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Bio Roundup: Zolgensma Fallout, Duchenne Redux, Ebola Boost & More

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reported success in a Phase 3 study of ripetinib, a drug for gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Deciphera will file for FDA approval next year.

— Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SRPT) of Cambridge, MA, has yet to begin a study meant to confirm the benefits of Exondys 51, a Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug the FDA controversially approved in 2016 on a slim data set. Stat reports that Sarepta submitted plans for the trial in June, but the study wouldn’t wrap up until 2024, three years later than the FDA had required.

—The Merck (NYSE: MRK) and AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) PARP inhibitor olaparib (Lynparza) passed another Phase 3 trial, this time when added to standard-of-care bevacizumab (Avastin) as a maintenance treatment for ovarian cancer patients following chemotherapy.

—Researchers at the UK’s Wellcome Sanger Institute described how the bacterium C. difficile, which can infect the gut and cause deadly diarrhea, has evolved into two species, one of which is highly adapted to spread in hospital settings, thriving on humans’ sugar-rich diets and is also resistant to clean-up.

DOLLARS & DEALS

—In the months leading up to the June AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) announcement of its $63 billion deal to acquire Allergan (NYSE: AGN), no other companies offered a competing bid, according to Allergan securities filings. Meanwhile, filings also show Allergan CEO Brent Saunders is in line for a $14.9 million payment when the deal closes.

—Blacksburg, VA-based Landos Biopharma, a portfolio company of biotech startup accelerator Xontogeny, closed $60 million in Series B financing to advance its lead drug into Phase 2 for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

—Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ: RARE) of Novato, CA, paid $20 million up front for the option to acquire GeneTx Biotherapeutics of Downers Grove, IL, and its preclinical treatment for Angelman syndrome, a rare neurological disorder.

EVENTS

—On Aug. 27, Xconomy will host an evening of discussions about the progress of healthcare in the genomics era at our “Turning Genomics into Better Health” forum in South San Francisco. Speakers include insitro CEO Daphne Koller, UCSF chief genomics officer Aleks Rajkovic, Sangamo Therapeutics CEO Sandy Macrae, and more. Check out the agenda and full speaker list here.

—Xconomy announced two new events in New York and Boston in October: The New York Breed of Startups, on Oct. 15, and Boston’s Life Science Disruptors on Oct. 17.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

—Jack Bailey, president of US pharmaceuticals for GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK), will step down at the end of the year, succeeded by EMD Serono executive Maya Martinez-Davis … Christopher Barys left Philips Healthcare to become CEO of On Target Laboratories… former Acceleron Pharma (NASDAQ: XLRN) executive Robert Zeldin joined Immunovant as chief medical officer… and Francis Perier was named chief financial officer of SpringWorks Therapeutics.

Image courtesy of Joe Flintham via Creative Commons.

Ben Fidler and Frank Vinluan contributed to this report.

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