Global Roundup: Takeda and PeptiDream Expand CNS Collaboration


BioSpace Global Roundup, July 29

Takeda Pharmaceutical and Peptidream Inc., both of Japan, expanded a research collaboration and licensing agreement first struck in December 2020 to develop peptide-drug conjugates (PDCs) for several central nervous system (CNS) targets, which play important roles in chronic neurodegenerative diseases.

The PDCs for neuromuscular diseases were first developed by PeptiDream. The companies said the latest collaboration expands the use of the TfR1 binding peptide ligands for CNS targets associated with neurodegeneration. When conjugated to various therapeutic payloads, peptide carriers that bind to TfR1 enable the transport of the payload across the blood-brain barrier, which significantly improves functional benefit.

“Combining PeptiDream’s innovative peptide technology with Takeda’s strength in drug discovery and development, this collaboration aims to tackle longstanding bio-distribution challenges that have, to date, limited the ability to effectively treat many neuromuscular diseases,” Sarah Sheikh, Head of the Neuroscience Therapeutic Area Unit at Takeda said in a statement.

Elsewhere around the globe:

Saniona – Denmark-based Saniona received Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Tesomet, an investigational treatment for hypothalamic obesity. Saniona is planning two Phase IIb studies of Tesomet in the second half of this year, one in hypothalamic obesity and the other in Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), for which Tesomet has already received orphan drug status. In a previous Phase II study in HO, adults receiving Tesomet demonstrated statistically significant reductions in body weight and improvements in waist circumference and glycemic control. These improvements were maintained during an additional 24-week open-label extension.

NVIDIA – U.K.-based NVIDIA and King’s College London announced new details about an AI project using NVIDIA’s Cambridge-1 supercomputer. King’s College is using Cambridge-1 to build AI models that are able to generate synthetic brain images. The research will enable scientists to differentiate healthy brains from those that are diseased.

Origin Therapeutics – Vancouver’s Origin Therapeutics Holdings launched this week with a focus on providing retail investors with exposure to a portfolio of diverse private companies in the psychedelics sector. Origin Therapeutics will invest in a diverse range of psychedelic companies that could include early-stage drug development companies, clinics, as well as other ancillary companies that help to push the industry forward.

IMIDomics Inc. – Drug discovery company IMIDomics completed a $16.5 million Series A financing round. The funding will be used to fuel precision discovery efforts and accelerate technologies that are critical to the further development of new IMID treatments. IMIDomics’ Precision Discovery Platform combines and analyzes clinical, epidemiologic, and biomolecular data to uncover new insights about IMIDs including lupus, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis.

CARMAT – CARMAT’s artificial heart continues to be used across Europe. The France-based company announced the first Aeson bioprosthetic artificial heart was implanted in a patient in Germany.

ERS Genomics – Ireland’s ERS Genomics struck a likening deal with Japan SLC, Inc. for its CRISPR/Cas9 patent portfolio. Japan SLC supports research organizations by providing animal models from its varied portfolio, including outbred, inbred, immunodeficient, congenic, hybrid, disease models and transgenic. The addition of CRISPR/Cas9 technology to the company’s toolbox will enable the expansion of its offering. Financial details of the agreement are not disclosed.

Artios Pharma – U.K.-based Artios completed a £110 million (about $153 million) series C financing round. The funds will be used to advance its broad DDR-based platform and small molecule drug discovery capabilities for cancer.

Accelex – London’s Accelex expanded its agreement with LGT Capital Partners to provide their cutting-edge SaaS platform to bring digitization to the regular extraction of critical financial information from a wide range of private markets investment documents.

ProBioGen – Germany’s ProBioGen and Maryland-based ValenzaBio announced the initiation of a cell line development project involving the application of ProBioGen's proprietary GlymaxX technology. ValenzaBio's VB119 is a clinical-stage antibody for which ProBioGen will generate a new CHO-based expression system. Besides the CHO.RiGHT cell line development platform, ProBioGen will apply its ADCC modulating GlymaxX technology. GlymaxX enables a fine tuning of the fucose content of the antibody towards the originator molecule's fucose content.

CN Bio – U.K.-based CN Bio, an organ-on-a-chip company, secured the licensing rights to a novel tool for modeling the gut microbiome, GuMI, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Northeastern University. The technology will be integrated into CN Bio’s PhysioMimix OOC range of single- and multi-organ MPS, enabling researchers to investigate the direct interaction between the microbiome and gut, and the wider effects of the microbiome on organs such as the liver and brain. 

ObsEva – Switzerland-based ObsEva and Organon entered into a licensing agreement. New Jersey-based Organon will license the rights to ebopiprant, an investigational, orally active, selective prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) receptor antagonist being evaluated as a potential treatment for preterm labor by reducing inflammation and uterine contractions. ObsEva received $500 million in upfront payments and is eligible for an additional $385 million in sales-based milestones, plus royalties, should ebopiprant be approved by the FDA.

Byondis BV – Netherlands-based Byondis and Germany’s Glycotope entered into a platform access agreement to discover and develop antibodies that target specific tumor-associated protein/carbohydrate combined glyco-epitopes (GlycoTargets). Glycosylation is strongly altered in cancer cells, reflecting the drastic changes in tumor metabolism, which results in new, highly tumor-specific epitopes (GlycoTargets). Specific antibodies against these GlycoTargets might be highly cancer-specific and have the potential to target a broad range of oncology indications.

AC Immune SA – AC Immune, based in Switzerland, is acquiring Affiris’ portfolio of therapeutics targeting alpha-synuclein (a-syn). The deal includes PD01, a clinically-validated active vaccine candidate for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, the acquisition included Affiris’ available cash, valued at $5 million.

DiosCURE Therapeutics – Germany’s DiosCURE signed a licensing agreement with the University of Bonn, University Hospital Bonn, Scripps Research and Macrostruct Holding & Consulting AB, for a broad suite of intellectual property, including the single-domain antibodies, DIOS-202, DIOS-203 and DIOS-301. The assets are in preclinical development. They are multivalent single-chain antibodies with unique molecular modes-of-action to inactivate SARS-CoV-2 virions.

MetrioPharm AG – Switzerland-based MetrioPharm has been nominated to receive funding under the HERA Incubator from the European Commission. The company is developing drugs for chronic inflammatory diseases. MetrioPharm’s lead compound MP1032 is being assessed against COVID-19. MP1032 has demonstrated strong immunomodulatory and specific antiviral properties against SARS-CoV-2 in preclinical studies.

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