Wednesday, July 12, 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.

Let’s dig into CAR-T

It’s finally upon us. This morning, the FDA is going to pore over (and perhaps tear into) Novartis’ data on what could be the first CAR-T cancer therapy to win regulatory approval.

And we’ll be live-blogging the whole thing. Join STAT’s Adam Feuerstein and Damian Garde alongside EP Vantage’s Jacob Plieth for an all-day breakdown of the watershed discussion. We’ll have facts, figures, instant reactions, and answers to your burning questions starting at 8 a.m. Eastern.

Need to brush up? Here’s an EP Vantage primer on what to expect, and a STAT rundown of the FDA’s pre-meeting concerns. 

How do you beat the spread in biotech VC?

Gather 20 years of company information, feed it into a sprawling database, and build an algorithm that predicts the future.

That's what the VCs at Correlation Ventures have done, and they believe the resulting computer model allows them to do in two weeks what other firms spend months figuring out: Decide whether to invest in a startup.

“It’s kind of like counting cards in blackjack,” Correlation co-founder David Coats said. “You may lose any individual hand, but if you play enough hands, you should win."

Read more.

A one-stop Nant shop

In front of a capacity crowd, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong yesterday unveiled his latest enterprise: A cancer clinic nestled in an industrial park by the Los Angeles International Airport. He did not downplay his view of its significance.

“This place will become the American Red Cross of cancer, I suppose,” Soon-Shiong said.

The El Segundo clinic will become a showcase for many of Soon-Shiong’s projects: It’ll run clinical trials for his experimental therapies. And it’ll tailor treatment plans based on molecular diagnostics — such as, say, his GPS Cancer test. Three doctors (two of whom also work for NantKwest) will run the clinic; Soon-Shiong is listed as serving on the board of trustees.

The grand opening comes on the heels of the billionaire's acquisition of six California hospitals. 

Apple sure likes to quantify things

The Silicon Valley behemoth aimed to dazzle reporters yesterday with a snazzy display of its health-centric tech at an event in Beverly Hills.

What's new? Well, the company is going all out in the "quantified self" sphere: The Apple Watch will soon track more biometrics, syncing with exercise bikes, treadmills, even smart tennis rackets. (For the record, the company says it cannot and will not access such personal data from its customers.)

As for the more exciting biomedical endeavors, we'll have to wait a bit for news. We tried to get info about Apple's continuous glucose monitor. No dice. 

More reads

  • Teva says a former exec gave trade secrets to boyfriend — who runs a rival company. (STAT Plus)
  • A Martin Shkreli hedge fund bank account had 'negative 33 cents' in it when he was claiming millions in assets. (CNBC)
  • After raising $100 million, Google-backed Evelo looks to blaze a new trail with monoclonal microbials. (Endpoints)
  • FDA drug review chief Dr. Janet Woodcock on the agency's embrace of precision medicine. (FDA blog)

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Thanks for reading! Until tomorrow,

Damian & Meghana

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