Top Biopharma News for 12/19/2023

A dynamic conference room scene with AI and biotech professionals gathered for the US Pharma and Biotech Summit 2024, featuring an interactive presentation on 'Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Through the Eyes of the FDA Part II' showcased on a large digital screen, with AI-driven robots and holographic medical innovations in the background.

Here are the latest stories being discussed in biopharma today:

1. Lilly and Novo’s gamble on cardiovascular benefits turning GLP-1s a versatile solution
Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk are preparing to develop a comprehensive cardiovascular portfolio using their lucrative treatments for diabetes and obesity. They have drawn attention for publicly declaring their plan to test GLPs-1s on a host of diseases including heart and kidney disease and NASH. An encouraging outcome from Novo’s Phase III SELECT trial indicates the wider potential of GLP-1s. However, the rise of the GLP-1s throws up crucial questions, the answers to which will only become clear with time.

2. An innovative fundraising solution by Bluebird providing access to $250M
Biotech company bluebird bio is looking to raise up to $250M through a proposed public offering of $150M and an unconventional deal with finance company Alterna Capital Solutions. Bluebird will sell Alterna a portion of its ‘trade accounts receivable.’ The money will fund general working capital needs and support the commercialization and manufacturing of its three gene therapies.

3. Lassen Therapeutics scores $85M funding as its thyroid eye disease treatment enters phase II
Lassen Therapeutics has raised an oversubscribed $85M series B funding. The San Diego-based Frazer Life Sciences-founded startup aims to use the funds to develop its interleukin-11 receptor-targeted, or IL-11, antibody for thyroid eye disease (TED).

4. Pfizer delays interim analysis for Duchenne gene therapy
Pharma giant Pfizer indicated it plans to postpone an interim analysis on its gene therapy program for Duchenne muscular dystrophy until next year, instead waiting for a final analysis. Despite initial guidance that an interim analysis would take place by the end of this year and a final analysis in the second half of 2024, Pfizer is taking a patient approach to avoid compromising trial power and to maximize the potential of accurately determining clinical benefit.

5. Metabolic health startup knownwell attracts $20M in Series A round
Healthcare startup knownwell ended the year with a flourishing $20M Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from existing investors like Flare Capital Partners. Knownwell acts as a vital primary care provider for overweight and obese patients, offering both prescription of GLP-1 treatments and taking insurance coverage including Medicaid and Medicare.