Life Sciences Companies Leverage New Partnerships Against Severe Diseases


Several partnerships are underway as various pharma companies announced collaborations and licensing agreements from January 31 to February 1. The deals will advance different treatments for diseases such as neuroendocrine tumors and severe skin diseases.

The Usher Syndrome Coalition and ProQR

The Usher Syndrome Coalition has partnered with ProQR to help recruit more than 200 participants worldwide for their first-stage clinical trial for people with Usher Syndrome. The Usher Syndrome Coalition is dedicated to researching Usher Syndrome, the most common genetic cause of combined deafness and blindness. ProQR, a biotechnology company focused on developing RNA therapies for severe genetic disorders and retinal diseases, will recruit participants for clinical trials Sirius and Celeste, where the aim is to investigate the efficacy and safety of RNA therapy QR-421 in prohibiting vision loss for people with Usher Syndrome and retinitis pigmentosa.

Leica Biosystems and Leap Therapeutics

Leica Biosystems and Leap Therapeutics have agreed to develop a companion diagnostic to detect Dickkopf-related protein 1 (DKK1), a protein often implicated in cancer and enables tumor cells to suppress the immune system leading to mass proliferation. The assay industrialized by Leica Biosystems utilizing RNAscope technology will be used to support the clinical development of Leap Therapeutics’ anti-DKK1 cancer therapy, DKN-01. The companion diagnostic will be used to determine if a patient’s tumor has the biomarker that helps to predict the outcome of a specific therapy, namely, DKN-01. DKN-01 is currently being tested in clinical trials.

Ablexis, AlivaMab Discovery Services and Almirall

 Ablexis and AlivaMab Discovery Services have granted pharmaceutical company Almirall non-exclusive rights to use AlivaMab Mouse technology in a multi-target license agreement. AlivaMab Mouse technology is a state-of-art platform for antibody drug discovery, development, and commercialization. Almirall selected AlivaMab Discovery Services to leverage their expertise in antibody drug discovery, antibody engineering, and platform processes to provide drug quality, fully human antibodies to develop pioneering treatment options for patients suffering from severe skin diseases.

Pfizer and Alex Therapeutics

 Alex Therapeutics, a Stockholm-based digital therapeutics company, has partnered with Pfizer to provide patients with evidence-based, clinically validated, and personalized digital therapies. The collaboration will aid patients in Germany, a leading country in digital therapeutics. Alex Therapeutics’ platform uses artificial intelligence combined with evidence-based psychology to deliver treatments for unaddressed needs in patients. The preliminary focus of this partnership will be a digital therapy to treat nicotine addiction in German patients, using digital smartphone therapy in accordance with the requirements of the German healthcare system. Pfizer is conducting a clinical trial in Germany to validate the efficacy of this treatment.

Abcam and Twist Bioscience

Twist Bioscience has announced a licensing agreement with Abcam to use a proprietary Twist VHH phage library. Twist offers high-quality synthetic DNA using its silicon platform. Its VHH library combines synthetic and natural methods to amplify the diversity in the 10 billion antibody library generating high-quality VHH antibody libraries for use against any target protein. Abcam has been granted the right to engage in research and development activities using the library and they have the option to nominate, license, and commercialize antibody sequences for diagnostic and research use in return for license fees and commercial milestone payments while Twist retains the rights to the same sequences for therapeutic application.  

MaxCyte and Intima Bioscience

MaxCyte and Intima Bioscience have signed a strategic platform license to advance tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte programs. In the agreement, Intima acquires non-exclusive clinical and commercial rights to use MaxCyte’s Flow Electroporation technology and ExPERT platform while MaxCyte receives platform-licensing fees and program-related milestone payments. Intima plans to utilize MaxCyte’s technology for clinically validated, electroporation technology for complex and scalable cell engineering as they run a Phase I/II clinical study of its lead checkpoint cell therapy candidate that targets the immune checkpoint CISH in patients with gastrointestinal and colon cancers.

NexImmune and Rutgers University

A collaboration announced between NexImmune and Rutgers University in New Jersey will focus on the breakthrough and development of novel therapies targeting immune checkpoint proteins to treat neuroendocrine tumors. NexImmune develops innovative approaches to immunotherapy by directing the function of antigen-specific T cells. Rutgers University researchers hope to apply NexImmune’s technology to progress treatments utilizing their AIM ACT platform to advance the treatment of neuroendocrine neoplasia and specifically target HHLA2 and B7x immune checkpoint proteins.

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