWE is one way to do so.”

Tillman Gerngross, Adagio Therapeutics CEO

An­ti­body leg­end Till­man Gern­gross is el­bow­ing his way in­to the Covid-19 R&D cru­sade: 'I don’t see this end­ing any­time soon'

One of the most influential — and outspoken — scientists at work in the field of antibody discovery is jumping into the frenzied race to create new therapeutics to treat and prevent Covid-19. And he’s operating with the conviction that the current outbreak now once again spreading like wildfire will create plenty of demand for what he has in mind.

Dartmouth professor and Adimab CEO Tillman Gerngross tells me he’s raised $50 million from a group of close VCs to spin out a new company — Adagio Therapeutics — with a full C-suite team assembled to hire up a staff and keep rolling toward the clinic.

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Tal Zaks, Moderna CMO (Moderna via YouTube)

UP­DAT­ED: NI­AID and Mod­er­na spell out a 'ro­bust' im­mune re­sponse in PhI coro­n­avirus vac­cine test — but big ques­tions re­main to be an­swered

The NIAID and Moderna have spelled out positive Phase I safety and efficacy data for their Covid-19 vaccine mRNA-1273 — highlighting the first full, clear sketch of evidence that back-to-back jabs at the dose selected for Phase III routinely produced a swarm of antibodies to the virus that exceeded levels seen in convalescent patients — typically in multiples indicating a protective response.

Moderna execs say plainly that this first stage of research produced exactly the kind of efficacy they hoped to see in humans, with a manageable safety profile.

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Trans­port Sim­u­la­tion Test­ing for Your Ther­a­py is the Best Way to As­sure FDA Ex­pe­dit­ed Pro­gram Ap­proval

Modality Solutions is an ISO:9001-registered biopharmaceutical cold chain engineering firm with unique transport simulation capabilities that support accelerated regulatory approval for biologics and advanced therapeutic medicinal products (ATMP). Our expertise combines traditional validation engineering approaches with regulatory knowledge into a methodology tailored for the life sciences industry. We provide insight and execution for the challenges faced in your cold chain logistics network.

GSK’s Shin­grix leader Guil­laume Pfe­fer has jumped on board Flag­ship to helm a biotech hy­brid as Afeyan’s lat­est CEO-part­ner

After spending 4 years in a senior post with GlaxoSmithKline’s star team positioning Shingrix for a blockbuster approval, Guillaume Pfefer is headed back to the biotech world — in style.

Pfefer has signed on to join Noubar Afeyan’s busy group of partners at Flagship, and he’s taking the helm of an upstart — which today is being merged with another Flagship startup — with some grand plans of its own. The announcement this morning notes that Pfefer will run Kintai Therapeutics, one of the grads of the Flagship labs.

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Who are the women blaz­ing trails in bio­phar­ma R&D and lead­ing the fight against Covid-19? Nom­i­nate them for End­points' spe­cial re­port

One of the many inequalities the pandemic has laid bare is the gender imbalance in biomedical research. A paper examining Covid-19 research authorship wondered out loud: Where are the women?

It’s a question that echoes beyond our current times. In the biopharma world, not only are women under-represented in R&D roles (particularly at higher levels), their achievements and talents could also be undermined by stereotypes and norms of leadership styles. The problem is even more dire for women of color.

Donald Trump and Anthony Fauci (AP Images)

Covid-19 roundup: Fau­ci fires back at White House cam­paign to un­der­mine him

Anthony Fauci has called the White House campaign to discredit him “a bit bizarre” and said he stands by his previous statements, even if he has since changed his views.

The NIAID chief — who has received an outpouring of support following reports that the Trump administration has sent a document akin to opposition research to multiple news outlets — spoke with his usual candor in interviews with The Atlantic.

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John Furey, Imvax CEO

A neu­ro­sur­geon spent the past 30 years de­vel­op­ing a neoanti­gen tu­mor vac­cine. Now he has $112M for a piv­otal test

As a neurosurgeon, David Andrews knew there wasn’t much he could do for his glioma patients after resecting — rarely fully — their tumor. Even with the best treatment and care available, median overall survival is just somewhere between 14 and 16 months.

Then in the 1990s, his mentor at Thomas Jefferson University introduced him to Renato Baserga, a pathologist who had been studying the effect of using antisense oligonucleotide to knock out the insulin-like growth factor type 1 receptor in cancers. As IGF-R1 drives tumor growth and metastasis, the preclinical reasoning went, implanting a molecule targeting the receptor together with the tumor material near lymph nodes can slow down the spread of the cancer.

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The $1B Mer­ck-Bay­er drug that di­vid­ed car­di­ol­o­gists in March gets pri­or­i­ty re­view

Three months after Merck published in the New England Journal of Medicine data that left doctors and investors divided 0ver just how well its experimental heart drug worked, the FDA has handed that drug priority review. A decision is now due by January 20, 2021.

Merck first announced the drug, known as vericiguat, as a Phase III success last November. In 2016, Merck had paid $1 billion upfront for US rights to the Bayer-developed drug. Early projections foresaw a few hundred million a year in sales, but the unspecified late-stage success raised the possibility for far more. After all, Novartis’s flagship heart drug, Entresto, was earning $1.7 billion per year and was expected to reach up to $4 billion in annual sales.

New biotech Exalys, seek­ing to pre­vent post­op­er­a­tive delir­i­um, launch­es with $15 mil­lion in Se­ries A

An old group of former colleagues will be reuniting to lead a new biotech venture aimed at cultivating a portfolio to treat neuroinflammatory disorders.

Led by Rick Orr, who ran biotechs Adynxx and Alliqua Biomedical, the group is launching the startup Exalys on Thursday with $15 million in Series A funding from venture firms Catalys Pacific and Domain Associates. The nascent company’s first project will focus on preventing postoperative delirium, licensing a platform of EP4 receptors from Japanese pharma Eisai.