JPM bulletin, round 3: AbbVie, Bioverativ, CureVac, gender manifesto and more

San Francisco
The J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference is winding down in San Francisco.

The J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference is starting to wind down in San Francisco, but that doesn't mean the news has diminished. As exclamations about President-elect Donald Trump's shocker pharma attack reverberated through the halls, the meeting brought a price-increase limit from AbbVie, a "no, we won't" from Mylan and an open letter from biopharma industry leaders promising to bring women into their top management ranks. You'll recall that last year's meeting ended with a sexism scandal and a very different open letter. Progress, people.

AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez joined the 10% price-hike pledge on Wednesday, following Allergan and Novo Nordisk, as the drug pricing debate sent biopharma shares reeling once again. But other CEOs speaking at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference criticized that trendy 10% limit as a poor answer to the industry's pricing woes. Story

Deal talk is hard to ignore at JPM—especially for a pair of the world’s biggest hemophilia drugmakers. Execs at Bioverativ, Biogen’s soon-to-be-spun-off hemophilia biz, are all too familiar with rival Shire's $32B deal for Baxalta, a newly spun-off pharma centered on hemophilia. Bioverativ's not interested in a sale, the execs say. And Shire CEO Flemming Ornskov says his company "doesn't need to" buy anything. Article

Allergan CEO Brent Saunders is tired of hearing from investors that chin-fat buster Kybella’s launch isn’t going as well as, say, that of IBS-D med Viberzi or schizophrenia treatment Vraylar. “Kybella is not a pharmaceutical launch,” he stressed during a JPM presentation. “It’s a medical aesthetic launch. It’s a new market, and we know from looking at historical data of launching Botox and launching fillers that Year 2 is pivotal.” Story

More than 100 biopharma leaders have signed an open letter advocating for the adoption of 10 best practices to increase gender diversity in the industry. Publication of the list, which was signed by people from Big Pharma, biotech and venture capital, comes one year after the hiring of models to attend a party at the J.P. Morgan conference sparked protests and soul searching in the industry. Story

CureVac had some disappointing news to report to investors at the J.P. Morgan conference this week after its lead drug failed a phase 2b trial in prostate cancer. The German specialist in mRNA-based drugs said CV9014 was unable to meet its primary objective of improving survival in the trial, which involved patients with asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). Story

Ionis, fresh from its approval of Spinraza with Biogen, says it is seeking to get its heart drug volanesorsen in front of the FDA as soon as possible, as it also looks to work on a new alternative med with Biogen after dropping development of IONIS-DMPK-2.5-R. Story