There’s good news today for the biotech labor market. AstraZeneca’s MedImmune biologics unit said today that David Berman has joined the company as a senior vice president and head of its Oncology Innovative Medicines unit (iMED). Berman spent the previous decade at Bristol-Myers Squibb, becoming a key player inside the company during its rise to prominence in the hot field... Read More
Election season is here, and every day brings a parade of presidential hopefuls, staking out positions along the political spectrum. And, if the early rhetoric is any indication, one of the defining themes of the election will be wealth and income disparity. In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Hillary Clinton said that, although she generally supported the Affordable... Read More
This is a time to take a step back and re-think cancer treatment. The exciting new wave of immunotherapy is challenging many basic assumptions about the way cancer R&D gets done. It’s time to re-imagine some of the biology, how we measure success and failure, how investment dollars get spread, and how we ought to pay for the progress.
Logic would say cancer drugs can’t work if something is keeping them out of the tumor. The latest startup from the Bob Langer/Polaris Partners factory floor just got $22 million to clear out some of the barriers around tumors, and make it easier for some of the exciting new immuno-oncology drugs to do what they do best. Cambridge, Mass.-based Xtuit Pharmaceuticals,... Read More
The biggest idea in cancer R&D, for a couple years, has been the notion that you can unleash the immune system to attack cancer cells like a foreign invader. Immunotherapy, in various permutations, is on everyone’s mind this weekend at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago. The buzz is there because of the evidence. Researchers are raising... Read More
Genentech is almost 40 years old, and still has spring in its step. Through ups and downs, the company has never stopped attracting first-rate talent, and still develops people with the itch to do big things in healthcare. Last week, a trio of Genentech veterans came together to start a neuroscience company called Denali Therapeutics that raised initial financing of... Read More
This coming weekend is the annual American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) meeting in Philadelphia. This conference is known as a showcase for research in its early, exploratory stages, and occasionally as the place where late-stage, practice-changing clinical trial data get presented. I wanted to offer a preview of what to expect. Once again, immunotherapy promises to be a major... Read More
Baseball season is here, and I can’t wait. It’s time to draw some analogies between these two passions of mine. Plenty of writers have observed that baseball is basically a microcosm of life in all its messy glory, filled with hope and disappointment. This time of year, the old saying goes, “hope springs eternal.” Fans are optimistic, and maybe even... Read More
Most people on the street have no idea where the money comes from to support basic research into diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, or diabetes. The issue only gets muddier when research centers complain about federal funding cuts, which sounds self-serving and whiny to many ordinary taxpayers This week, the folks at my local public radio station, KUOW in Seattle, asked... Read More
Cancer drug developers like to say they follow the science, work well with partners, and that their prices are designed to make sure every patient gets access. But those statements are being put to the test now by combination therapies for cancer, where two or more companies will have to work together in novel ways to make the biggest impact... Read More
Two of the biggest stories in biotech this week, Flexus Biosciences and NGM Biopharmaceuticals, had something in common. They were both led by entrepreneurs who cut their teeth years ago at Tularik. That company name from the past is dotted all over the employment histories of the people now running Flexus Biosciences and NGM Biopharmaceuticals. For those who missed it,... Read More
This is the cold, dreary, snowy time of year when all the geeky kids in genomics flock to a remote island off the Florida Gulf Coast. The boys, and they are mostly boys, will hear a lot of marketing hype about the whiz-bang new tools being developed for biology. They’ll hear a few nitty-gritty technical talks from scientists doing exciting... Read More
Questions and comments have been pouring in here at Timmerman Report headquarters ever since the site debuted on Feb. 2. The early days have been nothing short of spectacular in my view. I’ll have more to say about that shortly. But for now, there are some of answers to the questions that keep popping up: Q: What do you cover?
The guy who helped popularize the gene chip is at it again. Stephen Fodor, whose work on DNA microarrays in the 1990s enabled the large-scale analysis of gene expression–the extent to which genes are turned on or off in a sample—is imaging new ways to take samples and extract more information out of them. Last month, Fodor, 61, stepped down... Read More
Dendreon is in bankruptcy, but the people who once worked at the trailblazer of cancer immunotherapy keep finding gainful new opportunities. Former Dendreon CEO Mitch Gold has a new company up and running with a couple of ex-Amgen scientists. The startup, Alpine Immune Sciences, has secured $1.3 million from Gold’s Alpine Bioventures investment vehicle. News of the funding was disclosed... Read More
Christopher Boerner, the head of sales and marketing at the cancer drugmaker Seattle Genetics, has left for a big promotion to become president and U.S. head at Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Timmerman Report has learned.
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