Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start, and end, this week with Novartis, which filled a key position in its revamped leadership team by poaching John Tsai, M.D., from Amgen. Tsai fills the CMO role left vacant when Vas Narasimhan, M.D., stepped up to CEO. Away from the Swiss Big Pharma, Inventiva raised €36 million ($44 million) to prepare for a phase 3 NASH trial. Lysogene pushed back the start date of its pivotal Sanfilippo gene therapy study. And Basilea bolstered its oncology pipeline with a deal for ArQule’s derazantinib. Back at Novartis, Jay Bradner questioned the wisdom of some of the investments companies are making in cancer R&D. And more.—Nick Taylor
Vas Narasimhan, M.D., has persuaded John Tsai, M.D., to fill the vacant CMO role at Novartis. Tsai took up the same position at Amgen just 11 months ago but had his head turned by the digitally-enabled pipeline Narasimhan is building at Novartis.
Inventiva has raised €36 million ($44 million) to gear up for a phase 3 trial of pan-PPAR activator lanifibranor in NASH. The financing will see Inventiva through a period in which it will drop data from a phase 2b NASH trial and a two-year carcinogenicity study.
A manufacturing delay has pushed back the start of Lysogene’s pivotal Sanfilippo syndrome trial. The gene therapy study is now due to get underway in the second half of the year.
Deal-hungry Basilea has extended its cancer pipeline by licensing ArQule’s derazantinib, a phase 2-ready drug that slots in ahead of its in-house oncology programs.
Jay Bradner, president of Novartis’ Institutes for BioMedical Research, questioned whether billions in cancer research funding was going in the right direction as he pointed out a “flood of fast followers, narrow differentiators and distracting hype” around some new therapies and research.