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BioSpace BioPharm Exec
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
We're All In This Together

Why would I want to shoulder all this risk myself? That's been a growing cry in the industry, and a particular theme from the past month.

First, the acrimonious mating dance of Sanofi-Aventis and Genzyme has finally come to a close, with Sanofi finally agreeing to pay $74 a share, or about $20.1 billion, for the Boston biotech. Sanofi has been after Genzyme since last July, when it privately offered to acquire the company for $69 a share and was rebuffed. The French pharma giant stuck by that number for half a year, first in private negotiations and then by taking it directly to shareholders in a hostile tender offer. (Hostile tender? What a great oxymoron...) More...

More By Karl Thiel

Exelixis has recently decided to take an all-eggs-in-one-basket gamble on XL-184, so it's certainly encouraging that the drug continues to fare well in clinical trials, particularly if you are a shareholder--as (full disclosure...) I am. While the furthest advanced research on this drug is in the relatively rare medullary thyroid cancer, prostate cancer is one of the more commercially promising potential indications. While the interim data just reported is still very early stage, there was a very impressive partial or complete response rate in a very difficult population.
-KT

Exelixis, Inc. (EXEL) Cabozantinib (XL184) Phase 2 Data Demonstrate Encouraging Clinical Activity in Patients with Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer
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Chelsea Therapeutics, Inc. (CHTP) Announces Interim Results and Plans to Modify Study 306 to Focus on Reduction in Falls Associated With Neurogenic Orthostatic Hypotension
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Renovo Group Plc (RNVO.L) Falls As Juvista Fails In Clinical Trial
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Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OPTR) Antibiotic Cuts Recurrence of Deadly Bacteria
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Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IDIX) Cancels Hepatitis C Drug On Toxicity Worries; Shares Fall
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More Bench To Clinic News
Little surprise that Genzyme's Henri Termeer won't be held back by the tough employment climate, but not everyone else is so lucky. Pfizer has announced significant new cuts in its Groton, Conn. and Kent, U.K. R&D facilities. There's some interesting speculation in one of the links below that this could be the beginning of the end for Groton -- a bold assertion considering that this is currently the company's R&D headquarters. Another interesting development is the burgeoning backlash against Actelion's Jean-Paul Clozel, who has vocally resisted the advances of Amgen. Some investors want him to be less like the Henri Termeer of last October and more like the Henri Termeer of this February.
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Genzyme Corporation (GENZ)'s Termeer May Follow Health-Care CEOs to Private Equity
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Pfizer Inc. (PFE) Cuts May Foreshadow Bad News for Groton Site
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Hedge Fund Wants Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF.PK) CEO To Quit
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Bayer HealthCare (BAY) to Boost Headcount at Beijing R&D Center
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Tachi Yamada, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Health Leader, Stepping Down in June
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More Career Track News
Sanofi-Aventis' acquisition of Genzyme is the big deal of the month, but there have been some other interesting link-ups. Astellas made a big commitment to oncology last year with its $4 billion acquisition of OSI Pharmaceuticals, and now it is making a big bet on AVEO's kidney cancer drugs, pivotal results on which are expected around mid-year. AVEO not only gets a nice upfront and some huge potential milestones, but it also splits profits in North America and Europe 50-50. And in pure money terms, the sale of Beckman Coulter raises some eyebrows. Danaher is a diversified company that should be able to pretty easily side Beckman's lab consumables business under its umbrella.
-KT

Sanofi-Aventis (France) (SASY.PA) to Buy Genzyme Corporation (GENZ) for Over $20 Billion; Most Genzyme Jobs Safe
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Astellas Pharma Inc. (YPH.BE) to Pay AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AVEO) as Much as $1.3 Billion for Kidney Cancer Medicine; AVEO to Get $125M Upfront
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Danaher to Buy Beckman Coulter, Inc. (BEC) for $6.8 Billion
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ADVENTRX Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ANX) Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire SynthRx, Inc.
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Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OPTR), Astellas Pharma Inc. (YPH.BE) Sign Collaboration For Antibiotic Fidaxomicin; Optimer Eligible to Receive Milestone Payments of up to $224 Million Including $68 Million Upfront Cash Payment
More...


More Golden Handshakes News

Top Jobs
• Pharm Country (New York, New York)

Pfizer Inc.
Vice President, Worldwide Policy
The VP Worldwide Policy is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the company's policy positioning and strategies, leadership of the Worldwide Policy group.

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Anacor Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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The successful candidate will provide technical leadership, strategic direction and oversight for successful planning and execution of all technical and manufacturing activities associated with Anacor's active drug substance (process, analytical development, validation, technology transfer, manufacturing, and supply chain logistics) at contract development and manufacturing organizations (CMOs).

• Biotech Beach (Duarte, California)

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Directs plans, leads and oversees operations of the Beckman Research Institute to ensure financial and strategic goals are met, achieve qualitative ROI, and contribute to the overall success of City of Hope.

• BioCapital (Germantown, Maryland)

Intrexon Corporation
Vice President, Applied Research Unit
The Vice President for the Applied Research Unit (ARU) is responsible for the operational leadership of an integrated scientific team with expertise spanning the following disciplines: Gene Network Platform Development, DNA/RNA MOD Engineering, Protein Engineering, Discovery Chemistry, Gene Delivery, Genome Engineering, Bioanalytical Systems Development, and Cell System Engineering. This will include directing the operational aspects of ARU team projects and managing the daily activities of ARU personnel.

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BioCapital Career Fair BioCapital Career Fair
Bethesda North Marriott & Conference Center Wednesday, March 2, 2011, 11am - 4pm. Job seekers can spend a day with HR representatives and Hiring Managers from top biotech, pharma, and medical device companies in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Genetown Career Fair Biotech Beach Career Fair
Hyatt Regency La Jolla, Thursday, March 3, 2011, 1pm to 6pm Job seekers can spend a day with HR representatives and Hiring Managers from top biotech, pharma, and medical device companies in the Southern California region.
Versartis didn't just complete your everyday $21 million Series B financing. The In Vivo Blog has a nice explanation of why this deal is so interesting: Simultaneous with the financing, Versartis and its backers are carving out a new company called Diartis Pharmaceuticals to work on another lone molecule based on the company's extended release technology. Part of the theory here is that pharma wants to acquire products, not companies, and packaging individual molecules under separate roofs makes them more appealing acquisition targets. Maybe that doesn't work quite as well for an IPO exit...but then again, those still aren't going all that well -- see below.
-KT

Versartis, Inc. Completes $21 Million Series B Financing
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Eli Lilly and Company (LLY) to Raise Nearly $750 Million to Share Drug Development Costs
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Celgene (CELG) Announces Additional $1 Billion Share Repurchase Program
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AcelRx Pharmaceuticals Prices IPO at $5, Below the Original $12-$14 Range
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Fluidigm Corporation 5.6M-Share IPO Prices At $13.50; Low End Of Prior Estimate
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More Money Talk News

Healthcare reform is unconstitutional, according to the Federal District Court in northern Florida. Judge Roger Vinson is the second federal judge to have a legal issue problem with the individual mandate in the bill. But the first case, from Virginia, nixed only this portion of the law, while Vinson said it was so integral to the whole reform package that the whole thing wouldn't work. Over a dozen other legal challenges to the bill have been thrown out, so it's not as if there is legal consensus here, and the Obama Administration will appeal. Still, some drug company execs may be feeling a tad more hopeful...Roche is the latest company to say that reform will hit its bottom line.
-KT
Unconstitutional: Federal Judge Rules Against Health Reform, Invalidates Law Over 'Individual Mandate'
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Senate Bill Would Restrict Authorized Generics
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Centers for Disease Control -- NCHS Issues Guidelines For Prescribing Truvada To Prevent HIV
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Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (MNTA) Scores MS Patent Victory
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Roche (RHHBY) Sees Profit Hit from Health Reforms and Cuts
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More Legal Briefs News
FDA has approved the first biologic of the year, a Factor VIII product from CSL Behring for a rare genetic disorder that may affect only about 100 Americans. The agency also approved a new treatment for preventing preterm labor and shortly thereafter issued a strong warning against the off-label use of the asthma drug Terbutaline, which has been prescribed for the same purpose but is, according to the agency, both ineffective and dangerous when used this way. And, of course, if you didn't know already, it's officially 0 for 3: FDA rejected Orexigen's Contrave, the only one of the three diet drugs recently considered to have won a favorable advisory panel ruling. The company plans to work with FDA on its concerns and resubmit.
-KT
U.S. FDA Rejects Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (OREX) Diet Drug Over Heart Risks
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FDA Approves KV Pharmaceutical Company (KV-A)'s Makena, the First and Only Treatment to Reduce the Risk of Preterm Birth in Women With a Singleton Pregnancy Who Have a History of Singleton Spontaneous Preterm Birth
More...

FDA Approves CSL Behring Product to Prevent Bleeding in People With Rare Genetic Defect
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Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD) Refiles New Drug Application with the FDA for Single-Tablet Regimen of Truvada(R) and TMC278
More...

Depomed, Inc. (DEPO)'s Shingles Drug Gets OK from FDA
More...


More Rockville Files News

Karl Thiel is an analyst for The Motley Fool, a columnist for BioWorld Today, and a contributor to Nature Biotechnology. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

You may contact Karl Thiel at Karl.thiel@biospace.com.

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