20 September 2019


  • Pelosi’s drug plan would let US negotiate prices of 250 medications – The New York Times
  • Sackler family members ‘may be unwilling’ to contribute to opioids settlement – The Guardian
  • Drugmaker Insys wins bankruptcy court approval to sell off opioid – Reuters
  • Oncimmune Holdings plc: €8.5m credit facility secured
  • Pet adoption surge offers another boon for animal health stocks – Bloomberg
  • Hundreds of children with cancer being denied potentially lifesaving drugs – The Telegraph
  • Synthetic bio pioneer Ginkgo raises $290m in new funding – Bloomberg
  • Zolgensma trial death unrelated to gene therapy, Novartis says, touting new data – FiercePharma
  • Top trending life science tweets
Abby Goodnough at The New York Times writes that speaker Nancy Pelosi has released her plan to curb soaring prices of prescription drugs, a political chess move that could prod the Senate to move and heat up congressional negotiations with the White House on a popular but elusive goal. Ms Pelosi’s plan would allow the government to negotiate the price of insulin and as many as 250 name-brand drugs each year for Medicare beneficiaries. Drug companies would also have to offer the agreed-on prices to private insurers or face harsh penalties. The New York Times


Edward Helmore at The Guardian writes that Oxycontin-maker Purdue Pharma has warned a bankruptcy court that the Sackler family members who own the company “may be unwilling – or unable” to contribute billions to a $10–$12bn settlement toward the costs of the US opioid crisis if lawsuits against them are allowed to proceed. The claim comes as the billions that the family will personally contribute to the settlement have become a central sticking point in efforts to resolve thousands of lawsuits against it. The Guardian


Nate Redmond at Reuters writes that drugmaker Insys Therapeutics has won court approval to sell its fentanyl spray to a buyer who agreed to only market the drug for use by cancer patients, in response to concerns about the product’s role in fueling the opioid epidemic. The decision by the US bankruptcy judge marked the first time a bankruptcy court approved the sale of an opioid amid an epidemic that has been blamed for nearly 400,000 overdose deaths. The ruling cleared the way for the drug, Subsys, to be sold to BTcP Pharma. Reuters


Oncimmune has secured a credit facility of €8.5m with IPF Management (IPF). Dr Adam Hill, CEO said: “Fundamental to delivering our three-year forward strategy is the commercialisation of our portfolio of EarlyCDT diagnostic tests, the progression of our autoantibody service business, and helping other companies to develop their therapeutic products and target appropriate patient populations. By partnering with IPF, we have strengthened our ability to deliver upon our strategic goals, enabling Oncimmune’s growth at this exciting time.” Oncimmune


Bailey Lipschultz at Bloomberg writes that strong pet adoption trends and increasing costs for canine care should provide another boon for high-flying animal health companies, according to Credit Suisse. The trends indicate overall pet demand and give investors a “barometer of performance” for animal health firms. Pet adoptions rose 5.2% in August, up from a 3.2% rise in July, as both dog and cat rescues increased, according to Pethealth. Bloomberg


Sarah Knapton at The Telegraph writes that hundreds hundreds of children with cancer are being denied potentially life-saving drugs as minors are excluded from clinical trials, according to oncologists. Advances in cancer medicine mean it is now possible to look for specific mutations in tumours that predict how well drugs will work, then choose the most effective treatment, avoiding the need for chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The Telegraph


Kristen Brown at Bloomberg writes that Ginkgo Bioworks has raised $290m in new funding, giving a boost to a startup that designs organisms to do everything from re-create the scent of an extinct Hawaiian hibiscus to treat liver disorders in humans. The latest investment brings the biotech’s total valuation to $4bn. Ginkgo’s aim is to design, modify and manufacture organisms that can make existing industrial processes cheaper and more efficient. The company envisions its programmed cells one day bringing biology into every category of industry. Bloomberg


Angus Liu at FiercePharma writes that Novartis unveiled new long-term Zolgensma data that could dispel worries spawned by last month’s data manipulation scandal. And at the same time, it put out news to clear up one specific concern – namely, that a trial patient’s death wasn’t related to the gene therapy. Citing a coroner’s report, Novartis said the immediate cause of death was brain damage from respiratory tract infection. FierceBiotech

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