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The Readout Damian Garde & Meghana Keshavan

The Readout is taking a long weekend, but we'll be back Tuesday, July 6.

Cancer drugs costlier in the U.S. than wealthy European countries

A new drug cost analysis shows that dozens of cancer medications cost more upon launching than they did when they were introduced in Germany, England, and Switzerland. Furthermore, the cancer drug costs grew faster than inflation over the course of a decade — while the same medicine actually decreased in cost compared to inflation in the three wealthy European countries. 

The median monthly treatment cost at launch in the U.S. was $11,755 in the U.S., compared to $8,300 in Germany, $6,950 in Switzerland, and $7,355 in England. 

Read more.

Nestlé doubles down on Seres microbiome drug

Seres Therapeutics has inked yet another big deal with Nestlé Health, with aims to bring the microbiome company’s experimental C. difficile drug to the U.S. market. The deal is worth $175 million up front, with more than $300 million in milestone payments. The two companies plan to split the drug’s profits down the middle.

The two companies initially had agreed to split commercialization approaches: Seres would sell the drug in North America if it was approved, and Nestlé would market it elsewhere. But recent positive trial results changed the equation. 

“We had a significant amount of interest,” Seres CEO Eric Shaff told STAT, adding that “it was a moment for us to recalibrate.” 

Read more.

How much can CRISPR really do?

Has the FDA been totally honest? And is it OK to mix and match Covid-19 vaccines? 

We cover all that and more this week on “The Readout LOUD,” STAT’s biotech podcast. First we talk to George Yancopoulos, head scientist at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, about the future of CRISPR genome editing and the latest idea for treating obesity (see below, and more from Yancopoulos here). Then, we discuss STAT's reporting on the cozy relationship between Biogen and the FDA ahead of Aduhelm's approval and what the ensuing fallout might mean. Before all that, we chat about the latest news in biotech, including vaccine boosters and a decade-long debacle.

Listen here.

Regeneron targeting obesity

Regeneron Genetics Center has been studying a slew of genetic variants that are linked with preventing excessive weight gain. And it’s found one in particular — mutations in the GPR75 gene — that actively protect against obesity. Regeneron scientists are now developing antibody drugs that are meant to replicate the way the GPR75 variants confer protection.

People with at least one inactive copy of GPR75 were 12 pounds lighter and had a 54% lower risk of obesity than people without the gene mutation, FierceBiotech writes. The most potent variants were found in 1 of every 3,000 people studied.

More reads

  • Researchers raise concerns about using genetic risk scores to pick ‘healthier’ embryos. (STAT)
  • Acumen surges in first day of trading as it rides coattails of Biogen's Aduhelm approval. (FierceBiotech)
  • U.K. plans to introduce Covid-19 booster shots in September. (Wall Street Journal)

Thanks for reading! More next week,

Damian

Friday, July 2, 2021

STAT

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