Typically, Day 3 of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference is when some folks start packing up for home. Others check off their final meetings. And tomorrow’s San Francisco weather forecast isn’t quite as important. The Westin might even be a bit less crowded.
With this year’s virtual meeting, the weather was obviously irrelevant, and no one needed to scramble for an Uber in the rain. And the program marches on, with presentations Fierce Pharma will be following into the evening—and interviews stacked to the end of the week.
Here’s where we’ve been in the last 18 hours or so: Tuesday, GlaxoSmithKline voiced confidence in its own mRNA vaccine prospects as George Scangos, chief of GSK’s antibody partner, Vir Biotechnology, talked COVID therapeutics and hepatitis B siRNA.
Meanwhile, AbbVie’s Richard Gonzalez sketched out a return to revenue growth in 2024, as executives across the industry suggested digital shifts from the pandemic are here to stay. Catch up with all you might have missed Tuesday with Fierce Pharma’s Day 2 updates here.
Now, as Day 3 hits East Coast lunchtime, we’re chronicling AstraZeneca’s updates on its lupus, anemia and asthma pipelines, Sanofi’s digital ambitions under a new CDO, and Teva’s post-restructuring update.
Hungry for more? We’ll be following the latest news from Day 3 of #JPM2021 as it happens here. Catch Fierce Biotech’s coverage here.
UPDATED: Wednesday, Jan. 12 at 12:15 p.m. ET
Wednesday was Kåre Schultz’s third time presenting at JPM as the CEO of Teva, but it was the first time he got to use words like “stable” and “growth.” After a major restructuring full of layoffs and facility closings, “we now have a basic footprint which is aligned to our business,” he said. Generics have also stopped bottoming out, as has multiple sclerosis med Copaxone, and the company has taken its debt down from $34 billion to $24 billion, a trend it plans to continue. “We are, I would say, in a growth and optimization phase right now, which is a nice change,” Schultz said. Next up? Teva is looking to specialty products, including Austedo and Ajovy, as well as biosimilars, to swell its top line.
Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson came to the job with big digital ambitions, and during the company’s JPM presentation Tuesday, new chief digital officer Arnaud Robert laid out his plan to make them happen. The digital challenges in the pharma industry are “quite real,” he said, but the opportunities at Sanofi are “greater than any company I’ve worked at.” Robert joined Sanofi last year from Viking Cruises, and he’s also worked at Disney and Nike. Story
It’s still too early to say when AstraZeneca might turn a profit on its COVID-19 vaccine, Ruud Dobber, EVP and biopharma president, said in a Fierce JPM Week interview. The company is building a capacity of 3 billion doses for countries around the world, and it won’t be until after AZ delivers on its government supply deals that it might “feel open” to selling the vaccine commercially. Thankfully, the company has plenty of other revenue sources on tap, with more on the way in 2021. Dobber singled out lupus candidate anifrolumab, severe asthma prospect tezepelumab and anemia treatment roxadustat as its biggest products likely to hit the scene this year. Plus, AZ’s recent $39 billion buyout of rare disease specialist Alexion will bring blockbuster Soliris and follow-up Ultomiris under AZ’s roof if it gets the go-ahead from regulators. Story
Aside from a major business restructuring, Bayer’s attention these days is also focused on settling tens of thousands of Roundup lawsuits. But that process recently hit a roadblock as a judge raised questions about the part of the settlement that governs future plaintiffs. Right now, Bayer’s still “working on the plan B to handle the future cases,” Jurgen Beunink with Bayer investor relations said. It’s also roping in further settlements from existing cases and fighting to appeal those that it previously lost in court.