With eyes on a poly­mer em­pire prize, French medtech play­er seals $42M in fresh fund­ing

Sur­geons are lim­it­ed by su­tures, wires and sta­ples to re­con­nect tis­sue dur­ing surgery — dou­bly so in min­i­mal­ly in­va­sive pro­ce­dures. Sealants of­fer the promise of re­pair, es­pe­cial­ly for soft tis­sues, like the kind in the lungs or heart. But ex­ist­ing prod­ucts are nei­ther elas­tic nor ad­he­sive enough. En­ter Paris-based medtech play­er Tis­si­um, which claims it has just the fix with a poly­mer that promis­es to do its job on-de­mand, and maybe even de­liv­er drugs — us­ing tech­nol­o­gy orig­i­nal­ly de­vel­oped in the pro­lif­ic lab of MIT’s Bob Langer.

Tis­si­um, for­mer­ly called Gecko Bio­med­ical, has raised €38.75 mil­lion ($42.78 mil­lion) in a se­ries B round of fund­ing as it works on de­vel­op­ing the tech­nol­o­gy be­yond its EU-ap­proved sealant to a poly­mer they want to de­ploy in a num­ber of ways — like an­chor­ing de­vices with­in the body, as a plug, a ve­hi­cle for drug de­liv­ery, as well as an im­plantable de­vice cre­at­ed out­side of the body us­ing a 3D-print­er.

Maria Pereira

The pro­pri­etary tech, which was ini­tial­ly de­vel­oped as a glue to close wounds in ba­bies’ hearts, was cre­at­ed by Maria Pereira, the com­pa­ny’s chief in­no­va­tion of­fi­cer, dur­ing her PhD in bio­engi­neer­ing sys­tems. It is a flex­i­ble, bio­com­pat­i­ble and biore­sorbable ma­te­r­i­al, CEO Christophe Ban­cel said.

The sealant does not poly­mer­ize by it­self or when it comes in con­tact with blood, he claimed in an in­ter­view with End­points News. “The doc­tor will be able to trig­ger when the poly­mer goes from its liq­uid and vis­cous state in­to a sol­id yet fix­able state.”

The prod­uct, Se­talum, is a poly­mer CE-marked as a vas­cu­lar sealant. The ap­proval was based on a sin­gle-arm in pa­tients ne­ces­si­tat­ing a carotid en­darterec­to­my, a sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure de­signed to re­move a build-up of fat­ty de­posits in the carotid artery. The per­for­mance of the sealant was eval­u­at­ed by the per­cent­age of im­me­di­ate he­mo­sta­sis fol­low­ing clamp re­moval, but en­roll­ment was stopped at 22 pa­tients af­ter im­me­di­ate he­mo­sta­sis was achieved in 85% of them.

When Tis­si­um se­cured its CE mark in 2017, Se­talum was ap­proved for use in a vial. The com­pa­ny is now work­ing on tweak­ing the prod­uct in­to a pre-filled sy­ringe — and hopes to ap­ply for the EU nod for that ver­sion by the end of the year. An ap­pli­ca­tion for an IND to test the prod­uct in the Unit­ed States is planned for ear­ly 2020.

The com­pa­ny has built up its own man­u­fac­tur­ing in­fra­struc­ture and says it can ef­fec­tive­ly syn­the­size dif­fer­ent ver­sions of the poly­mer with dif­fer­ent prop­er­ties, in­clud­ing chang­ing the speed of degra­da­tion and the strength of ad­he­sion.

The French com­pa­ny al­so has plans for a poly­mer em­pire — it wants to ex­pand the tech to de­vel­op a car­dio­vas­cu­lar sealant, a com­plete su­ture­less so­lu­tion for pe­riph­er­al nerve re­pair, a prod­uct for gas­troin­testi­nal surgery and as a drug de­liv­ery de­vice for ENT con­di­tions, Ban­cel said.

The se­ries B in­jec­tion comes from BNP Paribas Développe­ment, the Eu­ro­pean In­vest­ment Fund (EIF), M&L In­vest­ments, ValQuest Part­ners, in ad­di­tion to ex­ist­ing in­vestors BPI France, CM-CIC In­no­va­tion, Cap Dé­cisif Man­age­ment, Omnes Cap­i­tal and Sofinno­va Part­ners.

Found­ed in 2013, the com­pa­ny ini­tial­ly raised $10.8 mil­lion that year, and $25.5 mil­lion in 2016.

Amarin CEO John Thero discussing the company's plans for Vascepa, August 2019 — via Bloomberg

Amarin wins a block­buster ap­proval from the FDA. Now every­one can shift fo­cus to the patent

For all those people who could never quite believe that Amarin $AMRN would get an expanded label with blockbuster implications, the stress and anxiety on display right up to the last minute on Twitter can now end. But new, pressing questions will immediately surface now that the OK has come through.

On Friday afternoon, the FDA stamped its landmark approval on the industrial strength fish oil for reducing cardio risks for a large and well defined population of patients. The approval doesn’t give Amarin everything it wants in expanding its use, losing out on the primary prevention group, but it goes a long way to doing what the company needed to make a major splash. The approval was cited for patients with “elevated triglyceride levels (a type of fat in the blood) of 150 milligrams per deciliter or higher. Patients must also have either established cardiovascular disease or diabetes and two or more additional risk factors for cardiovascular disease.”

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Sanofi CEO Hud­son lays out new R&D fo­cus — chop­ping di­a­betes, car­dio and slash­ing $2B-plus costs in sur­gi­cal dis­sec­tion

Earlier on Monday, new Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson baited the hook on his upcoming strategy presentation Tuesday with a tell-tale deal to buy Synthorx for $2.5 billion. That fits squarely with hints that he’s pointing the company to a bigger future in oncology, which also squares with a major industry tilt.

In a big reveal later in the day, though, Hudson offered a slate of stunners on his plans to surgically dissect and reassemble the portfoloio, saying that the company is dropping cardio and diabetes research — which covers two of its biggest franchise arenas. Sanofi missed the boat on developing new diabetes drugs, and now it’s pulling out entirely. As part of the pullback, it’s dropping efpeglenatide, their once-weekly GLP-1 injection for diabetes.

“To be out of cardiovascular and diabetes is not easy for a company like ours with an incredibly proud history,” Hudson said on a call with reporters, according to the Wall Street Journal. “As tough a choice as that is, we’re making that choice.”

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Sarep­ta was stunned by the re­jec­tion of Vyondys 53. Now it's stun­ning every­one with a sur­prise ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval

Sarepta has a friend in the FDA after all. Four months after the agency determined that it would be wrong to give Sarepta an accelerated approval for their Duchenne MD drug golodirsen, regulators have executed a stunning about face and offered the biotech a quick green light in any case.

It was the agency that first put out the news late Thursday, announcing that Duchenne MD patients with a mutation amenable to exon 53 skipping will now have their first targeted treatment: Vyondys 53, or golodirsen. Having secured the OK via a dispute resolution mechanism, the biotech said the new drug has been priced on par with their only other marketed drug, Exondys 51 — which for an average patient costs about $300,000 per year, but since pricing is based on weight, that sticker price can even cross $1 million.

Sarepta shares $SRPT surged 23% after-market to $124.

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Arie Belldegrun (Photo: Jeff Rumans for Endpoints News)

Ju­ry finds Gilead li­able for $585M and big roy­al­ties in Kite CAR-T patent case

A Kite deal that’s already become a burden on Gilead’s back just got heavier as a California jury has ruled Gilead must pay Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sloan Kettering $585 million plus a 27.6% royalty for patent infringement committed by its subsidiary. The ruling is almost certain to be appealed.

Kite Pharma — founded by Arie Belldegrun, now focused on a next-gen CAR-T company — has been facing a lawsuit since the day its first CAR–T therapy won approval in October, 2017. Juno Therapeutics and Sloan Kettering filed a complaint saying Kite had copied its technology. Gilead acquired Kite in June of that year for $11.9 billion.  Juno was acquired the following year by Celgene for $9 billion, before Celgene was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2019.

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FDA ex­pert pan­el unan­i­mous­ly rec­om­mends ap­proval for Hori­zon Ther­a­peu­tics eye drug

An FDA advisory committee noted with concern a small safety database but unanimously endorsed a Horizon Therapeutics drug for a rare eye autoimmune disease that can blind patients: teprotumumab for thyroid eye disease (TED).

“It was a pretty easy vote,” said Erica Brittain, an NIH biostatistician and one of the 12 panelists on FDA’s Dermatologic and Ophthalmic Drugs Advisory Committee.

This image shows a lab technician measuring the zone of inhibition during an antibiotic sensitivity test, 1972. The zone of inhibition is measured and compared to a standard in order to determine if an antibiotic is effective in treating the bacterial infection. (Gilda Jones/CDC via Getty Images)

Bio­phar­ma has aban­doned an­tibi­ot­ic de­vel­op­ment. Here’s why we did, too.

Timing is Everything
When we launched Octagon Therapeutics in late 2017, I was convinced that the time was right for a new antibiotic discovery venture. The company was founded on impressive academic pedigree and the management team had known each other for years. Our first program was based on a compelling approach to targeting central metabolism in the most dangerous bacterial pathogens. We had already shown a high level of efficacy in animal infection models and knew our drug was safe in humans.

Shehnaaz Suli­man dives back in­to Alzheimer's at Alec­tor; Pyx­is re­cruits Spring­Works founder Lara Sul­li­van as CEO

Amid Shehnaaz Suliman’s lengthy resume it could be easy to miss her stint leading early-stage Alzheimer’s R&D at Genentech, where she oversaw a program for the ill-fated crenezumab and initiated one of the first prevention studies around the devastating neurodegenerative disease. But it is this experience that she — after thinking long and hard about her next career move over the past months — will be leaning heavily on as the first president and COO of Alector.

Paul Biondi (File photo)

Paul Biondi's track record at Bris­tol-My­ers cov­ered bil­lions in deals of every shape and size. Here's the com­plete break­down

Paul Biondi was never afraid to bet big during his stint as business development chief at Bristol-Myers Squibb. And while the gambles didn’t all pay out, by any means, his roster of pacts illustrates the broad ambitions the pharma giant has had over the last 5 years — capped by the $74 billion Celgene buyout.

On Thursday, we learned that Biondi had exited the company. And Chris Dokomajilar at DealForma came up with the complete breakdown on every buyout, licensing pact and product purchase Bristol-Myers forged during his tenure in charge of the BD team at one of the busiest companies in biopharma.

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Paul Biondi (File photo)

Bris­tol-My­er­s' strat­e­gy, BD chief Paul Bion­di ex­it­ed the com­pa­ny — just ahead of the $74B Cel­gene deal close

Paul Biondi, who orchestrated billions of dollars in deals for Bristol-Myers Squibb over the 5 years he’s run their business development team, has exited the company. Biondi left last month, according to a company spokesperson, in pursuit of another — unspecified — external opportunity.

After 17 years with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Paul Biondi, Head of Strategy and Business Development, decided to leave the company to pursue an external opportunity. The company wishes him well in his new endeavors. Bristol-Myers Squibb  is actively searching for Paul’s successor, and will make an announcement, as appropriate.

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