BioSpace Global Roundup, July 2
Boehringer Ingelheim: On Thursday, German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim announced the launch of an innovation hub in Shanghai. The External Innovation Hub China is part of the 451 million euros ($507.9 million) that the company will invest in China over the next five years.
The investment in China will be used to fuel research, site expansions and other partnerships.
PharmEnable: On Tuesday, Cambridge-based drug discovery company PharmEnable announced it had closed a £1.8 million seed financing. The financing will be used to support the company's transition into developing drugs.
The financing round was led by Cambridge Enterprise and the University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund VI.
The company's goal is to develop new treatments for conditions with significant unmet clinical needs, according to the press release. The company plans to do so by designing complex molecules to address challenging biological targets.
BioInvent: On Wednesday, Sweden-based BioInvent announced that it has extended the research term under the cancer immunotherapy research collaboration and license agreement it has with Pfizer until the end of 2020.
The original agreement was entered by the companies in December 2016. The agreement is for the development and commercialization of antibodies targeting tumor-associated myeloid cells discovered using BioInvent's proprietary F.I.R.S.T.™ drug discovery platform.
The extension is to allow the companies to further identify and characterize new targets and antibodies binding to the targets.
Lysogene: On Wednesday, France-based Lysogene announced that it has entered into a collaborative research agreement with Yeda Research and Development Co. Yeda is the commercial arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Specifically, the agreement includes collaboration between Lysogene and the lab of Prof. Anthony Futerman at the Weizmann Institute.
“We are thrilled to start this research collaboration with Prof. Futerman, a leading expert in the field of sphingolipid biology. The Weizmann Institute is one of the world's leading multidisciplinary research institutes, and the source of numerous groundbreaking medical discoveries and technological applications," said Ralph Laufer, Chief Scientific Officer at Lysogene.
Derm-Biome Pharmaceuticals: On Thursday, Vancouver-based Derm-Biome Pharmaceuticals announced that it raised $500,000 in pre-seed funding. The funding will be used to advance the company's anti-aging and atopic dermatitis topicals to the clinic.
Derm-Biome also announced it has spun out a new company, Pan-Biome Pharmaceuticals, which will focus on developing medicines for chronic inflammatory diseases. Pan-Biome will be an independent biotech company.
“We are very excited about the prospects for Pan-Biome due to the wide ranging anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of our compounds. We also look forward to working with our new investors, who bring with them extensive financing and M&A experience in the life sciences sector," said Gordon Eberwein, CEO of Derm-Biome.
Polaris Biology: China-based Polaris Biology and Denmark-based Tetramer Shop announced on Thursday that they have entered a strategic partnership to develop and distribute technolgies that accelerate T cell science.
The first goal of the partnership is the commericalization of metal-labeled MHC tetramers for distribution in China.
"Our partnership with Tetramer Shop will allow us to extend our immunophenotyping capability to antigen specificity analysis," said Shuangwu Sun, partner of Polaris Biology. "And our co-development of metal-labelled tetramers will enable us to accelerate our high-throughput single-cell analysis capacity. This has positive implications for the development of personalized therapeutic modalities here in China."
Liminal BioSciences: Canada-based Liminal BioSciences announced that Prometic Plasma Resources, a subsidiary of the company, has joined the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance. As a part of the alliance, the company plans to contribute to the accelerated development of a potential new therapy for COVID-19.
"We are proud to be joining plasma companies Takeda, CSL Behring, ADMA Biologics, Biopharma Plasma, Biotest, BPL, GC Pharma, LFB, Octapharma, Sanquin, and other contributors and supporters of the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance in a unique partnership of the world's leading plasma-derived therapeutic companies to collaborate and coordinate efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic," stated Kenneth Galbraith, Chief Executive Officer of Liminal BioSciences.
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals: India-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals was charged with conspiring with other generic drug companies to increase and hold prices for cholesterol drug pravastatin by the U.S. Justice Department. The alleged price fixing took place between May 2013 and December 2015, and allegedly resulted in a $200 million gain for the involved companies.
Glenmark is saying the allegations are false. In a statement, a spokesperson for the company said, "We strongly disagree with the continued allegations being advanced by the Justice Department that persist after months of providing abundant evidence demonstrating that there is no justification for Glenmark to be part of their investigation. These allegations run contrary to the very essence of Glenmark—to drive down drug prices and improve patient access to medications. We will continue to vigorously defend against these allegations that we know to be false, and we are confident the overwhelming evidence will make that clear.”