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Archive for the ‘Pharmaceutical R&D Investment’ Category


The Valeant Sky Dive

Reporter: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP

 

UPDATED on 8/9/2016 at noon EST

Is the new Valeant just a shiny facade?

By Lisa LaMotta | August 9, 2016

http://www.biopharmadive.com/news/valeant-papa-earnings-directors-debt/424107/

 

The Roll-Up Racket    BY

Few falls in business history have been as sudden and as steep as that of Michael Pearson, the C.E.O. of the drugmaker Valeant. Not long ago, he was heading a company whose stock price had risen more than four thousand per cent during his tenure. A former McKinsey consultant, he had developed a strategy based on acquisitions, cost-cutting, and price hikes. The influential hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman, one of Valeant’s largest shareholders, compared Pearson to Warren Buffett, citing his genius at capital allocation. No one’s calling Pearson a genius anymore. In the past six months, Valeant’s stock price has fallen almost ninety per cent, thanks to a toxic combination of sketchy accounting, political blowback, and slowing growth. Two weeks ago, the company announced terrible fourth-quarter earnings, and said that it wouldn’t be able to file its annual report on time, which drove the stock down fifty per cent in a day. Investors who once saw Pearson as a savior now consider him an albatross: when, last week, Valeant announced that he would step down, the stock price rose.

Valeant used to be a small drugmaker, struggling to stay afloat by doing what pharmaceutical companies typically do: invest heavily in R. & D. in order to discover new drugs. But Pearson, who took over in 2008, scrapped that approach. He argued that returns on R. & D. were too low and too uncertain; it made more sense to buy companies that already had products on the market, then slash costs and raise prices. So Valeant became a serial acquirer, doing more than a hundred transactions between 2008 and 2015. It invested almost nothing in its core business; R. & D. spending fell to just three per cent of sales. It was ruthless about bringing down costs, sometimes laying off more than half the workforce of a company it acquired. And though Martin Shkreli may be the public face of drug-price gouging, Valeant was the real pioneer. A 2015 analysis looked at drugs whose price had risen between three hundred per cent and twelve hundred per cent in the previous two years; of the nineteen whose prices had risen fastest, half belonged to Valeant.
The company also pulled every trick in the financial-engineering handbook. In 2010, it merged with a Canadian company, in order to bring down its tax rate, and it sheltered its intellectual property in tax havens like Luxembourg. It used opaque accounting methods that made it hard for investors to judge how well acquired companies were doing. To ward off competition from generic drugs, Valeant entered into a complicated relationship with a mail-order pharmacy called Philidor. Meanwhile, it paid its executives exceedingly well, and tied their compensation to shareholder returns, thus encouraging a single-minded focus on stock price. Valeant embodied practically everything that people hate about business today. So it’s no surprise that much of Wall Street saw it as a profit-making machine.

If Wall Street was happy, what went wrong? There were a couple of contingent problems: the dubious relationship with Philidor made people wary of Valeant’s accounting (the company just announced that it would have to re-state earnings for 2014 and part of 2015), while the political backlash provoked by Shkreli limited Valeant’s ability to raise prices. But the bigger problem was that Pearson’s buy-and-slash approach hit its inevitable limits. Valeant had become what’s known as a roll-up: a company that buys lots of other companies, trusting that they’ll be much more profitable together than they were apart. The challenge for roll-ups is that they have to keep feeding the beast: if you grow by buying, you have to keep buying to thrive. But, the bigger you get, the fewer deals there are that can truly boost your bottom line. And, because your grim reputation precedes you, you end up paying big premiums, which may mean that you have to start borrowing heavily. (Valeant’s debt is almost three times its annual sales.) Not surprisingly, roll-ups have a terrible track record. A Booz Allen study of the performance of eighty-one roll-ups between 1993 and 2000 found that only eleven did better than the market as a whole. Another study found that more than two-thirds of roll-ups created no value for investors at all. The only roll-ups that succeed are those which find, as one study put it, “a fundamentally superior way to make money.” Valeant’s collapse has shown that it had no such ability.

Valeant now says that its roll-up days are over, and that it’s going to focus on expanding its business “organically.” Yet it’s far from clear that this will be possible……

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Roche/Genentech’s Late-Stage Pipeline beyond Cancer: Ocrelizumab, against primary progressive MS & relapsing/remitting MS – $2.7 billion peak sales forecast

 

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

SOURCE

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/03/19/youll-never-guess-which-pharma-likely-owns-40-of-2.aspx

 

Beyond Cancer

 

1. ocrelizumab, $2.7 billion peak sales forecast


What has the multiple sclerosis market excited about ocrelizumab is its success against primary progressive MS. Until orcrelizumab, no treatment in history has succeeded in a Phase III trial against this extremely debilitating form of MS.

Ocrelizumab is also being positioned for relapsing/remitting MS. Clinical trial data released in October showed that the treatment cut MS relapses by almost half compared with Merck’s competing drug, Rebif.

On a commercial basis, ocrelizumab’s expanded label (to include both forms of MS) should greatly increase its revenue potential. While a conservative estimate of ocrelizumab’s peak sales puts it at $2.7 billion, some see a peak sales potential for ocrelizumab in the neighborhood of $6 billion. That’s certainly a long shot, but not out of the question, since it is based on a MS market that is now worth $19 billion growing at 5% annually, with ocrelizumab eventually reaching a 30% market share.

Roche has stated plans for applying for regulatory approval for ocrelizumab in the first half of 2016. The drug’s accelerated approval status means an expedited review, with the FDA likely to take action on the application within 6 months. While ocrelizumab’s timeline depends on many variables, there is potential for sales to begin by year-end 2016.

 

Cancer Indications

 

2. Atezolizumab: $2.5 billion peak sales projected


Roche’s immuno-oncology drug atezolizumab follows ocrelizumab in blockbuster potential. Drugs such as atezolizumab (atezo) work by turning off cancer’s ability to remain undetected by the immune system, and atezo has put up some impressive data in its clinical trials. For example, in its POPLAR trial against advanced non-small-cell lung cancer, atezo doubled the likelihood of survival in patients taking the drug relative to placebo.

Being first matters, however. The market already has powerful competitors for atezo in Merck’s Keytruda and Bristol-Myers Squibb‘s (NYSE:BMY) Opdivo. On the other hand, both Keytruda and Opdivo are PD-1 treatments, and atezo works through another mechanism, PD-L1.

Genentech researchers believe PD-L1 is a more significant engine in cancer than PD-1. If they are correct, atezo will have a more long-lasting effect on stopping cancer growth, which would make the drug a potential first choice. Roche is driving some 36 studies  toward making a broad case for atezo with the FDA. Encouraging data keeps coming in. But investors should realize that how this drug will perform against competition from Keytruda and Opdivo is still very much an open question.

A more immediate commercial advantage for atezo is that Roche has a powerful in-house diagnostic division providing tools that can tag patients likely to respond to the drug. Many cancer therapies are ineffective with a large percentage of patients, and by specifically identifying those cancer patients who should benefit, Roche can personalize cancer treatment. That’s a big plus with payers, who naturally want to conserve their money for therapies more likely to be effective. As personalized medicine becomes steadily more widespread, full-year sales for Roche’s diagnostic division have grown–increasing 6% in 2015 to $10.7 billion.

Atezo’s breakthrough therapy designation gives it a solid chance of rolling out this year, but some industry watchers are deferring atezo’s projected launch date until 2017. Calculating a launch date is an inexact science, so that’s certainly possible.

3. Venetoclax: $1.4 billion projected for Roche

Roche’s third blockbuster speeding toward FDA approval is AbbVie partnered venetoclax. The drug is targeted to treat a highly virulent form of leukemia (chronic lymphocytic leukemia), specifically in those patients with a mutation that makes the cancer more aggressive and often results in shortened survival. Late-stage trials are also ongoing in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, acute myeloid leukemia, and multiple myeloma.

Roche has U.S. marketing rights  to the drug, and FiercePharma estimates Roche’s share of peak sales at $1.4 billion by 2020. The drug, which has already been fast-tracked for approval under the agency’s breakthrough designation last May, scored a priority review from the FDA in January. Roche expects FDA clearance in 2016.

 

SOURCE

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/03/19/youll-never-guess-which-pharma-likely-owns-40-of-2.aspx

 

Other related articles published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following: 

Immune-Oncology Molecules In Development & Articles on Topic in @pharmaceuticalintelligence.com

Curators: Stephen J Williams, PhD and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/01/11/articles-on-immune-oncology-molecules-in-development-pharmaceuticalintelligence-com/

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The late Cambridge Mayor Alfred Vellucci welcomed Life Sciences Labs to Cambridge, MA – June 1976

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

How Cambridge became the Life Sciences Capital

Worth watching is the video below, which captures the initial Cambridge City Council hearing on recombinant DNA research from June 1976. The first speaker is the late Cambridge mayor Alfred Vellucci.

Vellucci hoped to pass a two-year moratorium on gene splicing in Cambridge. Instead, the council passed a three-month moratorium, and created a board of nine Cambridge citizens — including a nun and a nurse — to explore whether the work should be allowed, and if so, what safeguards would be necessary. A few days after the board was created, the pro and con tables showed up at the Kendall Square marketplace.

At the time, says Phillip Sharp, an MIT professor, Cambridge felt like a manufacturing town that had seen better days. He recalls being surrounded by candy, textile, and leather factories. Sharp hosted the citizens review committee at MIT, explaining what the research scientists there planned to do. “I think we built a relationship,” he says.

By early 1977, the citizens committee had proposed a framework to ensure that any DNA-related experiments were done under fairly stringent safety controls, and Cambridge became the first city in the world to regulate research using genetic material.

 

WATCH VIDEO

How Cambridge became the life sciences capital

Scott Kirsner can be reached at kirsner@pobox.com. Follow him on Twitter@ScottKirsner and on betaboston.com.

SOURCE

How Cambridge became the life sciences capital

http://www.betaboston.com/news/2016/03/17/how-cambridge-became-the-life-sciences-capital/

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Robotically Driven System Could Reduce Cost of Discovering Drugs

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

However, their approach had only been tested using synthetic or previously acquired data, the team’s current model builds on this by letting the computer choose which experiments to do. The experiments were then carried out using liquid-handling robots and an automated microscope.

A total of 9,216 experiments were done, each consisting of acquiring images for a given cell clone in the presence of a given drug. The challenge for the algorithm was to learn how proteins were affected in each of these experiments, without performing all of them.

The originality of this work was to identify new phenotypes on its own as part of the learning process. To do this, it clustered the images to form phenotypes. The phenotypes were used to form a predictive model, so the learner could estimate the outcomes of unmeasured experiments. The basis of the model was to identify different sets of proteins that responded similarly to sets of drugs, so that it could predict the trend in the unmeasured experiments. The learner repeated the process for a total of 30 rounds, completing 2,697 out of the 9,216 possible experiments. As it progressively performed the experiments, it identified more phenotypes and more patterns in how sets of proteins were affected by sets of drugs.

Using an assortment of calculations, the team determined that the algorithm was able to learn a 92% accurate model for how the 96 drugs affected the 96 proteins, from only 29% of the experiments conducted.

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GSK Partners With SG3 Ventures to Add $100 Million to the Pittsburgh Biotech Scene

From Biospace News: Backed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), New VC Firm SG3 Ventures Has $100 Million to Bet on Pittsburg Startups

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

Source: http://www.biospace.com/News/backed-by-glaxosmithkline-new-vc-firm-sg3-ventures/412039/source=TopBreaking?intcid=homepage-seekernewssection-tabtopbreakingnews

 

Pittsburgh-area entrepreneurs will soon have another funding option for growing early phase startup companies.

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has thrown its support behind the creation of a $100 million venture capital fund, which will help meet a need for early stage business startup capital in the Pittsburgh area. Philadelphia-based SG3 Ventures anticipates awarding its first round of funding in about a year, according to Brian McVeigh, vice president of worldwide business development transactions and investment management at GSK.

From Pittsburgh Post Gazette: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/healthcare-business/2016/03/11/New-early-stage-venture-fund-forming-with-eye-on-Pittsburgh-startups/stories/201603090016

New early-stage venture fund forming with eye on Pittsburgh startups

Pittsburgh-area entrepreneurs will soon have another funding option for growing early phase startup companies.

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has thrown its support behind the creation of a $100 million venture capital fund, which will help meet a need for early stage business startup capital in the Pittsburgh area. Philadelphia-based SG3 Ventures anticipates awarding its first round of funding in about a year, according to Brian McVeigh, vice president of worldwide business development transactions and investment management at GSK.

“There is a huge untapped opportunity,” Mr. McVeigh said. “Let’s bring the money here.”

New prescription drug treatments will be a priority for fund investments, but a balanced portfolio including life science technologies is planned.

In the venture ecosystem, insurers, pension funds and other institutions use such funds to invest in promising startup companies — both to balance their portfolios and to get a shot at investment returns that would not otherwise be possible. The venture funds oversee allotting capital to a portfolio of startup companies.

The investment money enables startups to mature and eventually bring in other investors through a public offering or acquisition by a larger company, generating money to repay the initial investors.

GSK and other big pharmaceutical companies are making similar investments to maximize returns and keep their product pipelines full, but GSK has been focusing on earlier stage companies, shifting its focus to pre-clinical technologies about five years ago, Mr. McVeigh said.

In addition, Big Pharma is increasingly relying on outsourced research and development operations, often in collaboration with universities, to fill industry product pipelines. GSK has funded a number of these initiatives, including a cancer collaboration with the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center.

SG3 Managing Director Keith Marmer said the new venture fund will be committed to technologies developed outside the better known tech hubs of Silicon Valley and Boston-Cambridge.

“We’re here, we’re from here, and we want to be here,” he told a group of entrepreneurs at a recent breakfast meeting in Oakland. “Sustaining technology through research funding isn’t happening anywhere.”

Parsippany N.J.-based GSK closed its consumer health care operations in Moon in 2015, eliminating 274 jobs a year after the company’s merger with Swiss vaccine maker Novartis. Mr. McVeigh works at the company’s offices in King of Prussia, Pa.

With federal research dollars flat in recent years, universities nationwide have been turning to commercialization of intellectual property as a new source of revenue.

At the same time, Pittsburgh’s startup community is showing signs of new life.

Among the signs: Patrick Gallagher’s commitment to the commercialization of faculty research since becoming University of Pittsburgh chancellor 18 months ago, awakening a sleeping giant of economic development and innovation and hospital system UPMC’s creation of a commercial enterprises arm to fund promising technologies.

The timing couldn’t be better for venture capital funds like SG3.

Nationwide, early stage funding has been chasing fewer deals, according to a report by Money Tree, which was compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association based on data provided by Thomson Reuters.

Early stage investments nationally last year totaled $19.8 billion, a 23 percent increase from $16.1 billion in 2014. But the number of deals were essentially flat from the previous year, suggesting that some companies were left out in the cold.

What’s more, the amount of money available to Pittsburgh-area entrepreneurs after the earliest rounds of investment isn’t keeping pace with the innovations coming out of the city’s universities, said Dietrich Stephan, a serial entrepreneur who also chairs the human genetics department at Pitt.

“There’s real substance here,” he said. “Without money, we can’t build.”

Seed investment funding — the earliest level of funding — is not a problem in Pittsburgh, said Buchanan Ingersoll Rooney PC lawyer Jeremy Garvey, who also chairs the Bridgeville-based Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association.

“The predominance of funding in this market comes in the earliest stages,” he said. “Institutional funding is much harder to get in this market.”

Early stage venture funding began drying up with the stock market crash of 2008, which also chilled the financial markets for initial public offerings for biotech companies, Mr. McVeigh said. Eventually, conditions thawed for IPOs, but the lower valuations for new companies than before 2008 made that less attractive than before.

“We’re really energized by the energy there” in Pittsburgh, Mr. McVeigh said. “We’re looking to bring venture capital to the region.”

Kris B. Mamula: kmamula@post-gazette.com

About SG3 Ventures

SG3 Ventures is an early stage life science venture capital firm. Our primary focus in on therapeutics and digital health; however, we will invest opportunistically when presented with a potential vehicle to drive superior returns for our limited partners. We are active in company formation, deploying financial and human resources to help deliver value. In addition, we access deep industry networks to ensure a path to market with strong commercial partnerships built into our companies from the beginning. SG3 prefers to invest in the greater Philadelphia Region (Princeton to the north, Baltimore to the south and Pittsburgh to the west). We prefer to make initial investments at the formation or seed stage with a focus on providing financing through mature rounds of investment.

  • Website

    http://sg3ventures.com

  • Industry

    Financial Services

  • Type

    Partnership

  • Headquarters

    3711 Market Street Suite 800Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States

  • Company Size

    1-10 employees

More articles on the Open Access Journal on Biotech Investing Include

J.P. Morgan 34th Annual Healthcare Conference & Biotech Showcase™ January 11 – 15, 2016 in San Francisco

New Values for Capital Investment in Technology Disruption: Life Sciences Group @Google and the Future of the Rest of the Biotech Industry

Bristol-Myers Squibb: A global BioPharma leader – Tracing the innovative biotech core of $3.7 billion R&D Investment and $16.4 billion in Net Sales

 

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Starting a Biotech the European Way

Author:  Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

A wonderful post by Tony Marcel in Nature Biotechnology highlights some of the structural differences in the way biotech startups are formed in Europe contrasted with bio-entrepreneurship as conducted in the United States.  Tony Marcel is currently the CEO of FGene S.A. and gives a personal experience  of the European biotech startup scene and highlights the differences, as he sees it, in the unique business development models occurring in Europe versus the US.  This post will highlight features from the article.

  • US model of biotech is not easily transferable to how Europe does business
  • US model involves developing a specific technology platform then selling that tool, service or platform to pharma for R&D $ and royalties
  • European perspective is to build networks instead of platforms which can deliver capabilities or one product to pharma
  • The article discusses three weaknesses identified in the biotech world with respect to Europe and the US

Three ” weaknesses” identified which may affect decision to start a biotech in Europe include:

  1. European academic scientists have trepidation making deals with big pharma
  2. European scientists are not as eager as US counterparts to start a biotech
  3. biotechs still are not as good as pharma in drug development so even their pipeline of “hits” are failing in clinical trials

The article aims to use these weaknesses to define a European way involving

  • defining management players and market niche early on
  • reducing the barriers to entry (i.e. legal)
  • establishing the relationships to increase viability

 

The full article can be found at the following link:

http://www.nature.com/bioent/2003/030101/full/nbt0299supp_9.html

 

An emerging European model for bioentrepreneurship

Tony Marcel

Tony Marcel is CEO of FGene S.A., 91, Avenue Kléber, 75116 Paris, France

e-mail:  tonymftmcgene@compuserve.com.

The US model for biotechnology is not easily exportable to Europe, but an alternative European business model may be adaptable everywhere.

There is a widespread opinion that biotechnology companies worldwide need to follow business models initiated in the US. These models, generally speaking, are based on development of a specific technology platform. The prevailing wisdom suggests this technology can be sold as a tool or service to pharmaceutical companies or can be used to develop a lead compound that can then be sold to big pharma for R&D dollars and single-digit downstream royalties.

But my experience as a former academic medical researcher who has helped discover, develop, and market drugs for Hoechst, Laboratoires Roussel, Roussel-Uclaf, Rhône-Poulenc Sante, and Amgen has taught me that there is an appealing alternative to this model that may be more practical from the European perspective. Rather than building technologies, one can build networks that have the capability of delivering to big pharma the one product they cannot refuse: validated lead compounds for unmet medical needs.

Identifying a market niche

My background has taught me that an effective way to find solutions is to look at weaknesses perceived by the status quo, and then to develop a strategy to turn them into strengths. Biotechnology’s biggest weakness was its lack of products, in traditional pharmaceutical terms. Relatively few lead compounds have made their way through clinical trials and onto the market. So to separate your company from the crowd, my first conclusion is that it needs to be product-based. It should develop lead compounds that can be sold to big pharma, or take those compounds through clinical trials and to the market.

How do you accomplish this in Europe? I identified three weaknesses from a traditional biotechnology or pharmaceutical perspective that I felt could be developed into strengths. The first was that European scientists are much more risk averse than their American counterparts when it comes to setting up their own business. The legal, financial, and cultural infrastructure to take such a step is far more developed in the US than elsewhere.

The second was that European academic scientists tended to be mistrustful of big pharma’s intentions in licensing discussions. Taking the fruits of their research and developing it into a business is an uncharted area for most, and their unfamiliarity with this process made them cautious.

Finally, biotechnology startups everywhere, not just in Europe, are usually not very efficient in conducting pharmaceutical development. In general, they are discovery-focused companies that lack both the expertise and the contacts in these areas to efficiently manage this process.

These three weaknesses provide the basis for my product-based business plan. The fact that European scientists are not as ready to start companies as in the US makes Europe a source of world-class research not already tied up commercially. In addition, my experience in the pharmaceutical world has demonstrated that a commitment to building a relationship based on trust with scientists and their university licensing departments tremendously enhances the quality of these exchanges and, over time, provides remarkable access to a pipeline of innovative lead compounds.

Finally, the pharmaceutical industry’s move to outsource much of the development and clinical trials process has created a remarkable infrastructure for moving lead compounds through development. One only needed to know when this was appropriate and to have the money to commit to that project to realize a major portion of the development process.

The business model that results from uniting these strengths is a company dedicated not to a specific technology platform, but rather to the development of innovative compounds discovered and patented by academia. The company’s niche is to license in molecules at an early stage and demonstrate proof of principle, and take them through regulatory preclinicals, as well as phase I/II clinicals. At that point, the company licenses its products to big pharma. Profit is generated by the substantial risk-to-reward ratio between the cost of licensing in molecules and the outlicensing price to big pharma.

Management

Contrary to the way many US biotechnology companies are run, the management structure of such a company is not a one-person show. This strategy relies heavily on a supervisory board made up of representatives from European ministries and major European banks. It is also dependent on a scientific advisory board (SAB) with members from key European states. Unlike the boards of some biotechnology companies, the individuals selected are not merely figureheads. They must be committed to an operational role in which they are regularly consulted about the company’s plans.

The key to making this work is to maintain permanent links with academia, the source of new molecules, through publications, meetings, and also through SAB members. One also needs to develop comparable relationships in the pharmaceutical industry in order to keep abreast of licensing-in needs. Using this dual approach, a company will be able to identify discoveries relevant to a major pharmaceutical market before they are published. The company can then select candidates for licensing based on demonstrations of their potentially useful activity, the proof of pilot synthesis and purification capability, and sufficient intellectual property protection.

Given the academic scientist’s aversion to starting a business, where will this network of managers come from? In Europe, the merger and acquisition fever that has hit both the pharmaceutical and banking industries has created a large pool of experienced professionals, acquainted with science, marketing, and business. Some of these individuals will be at a point in their lives where setting up companies is an exciting alternative career.

The challenge for this new generation of European bioentrepreneurs will be to develop their ability to create a new level of cross-talk between inventors and developers. Their core responsibility will be much in keeping with their training: Build and nurture a portfolio of molecules at various stages of development.

Barriers to entry

If this model is so straightforward, why do pharmaceutical companies not eliminate the biotechnology middleman and reap the rewards directly? One of the three premises of this model is that a small biotech company is more able to concentrate on an academic alliance than a large pharmaceutical company. Biotechnology’s close identification with academia through the training of both its management and staff gives it a cultural advantage in assuming this role.

Historically, the model in which big pharma establishes a direct relationship with academia has never proven successful. For example, SmithKline and French invested much of its Tagamet earnings into developing academic alliances to fill its pipelines. Nonetheless, investing a substantial amount of money in these relationships over a significant period of time did not prevent this group from having to merge with Beecham. Nearly every working pharmaceutical executive today has a similar war story.

The reason it has failed for the past 20 years, and is likely to continue to fail for the next 20, is that it concentrates efforts in the hands of the most powerful pharmaceutical companies and key research institutions. The resulting bureaucracy is so overwhelming it not only alienates the scientific innovators, but creates a stifling atmosphere in which decisions simply cannot be made.

But old habits die hard, and this model has long been a tradition in Europe—particularly in France. Therefore, it is likely, if for no other reason than to reap the potential financial returns of such a model, that pharmaceutical companies will continue to make this model work.

However, the important role that biotechnology can play in this process is being recognized by some individuals now in positions of responsibility in pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, and government offices. These individuals are doing their best to support biotechnology’s role in the development of innovative new medicines.

Viability

If you have read this far, you are probably persuaded by the arguments, but may wonder, “If it is such a great business model, why hasn’t anyone done it before?” Well, they have. In 1995, FGene was founded in France as a company devoted to the development of biopharmaceutical products. The company was initiated by the willingness of the Paris-based Institut Pasteur, a major European academic institution, to license molecules to it. This relationship allowed the beginning of the process I have just described.

The resolve of the French government, key players in academia, the investment community, and the pharmaceutical industry to enhance the growth of biotechnology in France is an opportunity we have seized. We have tried to duplicate in Europe the remarkable links developed between biotechnology startups and academia in the US, and hope to create a viable business serving the needs of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies that are literally in our backyard.

In three years of existence, FGene already boasts five products in its active development portfolio: a recombinant protein for the treatment of traumatic spinal section; a peptide for the prevention and therapy of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular ischemia, such as coronary diseases; a selective IL2 receptor agonist for the treatment of cancer; a peptide active on kidney and bone for the treatment of bone and mineral balance disorders, such as osteoporosis; and a peptide for improving male pattern sexual arousal.

We are encouraged that we have made this much progress in such a short time. While this model is still not proven in terms of financial success, it provides a much stronger foundation for growing a biotechnology company than most biotechnology business plans currently in use because costs are directly related to the development of marketable products.

Conclusions

For budding European bioentrepreneurs, this model recommends itself for three reasons: First, it uses unexploited resources that are difficult to access through traditional biotechnology or pharmaceutical models. Second, it is based on pharmaceutical customers’ high-priority needs. And third, it provides a company with a burn rate that is in direct proportion to the realization of a marketable product.

This model has first taken hold in France because of a unique set of circumstances, but its applicability seems uthe commitment of a network of individuals to build a new kind of biotechnology company.

My vision is that companies formed will reinvigorate the European pharmaceutical industry. In the end, everyone wins. Academic science has a new route to receive fair payment for their innovations, biotechnology companies show a rapid timeline to profitability, making investors happy, and pharmaceutical companies fill their pipelines with truly innovative medicines. But the real winner in the end will be the consumer—the rapid translation of genomic products will lead to medicines that improve healthcare at an affordable price, in a much shorter time frame than previously possible.

 

source: http://www.nature.com/bioent/2003/030101/full/nbt0299supp_9.html

More articles on BioEntrepreneurship in this Online Open Access Journal Include:

11:00AM – 10/1/2014: Scientific Collaborations @14th Global Partnering & Biotech Investment, Congress Center Basel – SACHS Associates, London

9:00AM 10/1/2014: Partnering I @14th Global Partnering & Biotech Investment, Congress Center Basel – SACHS Associates, London

BioTech Partnerships and the National Model in Israel

Four Startups After One Year: BioDesign Entrepreneurship Program @ Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical Center

Biotech Chinese and Israeli Strategic Collaboration: Pontifax and WuXi PharmaTech (Cayman) Inc. (NYSE: WX)

Top 10 Israeli medical advances to watch in 2014 @ ISRAEL21c

Israel’s Innovation System: A Triple Helix with Four Sub-helices

Helix Model of Innovation in Israel: The Global Scheme and its Local Application

i-CORE Participation In Israel: Hebrew University faculty leads and holds Scientific Management Positions in Five I-CORE Centers

Stem Cell Research — The Frontier is at the Technion in Israel

Next-generation Universal Cell Immunotherapy startup Adicet Bio, Menlo Park, CA is launched with $51M Funding by OrbiMed

Recent Breakthroughs in Cancer Research at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology- 2015

BEYOND THE “MALE MODEL”: AN ALTERNATIVE FEMALE MODEL OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION

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From Biospace News: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)-Backed VC Firm Medicxi Launches $250 Million Fund For Life Science Startups

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

original article: http://www.biospace.com/News/glaxosmithkline-and-johnson-johnson-backed-vc-firm/407338/source=TopBreaking


Press release

Medicxi Ventures, Formerly Index Ventures Life Sciences, Launches as an Independent Venture Capital Firm and Announces Closing of a €210m Fund including GSK and Johnson & Johnson Innovation

LONDON, GENEVA and JERSEY, February 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ —

  • Medicxi Ventures comprises all of the existing life sciences team, portfolio company investments and life sciences funds of Index Ventures
  • GSK and Johnson & Johnson Innovation expand their commitment to the asset-centric approach
  • Index Ventures technology practice remains unchanged

Medicxi Ventures, a new venture capital firm comprising all of the existing life sciences portfolio companies, funds and team from Index Ventures, today announces the close of Medicxi Ventures 1 (MV1), a new €210 million ($250 million) fund that will focus on early-stage life sciences investments. MV1 will predominantly invest in Europe and principally follow the “asset-centric” strategy pioneered by its partners at Index.

By investing in MV1, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC) have renewed and expanded their commitment to the asset-centric approach, following the prior investment in Index Life 6 (IL-6) alongside other financial investors.

Medicxi Ventures starts its operations as one of the largest independent European life sciences focused investment firms. The Company’s mission is to focus on strengthening R&D innovation by providing solutions to unmet medical needs. Collaboration with pharmaceutical companies will continue to be a key strategy helping the firm to deliver on this mission.

Medicxi Ventures will be managed by four General Partners, Francesco De Rubertis, David Grainger, Kevin Johnson and Michèle Ollier, all of whom previously led the life sciences practice of Index Ventures. The four partners will form the executive management of the new firm.

Francesco De Rubertis, General Partner of Medicxi Ventures, said: “We are excited to take this next step in our evolution as a life sciences focused investment firm. A high percentage of the drugs approved every year by the FDA were discovered in European academic labs. By working in close partnership with academia, biotech and the pharmaceutical industry, we are committed to translating this high quality science in Europe into effective new medicines.”

He added: “It has been a privilege working with Neil Rimer, Giuseppe Zocco and the other tech partners at Index Ventures for the last 20 years and we have benefitted from their expertise in investing in and building high growth entrepreneurial companies.”

Dr Moncef Slaoui, Chairman Global Vaccines and GSKs representative on Medicxis Scientific Advisory Board, commented on the announcement: “We are delighted to support the Medicxi team and this early stage investment fund. We believe in the potential to create an exciting pipeline of new medicine candidates by collaborating and investing with an asset-centric model. The team at Medicxi has a proven track record in partnering with world-class entrepreneurs and scientists to translate disruptive science from academia and industry into new medicines with demonstrable patient benefits.”

Dr Richard Mason, Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, London, commented: “Johnson & Johnson Innovation is focused on enabling and advancing all stages of science and technology across the world’s most robust innovation ecosystems. We are optimistic that applying the asset-centric investment model of Medicxi across Europe and beyond will uncover the new and highly differentiated science and technology that is needed to turn early stage research into viable products and patient solutions. We are delighted to work closely with the Medicxi team to help increase the productivity and likelihood of success for the life sciences innovation community throughout the region. ”

The Scientific Advisory Board of the new fund will include some of the top R&D and business development executives from the two pharmaceutical companies as well as Medicxi-appointed executives. As in IL-6, the two pharmaceutical companies have not received any specific rights to the portfolio companies.

Neil Rimer, co-founder of Index Ventures, said: “The creation of Medicxi Ventures as a new entity is a natural evolution given that Index’ life sciences team has been operating autonomously within the firm for several years. Whilst Index and Medicxi will operate independently, we retain close ties and look forward to continuing to share ideas and expertise.”

Notes for Editors

About Medicxi Ventures

Medicxi Ventures is based in London, Geneva and Jersey. It comprises all of the legacy portfolio companies, funds and the life sciences team of Index Ventures, and a new €210 million fund (MV1) that will focus on early-stage investments in life sciences. The Company’s mission is to invest and collaborate along the full healthcare continuum focusing on drug discovery and development and pharmaceutical innovation. Leading healthcare companies, GSK and Johnson & Johnson Innovation-JJDC are investors in Medicxi Ventures’ funds.

Medicxi Ventures’ team has been investing in life sciences for over 20 years and has backed many successful companies, including Genmab (Nasdaq Copenhagen: GEN), PanGenetics (sold to AbbVie), Molecular Partners (SWX: MOLN), XO1 (sold to Janssen) Egalet (EGLT), Minerva Neurosciences (NERV) and Versartis (VSAR).

Please see http://www.medicxiventures.com for more information.

About the Medicxi Ventures Executive Team

  • Francesco De Rubertis joined Index in 1997 to lead the firm’s life sciences activity and has been involved with and overseen all of the investments that Index has made in life sciences
  • David Grainger joined Index in 2012. Prior to this, David led an internationally recognised research group in Cambridge University’s Department of Medicine, where he published more than 80 first author papers in leading journals including Nature, Science and Nature Medicine. He is an inventor on more than 150 patents and patent applications.
  • Kevin Johnson has been working with Index since 2003. He focuses on life sciences, especially drug development companies and was part of the management team that floated Cambridge Antibody Technology on the London Stock Exchange. Two of his products, Humira (Abbott Pharmaceutical) and Benlysta (Human Genome Sciences, GSK), are now on the market.
  • Michèle Ollier joined Index in 2006. She has spent more than 15 years in several development and marketing positions at Sanofi International, Bristol-Myers Squibb, RPR/Gencell/Aventis international and Serono International.

For further information, please contact:

Francesco De Rubertis
General Partner, Medicxi Ventures
francesco@medicxiventures.com
+44(0)207-154-2020

Katja Stout, Sylvie Berrebi
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
katja.stout@citigatedr.co.uk
Sylvie.berrebi@citigatedr.co.uk
+44(0)207-638-9571

Bill Douglass
Gotham Communications LLC
bill@gothamcomm.com
+1(646)504-0890

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