BioSpace's Global Biopharma Roundup: Feb. 14

World Map made out of colorful Pills

Across parts of Europe, Asia and the rest of the globe, pharma and biotech companies have made strides and deals to advance their pipelines and technologies this week.

Clinigen Group -- London-based Clinigen Group pc will now have full rights to Proleukin (aldesleukin, human recombinant interleukin-2). This morning, the U.K.-based pharmaceutical and services company struck a deal with Novartis to acquire the U.S. rights to the metastatic renal cell carcinoma treatment. Clinigen already owns the rights to Proleukin outside the US, which it acquired in July 2018. For the U.S. rights, Clinigen agreed to pay the Swiss pharma giant up to $210 million for the cancer treatment.

Immunovia – Immunovia AB opened two additional clinical trial sites, one in Sweden and one in Spain, for the study of its IMMray PanCan-d blood test for early detection of pancreatic cancer. The two new centers will provide a broader sample of ethnic and racial diversity for the study’s validation. The study will analyze more than two thousand individuals over three years across sites in both the U.S. and Europe offering FPC screening programs. The aim is to improve the outcome for the cancer patients and to prove the overall healthcare benefits of testing persons with heredity risk of pancreatic cancer.

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eTheRNA Immunotherapies – Belgium-based eTheRNA immunotherapies and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, recruited the first patient for a Phase I study to evaluate TriMix in breast cancer patients. The study will deliver mRNA via intratumoral injection in patients with non-metastatic breast cancer before planned surgery and will recruit patients with resectable breast cancer irrespective of the subtype of breast cancer. Marian Vanhoeij, head of the Breast Clinic of the University Hospital and principal investigator of the study said the proof of concept for the TriMix platform has been delivered in multiple studies involving melanoma patients. Researchers are convinced of the potential for TriMix in other therapeutic areas including breast cancer.

Invotec – Based in Dayton, Ohio, Invotec is expanding its international presence with a new location in Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany. Invotec's new facility is 7,858 square feet and will provide a range of solutions from semi-automated stations to full production lines. The location in Germany places Invotec close to sister companies such as Waldorf Technik, which is part of the HAHN Group.

Genesis Automation -- Enterprise Supply Chain Automation solution provider, Genesis Automation, which is based in Florida, has added a Canadian subsidiary to its business holdings. In its announcement, the company said Genesis Automation Canada joins subsidiaries in the U.S. and U.K., with the Group's global headquarters located in Ireland. Noel O’Hanlon, chief executive officer of Genesis Automation, said his company’s approach is a complete one. “Many in the healthcare industry are focused on point solutions—they have a system or process to track supplies coming in to the hospital. Then, they have a separate system for supplies used in the OR, and yet another for the Cath Lab. Most often, it's not even software—it's flags and tags—offering no real visibility, and certainly no automation or traceability. Genesis Automation is different. We unite the entire health system's supply chain, from procurement to patient."

Follicum AB – Sweden-based Follicum AB selected a drug candidate for the treatment of diabetes and protection of beta cells. In its announcement, Follicum said the drug candidate has shown unique effects in both in vitro and in vivo-models, including diabetes-related complications. The drug will be tested in a preclinical program prior to upcoming clinical trials. The choice of drug candidate represents a significant milestone for both Follicum and for the diabetes project, which is part of a large collaborative diabetes network called LUDC-IRC at Lund University supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the company said in its announcement. Based on the results of the preclinical program, the company will start the planning of a clinical phase I study in 2020. In addition to the selected drug candidate, three "follow-up" candidates have also been selected. These exhibit individual effect profiles that differ from the main candidate and they will be evaluated in parallel for treatment of other complications than those targeted by the main drug candidate, the company said.

LabNetwork – China-based LabNetwork, a WuXi AppTec company, will sell its wares on the online marketplace hosted by Latvia-based Chemspace. The two companies entered into a collaborative agreement this week to expand the market reach of both companies to pharma and biotech companies. The Chemspace database encompasses over 100 million unique chemical building blocks, fragments and screening compounds, and is the world’s largest library of purchasable chemicals. The online catalogue includes in-stock and make-on-demand molecules. Use of the Chemspace database is free-of-charge for customers. There are no license fees for users to review and access the platform.

University Hospital of Tubingen – Researchers at the University Hospital Tübingen in Germany have discovered a mechanism on how the body’s own endogenous antimicrobial defense shield regulates the microbiome and its bacterial composition. The researchers revealed their information in an article in Proceedings. This mechanism provides a fundamental understanding of the structure of the intestinal barrier and host-microbial interaction. According to the report, the researchers discovered an effect characterized as like a “cluster bomb” that is created by the body’s natural defenses. defensins (peptides).

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