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The Readout Damian Garde

It’s going to be a big weekend for Celgene


People talk a lot about the dramatically declining fortunes of Celgene, which has lost nearly $70 billion in market value over the past year and change. But this weekend gives the company a chance to brighten the narrative a bit after months of red numerals.

At the American Society of Hematology meeting in San Diego, Celgene will provide all-important updates on a new treatment for blood disease and a pair of CAR-T cancer therapies meant to vault the company back into the conversation at the cutting edge of oncology. If all goes well, Celgene will have a positive springboard into 2019. If not, the company’s fortunes could contrive to get even worse.

STAT’s Adam Feuerstein will be on the ground at the conference, reporting on all of the above plus data from Amgen, Bluebird Bio, Spark Therapeutics, and Global Blood Therapeutics. To follow along with Adam’s coverage, sign up for our free ASH newsletter.

Moderna is hitting the road


Biotech’s biggest-ever IPO has a launch date: On Dec. 6, Moderna Therapeutics expects to price a $500 million offering that will value the company at about $8 billion. But before the unicorn can shed its horn and the bankers can collect their fees, Moderna has a lot of hands to shake and lunches to eat.

Yesterday began Moderna’s roadshow, the requisite parade of meetings with investors and analysts in which a company hoping to IPO explains why it deserves a certain valuation. If you succeed and convince enough moneychangers to place orders at a certain price, the whole process churns forward. If you fail and have to take a haircut, there can be delays and even outright cancellations.

For Moderna, if everything goes according to plan, the big day will be Dec. 7, a Friday. That’s when the company expects to start actually trading, and it’s when the public market will decide whether Moderna’s industry-upending promise is worth the multibillion-dollar figure its private backers claim.

Who needs Europe, anyway?


The drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim is not faring well in the continent, and is currently pressing ahead with a lawsuit to get its rheumatoid arthritis medicine into the market there. In the meantime, though, the company sees the situation in the United States as a good bit rosier.

Boehringer Ingelheim won U.S. and European Union approval to sell a biosimilar version of Humira, which is called Cyltezo, last year. But “at this point in time, future biosimilars activities will be driven out of the U.S. market, including partnership opportunities, while… stopping development activities for the rest of the world,” a company spokesman told BioProcess Insider, which first reported the decision.

As STAT's Ed Silverman notes, there's logic in that: On this side of pond, there's a scramble to get a piece of the biosimilar market before it's to late.

Read more.

How will history remember the #CRISPRbabies pioneer?


He Jiankui, the scientist who captivated the world with claims he had edited the genomes of two newborn babies, has had his work described as “appalling,” “misguided,” and “abhorrent” in the days following his revelation.

But what will people say in the coming decades?

He, 34, has received near-unanimous condemnation from his peers in science and is now under investigation by his home institution. However, as many have pointed out, in-vitro fertilization faced skepticism and condemnation back in the 1970s, and yet its inventor, British scientist Robert Edwards, won a Nobel Prize three decades later.

What do you think? By 2030, He will be considered ___________.

a rogue
a pioneer
a minor footnote in scientific history

More reads

  • Drugmakers gain more access to China, but at a price. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Breakthrough approval accelerates precision medicine. (Francis deSouza)
  • Science takes a dim view of business — perhaps to the disadvantage of science. (STAT Plus)

Thanks for reading! Until tomorrow,

Megan

Thursday, November 29, 2018

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