Bio Roundup: ASCO Wrap, Bluebird’s EU Tap, CRISPR Baby Risk & More

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Inhibrix, a La Jolla, CA-based cancer drug developer, each set preliminary $75 million targets for their IPOs.

—EpimAb Biotherapeutics of Shanghai, China, closed a $74 million Series B round to advance its pipeline of experimental cancer drugs.

—Lung Therapeutics raised $36M in Series C funding. The Austin, TX, biotech is preparing to start clinical trials with its idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis drug and advance its therapy for loculated pleural effusions, a pneumonia complication, to Phase 2 testing.

Data & Decisions

—The FDA expanded the approval of Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) migraine drug galcanezumab (Emgality) to include episodic cluster headache.

—More expansion: The FDA said ceftolozane and tazobactam (Zerbaxa), a Merck (NYSE: MRK) combination antibiotic initially approved for abdominal and urinary tract infections, could also treat pneumonia acquired in a hospital or from a ventilator.

—Takeda Pharmaceutical (NYSE: TAK) halted a Phase 3 trial in light-chain amyloidosis after its drug failed to achieve one of the study’s two goals. The drug, ixazomib (Ninlaro), is already approved to treat multiple myeloma.

—The Washington Post raised eyebrows with a report that Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) quashed a pursuit of blockbuster autoimmune drug etanercept (Enbrel) as an Alzheimer’s treatment. Chemist and commentator Derek Lowe posted a critical take on the Post story.

—The clock has started on the FDA’s review of ozanimod, one of the five drugs in the Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG) pipeline that Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) has touted to justify its $74 billion acquisition of the New Jersey biotech. The deadline for an approval decision is next March 25.

People on the Move

The Bristol-Myers Squibb-Celgene megadeal is leading to management shakeup. Bristol CEO Giovanni Caforio will remain at the top but chief scientific officer Tom Lynch is leaving. The company has hired Samit Hirawat away from Novartis (NYSE: NVS) to become chief medical officer.

Patricia Hurter is leaving Vertex Pharmacecuticals (NASDAQ: VRTX) to become CEO of Lyndra Therapeutics… Pfizer has hired Jeff Settleman away from Calico to run its cancer R&D in San Diego… Immunovant hired Eli Lilly’s Pete Salzmann as CEO… and LabCorp (NYSE: LH) CEO David King is retiring.

Frank Vinluan contributed to this report.

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