Several Players Begin 2022 with New Partnerships in Place


It's been a busy day for collaboration announcements in the life sciences world. Here are some of the top stories for today.

MSRD, Mindset Partner to Develop Psychedelic Drugs

The McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development (MSRD) partnered with Mindset Pharma to tap into each other's expertise and create a range of psychedelic medicines. The deal will discover and develop the latter's chemical entity assets. Mindset is focused on building next-generation psychedelic drugs to treat psychiatric and neurological diseases with large unmet medical needs. 

MSRD will finance and operate Mindset's novel psychedelic products through Phase IA and Phase IB clinical trials and has paid $5 million in cash up front. Mindset has also granted MSRD the right of first refusal to any asset sale, collaboration, or exclusive licensing opportunities related to the drugs. MSRD was also granted a right of first negotiation in relation to any asset sale, merger, or acquisition that may arise down the road. 

Cyclenium Pharma, Vuja De Sciences Announce Strategic Deal

Cyclenium Pharma has signed a collaboration deal with biotechnology startup Vuja De Sciences to discover potential treatments that target undetected disseminated tumor cells before they can lead to any metastatic cancer recurrence. 

The partnership will utilize Vuja De's anti-metastatic progression in vivo and ex vivo drug discovery screening platform and Cyclenium's QUEST Library of synthetic small-molecule macrocycles to identify possible candidates that may be effective against dominant tumor cells to prevent cancer recurrence. Vuja De will be in charge of screening, while Cyclenium will take care of medical chemistry initiatives using CMRT technology. 

MannKind Extends Partnership with Thirona Bio on Fibrotic Lung Diseases

MannKind Corporation announced that it is extending its deal with Thirona Bio by buying a second convertible note and appointing Michael Castagna, PharmD, to the Thirona board of directors. Under the terms of the agreement, which started in June last year, both companies will explore Thirona's TGF-β inhibitor FMB5712 for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis. FMB5712 is advancing to a nonclinical pharmacodynamics study, with results expected by the second quarter of 2022. 

"We are pleased to progress our collaboration with further investment and guidance from the team at MannKind. We're thrilled with the momentum since last summer and look forward to advancing a promising new formulation of FBM5712 for fibrotic lung diseases," said Dr. Gordon Foulkes, the founder and chief executive officer of Thirona in a statement. 

Hibiscus BioVentures Advanced Cancer Research with Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute Collaboration

Hibiscus BioVentures' venture studio Hibiscus BioTechnology has partnered with Karmanos, one of the only 51 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S., to leverage each other's resources to create cancer treatments. 

The collaboration will bring valuable clinical assets, including research and laboratory facilities, to Hibiscus BioTechnology. The company will also gain access to Karmanos' vast network of hospitals and cancer care centers to advance its discovery and development initiatives. 

Norwegian Firm PCI Biotech Signs Deal with South Korea's MDimune

Norwegian cancer-focused biotechnology firm PCI Biotech signed a preclinical research collaboration deal with South Korean biotech company MDimune to discover and develop drug delivery systems for modifying cellular and disease processes in many types of disorders. 

"We are excited to launch this collaboration with PCI Biotech. PCI Biotech's versatile photochemical technologies have the potential to enhance several aspects of our technologies, to make future therapies more efficient and more specific," commented Seung Wook Oh, chief scientific officer of MDimune, in a press release.

EpicentRx, Actinium Enter Agreement to Develop Radiotherapy & Immunotherapy Combination Treatment

Actinium Pharmaceuticals entered into a research collaboration agreement with EpicentRx to explore the former's Actimab-A targeted radiotherapy in combination with EpicentRx's small molecule immunotherapy targeting the CD47-SIRPα axis RRx-001. 

Under the terms of the deal, both companies will be working closely to determine if combining both treatments is beneficial for patients diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Both drug products are still clinical stage candidates. RRx-001 is a hypoxia activated prodrug with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in oxygenated healthy tissues through inhibiting the NLRP3 inflammasome. It is currently being investigated in a Phase III trial for small cell lung cancer and in other oncology and non-oncology-related indications. 

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