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Hi there, everybody. Damian right here with a have a look at a biotech rarity, a milestone on Wall Road, and pharma’s newest run-in with Washington.
The necessity-to-know this morning
- Advisers to the European regulatory company reaffirmed a earlier suggestion to withdraw from the market Translarna, a therapy for a sure kind of Duchenne muscular dystrophy made by PTC Therapeutics, as a result of its efficacy couldn’t be confirmed. Translarna was granted European conditional approval in 2014, however subsequent research designed to substantiate the drug’s profit had been unfavorable.
- European regulatory advisers additionally recommended an expanded approval for Abecma, the CAR-T remedy made by Bristol Myers Squibb, to cowl therapy of sufferers with much less superior levels of a number of myeloma.
IPOs can pop in 2024
The 12 months’s first biotech IPO, from CG Oncology, obtained off to a superb begin when the corporate up-sized its offering and priced its shares above its anticipated vary. After which, as if it had been 2021 once more, CG Oncology truly traded up.
The corporate opened at $29 a share, about 50% above its providing worth, after which rose to as excessive as $40 earlier than closing at $37. CG Oncology, now valued at about $2 billion, raised $380 million in its IPO, cash that can fund the event of its late-stage therapy for bladder most cancers. (If you wish to discover a half-full glass within the story, the corporate left fairly a bit of cash on the desk, because the market was clearly keen to pay for its shares greater than bankers suggested.)
CG Oncology’s one-day success bodes effectively for the rising queue of biotech firms planning to go public within the early weeks of 2024, together with ArriVent Biopharma, Metagenomi, and Kyverna Therapeutics.
Are bolt-ons good for enterprise?
And when is it secure to say somebody overpaid?
We cowl all that and extra this week on “The Readout LOUD,” STAT’s biotech podcast. We talk about how biotech’s downturn has made life troublesome not only for startups but in addition the enterprise capitalists they depend on for much-needed funding. We additionally check out Gilead Sciences’ battle to show itself into an oncology firm and the newest biotech to get purchased out by a serious pharma agency.
Hear right here.
Lilly > Tesla
At the least, as of yesterday, when it comes to market worth. Eli Lilly, which has greater than doubled in worth since 2022, is now value about $600 billion, eclipsing Elon Musk’s electrical automotive firm, which has fallen about 25% because the begin of the 12 months.
There’s solely a lot one can learn into the fates of two fully unrelated firms, however right here’s a thought: For years, biotech specialists have identified that if generalist buyers reallocated even 2% of their tech investments into the drug business, it might make an enormous distinction for the comparatively small pond that’s biotech.
By that lens, Lilly overtaking Tesla, to the extent it has any that means in any respect, factors to a future wherein fund managers think about treating weight problems and Alzheimer’s illness to be a greater use of capital than making vehicles that generally don’t work when it’s chilly, which might profit biotech as an entire.
Pharma’s messaging might use some work
The CEO of Merck, among the many pharmaceutical executives known as to testify earlier than Sen. Bernie Sanders’ well being committee, supplied a curious cause for declining the invitation: As a educated lawyer, he’s not an skilled in drug pricing.
Sanders, as STAT’s Rachel Cohrs studies, is aware of a gradual pitch over dwelling plate when he sees one. “Properly, perhaps, simply perhaps, the CEOs of those pharmaceutical firms ought to develop into specialists on why they’re ripping off the American individuals,” he mentioned yesterday. (Merck mentioned the pinnacle of its U.S. enterprise, who leads the corporate’s pricing technique, could be obtainable to testify.)
Sanders’ feedback come because the Senate well being committee prepares to vote on whether or not to subpoena the CEOs of Merck and Johnson & Johnson to testify on drug costs, which might imply exercising an authority it hasn’t utilized in greater than 40 many years.
What’s unclear is why Merck and J&J haven’t simply mentioned sure to the committee’s invitation. The heads of Eli Lilly, Sanofi, Novo Nordisk, and Moderna have all appeared at Sanders-led hearings, they usually got here out simply fantastic. Is the prospect of fielding some theatrically phrased questions actually worse than wanting such as you’re afraid of a senator?
- Lilly’s weight-loss drug Mounjaro coming to U.Okay. after pen cleared, Reuters
- Saudi Arabia units sights on changing into a biotech hub, FierceBiotech