Accidental court filing reveals Novartis' kickback settlement talks: report

After six years of legal wrangling and unflattering headlines, Novartis appears close to putting a doctor kickback lawsuit behind it—and the revelation came from a court filing that was supposed to be kept secret. The whistleblower suit against Novartis, joined by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2013, claimed the drugmaker used sham educational events as cover for kickbacks to doctors. In exchange for fancy dinners, fishing trips and other entertainment, Novartis was basically buying prescriptions for its cardiovascular meds Lotrel and Valturna and diabetes drug Starlix, the suit claims. The company reportedly has been negotiating a settlement worth up to $1 billion, which would rank it among the biggest-ever marketing settlements in pharma. Tuesday, a letter filed in the court’s docket and then quickly removed said the two sides had made “significant progress” toward a settlement, Bloomberg reported. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman intended for the letter to stay confidential as the talks are ongoing, but it was mistakenly posted publicly for a short time, the news service noted. The letter showed a settlement proposal has been submitted to the DOJ for expedited approval. Berman said the settlement will be “substantially complete” by June 18, and the parties have until Aug. 18 to finalize it.

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PHARMA TECH, PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

Lilly Launches End-to-End Digital Healthcare Experience through LillyDirect

PR Newswire | January 05, 2024

Eli Lilly and Company today announced LillyDirect, a new digital healthcare experience for patients in the U.S. living with obesity, migraine and diabetes. LillyDirect offers disease management resources, including access to independent healthcare providers*, tailored support, and direct home delivery of select Lilly medicines through third-party pharmacy dispensing services. "A complex U.S. healthcare system adds to the burdens patients face when managing a chronic disease. With LillyDirect, our goal is to relieve some of those burdens by simplifying the patient experience to help improve outcomes," said David A. Ricks, Lilly's chair and CEO. "LillyDirect offers more choices in how and where people access healthcare, including a convenient home delivery option to fill Lilly medicines they have been prescribed." For patients living with obesity, migraine and diabetes, LillyDirect offers: LillyDirect Pharmacy Solutions, a digital pharmacy for select Lilly medicines powered by third party online pharmacy fulfillment services. LillyDirect Pharmacy Solutions gives patients a simple option to get consistent access to Lilly medicines they have been prescribed with the added convenience of home delivery. By obtaining medicines directly from Lilly, patients can easily access Lilly's affordability solutions and savings card opportunities are automatically applied for patients who qualify. Medicines fulfilled by pharmacy service providers through LillyDirect Pharmacy Solutions ship free of charge. Disease state and healthcare educational information to help empower and support patients on their care journeys. Access to independent telehealth providers that could complement a patient's current primary care team or be an alternative to in-person care for certain conditions. An independent search tool that allows a patient to find healthcare professionals near them if they prefer in-person care. "We know that people have come to depend on the efficiency and convenience of digital solutions to meet a variety of their everyday needs – healthcare being one of them," said Frank Cunningham, group vice president, global value and access at Lilly. "We launched LillyDirect with the hope that it will offer patients an innovative end-to-end experience to manage their health and access their medicines, so they can get back to living their lives." LillyDirect will continue to be updated and expanded to improve the customer experience. Future updates may include new products, partners and services, such as programs designed to help patients with adherence to their medicines. About Lilly Lilly unites caring with discovery to create medicines that make life better for people around the world. We've been pioneering life-changing discoveries for nearly 150 years, and today our medicines help more than 51 million people across the globe. Harnessing the power of biotechnology, chemistry and genetic medicine, our scientists are urgently advancing new discoveries to solve some of the world's most significant health challenges, redefining diabetes care, treating obesity and curtailing its most devastating long-term effects, advancing the fight against Alzheimer's disease, providing solutions to some of the most debilitating immune system disorders, and transforming the most difficult-to-treat cancers into manageable diseases. With each step toward a healthier world, we're motivated by one thing: making life better for millions more people. That includes delivering innovative clinical trials that reflect the diversity of our world and working to ensure our medicines are accessible and affordable.

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PHARMA TECH

AION Labs Welcomes Amiti as Strategic Partner to Accelerate Israel's Position as a Leading Hub for Transformative AI-Powered Drug Discovery Innovation

PR Newswire | January 09, 2024

AION Labs, the first-of-its-kind venture studio spearheading the adoption of AI technologies and computational science to solve therapeutic challenges, announced today a new strategic partnership with Amiti Ventures, one of the leading early-stage venture capital firms in Israel. The partnership further strengthens the alliance of global leaders in pharma, biotech, and technology investment, expanding its offering as a venture studio and partner for new startups. "With a proven track record of identifying the best teams for the mission and investing early in the most innovative deep tech startups that shape the future, Amiti Ventures will bring important complementary capabilities and expert investor knowledge to the AION Labs partnership," said Mati Gill, CEO of AION Labs. "We thank Amiti for its vote of confidence in our model of innovation for groundbreaking AI and computational biotech ventures. We further appreciate Amiti's recognition that Israel's ecosystem is poised to lead the world in bringing AI and biotech together to solve our biggest drug discovery challenges." By joining forces with Amiti, AION Labs is enhancing its expertise and capabilities in the deep tech and computational technology domains, areas that are critical to the success of biotech innovation. Amiti's extensive experience and track record in these fields will bring invaluable investor knowledge and insights to AION Labs, enabling it to more effectively develop and support early-stage startups focused on AI and computational biology. Amiti's first investment in the venture studio will entail investment in DenovAI Biotech's Seed round of funding. Launched in 2022, DenovAI is developing an AI-powered biophysics solution for de novo antibody and protein design. AION Labs builds and invests in early-stage startup teams focused on AI and computational biology in drug discovery and development, offering them top-notch resources and mentorship while working closely with them to develop new technologies that meet the most significant challenges in the pharmaceutical industry. The partnership with Amiti Ventures will help AION Labs to advance healthcare towards patient-centric precision medicine and create a significant contribution to the health and well-being of humankind by helping to bring new treatments to market faster and more efficiently. "We believe that AION Labs is uniquely positioned to identify the biggest challenges to accelerate drug discovery and development and then evaluate the best computational bio approaches and entrepreneurs," said Ben Rabinowitz, Founder and Managing Partner of Amiti Ventures. "AION Labs' venture studio model bridges the gap between outstanding academic research, huge leaps forward in generative AI, and the biggest challenges and opportunities in the development of new medicines, and we look forward to working closely with our new partners to make this a reality. "We also have been amazed by the can-do spirit of the AION Labs team," added Rabinowitz. "It is that readiness to create, pull themselves up by the bootstraps and forge ahead with amazing innovation that makes AION and Israel's entire startup ecosystem so special." About AION Labs AION Labs is a first-of-its-kind alliance of Astrazeneca, Merck, Pfizer, Teva, the Israel Biotech Fund, Amiti Ventures, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), powered by BioMed X with the support of the Israeli Government via the Israel Innovation Authority, that have come together with one clear mission: to create and adopt groundbreaking new AI technologies that will transform the process of drug discovery and development in order to contribute to the health and well-being of all people world-wide. AION Labs is a unique venture hub where brilliant innovators and scientist-founders convene from around the world to solve the biggest R&D challenges guided by years of accumulated know-how, data and experience in pharma. The lab leverages its partners' wealth of knowledge and a new multidisciplinary mindset with the ingenuity, agility and innovative power of Israel's startup ecosystem, to develop strong companies with clear long-term strategies, that will pave the way to the future of healthcare. AION Labs cultivates innovation from within; its unique venture creation process bridges the gap between outstanding academic research in the field of AI and the biggest R&D needs in the discovery and development of new medicines for the benefit of patients.

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RESEARCH

ISOMORPHIC LABS ANNOUNCES STRATEGIC MULTI-TARGET RESEARCH COLLABORATION WITH LILLY

PR Newswire | January 08, 2024

Isomorphic Labs, a digital biology company with a mission to redefine drug discovery using the power of artificial intelligence, today announced that it has entered into a strategic research collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company. This marks Isomorphic Labs' first pharmaceutical partnership. Under the terms of the agreement, Isomorphic Labs will partner with Lilly to discover small molecule therapeutics against multiple targets and will receive an upfront cash payment of $45 million. Isomorphic Labs is eligible to receive up to $1.7 billion in performance-based milestone payments, excluding the upfront payment and any subsequent tiered royalties of up to low double digits on net sales. "We're thrilled to embark on this partnership and apply our proprietary technology platform, the next generation of AlphaFold, and access to massive computing power to Lilly's development programs," said Demis Hassabis, CEO and founder of Isomorphic Labs. "The focus we share on advancing groundbreaking drug design approaches and appreciation of state-of-the-art science makes this partnership particularly compelling." Isomorphic Labs operates autonomously within Alphabet, with its own dedicated resources and exclusive focus on the application of AI to drug discovery. The company is reimagining the entire drug discovery process from first principles with an AI-first approach, working to build powerful new predictive and generative models of biological phenomena to anticipate how drugs will perform and design novel molecules. Building on the success of AlphaFold and working in collaboration with Google DeepMind, Isomorphic Labs has made remarkable progress in developing the Next Generation of AlphaFold. This new iteration of AlphaFold expands beyond proteins to include small molecules and nucleic acids. Through deep integration of this next generation AlphaFold with other breakthrough AI models developed at Isomorphic Labs, the company is able to better understand the underlying biological mechanisms of drug targets, and rationally design novel therapeutics. ABOUT ISOMORPHIC LABS Isomorphic Labs is an autonomous subsidiary of Alphabet that was launched from Alphabet's DeepMind in 2021 to build on the success of AlphaFold, the company's groundbreaking work in protein folding. That work was heralded as the 'Breakthrough of the Year' by Science and 'Method of the Year' by Nature in 2021. Based in London and now with a second location in Lausanne, Switzerland, Isomorphic Labs was founded and is led by AI pioneer Demis Hassabis, who also co-founded and leads Google DeepMind. As pioneers in digital biology, the company's mission is to use AI to accelerate drug discovery and ultimately find cures for some of humanity's most devastating diseases. Using its AI-first approach to drug discovery and biology, the company's ambition is to advance a new era of medical breakthroughs.

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