The Latest

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    News roundup

    Jazz drug for tremor fails study; Radiopharma drug developer ITM swaps CEOs

    A medicine Jazz acquired in 2019 missed the goal of a Phase 2 study. Elsewhere, Vanda rejected two takeover bids and Ashibio emerged from stealth with an antibody licensed from Gilead.

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    FDA lifts hold on PTC Huntington’s disease trial

    The agency has lifted a partial trial suspension based on one-year data showing PTC’s pill suppressed a key protein associated with the disorder.

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    Amazon expands drug subscription program to Medicare members

    RxPass, which fills prescriptions for generic drugs, is now available to more than 50 million Medicare members after Amazon brought it into compliance with the insurance program’s regulatory standards.

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    Merck wins FDA OK for vaccine rival to Pfizer’s pneumococcal shot

    The new vaccine, which Merck will sell as Capvaxive, will compete with Pfizer’s blockbuster Prevnar franchise.

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    Deep Dive // Emerging biotech

    Biotech IPOs are the industry’s lifeblood. Track how they’re performing.

    Cancer drug developer OS Therapies, which withdrew its offering twice in the last month, aims to price what would be the 12th biotech IPO this year.

    Updated June 20, 2024
  • Left: Josh Lehrer, CEO of Marea Therapeutics, right: Ethan Weiss, chief scientific officer of Marea Therapeutics
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    Emerging biotech

    Lingering cholesterol can keep heart risk high. Marea Therapeutics has $190M to target it.

    With a drug licensed from Novartis, the new biotech startup aims to reduce the ‘remnant’ cholesterol it says existing medicines can’t address. 

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    Intra-Cellular depression drug succeeds in second late-stage study

    The results position the company to unlock what’s believed to be a multibillion-dollar sales opportunity for Caplyta, which is already used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. 

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    Roche partners with RNA editing biotech Ascidian

    While the Swiss pharma recently pruned its neurology drug pipeline, it has shown interest in the possibilities of RNA-focused approaches like what Ascidian is exploring.

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    News roundup

    Sanofi taps Belharra for immune drug research; AstraZeneca’s new cancer drug falls short

    Belharra will use its chemoproteomics technology to identify immune drugs for Sanofi. Elsewhere, Regenxbio mapped a regulatory path and Taysha shared updated results for its Rett treatment.

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    Deep Dive

    Biotech M&A is on the upswing. Track the latest deals here.

    Eleven private biotech companies have been acquired through May, putting 2024 on pace to be a particularly strong year for startup M&A.

    Updated May 29, 2024
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    Takeda drug for rare types of epilepsy misses goal in late-stage trial

    Called soticlestat, the drug had seemed promising in earlier studies for people with Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, enough to persuade Takeda to take on full rights to the drug.

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    Abortion pill ruling offers measure of relief for FDA, biotech

    A biotech executive called the Supreme Court’s decision a “very important win” for the industry, although new challenges to the FDA’s regulation of the drug could still be forthcoming.

    FDA
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    Syncona melds two gene therapy biotechs for better shot at new nervous system treatments

    The new company, Spur Therapeutics, is getting another $50 million from Syncona to support its broadened pipeline, which targets Parkinson’s disease as well as heart conditions.

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    AbbVie joins in latest gastrointestinal drug chase

    Following Roche, Merck and others into a hot field, the Humira maker will pay $150 million to license a preclinical TL1A antibody for IBD.

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    Radiopharma drugmaker Telix pulls US IPO plans

    The Australia-based company had proposed raising $202 million via an initial stock sale, but withdrew its filing, citing its shares’ recent price appreciation on Australia’s stock exchange. 

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    News roundup

    Takeda circles a leukemia drug; J.P. Morgan moves into biotech investing

    The Japanese pharma paid $100 million to secure option rights to an Ascentage drug. Elsewhere, J.P. Morgan Private Capital closed its first fund and the FDA gave new COVID shot advice.

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    Pfizer setback brings questions for Duchenne gene therapy ahead of Sarepta decision

    The failure of another trial adds to uncertainty around the benefits of the gene-based treatments, though industry analysts still expect Sarepta’s Elevidys’ to be unaffected.

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    Emerging biotech

    Versant debuts biotech working on ‘anger management for the immune system’

    Investor enthusiasm for precision immunology medicines is providing a tailwind for Santa Ana Therapeutics, a new startup backed by Versant, GV and a16z, among others.

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    Supreme Court preserves access to abortion pill in unanimous ruling

    The high court said the plaintiffs’ “desire to make a drug less available to others” did not give them standing to challenge the FDA's expansion of mifepristone’s approval.

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    Moderna says next-gen COVID shot effective in study

    Trial data suggest the shot — an important component of an upcoming combination inoculation — has proven at least as effective, and in some cases superior, to the company’s initial COVID vaccine.

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    Pfizer gene therapy for Duchenne fails to meet goals of key trial

    The negative results from the Phase 3 study, called Ciffreo, come a little more than a month after Pfizer said a patient died in another trial of the gene therapy.

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    Foresite, a biotech venture firm, reloads with $900M fund

    Amid some optimism for biotech startups, the firm sees opportunities to fund companies “at all stages of the productive development life cycle,” said managing director Vik Bajaj.

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    Regenxbio CEO to step down after 15 years

    Kenneth Mills will become chair of the gene therapy developer's board while Curran Simpson, the current chief operating officer, will take his place as company head.

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    Obesity drugs

    Flagship taps startup to hunt for obesity drugs that might interest Pfizer

    The venture firm will work with ProFound Therapeutics to “rapidly surface” protein drug candidates that Pfizer can choose to advance under a partnership it struck with Flagship last year.

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    News roundup

    Avidity drug for muscular dystrophy shows promise; Syntis takes new approach to weight loss

    Study results indicated Avidity’s medicine muted target genes. Elsewhere, Syntis revealed obesity drug plans and Nodthera chalked up more positive data for its NLRP3 inhibitor.