BioSpace Global Roundup, June 11
Implandata – Germany-based Implandata Opthalmic Products GmbH launched its web-based EYEMATE IOP-Tracking Service for the remote monitoring and management of glaucoma care. The service is billed by the company as the world’s first solution to provide eye doctors with intra-ocular pressure measurements continuously collected under normal life conditions. IOP fluctuates regularly, which is why the need for constant monitoring. The company sees remote monitoring as a way of transforming glaucoma care during the global pandemic.
Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals – Switzerland’s Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals AG received Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for PN‑1007 (PPSGG) in the treatment of anti-MAG neuropathy, a disabling, chronic disorder of the peripheral nervous system. PN‑1007 received orphan drug designation from the European Medicines Agency in July 2017. Data showed that PN-1007 was able to inhibit the binding of anti-MAG IgM antibodies to myelin of non-human primate nerves. In a dose titration study in mice, intravenous administration of PN-1007 was able to efficiently remove all anti-MAG IgM antibodies, strongly supporting the anticipated effective dose range for the upcoming phase I/IIa study in patients. Additional studies supported the favorable safety profile of PN-1007 in mice and ex vivo with human leukocytes and B cells of anti-MAG neuropathy patients. PN-1007 did not induce or lead to the release of murine and human cytokines and chemokines, and did not activate antibody-producing cells of patients ex vivo, the company said.
Intravacc – Headquartered in The Netherlands, Intravacc and U.S.-based Versatope signed a research agreement to develop a universal vaccine against influenza. The vaccine candidate is based on Intravacc’s innovative Outer Membrane Vesicles (OMV) technology. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that flu vaccines had an efficacy of about 29% during the 2018-2019 flu season. Intravacc’s unique expertise in OMV vaccine technology, which is proven to be safe in humans, will push the project forward to achieve this goal of finding the world’s first universal flu vaccine. Under the agreement, Intravacc will provide its services to Versatope in bringing their universal influenza vaccine candidate, VT-105, towards their first clinical trials. Versatope’s approach combines diverse genetic variants of influenza strains on a single nano-sized OMV that may provide better cross-strain protection than influenza vaccines comprised of individual strains.
Ilya Pharma – Sweden-based Ilya Pharma secured €5.3 million from the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator program of blended financing. The funds will enable Ilya Pharma to accelerate a Phase II clinical trial of its lead drug candidate ILP100 which has the potential to heal problematic non-healing wounds in diabetes, potentially up to 80% faster, and deliver savings to overburdened healthcare systems of €6 billion annually. Ilya intends to initiate recruitment for the mid-stage trial in 2021. Ilya has chosen to target wounds in patients with diabetes, due to a large unmet medical need in this group. Today, 18% of people with diabetes have a chronic wound, which translates into at least 6 million people in Europe alone. One of the complications of diabetes, is non-healing wounds especially on the lower extremities often result in limb amputation. The mortality rate after an amputation is 30% within the first year, which is similar to several cancers.
Qkine – University of Cambridge (U.K.) spinout Qkine closed a 1.5M series A investment round that will accelerate the global scale-up of its commercial operations and make key hires to its leadership team. Qkine develops and manufactures highly pure, recombinant growth factors, cytokines and other bioactive proteins using proprietary protein engineering and refolding technology. Qkine is applying its innovative protein engineering techniques to develop highly optimized forms of key proteins, helping to overcome challenges such as, protein stability and reproducibility of cell culture. This will enable the scaling of innovative stem cell and organoid systems for applications including, precision medicine, toxicology screening and tissue engineering.
A2A Pharmaceuticals – India-based A2A Pharmaceuticals signed an agreement with Laxai Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd. to co-develop SARS-CoV-2 Main Proteases inhibitors for the treatment of COVID-19. Under this collaboration, A2A designed the molecules using its proprietary computational AI-enabled drug discovery platform SCULPT, which are currently being synthesized and will be evaluated by Laxai. Both parties will collaborate in preclinical optimization and selection of lead candidates to enter the clinic. With this collaboration, A2A wants to put its technology and expertise to use to discover highly selective targeted inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 MPro, as opposed to repurposing or vHTS efforts ongoing elsewhere, to design more efficacious and safer treatments.
NanoMab – NanoMab Technology Ltd., based in London, was named an industrial partner in the EPSRC Program for Next Generation Imaging and Therapy with Radionuclides (MITHRAS).
EHA -- EHA is organizing a virtual congress for the first time in its history. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing restrictions, it is no longer justified to hold the 25th Congress as originally planned in Frankfurt, Germany. The EHA25 Virtual Congress will launch on June 11 and will run until June 21. Sessions will be available on-demand via the online platform until Oct. 15.
Sensorion – France’s Sensorion announced promising new preliminary data in non-human primates from its ongoing gene therapy program targeting the Otoferlin encoding gene (OTOF).
CN Bio – U.K.-based CN Bio co-authored research that identified a novel pathway that regulates the underlying mechanism of Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), potentially a new therapeutic target. The collaborative work uses CN Bio’s NASH model to help elucidate the complex cellular mechanisms that cause liver fibrosis. The research showed that Bone Morphogenetic Protein 8B (BMP8B), a poorly characterized member of the BMP/TGFß superfamily, exhibits marked upregulation during Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) to NASH disease progression. This surge of BMP8B was shown to be an important mediator of liver disease progression, and a leading pathogenic mediator of the wound healing response of NASH, therefore presenting itself as a potential therapeutic target.
Onxeo – France’s Onxeo completed a private placement funding of €7.3 million, which will be used to accelerate the development of Onxeo’s programs and extend its cash runway into Q1 2022.
Dermavant – Swtizerland-based Dermavant completed enrollment in its long-term safety study of tapinarof, a potential first-in-class, once-daily topical therapeutic aryl hydrocarbon receptor modulating agent (TAMA), in adult patients diagnosed with plaque psoriasis. The safety study is part of a Phase III program.
Immunovia – Sweden’s Immunovia AB secured additional capital to grow Immunovia Inc.’s sales and marketing team and activities.
Protera – Based in Chile, AI startup Protera closed a $5.6 million Series A financing led by Sofinnova Partners. The financing is intended to support the commercialization of Protera’s protein ingredient portfolio. The company is about to begin pilot trials with multinational food companies to deploy a unique, clean-label protein that extends shelf-life and replaces chemically derived ingredients.
Gesynta Pharma – Anti-inflammatory focused Gesynta, based in Sweden, completed its first clinical study of lead candidate GS-248 for the treatment of microvascular disease. multiple once daily doses up to 180 mg for 10 days in healthy male and female subjects. The study demonstrated that GS-248 was safe and well tolerated. GS-248 is a potent and selective inhibitor of microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1) and preclinical studies have demonstrated that inhibition of mPGES-1. Gesynta now intends to commence a Phase II study in patients with Systemic Sclerosis.