Nasdaq’s CEO on biopharma, diversity, and GameStop

February 17, 2021
It’s Day 2 of the BIO CEO & Investor Digital Conference. We catch you up on yesterday’s conversation with Nasdaq President and CEO Adena T. Friedman, plus preview a new report on what’s driving clinical success rates. Read to the end for news, including a California…
BIO

It’s Day 2 of the BIO CEO & Investor Digital Conference. We catch you up on yesterday’s conversation with Nasdaq President and CEO Adena T. Friedman, plus preview a new report on what’s driving clinical success rates. Read to the end for news, including a California bill that would incentivize biotech investment. (889 words, 4 minutes, 26 seconds)

 

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What we’re watching today: We started the day with a new report on clinical trial success ratesmore on that below. After a session on CRISPR (10 AM ET/7 AM PT), we’ll hear investors’ reactions to reference pricing scenarios (10:30 AM ET/7:30 AM PT) and the outlook for biopharma’s goals in Washington D.C. (2 PM ET/11 AM PT). We’ll close the day with a look at turning RNA research into medicine (3 PM ET/12 PM PT) and the market outlook (4 PM ET/1 PM PT).

 
 
 
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Nasdaq’s CEO on biopharma, diversity, and GameStop

 
 

On Day 1 of the BIO CEO & Investor Digital Conference, BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath interviewed Adena T. Friedman, President and CEO of Nasdaq. They covered everything from board diversity to what you should take away from the GameStop saga. 

Why are we talking about Nasdaq? Last year, Nasdaq filed a proposal with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to adopt new listing rules that would require all companies listed on Nasdaq’s U.S. exchange to publicly disclose board diversity statistics. (Read our coverage.) 

Research shows one diverse board member improves decision-making—you can see the correlation to better performance and better risk management, explained Friedman.

How does Nasdaq view biopharma? There is “a lot of investor appetite” for research in biopharma, she said. There’s a lot of momentum around non-U.S. biotech companies, but the really successful ones tap the U.S. markets—where there's a huge ecosystem of investors that know biotech and can assess market opportunity. 

What should biotech CEOs take away from the GameStop saga? “Just stay focused on the business,” said Friedman. The stock will “find its way toward the fundamental value you're providing to the industry, the fundamental value that you're creating with all of your innovation.” 

To learn why Nasdaq’s Friedman is feeling optimistic, read the whole live blog post.

 
 

A few more things we learned yesterday…

 
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How long does it take to get a new drug approved?

 
 

COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics have been developed with unprecedented speed—but this is not the norm, says a forthcoming report, Clinical Development Success Rates and Contributing Factors, 2011-2020. This morning, BIO’s VP of Industry Research David Thomas and report co-authors unveiled the report and explained what you need to know about clinical trial success in 2021. 

On average, it takes 10.5 years for a phase 1 program to progress to regulatory approval. 

From 2011-2020, a drug in a phase 1 clinical trial had a 7.9% likelihood of approval (LOA)—a decrease from 9.6% in the 2016 report based on data from 2006-2015.

What’s behind the decrease? Greater participation from smaller firms participating in drug candidate development and their willingness to disclose early failures, explained Thomas.

But some disease areas have higher LOAs—like hematology (23.9%), rare disease therapies (17%), and immuno-oncology (12.4%). (Interestingly, immuno-oncology drugs, such as PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitors, were not included in the 2016 report as they were just emerging.)

Ultimately, drug development remains difficult—with far less than 1 in 10 clinical drug programs ever reaching patients. This is why success requires “many shots on goal,” concluded Thomas. 

To learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on trials, the role of biomarkers, and why we’re still optimistic about drug R&D, read our preview

Published by BIO, QLS Advisors, and Informa Pharma Intelligence, the report will be available to the public on February 19. Click here to be notified when it’s available.

 

More News: 

CA State Assembly: What others are saying about the Golden State Innovation Act
Assembly Bill 593 would restore the R&D tax credit and net operating loss (NOL) deductions for life sciences companies in California. “Biopharmaceutical companies are leading the charge in the fight against the coronavirus. These innovators are making life saving discoveries through research and development, including for treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 and future pandemics. California’s research and development tax credit helps incentivize biotechnology companies to invest in these activities and generate increased employment opportunities in science and engineering,” said Patrick J. Plues, BIO’s VP of State Government Affairs. 

The New York Times: Piecing together the next pandemic
“Dr. [Jessica] Manning plans to work with Cambodia’s center of communicable diseases, using metagenomics to start monitoring the animals in two local wet markets, where pathogens could make the jump to humans.”

 
 
 
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BIO Celebrates Black History Month
Ernest Everett Just.jpg

Dr. Ernest Everett Just was a gifted scientist who made groundbreaking discoveries about cells and fertilization—and escaped Nazi-occupied France.

Born in 1883 in Charleston, SC, Dr. Just graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth with a degree in zoology and magna cum laude from the University of Chicago with a doctorate in experimental embryology. In 1912, he was appointed head of the Department of Zoology at Howard University.

An “intense perfectionist when it came to laboratory procedure,” Dr. Just’s research focused on the marine mammal cell. One of his key discoveries was that the cell surface plays a fundamental role in fertilization and the development of organisms.

In 1940, Dr. Just was conducting research in France when the German Nazis invaded. He was imprisoned, but luckily set free within a few months. He returned to the United States and Howard, where he died from pancreatic cancer one year later. 

Dr. Just’s colleague Dr. Charles Drew (who we’ve also profiled) called him “a biologist of unusual skill and the greatest of our original thinkers in the field.”

 
BIO Beltway Report
BIO Beltway Report
 
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President Biden’s Wednesday: Lunch with the vice president then meeting with labor leaders to discuss COVID-19 relief and infrastructure. The COVID-19 Response Team will hold a press briefing at 11 AM ET.

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The Senate HELP Committee announced they will hold a hearing on Health and Human Services (HHS) nominee Xavier Becerra on Tuesday, February 23.

 
 
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