EY Life Sciences
Deals targeting narrower therapeutic battlegrounds, geographic strongholds & portfolio rationalization to drive 2016 M&A agenda #JPM16
8:20 AM - 13 Jan 2016
$REGN CEO Schleifer admits getting patients access to PCSK9 inhibitor Praluent (i.e. Payer negotiations) has been challenging. #JPM16
8:15 AM - 13 Jan 2016
Jan 13 2016 11:11 AM
Piggybacking on JPM
If you couldn't wrangle an invite to the JP Morgan conference, or didn't want to cough up big bucks for a badge, no sweat. There's a lot more going on this week all around the big show at the Westin St. Francis.
More than a half dozen spillover conferences have taken root within walking distance of Union Square for small private startups, global investors, stock analysts, nonprofit fundraisers, and biotech bigwigs. Many are aimed at entrepreneurs too young and small for JPM who don't even own a pressed business suit.
Biotech Showcase, hosted by EBD Group down the hill at the Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel, features presentations by bootstrapped companies, a kind of JPM farm system. RESI, an acronym for redefining early-stage investment, is a one-day affair at the Marines Memorial Club Hotel sponsored by J&J Labs. It is run by Life Science Nation, a Boston-based firm that set up 900 meetings for 400 investors and dozens of early-stage companies in San Francisco this year.
"They're mostly startup companies," said Life Science Nation founder Dennis Ford. "They can have up to 16 meetings with investors in one day. We put all these guys together under one roof. That creates a relationship that will eventually get them some money."
Other events in the city this week include the Dermatology Summit, the Medtech Showcase, the Startup Health Festival, the WuXi Global Forum, the 11th Annual Non-Dilutive Financing Summit, and a forum of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine.
- Robert Weisman, Boston Globe
Jan 13 2016 11:11 AM
Big hopes for gene therapy despite uneven clinical results
Disappointing news from recent clinical trials hasn’t dimmed enthusiasm for gene therapy, as executives from biotech startups and pharma giants alike talked up the approach this week at the JP Morgan Conference.
Still, the recent stumbles underscore the fact that gene therapy remains a very tough challenge. Patients seem to have wildly different responses to gene therapies over time. It’s hard to deliver an edited gene to all the body parts that need it. And then there’s the worry about pricing. One-time gene therapy treatments are expected to command sky-high prices, further burdening a health care system already struggling to bear the rising costs of drugs.
Despite those challenges, industry titans like Pfizer, Novartis, and Shire have recently upped their investments in gene therapy, betting that the tricky technology will be worth the payoff.
- Rebecca Robbins, STAT
Jan 13 2016 9:44 AM
Sanofi on Rx pricing: ‘Everyone has to make money’
Everyone at the JP Morgan conference acknowledges that prescription drug pricing is an issue, but few will talk openly about it. An exception: Suresh Kumar, a member of the Sanofi executive committee.
“Why are we doing this? Everybody has to make money,” he told STAT. “Should it be surprising? We do serve different stakeholders. But if I don’t serve the patient, I don’t have a profit to show my shareholders… But we do live in market- based environment… We have to get granular, talk to those involved and find common ground.”
Later, Jim Robinson, the president of the US unit of Astellas Pharma, the Japanese drug maker, made similar remarks. He spoke about forming a “collaboration” between the many players involved in the pricing debate. But like Kumar, he conceded that there is no clear path forward.
- Ed Silverman, STAT
Jan 13 2016 9:37 AM
Big drug makers are venture capitalists, too
Most companies have corporate units devoted to finding new products and technologies for investment. Not surprisingly, a JP Morgan meeting room was packed with entrepreneurs who were eager to learn first-hand how to approach the pharmaceutical industry for investment.
Among the tips: Be prepared to defend ideas and game plans as decision makers at the drug companies pass around investment proposals to scientists for vetting, said Edward Torres, a co-founder and managing general partner at Lilly Ventures, which is part of Eli Lilly. “I want you to be able to answer all the questions asked by our people, not me,” he told the crowd.
But this shouldn’t be seen as a sign that proposals will be altered by the drug company, said Simon Meier, investment director at the Roche Venture Fund, who told the audience, “We try to be careful not to contaminate ideas.”
- Ed Silverman, STAT
Jan 13 2016 8:20 AM
Biden mission: Cure cancer
President Obama is counting on his veep to lead a national drive to cure cancer. “Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done,”
Obama said last night in his final State of the Union. “And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past forty years, I’m putting Joe in charge of mission control.” More on that here.
Ever prepared, Biden rolled out his vision in a Medium post, saying his top goal is to break down silos between companies, researchers, and doctors. He wants to spur “unprecedented levels of cooperation,” he wrote.
Biden also expressed confidence that big gains are on the horizon, in words that echoed many of the presentations here at JPM: “The science is ready,” he wrote. “Several cutting-edge areas of research and care — including cancer immunotherapy, genomics, and combination therapies — could be revolutionary. Innovations in data and technology offer the promise to speed research advances and improve care delivery.” More on his post here.
For all the hoopla around the speech, it’s interesting to note that Biden has not put his name to the Cancer Moonshot 2020 that billionaire biotech entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong rolled out this week at JPM. Experts have expressed doubt about whether that effort will really advance the science much, since it’s focused on encouraging companies to collaborate on clinical trials of combination therapies — something that’s already happening in the field. More on that moonshot, and the questions about it, here.
— STAT staff
Jan 13 2016 8:20 AM
The tumble in biotech stocks and concern about drug pricing hasn’t stopped the partying here at JPM.
Last night’s BioCentury Distillery Reception featured more than a dozen whiskeys from four different parts of the globe. (The 18-year Springbank was a particular highlight.)
And on Monday, Takeda Oncology rented out a huge ballroom at the Hotel Nikko, brought in heaping platters of sushi and chocolate-covered strawberries, and played a looping video of patients delighted with their progress after taking the firm’s drugs. (Ever mindful of regulatory authorities, the company made sure to instruct revelers that nothing in the happy patient highlight reel "should be considered as solicitation, promotion or advertisement.")
Over at the Johnson & Johnson JLABS party, meanwhile, hand-standing Cirque de Soleil acrobats shot bows and arrows with their toes while onlookers grooved to the rhythms of their flashing LED bracelets, which were synced to the soundtrack. (Unfortunately for the acrobats, this party was also on Monday night, so most guests were paying far more attention to the college football championship.)
So… where should we head tonight? Tweet us @statnews with the #JPM16 hashtag with your party picks.
— Rebecca Robbins and Elie Dolgin, STAT