Nov 20, 2019

11 biotech companies have filed for bankruptcy so far in 2019

Eleven biopharmaceutical companies have filed for bankruptcy so far in 2019, the most in a single year within the past decade, according to a new series from BioPharma Dive.

Why it matters: It’s rare for biotechs to go under because they have so much access to extra funding. But more firms have hit dead ends.

Between the lines: The reasons for the biotech bankruptcies run the gamut, but in general, all of the companies burn cash at a high rate. 

  • Purdue Pharma and Insys Therapeutics have been caught in opioid litigation, and more opioid companies could be following in bankruptcy court.
  • Other companies that shuttered ranged from companies that sold dubious drugs to those that went public before having any meaningful clinical data.
  • The fall of Achaogen, which developed one of the world's essential new medicines, speaks to the failures of the antibiotics market.

Why you'll hear about this again: "You're probably going to see more of these situations going forward, where a company is preclinical, went public and is left on their own and has to raise additional money from the public markets, and they flounder," the CEO of a bankrupt biotech firm told BioPharma Dive.

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House passes Pelosi-backed drug pricing bill

Photo: Drew Angerer/GettyImages

The House on Thursday passed a drug pricing bill backed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi that would allow the federal government to negotiate prices for specific drugs on behalf of Medicare and the private market.

Why it matters: Pelosi struck a last-minute deal with progressive Democrats who thought the bill didn't go far enough. Nonetheless, the bill has almost no chance in a Republican-controlled Senate.

Go deeper: Nancy Pelosi's drug pricing bill threatens small biotech companies

Keep ReadingArrowDec 12, 2019

Big Pharma keeps its status quo after USMCA deal

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Pharma didn't get what it wanted on trade, but it's still doing just fine.

The big picture: In this political climate, with this much scrutiny on drug prices, preserving the status quo is an enormous victory for this incredibly powerful industry. And though it failed to win a new victory on trade, the status quo is perfectly intact.

Go deeperArrowDec 11, 2019

New court documents show former Purdue Pharma chief's role in marketing OxyContin

Purdue Pharma headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

New court records reviewed by Stat show how Richard Sackler, a former executive at Purdue Pharma, guided the company's promotional strategy for the launch of its opioid pain medication OxyContin.

Why it matters: Sackler's family founded and controls Purdue Pharma. The company in 2007 pleaded guilty to a felony related to falsely promoting OxyContin as less addictive and not as likely to produce tolerance or symptoms of withdrawal than other pain medications, even though the drugs is twice as strong as morphine. More than 218,000 Americans have died from overdoses of all prescription opioids.

Go deeperArrowDec 3, 2019