BioSpace Global Roundup, Dec. 5
LUNAC Therapeutics -- LUNAC Therapeutics, a UK based drug discovery company, announced that, along with the Medicines Discovery Catapult and the University of Leeds, it has been awarded £3.14 million in funding. The funding will be used to develop an innovative anticoagulant treatment with minimal bleeding risk, to better meet patient needs. The project aims to develop a first-in-class drug to prevent the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel. The organizations will work together to optimize and advance the discovery of a new class of highly specific anticoagulant compounds that block an activated clotting enzyme, Factor XII, for which there is strong evidence that inhibition will not increase the risk of bleeding.
BioMed X – Germany-based BioMed X completed its first joint research project with Boehringer Ingelheim in the fields of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. As a result, BioMed X received a milestone payment and the results of the project were transferred to Boehringer Ingelheim. The research team identified a set of new potentially disease-modifying drug targets in lung fibroblasts and alveolar type II cells. Moving forward Boehringer Ingelheim will further validate the new target candidates. The project was launched in 2015 as a global call for research proposals using BioMed X’s proprietary crowdsourcing platform. Since then, Boehringer Ingelheim has started three more research projects at BioMed X, two in psychiatric diseases and one in immunology.
Pilloxa – Sweden’s Pilloxa secured a $1.3 million investment from Bonnier Ventures, the investment arm of the Bonnier group. Pilloxa has developed a patient-centric adherence platform consisting of smart hardware, tailored smartphone apps, data visualization and analytics. The Pilloxa platform aims to give individualized support and feedback to the user, to make it easier to take medication in the best way possible. Pilloxa has shown adherence of over 90% in indicative studies. Leading pharmaceutical companies Bayer (cardiovascular) and Sandoz/Novartis (transplantation) already trial the company’s services as a new approach to tackling patient non-adherence for drugs in clinical trials and patient support programs.
CARMAT – France-based CARMAT, received authorization to resume the PIVOTAL study in Kazakhstan. The study will focus on the company’s artificial heart project that aims to provide a therapeutic alternative for people suffering from end-stage biventricular heart failure. The implants will be performed at the National Research Center for Cardiac Surgery in Nur-Sultan (formerly called Astana), where the teams, led by Professor Yuri Pya, have successfully implanted the CARMAT device during the first part of the PIVOTAL study. With authorizations in Kazakhstan, the Czech Republic and Denmark, the company aims to complete enrollment of the second cohort of patients in the PIVOTAL study in order to obtain CE marking in 2020.
OSE Immunotherapeutics – Also based in France, OSE announced positive results from a Phase I study of OSE-127, a humanized monoclonal antibody with a differentiated mechanism of action as a full-antagonist of the CD127 receptor, the alpha chain of the interleukin-7 receptor (IL-7R). The Phase 1 study results show a good safety and tolerability profile for OSE-127. These findings will help determine the dosing and administration schedule for the two planned Phase II trials in ulcerative colitis and Sjögren’s syndrome. Both trial initiations are expected in 2020. OSE-127 is being developed in partnership with Servier under an option agreement up to the completion of a Phase II clinical trial planned in autoimmune bowel diseases. In parallel, Servier plans to develop OSE-127 in Sjögren’s syndrome.
IONTAS Limited – U.K.-based IONTAS entered into a collaborative agreement with Adaptate Biotherapeutics to generate and optimize antibodies for novel immuno-oncology targets, including access to IONTAS’ proprietary Mammalian Display technology to select antibodies with optimal biophysical properties. Under the terms of the collaboration, the project provides Adaptate Biotherapeutics with access to IONTAS’ proprietary Mammalian Display technology, allowing the selection of high-affinity antibodies based on their function, stability, expression and “developability.”
Deeplink Medical – E-health company Deeplink Medical, based in France, raised €5 million as part of a fundraiser aimed at providing health professionals ownership of the technological evolutions offered by the company in their field. The funds will be used to boost the adoption of the company’s two flagship solutions, ITIS and MIRIO, which are already the leading expert platforms in their fields. Also, the funds will be used to maintain the technological edge of its innovative platforms, which are based on organizational intelligence. Also, the company said the funding will be used to strengthen the team.
Intellegens – A U.K.-based artificial intelligence startup, Intellegens announced joint success in the Open Source Malaria (OSM) global initiative aimed at identifying the best predictive models for antimalarial compounds. As one of four prizewinning models selected, the project will now progress through the next phase of the initiative that includes the proposal of new compounds that are predicted to be active, for synthesis and testing against the malaria parasite.
Metrion Biosciences – U.K.-based Metrion Biosciences Limited, a specialist ion channel CRO and drug discovery company, and medical research group LifeArc extended their neuroscience-focused ion channel drug discovery collaboration, following the success of the initial 12-month agreement. The collaboration is focused on novel selective small molecular modulators of a specific two-pore domain potassium ion channel target, identified as likely to be involved in neurological pathogenesis. Under the terms of the agreement, LifeArc is responsible for all new chemical syntheses, with Metrion providing ion channel screening expertise.
Horizon Discovery – Horizon Discovery Group and Sweden-based The Human Protein Atlas (HPA) joined up in collaboration. HPA has selected Horizon’s CRISPR-edited knockout cell models to further expand the knowledge available in its Cell Atlas program, to advance the understanding of the genetic drivers of disease. Knockout cell models offer the possibility for an enhanced validation of antibodies based on genetic strategies because the complete absence of the targeting protein correlates with a complete loss of signal for specific antibodies.
Inventiva – France’s Inventiva received a €3.5 million payment following the inclusion of the first patient with psoriasis in the ongoing clinical study with ABBV-157, a RORy inverse agonist jointly discovered by AbbVie and Inventiva for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. The clinical study with ABBV-157 is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in which patients with moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis will be administered multiple oral doses of the drug candidate. Through this collaboration, Inventiva leverages its discovery expertise and technology platforms to develop drug candidates targeting the nuclear receptor RORy, a validated drug target for the treatment of cutaneous inflammatory disorders such as psoriasis.
Immunovia – Sweden-based Immunovia announced that the company’s Lung Cancer collaboration with a global pharmaceutical partner now enters the next stage of the study. In this stage of development, Immunovia will receive fresh blood samples from the pharma partner before the end of 2019 to begin the testing and analysis. The study will be finished in the second quarter of 2020. The main objective of the collaboration is to generate evidence of IMMray platforms performance in predicting response to drug treatments, which would facilitate selection of the right drug for the right patient.
Kancera – Also based in Sweden, Kancera reported an analysis of its ongoing Phase Ib program that showed KAND567 effectively blocks certain specific immune cells that are known to cause acute and chronic inflammatory diseases. This is the first time this effect has been shown on clinically relevant biomarkers and the results provide further support for the potential cardiovascular protective effect of KAND567. Kancera is now preparing the final stage of the Phase Ib program in healthy subjects.
GE Healthcare -- GE Healthcare Life Sciences and the Guangzhou Development District Investment Promotion Bureau (GDD) signed an agreement to jointly invest $10 million in setting up the Guangzhou Bioprocess Academy, a training center for biopharmaceutical professionals. The center will provide single-use bioprocessing training aligned with GMP standards, sustaining the growth of the biopharmaceutical talent pool in the Guangdong province. The Guangzhou Bioprocess Academy will offer biopharmaceutical manufacturing training on the latest biologic drug production processes. The academy will train biopharmaceutical professionals in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and beyond. The training center is expected to open in September 2020 and train more than 1,000 people annually.