BioSpace BioPharm Exec
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
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Google's Mysterious Calico Thinks It Can Cheat Death

And My Riches Shall Conquer Death!

You don't make it to the ranks of the world's richest people without a healthy ego. But Silicon Valley's elite entrepreneurs--those tech wizards who make it to the pinnacle of wealth--are a special breed. Like other rich people, they're accustomed to getting their way--not just because they can afford to, but because part of what made them rich was the confidence and wherewithal to hold to a vision and see it through, even when others believe it to be impossible. More...

More By Karl Thiel

The plot thickens! GlaxoSmithKline and Prosensa's exon-skipping antisense drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy failed to show meaningful benefit in a phase 3 trial. Is that good news for Sarepta because it now has no competition for its own exon-skipping antisense drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy? Or bad news, because the drugs are similar? There's a lot of investment dollars riding on the answer, but I really hope Sarepta's eteplirsen turns out to be as good as it has looked in small, early studies.

I've also been following Kythera with some interest. This company, founded by ex-Allergan execs, is working on a product that so far seems to do a pretty good job of melting away submental fat (e.g. double chin). Like Botox, it's a drug that may have long legs when it comes to finding other indications. Oh and for the record: The Lancet has formally retracted the Jikei heart study of Novartis' Diovan. This is no surprise, since it has been acknowledged that Japanese data from both the Jikei and Kyoto Heart Studies were falsified. -KT

Glaxo (GSK), ProSensa (RNA)'s MD Drug Fails in Ph3 Trial; ProSensa Stock Plunges -70.25% at Market Close on September 20, 2013

Isis (ISIS) Rises on Positive Ph1 Spinal Muscular Data

Kythera (KYTH)' Drug Successfully Reduces Double Chin in Studies

Bristol (BMY) Prostate Cancer Treatment Falls Short in Ph3 Trial

Celgene (CELG) Reports POMALYST Met Primary Endpoint in Ph3 Trial

More Bench To Clinic News
After a long-fought proxy battle, Anthony Zook became the new CEO of Vivus, set on changing the way the company markets its recently approved obesity drug Qsymia. Sadly, a previous medical condition has forced him to resign from the CEO role and the board. Seth Fischer, a recently retired J&J exec, will step into his shoes.

And how's this for a golden parachute? Onyx CEO N. Anthony Coles stands to take home over $60 million if he leaves the company within 24 months of Amgen's takeover. That's quite an incentive. Coles had a very successful tenure at Onyx, but sheesh. Still, his package--worth about $32 million when you exclude the stock he already owns--is less than the $36 million that went to Pharmasset chief exec Schaefer Price after Gilead's acquisition. -KT
Bayer (BAYN.DE) to Hire 800 in Russia Over the Next Four Years

Forest (FRX) Names Brent Saunders CEO and President

Rigel (RIGL) Axes 18 Pct of Workforce, Ends Some Drug Programs

Onyx (ONXX) CEO Could Snag $62M if he Leaves After Amgen (AMGN) Takeover

Newly Named VIVUS (VVUS) CEO Resigns Due to Health Concerns, Ex-J&J (JNJ) Exec to Take Over

More Career Track News
Ablynx has gotten a big payday for its Nanobodies--antibody fragments that can act like therapeutic antibodies but, according to the company, have a number of advantages. Its deal with AbbVie, for one of its six clinical stage Nanobodies, brings it $175 million upfront, up to $665 million in further milestones, and tiered double-digit royalties.

And no, Roche isn't buying Alexion or BioMarin Pharmaceuticals. But it has struck a deal with Inovio for two preclinical assets it will work into its own cancer immunotherapy pipeline. Biogen Idec, meanwhile, continues to draw closer ties to Isis Pharmaceuticals. This is their fourth deal in two years, this one a six-year partnership focused on neurologic conditions. -KT

Roche (RHHBY), Inovio (INO) Strike Vaccines Pact Worth $422.5 Million

Ablynx (ABLYF) Scores $840M Inflammatory Drug Pact With AbbVie (ABBV)

Clovis Oncology (CLVS) Looking to Sell Itself

Biogen (BIIB) Makes $100 Million Upfront Payment in R&D Neurological Disorders Pact With Isis (ISIS)

Array BioPharma (ARRY) Says Amgen (AMGN) Ends Agreement, to Cut 20 Percent of Jobs

More Golden Handshakes News

Top Jobs
• Biotech Bay (Mountain View, California)

Complete Genomics, Inc.
Chief Operating Officer
The COO will oversee the creation and execution of the division's technology development roadmap, which will be focused on addressing the products and service requirements of the company's third party sequencing tools customers and those of the company's emerging business units.

• Biotech Bay (SF Bay Area, California)

Chief Scientific Officer
Seeking an exceptional San Francisco Bay Area-based, seasoned scientific leader to be the CEO's technical right arm and contribute his/her interpersonal skills, advanced drug development skills, and strategic savvy a.) to effectively lead and motivate diverse functional groups and b.) to help, through reputation and cogent-communication skills, attract new partners and investors.

• Biotech Beach (San Diego, California)

HUYA Bioscience
Seeking a self-motivated individual to work in a fast-paced environment to take an active leadership role with our team. The successful candidate will quickly gain an understanding of the corporate goals and, in concert with the CEO and Executive Management, establish a vision and plan to accomplish them.

• Pharm Country (Summit, New Jersey)

VP, Global Medical Affairs - Multiple Myeloma
Position is responsible for managing the Medical Affairs Hematology/Oncology Strategy for all in-line compounds and mid to late-stage compounds in development at Celgene for a Disease Area to ensure that the Global Hematology & Oncology community is supported and appropriately informed about the clinical and scientific basis for the therapeutic or clinical research use of our cancer product portfolio in a particular Disease.

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Cubist is still having a hard time sealing the deal with Optimer Therapeutics, although the companies have been working together since 2011, when Cubist began selling Optimer's Dificid. It's recent note offering is being used mostly to cover the Optimer acquisition, but Optimer shareholders still aren't happy about the deal, which was made at a discount to market price. IPOs continue apace, meanwhile, with some successful debuts and more filings. And while venture funding seems to dry up around us, a new analysis at the LifeSciVC blog shows that biotech VC firms actually do pretty darn well. It looks like DRI Capital got the memo, at least. -KT

BIND Therapeutics Scrounges Up $70.5M in IPO

Five Prime (FPRX) Stock Soars After $62M IPO

Civitas Therapeutics Raises $38M

With Support From Celgene (CELG) and Other Investors, Acceleron Pharma Raises $93M in IPO

Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (CBST) Prices $700M of Convertible Senior Notes

More Money Talk News

From the "what else is new?" department: Yet another pharma company gets wrapped up in the Chinese bribery scandal, and Johnson & Johnson continues to have problems manufacturing clean, consistent products. Of any kind, it seems. Beyond that, Sanofi agreed to pay shareholders $40 million to settle charges that it failed to disclose pertinent information about Zimulti's link to suicidal behavior when discussing the chances for approval of the weight-loss drug. -KT

Sanofi (SAN.PA) Settles Lawsuit Over Obesity Drug for $40M

Lilly (LLY) Files $500 Million Lawsuit Against Canada

Mold Prompts Recall of 5,000 Vials of J&J (JNJ)'s Schizophrenia Drug

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Declines as FDA Clears Path for Advair Rivals, $8 Billion in Revenue Threatened

Lilly (LLY) "Concerned" by China Bribery Allegations

More Legal Briefs News
Another new molecular entity gets the FDA nod: Bayer's riociguat, tradenamed Adempas, is a first-in-class soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) stimulator, is now the only approved treatment for chronic thrombotic/embolic disease (CTEPH). The approval came a little sooner than expected, and was a test case for a new risk-benefit framework FDA recently introduced to evaluate cardio-renal drugs. Analysts are expecting peak sales of $600 million to $700 million. Bayer, however, did not get a broader approval for pulmonary arterial hypertension (CTEPH is a form of pulmonary hypertension), even though the drug was tested in a wider PAH population. I'm not sure if that changes anyone's reckoning on peak sales. -KT

Bayer AG (BAYN.DE) Grabs Approval for Adempas® as First Drug to Treat Rare Heart and Lung Disease

FDA Grants Breakthrough Status for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Genmab A/S (GEN.CO)'s Arzerra®; Genmab Stock Soars +9.94% at Market Close (September 16, 2013)

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Leaps Forward With Melanoma Treatment After FDA Ruling

FDA Panels Gives Nod to Accelerated Approval of Genentech (RHHBY)'s Perjeta for Early Stage Breast Cancer

FDA Approves Celgene Corporation (CELG)'s ABRAXANE® for Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

More Rockville Files News

Karl Thiel is an analyst for The Motley Fool and a longtime follower of the biotech industry. He lives in Austin, Texas.

You may contact Karl Thiel at

BioSpace, Inc.
6465 South Greenwood Plaza, Suite 400
Centennial, Colorado 80111 U.S.A.
Phone: 877-277-7585
Fax: 800-595-2929
BioSpace, Inc.
90 New Montgomery Street, Suite 414
San Francisco, California 94105 U.S.A.
Phone: 877-277-7585
Fax: 415-576-9217

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