Who are the women su­per­charg­ing bio­phar­ma R&D? Nom­i­nate them for this year's spe­cial re­port

The biotech in­dus­try has faced re­peat­ed calls to di­ver­si­fy its work­force — and in the last year, those calls got a lot loud­er. Though women ac­count for just un­der half of all biotech em­ploy­ees around the world, they oc­cu­py very few places in C-suites, and even few­er make it to the helm.

Some com­pa­nies are lis­ten­ing, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent BIO sur­vey which showed that this year’s com­pa­nies were 2.5 times more like­ly to have a di­ver­si­ty and in­clu­sion pro­gram com­pared to last year’s sam­ple. But we still have a long way to go. Women rep­re­sent just 31% of biotech ex­ec­u­tives, BIO re­port­ed. And those num­bers are even more stark for women of col­or.

Even though women are en­ter­ing the field at sim­i­lar rates as men, many still re­port be­ing held back by stereo­types, or, un­for­tu­nate­ly, fac­ing ha­rass­ment from col­leagues. This year, we’ve been close­ly fol­low­ing sex­u­al ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions against some of the in­dus­try’s most promi­nent fig­ures, in­clud­ing for­mer Op­er­a­tion Warp Speed head Mon­cef Slaoui, MIT sci­en­tist David Saba­ti­ni, Eli Lil­ly CFO Josh Smi­ley, and an­ti-ag­ing re­searcher Aubrey de Grey. It’s a list that is far too long — and like­ly to get longer.

At End­points News, we be­lieve it’s time for a change. And cel­e­brat­ing those who have bro­ken the glass ceil­ing is cru­cial to get­ting there.

For the third year, we’ll be shar­ing the sto­ries of 20 women who are su­per­charg­ing drug R&D and, in the process, blaz­ing new paths for oth­ers to fol­low. Last year, we homed in on those who were mak­ing strides in the fight against Covid-19 — and thanks to their ef­forts, we now have the first vac­cines and treat­ments to bat­tle the world’s largest pub­lic health cri­sis in decades.

Once again, we’ll need your help find­ing this year’s hon­orees. So hur­ry up and send us your CEOs, CMOs, CSOs, R&D di­rec­tors and lead sci­en­tists — any­one who’s leav­ing a last­ing mark on the in­dus­try. For the sec­ond year, you’ll get to hear di­rect­ly from our hon­orees at a live event on Dec. 7.

Email your nom­i­nee’s name, po­si­tion, and your rea­son for choos­ing them to nicole@end­pointsnews.com and am­ber@end­pointsnews.com. Or, use this form. Nom­i­na­tions are open through Sept. 30. We look for­ward to hear­ing from you.

Up­date: Nom­i­na­tions are now closed. Thanks for your par­tic­i­pa­tion!

Up­dat­ed: FDA re­mains silent on or­phan drug ex­clu­siv­i­ty af­ter last year's court loss

Since losing a controversial court case over orphan drug exclusivity last year, the FDA’s Office of Orphan Products Development has remained entirely silent on orphan exclusivity for any product approved since last November, leaving many sponsors in limbo on what to expect.

That silence means that for more than 70 orphan-designated indications for more than 60 products, OOPD has issued no public determination on the seven-year orphan exclusivity in the Orange Book, and no new listings of orphan exclusivity appear in OOPD’s searchable database, as highlighted recently by George O’Brien, a partner in Mayer Brown’s Washington, DC office.

Thomas Gad, Y-mAbs Therapeutics founder and interim CEO

FDA re­jects Y-mAbs’ neu­rob­las­toma drug af­ter tak­ing is­sue with clin­i­cal tri­al de­sign

Uncertainty about clinical trial evidence has led the FDA to hand down a complete response letter for Y-mAbs’ neuroblastoma drug, casting a cloud on the future of a candidate that had gone through a long development journey in a rare pediatric cancer.

Y-mAbs said it’s disappointed “but not surprised” given that the agency’s oncology drug advisory committee had voted 16-0 against its drug’s approval a few weeks ago.

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Philip Tagari switch­es Am­gen's dis­cov­ery lab for in­sitro's ma­chine learn­ing tools; CEO Joaquin Du­a­to to chair J&J's board

In February, Philip Tagari will take a few days of retirement and then immediately return to industry. He won’t be leading the therapeutics discovery unit for a large biopharma, though.

He’ll trade in his Amgen hat for chief scientist at a machine learning startup that has reeled in hundreds of millions in capital to lay the groundwork for a much-hyped new model of drug discovery that aims to speed up the time to new clinical assets.

Raul Rodriguez, Rigel Pharma CEO

Rigel Phar­ma scores FDA ap­proval for leukemia, kick­ing off show­down with Servi­er in IDH1

When Rigel Pharma bought olutasidenib from Forma Therapeutics, it acquired a drug that already secured a PDUFA date at the FDA — for February 2023. But regulators are ready to give their OK sooner than that.

The FDA has approved the IDH1 inhibitor as a treatment for adult patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia who have a susceptible IDH-1 (isocitrate dehydrogenase-1) mutation as detected by an FDA-greenlit test. Rigel will market it as Rezlidhia.

Tim Pearson, Carrick Therapeutics CEO

Pfiz­er backs $60M in­fu­sion in­to Car­rick, teams up on breast can­cer treat­ment

In a big week for Carrick Therapeutics, the company announced $60 million in funding for its lead breast cancer drug and development of a second program, as well as a collaboration with Pfizer for combo development.

The $35 million from Pfizer comes with an agreement under which Pfizer will support Carrick’s Phase II study of samuraciclib in combination with Pfizer’s Faslodex for advanced breast cancer. Along with the investment, Adam Schayowitz, vice president and development head of breast cancer, colorectal cancer and melanoma at Pfizer global product development, will join Carrick’s scientific advisory board.

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Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Romuald Meigneux/Sipa via AP Images)

Sanofi and Am­gen are bring­ing cash to cov­er the ta­ble stakes for the Hori­zon M&A game

With the market cap on Horizon Therapeutics $HZNP pushed up to the $23 billion mark today, one of the Big Pharmas in the hunt for a major league buyout deal signaled it’s playing the M&A game with cash.

Paris-based Sanofi, where CEO Paul Hudson has been largely focused on some risky biotech acquisitions to win some respect for its future pipeline prospects, issued a statement early Friday — complying with Rule 2.12 of the Irish takeover rules — making clear that while the certainty or size of an offer can’t be determined, any offer “will be solely in cash.” And Amgen CEO Robert Bradway came right in behind him, filing a statement on the London Stock Exchange overnight that any offer they may make will “likely” be in cash as well.

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Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News

As mon­ey pours in­to dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics, in­sur­ance cov­er­age crawls

Talk therapy didn’t help Lily with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. But a video game did.

As the 10-year-old zooms through icy waters and targets flying creatures on the snow-capped planet Frigidus, she builds attention skills, thanks to Akili Interactive Labs’ video game EndeavorRx. She’s now less anxious and scattered, allowing her to stay on a low dose of ADHD medication, according to her mom Violet Vu.

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Eli Lil­ly’s Alzheimer’s drug clears more amy­loid ear­ly than Aduhelm in first-ever head-to-head. Will it mat­ter?

Ahead of the FDA’s decision on Eli Lilly’s Alzheimer’s drug donanemab in February, the Big Pharma is dropping a first cut of data from one of the more interesting trials — but less important in a regulatory sense — at an Alzheimer’s conference in San Francisco.

In the unblinded 148-person study, Eli Lilly pitted its drug against Aduhelm, Biogen’s drug that won FDA approval but lost Medicare coverage outside of clinical trials. Notably, the study didn’t look at clinical outcomes, but rather the clearance of amyloid, a protein whose buildup is associated with Alzheimer’s disease, in the brain.

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Lynn Baxter, Viiv Healthcare's head of North America

Vi­iV dri­ves new cor­po­rate coali­tion in­clud­ing Uber, Tin­der and Wal­mart, aimed at end­ing HIV

ViiV Healthcare is pulling together an eclectic coalition of consumer businesses in a new White House-endorsed effort to end HIV by the end of the decade.

The new US Business Action to End HIV includes pharma and health companies — Gilead Sciences, CVS Health and Walgreens — but extends to a wide range of consumer companies that includes Tinder, Uber and Walmart.

ViiV is the catalyst for the group, plunking down more than half a million dollars in seed money and taking on ringmaster duties for launch today on World AIDS Day, but co-creator Health Action Alliance will organize joint activities going forward. ViiV and the alliance want and expect more companies to not only join the effort, but also pitch in funding.

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