Sarepta fights back, Sanofi/BI partner, and more from the last day of JPM15
It's the last day of the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco (the Biotech Showcase concluded one day earlier on Wednesday), but even the festivities' impending conclusion didn't preclude some more big news out of the industry.
Here's what you need to know from the final day of JPM15:
Sarepta CEO fights back after BioMarin's Duchenne call-out
The story that's likely to keep people talking is the feud between BioMarin and Sarepta over the respective companies' Duchenne musuclar dystrophy treatments. As BioPharma Dive reported on Monday, BioMarin CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaime essentially told JPM15 attendees that his company's DMD drug, drisapersen, is superior to Sarepta's competing eteplirsen despite the fact that both of the therapies are still very much in the experimental stage. He did so by taking the unusual step of publicly displaying two slides purportedly comparing each drug's efficacy, even though there have been no head-to-head trials between the two to date.
Sarepta CEO Chris Garabedian had a word of his own for Bienaime's tactics in an interview with Bloomberg: "Inappropriate." He also strongly defended eteplirsen, saying that safety studies in particular would favor the treatment.
This is a huge rivalry in an extraordinarily small therapeutic category - which will inevitably make it all the more intense.
Sanofi and BI team up on monoclonal antibodies
On Thursday, Sanofi announced that it had struck a monoclonal antibody manufacturing deal with Boehringer Ingelheim for the production of PCSK9 (and assured blockbuster) cholesterol drug alirocumab, IL-6 inhibiting rheumatoid arthritis candidate sarilumab, and IL-4 and IL-13 antibody dupilumab, which has the potential to address a multitude of afflictions including atopic dermatitis, nasal polyps, and even asthma.
"Boehringer Ingelheim is a highly capable and experienced partner to complement our continued alliance with Regeneron and the investments we are making in building our own internal capabilities as we prepare for a wave of potential new product launches in the coming years," said Sanofi SVP of biologics Wolfram Carius in a statement.
You can read our exclusive interview with Sanofi EVP Pascale Witz, who named dupilumab as the eventual drug launch that she is most excited for, from JPM15 here.
Kite Pharma already prepping for the price war era
Kite Pharma CEO Arie Belldegrun told Reuters during an interview at JPM15 that the company is already planning for discussions with payers over pricing for an investigational cancer immunotherapy that is expected to be extraordinarily pricey (analysts have estimated that it could cost as much as $300,000 per treatment).
That's despite the fact that the company has yet to launch its biggest clinical studies for the drug, underscoring the reality that pharma has entered an era in which companies must begin sketching pricing, marketing, and post-launch outlines well before a drug is actually cleared (or even submitted for approval). You can call it "The Express Scripts Age," as Kite's CEO specifically referenced the Gilead/AbbVie/Express Scripts/CVS/Anthem pricing spat in his company's decision to being talks with payers so soon.
"We learn from mistakes," he told Reuters.
JPM15 and BTS15 may be over - but stay tuned for even more features from BioPharma Dive from the conferences next week, including an exclusive interview with inVentive Health EVP Michael Griffith and conversations with smaller biotech and pharma firms attempting novel therapeutic designs. Thanks for following all the fun along with us this week.