PODCAST

The Top Line

Fierce Life Sciences

Biopharma and medtech explained. Every week, journalists from Fierce Biotech, Fierce Medtech, and Fierce Pharma recount the latest industry trends and why they matter. We'll analyze the week's biggest business news, from mergers and marketing to drug R&D and device development. Available every Friday morning.


Start Here
May 20, 2022
6d ago
27 mins
May 20, 2022
Anti-TIGIT drugs were once hailed as the future of immuno-oncology. But Roche's two recent clinical trial failures for tiragolumab are raising questions about whether Big Pharmas bet on the wrong horse. Also under discussion is the sector's impressive first-quarter revenue growth. Out of nearly two dozen biopharma companies, more than half generated double-digit growth, including eye-popping increases from mRNA stars Moderna and BioNTech. And Fierce journalists finally got together in person after more than two years. They share what it was like to be in a newsroom once again. To learn more about the topics in this episode: To TIGIT or not to TIGIT? Roche's latest trial flop casts shadow on Big Pharma's $6B bet Roche's TIGIT flop prompts GSK, iTeos to reevaluate next steps for rival drug Strike 2: Roche flunks another phase 3 lung cancer test to leave TIGIT space reeling Pfizer, Merck and AstraZeneca led Big Pharma's growth in Q1 but they couldn't match mRNA hotshots Labcorp's combo COVID, flu, RSV test nabs first green light for direct-to-consumer Pfizer holding on tight to supplies of COVID-19 drug Paxlovid, limiting the prospect of combination research: report GlaxoSmithKline is no more: Meet the scaled down 'GSK' Avanos Medical faces Class I recall for feeding tube system linked to 23 deaths since 2015 Lilly's highly anticipated diabetes drug Mounjaro wins FDA blessing The Top Line is produced by senior multimedia producer Teresa Carey, with editor-in-chief Tracy Staton, managing editor Querida Anderson, senior editors Annalee Armstrong, Ben Adams, Conor Hale and Eric Sagonowsky. The sound engineer is Caleb Hodgson. The stories are by all our “Fierce” journalists. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
6d ago
27 mins
May 13, 2022
Biotechs have seen their valuations take a plunge, triggering layoffs and pipeline cuts, but Big Pharma is not yet tempted to go on an M&A spree. CEOs of many of the world’s biggest pharma companies point out that biotech prices still have a way to drop before they become truly attractive buys. Also under discussion is Fierce's annual report on the highest paid biopharma R&D executives. This year, the list doesn’t look anything like it has in the past except for the fact that it continues to be comprised of white men. And the quarterly earnings calls are the buzz around the newsroom this week—but not in the way you might think. To learn more about the topics in this episode: Big pharma resisting temptation for biotech M&A spree until prices drop further The top 10 highest paid biopharma R&D executives in 2021 Novavax executives' pay comes back down to Earth after 8-figure package in 2020 Starting gun? $11.6B M&A domino falls as Pfizer scoops up Biohaven for phase 3 migraine nasal spray Novartis halts US production of cancer radiotherapies, citing potential quality issues Eisai wraps filing for Biogen-partnered Aduhelm follow-up, hoping to regain 'credibility and trust' Illumina steps deeper into drug discovery with Deerfield, Janssen partnerships Seagen CEO Clay Siegall put on leave after domestic violence arrest Moderna's new CFO out the door after former employer discloses accounting probe Inovio CEO departs, leaving Jacqueline Shea in charge of 'particularly challenging period' in the DNA vaccine biotech's history Insulet to swap CEOs amid Omnipod 5 insulin pump rollout 'Who wants to make money?' Court documents outline wild fraud scheme targeting The Top Line is produced by senior multimedia producer Teresa Carey with Editor-in-Chief Tracy Staton, Managing Editor Querida Anderson, senior editors Annalee Armstrong, Ben Adams, Conor Hale and Eric Sagonowsky. The sound engineer is Caleb Hodgson. The stories are by all our “Fierce” journalists. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 13 2022
35 mins
May 6, 2022
Biogen has been battling for a while now over Aduhelm's controversial FDA approval and subsequent narrow Medicare coverage decision. And those struggles have resulted in a significant company reorganization, including the CEO, Michel Vounatsos. After a five-year term, he is stepping down, and a hunt for his replacement is already underway. Also under discussion is the Fierce newsroom's assessment of the most influential people in biopharma—from CEOs to entrepreneurs, scientists and regulatory experts. And the Fierce Madness drug naming championship is the buzz around the newsroom this week, with names that sound like they're straight out of a Harry Potter spell. To learn more about the topics in this episode: Biogen sends CEO to the exit, abandons Aduhelm sales team in $1B overhaul Next Biogen CEO's most-prized expertise? Dealmaking experience, investors say Biogen shoves Aduhelm to the side. It's time for lecanemab Most influential people in biopharma—the CEOs AbbVie's cystic fibrosis long-game doesn't pay off, as Galapagos med fails in triple combo As superstar Revlimid fades faster than expected, BMS trims $600M from its 2022 sales projection Abbott's COVID test sales reach all-time high—and maybe for the last time, the company says As COVID testing cools, Thermo Fisher's biopharma services, clinical research revenues heat up Hologic's M&A deals aim to pick up the torch from COVID testing sales Siemens nearly doubles diagnostics forecast for the year amid renewed COVID testing surge BD tightens up revenue guidance after completing Embecta diabetes spinoff Bancel has 'never been as busy' amid M&A talks as Moderna preps for life after COVID Unwelcome surprise for Vertex as FDA slaps hold on phase 1/2 diabetes cell therapy study FDA plays tooth fairy, awards clearance to VideaHealth's cavity-spotting AI Wherefore Tavneos? ChemoCentryx and the Brand Institute explain how the #FierceMadness winner got its name ChemoCentryx’ Tavneos trounces BioMarin's Voxzogo to win #FierceMadness drug name tournament championship The Top Line is produced by senior multimedia producer Teresa Carey, with editor-in-chief Tracy Staton, managing editor Querida Anderson, senior editors Annalee Armstrong, Ben Adams, Conor Hale and Eric Sagonowsky. The sound engineer is Caleb Hodgson. The stories are by all our “Fierce” journalists. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 6 2022
30 mins
April 29, 2022
Last year, as the public made Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna household names, pharmaceutical companies took their cue. They poured more cash into unbranded campaigns compared to past years. Also under discussion this week is an intriguing executive move at Novartis. CEO Vas Narasimhan created a new position to oversee the company’s corporate strategy—then hired a high-profile Wall Street analyst to take the lead. And a journalist from Fierce Life Sciences heads to the Azbee Awards. To learn more about the topics in this episode: The top advertisers in Big Pharma Novartis hires seasoned Wall Street analyst Ronny Gal as new M&A czar Pfizer signals big M&A plans with new CFO Denton, the money manager behind the CVS-Aetna merger Pfizer's blood pressure med recall creeps into US as testing flags carcinogen threat Ardelyx's Hail Mary caught, as FDA agrees on appeal to convene advisory committee for tenapanor Merck's C-suite shakeup logs another loss as marketing exec Garay leaves for Moderna Nektar guts workforce, weeks after $3.6B Bristol Myers immuno-oncology collaboration ends Abbott launches diabetes team-up with Ypsomed, CamDiab to bring artificial pancreas system to Europe SURMOUNT-able: Lilly's tirzepatide clears high bar set by Novo's Wegovy in obesity The Top Line is produced by senior multimedia producer Teresa Carey, with editor-in-chief Tracy Staton, managing editor Querida Anderson, senior editors Annalee Armstrong, Ben Adams, Conor Hale and Eric Sagonowsky. The sound engineer is Caleb Hodgson. The stories are by all our “Fierce” journalists.   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 3 2022
24 mins