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BioCentury Extra
As published Friday, August 26, 2016 4:53 PM PST


  • Maraganore replaces Tessier-Lavigne as Agios chairman

    Cancer and Orphan disease company Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:AGIO) said Marc Tessier-Lavigne resigned as its chairman "due to other commitments." John Maraganore, a director who is also CEO of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ALNY), will succeed him.

    Tessier-Lavigne is to become president of Stanford University on Sept. 1. He is stepping down as president of The Rockefeller University (see Biocentury Extra, Feb. 4).

    Tessier-Lavigne will join Agios' scientific advisory board.

    Agios fell $0.05 to $38.03 on Friday. It released the news after market close.

  • Study: FIT, colonoscopy more cost effective than Cologuard

    A study comparing two colorectal cancer screening approaches found that a yearly fecal immunochemical test and a colonoscopy every 10 years was "more effective and less costly" compared with stool DNA test Cologuard from Exact Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ:EXAS) every three years. Results from the study, which was funded by Exact Sciences and led by researchers from Stanford University, were published Friday in Gastroenterology.

    For Cologuard to be cost effective, a patient support program "would need to achieve substantially higher participation rates than those of FIT," or the test would need to cost 60% less than the base case used in the study, the authors wrote.

    The study assumed optimal adherence for both Cologuard and FIT, and a base case cost for Cologuard of $260 for a commercial payer and $197 for Medicare. At a three-year screening interval, Cologuard would cost roughly "an incremental $100,000 per QALY gained, meeting a common willingness-to-pay threshold," according to the authors' calculations.

    In guidelines released in June, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) said Cologuard has "improved sensitivity" compared with a FIT, but lower specificity that results in more false-positive results and thus more diagnostic colonoscopies and associated adverse events (see BioCentury Extra, June 15).

    Cologuard is a non-invasive stool DNA test that uses a multiplexed quantitative Invader assay for the simultaneous detection of methylated and unmethylated sequences in the promoter region of the vimentin (VIM) gene.

    Exact Sciences added $0.14 to $19.19 on Friday.

  • BioLineRx forms JV with China's I-Bridge

    Israeli company BioLineRx Ltd. (NASDAQ:BLRX; Tel Aviv:BLRX) formed a joint venture with China's I-Bridge Capital. The JV, dubbed iPharma, is designed primarily to develop candidates originating in Israel for the Chinese market.

    Each partner will invest $1 million in the JV. BioLineRx said iPharma expects to raise additional funds from Chinese investors after iPharma has licensed a "critical mass" of early stage candidates. The partners intend for the JV to develop candidates that are of "special interest for the Chinese population," although it may also develop them in other countries.

  • Management tracks

    Vaccine developer Vaxxilon AG (Reinach, Switzerland) named Arne von Bonin CSO. He was CSO at Affiris AG (Vienna, Austria).

    Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding Co. Ltd. (HKSE:02607; Shanghai:601607) said Jie Zhou resigned as its chairman. The company's president, Man Cho, will be its acting chairman until it names Zhou's successor.

  • Adocia halting diabetic foot ulcer programs after Phase III miss

    Adocia S.A. (Euronext:ADOC) said its BioChaperone PDGF-BB spray missed the primary endpoint in an Indian Phase III study to treat diabetic foot ulcers. The candidate did not significantly improve complete wound closure after 20 weeks compared with placebo in the study, which enrolled 252 patients with chronic diabetic foot ulcers.

    Adocia is halting all of its programs in diabetic foot ulcers, which it called "extremely difficult" to treat.

    BioChaperone PDGF-BB is a recombinant platelet derived growth factor BB (PDGFBB) combined with a polymer from the company's BioChaperone platform.

    Adocia's next most advanced programs are Phase I/II diabetes candidates BioChaperone Lispro and Hinsbet BioChaperone insulin. BioChaperone Lispro, an ultra-fast acting formulation of insulin lispro and is partnered with Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE:LLY). Hinsbet is a fast-acting formulation of recombinant human insulin.

    Adocia slipped EUR 3.20 to EUR 53.20 on Friday.


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