EuroBiotech Report—Gilead-Galapagos, Boehringer, Crescendo and Medivir hire CMOs and Pfizer-Cytoo

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with one of the most closely watched assets on the European drug development scene, Gilead and Galapagos' JAK1 inhibitor filgotinib. With AbbVie's rival drug closing in on filings for approval, Gilead and Galapagos needed the first filgotinib phase 3 to hit the mark. It did. Elsewhere, Boehringer Ingelheim swallowed up its oncolytic virus partner ViraTherapeutics in a €210 million ($244 million) deal. Crescendo Biologics and Medivir added some stardust to their C-suites, hiring Pavel Pisa, M.D., Ph.D., and Linda Basse, M.D., Ph.D., respectively. Pfizer teamed up with Cytoo to research Duchenne muscular dystrophy. And more.Nick Taylor  

1. Gilead, Galapagos’ filgotinib aces first phase 3

A phase 3 trial of Gilead and Galapagos’ JAK1 inhibitor filgotinib in rheumatoid arthritis has met its primary endpoint. The data suggest filgotinib is safe and as effective as JAK rivals including AbbVie’s upadacitinib, setting the stage for a four-way commercial scrap.

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2. Boehringer buys oncolytic virus startup ViraTherapeutics

Boehringer Ingelheim has bought oncolytic virus startup ViraTherapeutics. The takeover is focused on vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) candidates Boehringer sees becoming key components of its efforts to gain ground in the immuno-oncology sector. 

3. Crescendo names ex-Roche leader Pisa as CMO

Crescendo Biologics has named Pavel Pisa, M.D., Ph.D., as its chief medical officer. Pisa is the former group head of translational medicine at Roche, where he worked on the development of oncology drugs including Avastin and Gazyva. 

4. Medivir names Linda Basse as CMO, adding Darzalex R&D experience to its clinical team

Medivir has named Linda Basse, M.D., Ph.D., as chief medical officer. The appointment puts a leader who played a starring role in the development of Darzalex in charge of ushering Medivir’s clinical pipeline through a critical period.

5. After midphase flop, Pfizer taps Cytoo for help identifying DMD targets

Pfizer has teamed up with Cytoo to work on a Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) target discovery platform. The early-stage alliance (PDF) comes a week after Pfizer halted development of domagrozumab in DMD because of lackluster midphase data.

And more articles of note>>