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What’s Congress going to do with WuXi?

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Hello, everyone. Damian here with a look at key Supreme Court decision, the latest biotech IPO, and intrigue over Chinese outsourcing.

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Is pharma caught in a trade war?

Who gets to sue the FDA? And what does “AF” stand for?

We cover all that and more this week on “The Readout LOUD,” STAT’s biotech podcast. Our colleague Sarah Owermohle joins us to explain the Supreme Court case that could have dramatic effects on access to medication abortion — and the development of new medicines. We also discuss the latest news in the life sciences, including a contrarian take on a new obesity treatment and how we managed to make 300 episodes of this podcast.

Listen here.

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Good news and bad news for biotech IPOs

Boundless Bio, a cancer-focused firm, raised $100 million in one of 2024’s few biotech IPOs yesterday. And then its share price fell about 9% on a day biotech stocks were flat.

Despite the immediate decline, Boundless now has the cash to push forward with a pipeline of treatments aimed at the rings of DNA found in tumors but absent from healthy cells. Roughly 15% of cancers have that so-called extrachromosomal DNA, and Boundless is developing treatments to block the biological process that produces it. The company’s lead drug is in Phase 1, with data expected in the second half of this year.

As for biotech at large, Boundless becomes just the ninth company to successfully go public in 2024. That’s a mere fraction of the more than 70 IPOs recorded during the sector’s 2021 boom, but it puts the industry on pace to double 2023’s numbers, suggesting biotech might finally be heading for some equanimity.

What’s Congress going to do with WuXi?

For weeks, members of Congress have debated legislation that would effectively ban a handful of Chinese life sciences companies from doing business in the U.S., driven by concerns that they might misuse genomic data. Curiously listed among them was WuXi AppTec, a firm that conducts outsourced research and manufacturing for drug companies and seemed far removed from the spirit of the legislation.

But the story turns out to be more complicated. Reuters reported yesterday that U.S. intelligence officials believe WuXi passed an American client’s intellectual property on to Chinese authorities without permission, citing two people familiar with the matter. WuXi said it complies with U.S. laws and has no knowledge of such an incident. No one else involved is commenting.

WuXi, which gets about 65% of its revenue from U.S. clients, has “been actively working … to set the record straight and advocate for changes to the proposed legislation,” the company said earlier this month.

More reads

  • A contrarian view on Viking Therapeutics, biotech’s hottest obesity stock, STAT
  • Bernie Sanders wants to meet Novo CEO next week on Ozempic price, Bloomberg
  • U.K. becomes the first country to release detailed data on sponsors that fail to register clinical trials, STAT
  • Blackstone cures two ailments in one Moderna shot, Reuters