23 July 2021

Summary

  • GlaxoSmithKline defies Elliott to name Brian McNamara consumer chief – The Times
  • Biogen defends contentious $56,000 Alzheimer’s drug – Financial Times
  • NHS shares English hospital data with dozens of companies – Financial Times
  • Covid-19: UK scientists back Covid boosters as study finds post-jab falls in antibodies – The Guardian
  • FDA classifies Philips ventilator recall as most serious – Reuters 
  • PureTech: Akili releases new gameplay features in the first and only FDA-cleared video game treatment for children with ADHD
  • Oncimmune: Agreement signed with major cancer center to profile patients in immuno-oncology trial
  • Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult celebrates one-year anniversary since receiving funding to setup its world-class manufacturing innovation facility in Braintree, Essex
  • ‘The race is on’; CureVac seeks answers to vaccine disappointment – Financial Times
  • European Commission launches months-long antitrust investigation into Illumina’s $8bn bid for Grail – FierceBiotech
  • Pfizer bets $1bn cash on the original protein degraders as technology nears prime time – Endpoints 
Alex Ralph of the Times reports that GlaxoSmithKline has appointed the head of its consumer healthcare division to lead that business after it is demerged next year. GSK has chosen internal candidate Brian McNamara as chief executive-designate after a six-month search. However, Elliott Management, its activist shareholder, is thought to be questioning why the group has not run an appointment process for the leadership of new GSK, the remaining biopharma business of vaccines and pharmaceuticals left by the separation.The Times >>
Nikou Asgari of the Financial Times reports that Biogen has issued a staunch defence of the science and approval process behind its controversial Alzheimer’s drug, saying that misinformation is fuelling criticism of the treatment. The pharmaceutical company has faced mounting scrutiny following the approval of its Alzheimer’s drug last month by the US Food and Drug Administration. Michel Vounatsos, chief executive of Biogen, said on Thursday: “I want to be clear that Biogen stands behind the integrity of the review process.”Financial Times >>
Madhumita Murgia and Max Harlow of the Financial Times report that more than 40 companies, ranging from the world’s largest management consultancies and pharmaceutical groups to a data company co-founded by a member of the Sackler family, have received years of detailed medical records from English hospitals. There are at least 100 different NHS data sets that have been shared, ranging from the broad Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) database that lists every single patient who was admitted, to narrower sets of data on things like mental health.Financial Times >>
Ian Sample of the Guardian reports that scientists have backed proposals for Covid-19 boosters in the autumn after blood tests on hundreds of people revealed that protective antibodies can wane substantially within weeks of second shots being given. Falls in antibodies after vaccination are expected but the researchers are concerned that if the declines persist the effectiveness of the vaccines may diminish. The Guardian >>
Mrinalika Roy and Devika Syamnath of Reuters report that The US Food and Drug Administration classified the recall of Philips‘ breathing devices and ventilators as Class 1, or the most serious type of recall, saying the use of these devices may cause serious injuries or death. The agency said there have been 83 complaints regarding the products used to provide breathing assistance, but no injuries or deaths were reported for these issues.Reuters >>
PureTech’s founded entity Akili announced it has introduced new gaming features and functionalities to its EndeavorRx treatment. EndeavorRx is the first and only FDA cleared video game treatment for children with ADHD, the new gameplay features are being released as Akili begins its go-to market approach to bring EndeavorRx to families and healthcare professionals at scale. Akili leveraged its expertise to identify opportunities to enhance the gameplay experience without changing Akili’s core technology designed to improve attention function.PureTech >>
Oncimmune today announced it has signed an autoantibody profiling contract with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. Adam Hill, CEO said: “We are delighted to be partnering with such a prestigious organisation as Dana-Farber on the use of multiple checkpoint inhibitor assets in this important oncology trial and leveraging the power of our autoantibody biomarker profiling technology. The ImmunoINSIGHTS platform is becoming increasingly instrumental in studies for a wide range of cancer indications and therapy classes.”Oncimmune >>
The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) is proud to celebrate the one-year anniversary since receiving funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to setup its world-class vaccine and cell and gene therapy manufacturing innovation facility in Braintree, Essex. Matthew Durdy, CEO at CGT Catapult said: “We are proud of how far we have come in the year since we established CGT Catapult Braintree with the support from BEIS and the UK Government Vaccines Taskforce.”CGT Catapult >>
Erika Solomon and Hannah Kuchler of the Financial Times write that CureVac was supposed to be the first to bring a revolutionary vaccine technology to market. Instead, the German biotech was left in the dust. Now executives, investors and industry watchers are struggling to understand what went wrong — and whether the company must change its approach to the messenger ribonucleic acid technology it was so critical to advancing.Financial Times >>
Connor Hale of FierceBiotech reports that the European Commission has opted for a deeper probe into Illumina’s $8bn proposal for cancer blood test maker Grail, citing concerns that the vertical takeover could harm R&D efforts at competing diagnostic companies. The US Federal Trade Commission initially said it would challenge the deal, claiming that a larger stake in the clinical testing markets could tempt Illumina into throttling the availability of next-generation sequencing hardware to other nascent cancer test developers.FierceBiotech >>
Max Gelman of Endpoints reports that Pfizer is teaming up again with Arvinas to advance and vastly expand a program for breast cancer. As part of the deal, Pfizer is handing over $1bn immediately — $650m in upfront cash and $350m in an equity investment — and promising up to another $1.4bn in regulatory and commercial milestones. All in all, Pfizer could be on the hook for as much as $2.4bn in this deal. In addition, the equity stake will come at about a 30% premium over the average Arvinas price in the 30 days before 20 July.Endpoints >>

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