Friday, September 15, 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.

Moderna's big day out

Is Moderna Therapeutics really worth $5 billion?

That was the question about 100 investors and analysts hoped to answer yesterday as they piled into a ballroom at the W New York hotel. They got some good news — an AstraZeneca-partnered drug is at least safe, and Moderna has one cancer project in the clinic.

But key questions about Moderna's mRNA tech remain unanswered. And the company's setbacks in the lab and high-profile exits have some investors jittery.

“None of the answers they have really seem like the ‘a-ha’ moment,” said one person who attended the five-hour presentation.

Read more on STAT Plus.

Here's what's behind Vinay's tweets


Prasad has co-authored 150 articles in the last six years  — and claims he still has time to sleep at least eight hours a day. (AMANDA LUCIER for sTAT)

Iconoclast.  Curmudgeon. Pretty nice guy? 

Dr. Vinay Prasad, a 34-year-old oncologist up at Oregon Health and Sciences University, is known for his acerbic Twittering — and high-impact publishing — critiquing drugs, diagnostics, and doctoring. But he’s also a caring clinician whose driving passion is to make the health care industry more transparent.

Many admire him. Others loathe him. Either way, this media-savvy maverick is making his mark on medicine.

Read more

Sponsor content by Festival of Genomics Boston

In the Loop: What the hell is precision medicine anyway?!

On October 3-4, Festival of Genomics is returning to Boston and this year they're bringing lots of new features. The new stage "In the Loop" is an invigorating format powered by you, the Festival crowd. These sessions focus on group discussions and solution generation for some of the field’s most pressing questions.
Join the popular loop ‘What the hell is precision medicine anyway?!’ featuring leaders from Patient Advocate Foundation, Regeneron Genetics Center, Pfizer, and Mayo Clinic. Register for FREE using code FOG71.

The view from New York

A bunch of biotech investor conferences happened in New York City this week, so STAT’s Adam Feuerstein and Damian Garde went to eavesdrop on wealthy people, take advantage of open bars, and query the moneyed elite on all the big binaries poised to shake up the industry this month.

Axovant Sciences? Almost no one likes it, but they’re all too scared to go short. Incyte? That valuation makes no sense. Dr. Scott Gottlieb? Friend to every investor betting on a long-shot FDA approval.

Read the top 10 tidbits of investor intel our team picked up in NYC on STAT Plus.

No pressure, Alnylam. No pressure at all 

Alnylam needs a win: The credibility of the entire field of RNAi rides on its success. And later this month, results for its latest clinical trial will come out. We’ll learn how its lead drug, patisiran, worked in a phase 3 trial to treat familial amyloid polyneuropathy, a rare nerve disorder. 

A decade ago, RNAi was heralded as the most promising advancement in medical science. But working out the kinks of this technology have proven massively difficult, so the company must wow investors with success — and an eventual blockbuster — to retain its eye-popping $7 billion valuation.

Read more on STAT Plus.

More reads

  • How bacteria could protect tumors from anticancer drugs. (The Atlantic)
  • Halozyme inked high-dollar deals with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche. (Endpoints)
  • Dispute over cancer immunotherapy credit leads to corrections and questions about unfair competition. (MIT Tech Review)
  • Martin Shkreli’s $2 million Wu-Tang album might not be a Wu-Tang album. (Bloomberg)

Have a news tip or comment you want to send us?

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Thanks for reading! Until next week,

Damian & Meghana

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