Friday, August 4, 2017

The Readout by Damian Garde & Meghana Keshavan

Welcome to The Readout, where we keep you on top of the latest in biotech. For more in-depth coverage of biopharma, subscribe to STAT Plus. On Twitter: @damiangarde@megkesh, and @statnews.

Why does no one want to be CEO of Teva?

The world’s largest generics company is slashing its profit projections, laying off thousands of its employees, and generally drawing a blank when analysts ask how to fix things. And yet no one seems to want to work there.

The latest revelation with regard to Teva’s botched CEO recruitment comes from the Financial Times, which reported yesterday that the well-regarded ex-Celgene executive Jacqualyn Fouse turned the company down. That follows reports that AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said no to Celgene despite 20 million arguments to the contrary.

Now the Israeli giant is staggering into a sixth month of CEOlessness, all as competition mounts, margins emaciate, and its largest shareholder prepares to bail. But otherwise things are fine.

OK, OK. You’re not buying the new Theranos

Theranos needs money, and, assuming Elizabeth Holmes doesn’t hit the Powerball, that will meaning raising it from investors. Yesterday we asked readers whether there was anything — whether decline in stock price or act of God — that would convince them to invest.

And, well, no. About 88 percent of respondents said, in effect, that they’d rather set their money ablaze than give it to Theranos. The other 12 percent are apparently more sanguine (sorry) on Holmes’ pitch that with a new board, new advisers, and a new business plan, she can turn an era-defining debacle into a legitimate enterprise.

Senate buys into FDA user fees

Excepting only Bernie Sanders, the Senate voted in absolute favor of legislation that will keep FDA operations running smoothly. It's a big win for the pharmaceutical industry, because these "user fee agreements" dictate how much companies pay to support the regulatory body's approval process, and Congress soundly rejected President Trump's bid to double the fees.

The measure passed in the House last month; it's now all up to President Trump to sign this bill into law.

Read more.

Right to hope?

Speaking of the Senate, legislators also easily approved the "right to try" legislation that would help terminally ill patients get access to experimental, and unproven, therapies.

The concern, of course, is this opens the floodgates for charlatan companies to take advantage of desperate patients. On the plus side: Maybe some of it works?

Read more on STAT Plus.

More reads

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb bought an Atlas Venture-backed oncology startup for $300 million up front. (Xconomy)
  • Shire's thinking of shedding its ADHD unit but needs to make a better case. (Bloomberg)
  • Sanofi and Regeneron to end antibody R&D pact by year's end. (FierceBiotech)

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Thanks for reading! Until Monday,

Damian & Meghana

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