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David Epstein emerges at newly named Flagship Pioneering
Flagship Pioneering today announced the appointment of industry veteran David Epstein to serve in the newly created role of Executive Partner. Epstein will join as a strategic resource to the firm that systematically conceives, creates, resources and grows first-in-category ventures to transform human health and sustainability. The appointment follows Flagship’s recent additions of industry leaders Dr. Michael Rosenblatt (formerly of Merck) as Chief Medical Officer and Jim Gilbert (formerly of Boston Scientific and Bain) as Senior Partner, and supports the firm’s goal of driving accelerated value growth within its portfolio companies.
“David is a leader and long-time pioneer within the pharma industry, having developed dozens of new medicines benefiting millions of patients around the world,” said Noubar Afeyan, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Flagship. “His progressive approach to science and business acumen gleaned over his tenured career in the pharmaceutical industry complements Flagship’s culture and team. We will apply his expertise broadly as we continue making and realizing the maximum potential of disruptive innovations that yield unprecedented therapies.”
Mr. Epstein’s first significant involvement within the Flagship portfolio will be as Chairman of the Board of Rubius Therapeutics, a venture founded and launched by the Flagship VentureLabs® innovation foundry to exploit the potential medical impact of endowing red blood cells with therapeutic properties. The company’s disruptive platform provides off-the-shelf, enucleated cell-based therapies that promise to treat a wide array of ailments including cancer and autoimmune, metabolic, and hematologic diseases.
“Flagship Pioneering is breaking boundaries and exploring new frontiers that, I believe, could dramatically improve the quality of human life,” said Epstein. “Joining Flagship’s disruptive innovation engine is an opportunity of a lifetime, and I welcome the opportunity to bring my passion for medicine, deep knowledge and ties to industry, and commitment to solving some of the world’s greatest health challenges to bear. In particular, I am tremendously excited by the promise of Rubius’ Red-Cell Therapeutics™ platform, as it portends the broad impact of off-the-shelf, precision cell therapies.”
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Cortendo joins a rare disease crowd in Ireland
Shire goes hostile on Baxter spin-out Baxalta
Fresh from announcing that the company will acquire Foresight BioTherapeutics for $300m (here), Shire stepped up its ambitions to acquire the recently spun-out Baxalta, which went public earlier this summer (here). Shire originally approached the Baxalta Board of Directors earlier in July about the coming together of the the two companies, since when the Baxalta Board have been ignoring Shire’s advances, which has promoted Shire to go public with its $30.6bn all-stock offer. This hostile move is aimed at drawing out Baxalta shareholders in an attempt to push the Board to enter negotiations. Shire held an investor call today where it laid out its rationale for the deal and articulated how it would allow the company to reach a $20bn revenue company by 2020 and become the undisputed rare disease leader (here).
Biotech M&A Continues to Climb the Curve
The trajectory of biotech M&A has been steep in 2015, so the $7.2bn acquisition of Receptos by oncology powerhouse Celgene, increases the gradient even further. This deal came out of left field, especially as commentators were still raking over the sizable partnering deal Celgene has just cemented with Juno Therapeutics in immuno-oncology.
M&A Continues to Dominate the Rare Diseases Landscape
Alexion took everyone by surprise in recent weeks by announcing a very sizable acquisition of Boston-based Synageva for $8.4bn. This was a significant deal which will only serve to strengthen valuations of rare disease biotechnology companies, which continue to be in the M&A cross-hairs of both pharmaceutical and big-biotech companies.
Roche announces acquisition of InterMune
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Authored by Karl Simpson