BioSpace Global Roundup, Dec. 19

Global Connection

ELRIG -- The European Laboratory Research & Innovation Group (ELRIG) U.K. and the British Pharmacological Society, announced a strategic alliance. The two-year agreement offers the organizations the opportunity to benefit from each other’s scientific communities to help strengthen their positions and reach. Members of ELRIG UK and the British Pharmacological Society will gain access to new openings for scientific exchange and collaboration between industry, academia and the clinic to help drive the successful discovery and development of new medicines across the U.K. The alliance creates a framework for joint working on a variety of activities that will support both communities, encouraging a multidisciplinary approach that better facilitates the exchange of ideas and information. The alliance also offers both groups a wider reach, to help grow their audiences, and create exciting new opportunities for early-career professionals’ education and training.

Tetra Bio-Pharma – Canada-based Tetra Bio-Pharma, a company focused on cannabinoid-derived drug discovery and development, signed a definitive agreement with Azevedos Indústria Farmacêutica, S.A. for the marketing and distribution of CAUMZ (PPP011) in Portugal. Under the terms of the agreement, Tetra will receive milestone payments and profit sharing on all sales of CAUMZ in Portugal.  In return, Azevedos will be responsible for registering the product, manufacturing, as well as all marketing and distribution in Portugal.

Nanobiotix – France-based Nanobiotix announced receipt of the French 2019 Prix Galien Award for Most Innovative MedTech. The Prix Galien Award recognizes outstanding biomedical and medical technology product achievements that improve the human condition. The company’s lead product, Hensify (NBTXR3) brand name for the treatment of locally advanced Soft Tissue Sarcoma (STS), was recognized after receiving European market approval earlier this year. Hensify is a first-in-class “radioenhancer” consisting of an aqueous suspension of crystalline hafnium oxide nanoparticles. The product is administered only once, directly into the tumor, before a patient’s first radiotherapy session. After intratumoral injection, the nanoparticles penetrate the tumor cells and, when activated by ionizing radiation, deliver a larger energy deposit within the tumor where the nanoparticles are present, thereby increasing the tumor-killing effect of treatment without increasing damage to surrounding healthy tissues. The product is approved in Europe for the treatment of Soft Tissue Sarcoma. Moving forward, the company is engaged in global clinical development of the product across fifteen (15) clinical trials in STS and other indications with a primary focus on global registration for the treatment of Head and Neck cancers.

Abcam plc – Based in the U.K., Abcam and SomaServe Ltd. announced a partnership to commercialize the cell therapy delivery potential of the polymer-based ‘bionic’ nanoparticles, which can carry a range of payloads directly to live cells. The collaboration will initially focus on the development and global commercialization of a suite of CelLuminate dyes, specifically created to revolutionize live cell imaging by enabling cells to remain functional and viable for up to 14 days. This crucial reduction in toxicity gives users the ability to thoroughly probe and analyze their cells, enabling them to achieve deeper insights and advance their understanding. In addition to the commercial partnership, Abcam has invested in SomaServe’s seed round to help accelerate the development of an innovative market-leading platform for research, diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

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PharmaMar – Spain-based PharmaMar is seeking regulatory approval in the United States of lurbinectedin for the treatment of patients with SCLC who have progressed after prior platinum-containing therapy, under the accelerated approval regulations. The company submitted its New Drug Application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This NDA is based on data from the phase II monotherapy basket trial with lurbinectedin for the treatment of SCLC. The trial met its primary endpoint of the overall response rate. The FDA’s accelerated approval procedure allows for the submission of an NDA for evaluation based on the results of phase II drug investigations for the treatment of serious diseases that cover an unmet medical need.

Cellestia Biotech – Switzerland-based Cellestia closed a 20 million CHF (Swiss franc) Series B financing round. To date, the company has raised about 49 million CHF, or about $50 million. The funds will be used in part to advance the ongoing clinical development program of CB-103, a first-in-class small molecule targeted therapy with a novel mode of action. CB-103 is a highly selective protein-protein interaction inhibitor targeting an oncogene transcription factor for the precision medicine treatment of specific cancers. The financing will also allow Cellestia to advance its innovative R&D pipeline activity.

Follicum – Sweden’s Follucum announced data from studies on human Langerhans islets that have shown positive effects on insulin release in line with the previously reported results on beta cells isolated from animals. The company’s development of a peptide-based treatment of diabetes and its complications is proceeding according to plan. Follicum has studied the ability of peptides to induce insulin secretion in Langerhans islets derived from human donors. The studies show that in these ex vivo studies the peptides have the ability to release insulin in line with a GLP-1 analog. Thus the effect of the peptides on beta-cell lines previously reported can be reproduced in human material.

BioNTech – BioNTech picked up €50 in financing from the European Investment Bank to support the company’s research and development, market access and manufacturing development for its most advanced treatments under development.

BC Platforms – Switzerland-based BC Platforms closed a $15 million financing round led by IQVIA, alongside Debiopharm Innovation Fund and Tesi, a Finnish venture capital and private equity company. As part of the collaboration, IQVIA and BC Platforms plan to launch new data-driven technologies, integrating complex clinical and genomic data, to benefit transformational research. BC Platforms technology will enhance IQVIA’s E360 Genomics, a scalable, privacy-preserving genotypic-phenotypic database solution, in supporting a federated data network of genomic related analytics designed to protect patient privacy. BC Platforms will use the fundraising proceeds to expand its global network of clinical and genomics data, delivering novel automated solutions to pharmaceutical companies.

Vaccitech Limited -- Vaccitech Oncology Limited (VOLT) has entered into a clinical partnership with Cancer Research UK to develop VOLT’s VTP-600 immunotherapy as a treatment option for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). VTP-600 is a cancer immunotherapy comprised of Vaccitech’s proprietary heterologous prime-boost T cell induction platform; ChAdOx1 and Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA). The two viral vectors are engineered to express the tumor-associated antigens MAGE-A3 and NY-ESO-1, previously discovered and clinically validated by Ludwig. Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development will sponsor and manage a Phase I/IIa clinical trial of VTP-600 in combination with current standard of care and first-line treatment (chemotherapy and anti-PD-1) in approximately 80 patients with NSCLC.

MODAG – Germany-based MODAG initiated recruitment for a Phase I study of its lead candidate, anle138b in healthy volunteers. The compound is initially being developed for the treatment of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), with the potential to be applied to other synucleinopathies, such as Parkinson’s disease. Anle138b is a small molecule compound that specifically binds toxic oligomeric structures of alpha-synuclein, the core aggregating protein in Parkinsonian disorders, preventing new oligomers from forming and blocking the aggregation process from advancing.

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