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August 24th, 2023 | 07:00 CEST

Defence Therapeutics, Bayer, Palantir - Milestones, Power Shifts and Mishmash

  • Biotechnology
  • Software
  • Technology
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The radiopharmaceuticals market is expected to grow to USD 13.818 billion by 2028. In collaboration with Orano Group, Defence Therapeutics has developed innovative radioactive cancer therapies that destroy cancer at the cellular level, thereby increasing efficacy and minimizing side effects. According to Defence Therapeutics CEO Sebastien Plouffe, this partnership will lead to top-tier therapies in a growing market. Meanwhile, heads are rolling at Bayer, as CEO Bill Anderson has big plans and is replacing key positions with promising candidates. Employees of the British NHS have probably spoken a bit too much. The US company Palantir has been awarded five NHS contracts without competitive bidding and is currently the favorite for a multi-million dollar contract in the healthcare sector. Find out what this means for investors here.

time to read: 5 minutes | Author: Juliane Zielonka

Table of contents:

    David Elsley, CEO, Cardiol Therapeutics Inc.
    "[...] As a company dedicated to developing treatments for rare heart diseases, we see this as an opportune moment to contribute to the fight against heart disease and make meaningful strides in improving heart health worldwide. [...]" David Elsley, CEO, Cardiol Therapeutics Inc.

    Full interview


    Defence Therapeutics reaches milestone in intracellular cancer therapy

    Precision medicine is an innovative approach that takes into account individual differences in patients' genes, circumstances and lifestyles. Precision medicine has evolved in recent years from a combination of scientific discovery, medical advances and technological innovation, with biotechnology companies leading the way.

    One such company is Defence Therapeutics. Based in Vancouver, Canada, this innovative biotech company develops specialty therapies for cancer that enable physicians to select the best treatments for their patients. Cancer has many faces. At its core, it degenerates cells in a person's body that grow into tumors, weakening vital function until death.

    The gold standard of chemotherapy is extremely burdensome for many patients, making Defence Therapeutics' work to target and destroy cancer cells all the more valuable. Other cells or organs remain unaffected.

    Together with the French Orano Group, Defence Therapeutics has now achieved a medical milestone in the field of targeted radioactive cancer therapy. This therapy introduces tiny, controlled amounts of radioactive substances into the body. These substances emit radiation that specifically targets cancer cells. The radiation helps damage or kill the cancer cells while sparing healthy cells as much as possible.

    The combination of Defence's intracellular targeting technology with antibodies against cancer cells leads to these more precise therapies that enable millions of people to live better. That is because this method increases efficacy and minimizes side effects. Defence Therapeutics CEO Sebastien Plouffe is confident that this collaboration with Orano will lead to first-in-class radiotherapeutics.

    According to The Insight Partners, the radiopharmaceuticals market is expected to grow from USD 7.55 billion in 2021 to approximately USD 13.818 billion by 2028. That is an average annual growth rate of 9%. The global cancer immunotherapies market is expected to reach USD 196.45 billion by 2030, with an average annual growth rate of 7.2%, as forecast in a report by Grand View Research, Inc

    Bayer appoints Dr. Jürgen Eckhardt as new Head of BD & Licensing, Prinz moves to the Board of Management

    Bayer today announced the appointment of Dr. Jürgen Eckhardt MD, MBA, as the new Head of Business Development & Licensing/Open Innovation (BDL/OI) in its Pharmaceuticals Division, effective September 1, 2023. In this role, he will report to the Pharmaceuticals Executive Committee and work under the leadership of Stefan Oelrich, Member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and President of the Company's Pharmaceuticals Division. At the same time, Dr. Eckhardt will continue to lead Leaps by Bayer, the Company's impact investment arm, and in this role, will continue to report to Bill Anderson, Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer AG.

    Jürgen Eckhardt, an experienced health and technology expert, joined Bayer in 2016 to support the launch of the Leaps by Bayer technology initiative for the health and agriculture divisions. Under his leadership, Leaps by Bayer has invested more than USD 1.7 billion in over 55 companies. Many of these companies were acquired by Bayer to strengthen its technology portfolio and development pipeline.

    A day earlier, Bayer's Supervisory Board appointed Heike Prinz as Chief Talent Officer and Labor Director on the Company's Board of Management. Previously, Sarena Lin and the Supervisory Board had mutually agreed that her contract would not be extended. Lin has been a member of the Bayer Board of Management since February 1, 2021, and will leave the Company on August 31, 2023.

    Heike Prinz (58) has been with Bayer for around 37 years. She is currently Commercial Director of the Pharmaceuticals Division for Europe/Middle East/Africa and a member of the Division's Executive Committee. She began her career in November 1986 at the pharmaceutical company Schering, which was acquired by Bayer in 2006. Since then, Prinz has built up a great deal of expertise, with increasing responsibility in key areas such as sales, marketing, executive management and administration. It seems CEO Bill Anderson has more going on in terms of restructuring than his predecessor. The Bayer share is currently trading at EUR 50.27.

    US data analysis company Palantir in the mire of lobbying

    B2B deals do not always run cleanly on the capital market. The latest example is the case of US data analytics company Palantir and the NHS, the UK's national health system. Leaked emails from 2020 suggest that Palantir was chosen to win a £23.5 million NHS contract long before it was officially signed.

    As early as October 5, 2020, an NHS official sent a message to Ming Tang, chief data and analytics officer for the health service. The email discussed financial aspects of a data platform project and named Palantir as a potential recipient of £26 million, which was higher than previously requested. Subsequent emails revealed a discussion of budgeting. It remains unclear who was the person involved. After several weeks, Ming Tang met with Dame Fiona Caldicott, who was investigating the NHS's connection with Palantir. Tang's November document emphasized ongoing collaboration with Palantir for response modules and an open procurement process for a long-term solution.

    Palantir has been awarded five consecutive NHS contracts without a competitive bidding process and is considered a strong candidate for the £480 million Federated Data Platform contract.

    The Company is also expanding its involvement in other areas of government, such as defence, and last year won a £75 million contract with the Department of Defence.

    Recently, it was revealed that the Company has been in direct contact with Tom Pursglove, the UK Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, encouraging him to use its technology to combat benefits fraud.

    It leaves a sour taste in the mouth to see how far a US data analytics company can influence foreign governments without domestic politics being able to influence it.

    Defence Therapeutics is showing promising advances in cancer therapy with its innovative intracellular targeting technology and collaboration with Orano Group. The promising collaboration between the French and Canadian companies may lead to a new era of precision medicine, enabling tailored therapies for cancer patients. And internationally, too. Bayer AG is filling top positions with executives with many years of corporate experience, such as Dr. Jürgen Eckhardt and Heike Prinz. Interestingly, an American is emphasizing German culture in both leadership roles. Palantir's involvement in opaque lobbying raises questions about integrity. The accumulation of NHS contracts without competitive processes and the expansion of involvement across various governmental sectors should make investors attentive to how much influence a foreign company can have on the UK healthcare system.

    Conflict of interest

    Pursuant to §85 of the German Securities Trading Act (WpHG), we point out that Apaton Finance GmbH as well as partners, authors or employees of Apaton Finance GmbH (hereinafter referred to as "Relevant Persons") may hold shares or other financial instruments of the aforementioned companies in the future or may bet on rising or falling prices and thus a conflict of interest may arise in the future. The Relevant Persons reserve the right to buy or sell shares or other financial instruments of the Company at any time (hereinafter each a "Transaction"). Transactions may, under certain circumstances, influence the respective price of the shares or other financial instruments of the Company.

    In addition, Apaton Finance GmbH is active in the context of the preparation and publication of the reporting in paid contractual relationships.

    For this reason, there is a concrete conflict of interest.

    The above information on existing conflicts of interest applies to all types and forms of publication used by Apaton Finance GmbH for publications on companies.

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    Der Autor

    Juliane Zielonka

    Born in Bielefeld, she studied German, English and psychology. The emergence of the Internet in the early '90s led her from university to training in graphic design and marketing communications. After years of agency work in corporate branding, she switched to publishing and learned her editorial craft at Hubert Burda Media.

    About the author

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