1) Allena Pharmaceuticals Secures $25 Million Series B Financing – Yahoo! December 5, 2014
Allena Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative non-systemic oral protein therapeutics to treat metabolic and orphan diseases, today announced the succesful completion of a $25 million Series B financing. The financing was led by HBM Partners, joined by existing investors Frazier Healthcare, Third Rock Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and new investor Pharmstandard International. Link
2) Amgen snags a lightning-fast approval for its leukemia immunotherapy – FierceBiotech, December 3, 2014
The FDA approved Amgen’s ($AMGN) new leukemia treatment more than 5 months ahead of schedule, green-lighting the first contender among a new class of immunotherapies that promise to change the standard of care in blood cancer. Link
3) Patients make their voices heard in drug approval process – Boston Globe, December 4, 2014
“We’re seeing a trend of people getting more involved in their health care decisions,” said Michael Ringel, a partner and managing director at Boston Consulting Group who focuses on health care business. “Because of the Internet, it’s a lot easier for groups to self-organize. That is helping to drive the increased involvement of patient groups.” Link
4) U.S. patients get Genzyme drug for MS – Boston Herald, December 4, 2014
An injectable multiple sclerosis drug developed by Cambridge biotech giant Genzyme was made available to patients in the U.S. for the first time yesterday, less than a month after federal regulators reversed course and approved the medication. Link
5) Sky-High Genetic Cholesterol Targeted for Blockbuster Drug. Now to Find the Patients – Bloomberg, December 5, 2014
Rader, head of preventive cardiology and human genetics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, is looking for fatty buildups in the knees and ankles or white arcs around the cornea of the eye. The hereditary condition he’s seeking, known as familial hypercholesterolemia, affects as many as 1.5 million Americans — a group drug companies see as one of the first markets for a set of potential blockbuster cholesterol drugs. Link
One of MassBio’s Impact 2020 report’s key recommendations is for MassBio to begin driving the conversation on defining value and reward for innovation. To start the conversation, MassBio is hosting a three-part Forum series this fall focused on value. The series kicked off earlier this month, and the next session is on November 20th. In the meantime, we’re pleased Leora Schiff was willing to share her perspective with us!
By Leora Schiff, Principal, Altius Strategy Consulting
The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are undergoing rapid, disruptive changes that will require rethinking of fundamental assumptions regarding the value of therapeutics and the nature of healthcare delivery. Increasingly, market power is being shifted away from physicians and payers towards patients and caregivers, professional organizations and newer stakeholders including accountable care organizations (ACOs), and pathway companies. In addition, all stakeholders are becoming more sophisticated and demanding in terms of their expectations related to the benefit-risk and benefit-cost calculations for drugs.
The price-protective nature of the US market is coming increasingly under fire. In addition to health insurers, ACOs, pathway companies and professional organizations are weighing in on the need for cost-effective treatments to improve patient outcomes and control ballooning health-care costs. Patients are also becoming more aware of the comparative price of care as they are increasingly asked to share the cost of healthcare through increased insurance premiums, large deductibles and more substantial co-payments.
As the concepts of patient-centered healthcare make their way into clinical practice, physicians are being encouraged to consider not just the patient’s clinical situation, but also the patient’s lifestyle, beliefs, financial situation and appetite for risk versus potential clinical and/or quality of life reward in selecting the best treatment choice to meet patient needs.
What does this mean for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies?
Given these changes, it is no longer possible for biopharmaceutical companies to assess product opportunities and project future product pricing and revenues based simply on broad categories of comparable therapeutics and order of market entry. In the new era of value demonstration, drugs are being evaluated in the context of the current standard of care and the additional benefit that they provide – or not – in terms of efficacy, safety, patient quality of life and cost.
One of MassBioEd’s most popular courses, Biotech 101 for Non-Scientists is being offered THIS WEEK Sept. 18 – 19, and also this winter, December 4 – 5!
To register for FALL, click here.
To register for WINTER, click here.
**MassBio members get a $150 discount on registration**
Are you new to the life sciences industry? Do you need to have a better understanding of the science and technology driving the industry? Biotech 101 is a course designed specifically for the non-scientists. The program covers two full days of biotechnology information for non-science professionals who may be working on looking to work within a science-based industry.
Participants will benefit from several hands on activities using Lego DNA models, Agarose Gels, in addition to a DNA exercise featured here: http://youtu.be/JwRs2agM3Lk
Don’t miss the Fierce 15!
John Carroll, Editor-in-Chief of FierceBiotech, will be giving a live announcement of the Fierce 15 at BioPharm America again this year! The Fierce 15 is a hunt that involves the biggest ideas in biotech, the most daring characters in biopharma, and entrepreneurs doing things that haven’t been done before. The Fierce 15 will include drug developers or platform biotechs with the potential to have a huge impact on the treatment of human diseases. Be there when the news breaks!
Check out the keynote & opening plenary!
The Keynote Address will be given by Gary Nabel, Chief Scientific Officer at Sanofi, and will also join the Opening Plenary.
These are exciting times, because pharma companies are going back to their roots. There’s been a major shift toward external innovation and data-driven science that guides the development of new medicines. For academic research, we see more collaboration at earlier stages. For biotech, we see relationships built at different points in the evolution of new medicines, and we are using structures and support that incentivize both partners to achieve success,” said Nabel.
The Opening Plenary will address “Getting real: Biopharma innovation and its impact on patients” with:
- Barry Greene, President and COO at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
- Adam M. Koppel, Senior VP and Chief Strategy Officer at Biogen Idec
- Richard Pops, Chairman and CEO at Alkermes plc.
- Karen Bernstein, Co-Founder, Chairman, and Editor-in-Chief at BioCentury (Moderator)
Global pharmaceutical companies already confirmed to send business development teams to BioPharm America include AstraZeneca; Bayer HealthCare; Bristol-Myers Squibb; EMD Serono; Merck; Novo Nordisk; Sanofi; and Shire.