As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, biopharma companies are being forced to respond to multiple challenges that could derail their existing business plans. Already companies are reporting that, in therapeutic indications not involving COVID-19, their ongoing and planned clinical trials are being interrupted or delayed by the pressures now being imposed on global health care systems.
Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Inc. kept adding major partners to its CV Monday as it and Novo Nordisk A/S struck a deal to discover and develop therapies to treat liver-related cardiometabolic diseases, including chronic liver disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), type 2 diabetes, obesity and rare diseases.
RNAi specialist Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s chief operating officer, James Weissman, told BioWorld that scientists inside and outside of the company have come to believe in what's called "the X hypothesis" in hepatitis B virus (HBV). "My view, though, as a person who has been in the pharmaceutical industry for decades, is who cares, anyway?" he said as long as the drug works. He pointed out that, with the cholesterol therapy Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) from New York-based Pfizer Inc., where he served in business development and marketing, "everybody had a different theory for why it lowered the incidence of heart disease. Nobody knew with certainty."