Welcome to FierceBiotech Radio, a podcast in which we'll chat with industry experts, newsmakers and veterans on issues affecting the business of biopharma. The idea is to replicate the off-the-cuff encounters normally confined to insidery confabs, avoiding the dullness of hyperscripted earnings calls and technical webinars.
High-profile investment guru Neil Woodford has rolled out his $300 million investment vehicle in the U.K., looking to attract a host of small investors behind a publicly traded trust that has big plans for investing in a new wave of small biotechs.
Everybody sees something different when they look at Eli Lilly, which has recently dropped out of the top 10 pharma group. A number of analysts, some with good reason to shine up to CEO John Lechleiter, see a company that has hit bottom and is on the comeback trail, with new drug approvals to help bolster Lechleiter's bullish forecasts.
After seeing its reputation as a leader in multiple sclerosis erode over recent years, Merck KGaA has decided to carve back the number of staffers working in preclinical R&D in the field.
Whether it's a reorg at a big company like Sanofi or GlaxoSmithKline, or a biotech like Constellation, I rely quite a bit on the big global network of readers we've gathered over the past 13 years to keep me posted on the things that companies don't put in a press release.
The moment of truth is arriving for AstraZeneca's anti-infectives unit. For more than a year now, the pharma giant has been quietly shopping a deal, seeking an investor willing to take control of the assets, while allowing AstraZeneca to keep a substantial stake for itself, FierceBiotech has learned. Now, industry insiders are buzzing that the company is coming down to the wire on a final decision--and that throughout the negotiations, staffers have been steadily fleeing the once-sizable operation.
LONDON--The common wisdom about the U.K.'s life sciences industry has been set in stone for years now. Great drug science is ingrained in the country's stellar academic centers, building on decades of outstanding lab work. But the biotech industry has never achieved the kind of success that the science would seemingly portend, unable to spawn the development of a key cluster like Cambridge/Boston and the sprawling San Francisco Bay Area life sciences hub.
When you want to develop a drug for, say, cancer, objective measures such as survival rate can tell regulators just how effective it is compared to a standard drug or placebo. But in diseases involving the brain, scientists often have to settle for crude measures for assessing how patients perform or feel after treatment. And the wild card here is a placebo effect that can be very difficult to factor into studies and has been fingered for the death of multiple development programs.
FierceBiotech is co-hosting an invitation-only event (there's no charge) with One Nucleus at the Queen Mary Innovation Centre in London to discuss how the year ahead is shaping up in the British biotech financing scene.
Speaking before a global audience of millions, President Barack Obama threw his support behind the potential of personalized medicine, skimping on details but hinting at a federally funded R&D effort in keeping with the $4.5 billion BRAIN Initiative.