Biopharma Companies Team Up to Fight Diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Cancer

Several new biotech and biopharma companies are sharing their strengths to develop new treatments for high-need diseases diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer.

In an industry where proprietary platforms and licenses rule, these companies are choosing collaboration. These new biotech and biopharma agreements involve companies sharing their strengths to develop new treatments for diseases with high unmet need.

SciNeuro Pharma and GSK

SciNeuro Pharmaceuticals, which develops treatments for neurodegenerative and central nervous system (CNS) diseases, announced an exclusive, worldwide license and option agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to research treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

The companies will work together on researching inhibitors of Lp-PLA2, an enzyme associated with neurodegenerative diseases. GSK has already developed some possible inhibitors for Lp-PLA2, and under this agreement, SciNeuro will receive a worldwide license to intellectual property covering certain GSK Lp-PLA2 inhibitors.

SciNeuro will pay an upfront fee, near-term and downstream milestones and royalties to GSK as it develops the inhibitors through clinical proof-of-concept. GSK has the option to reclaim rights to the compounds in all territories excluding Greater China, which SciNeuro would retain, under pre-agreed terms for subsequent development and commercialization. If GSK exercises its option, SciNeuro will receive an option exercise fee, downstream milestones and royalty payments from GSK. GSK will also have a right to purchase equity in SciNeuro.

vTv Therapeutics and G42 Investments

Clinical-stage oral small-molecule developer vTv Therapeutics has entered into an agreement with G42 Investments AI Holding RSC Ltd. In addition to an investment of $25 million, G42 Investments acquired more than 10 million shares of vTv Class A Common Stock at $2.407 per share. $12.5 million was paid in cash to vTv at closing, and the rest of the sum will be payable on May 31, 2023.

The funding will support vTv and an affiliate of G42 through Phase III clinical trials of TTP399, a liver selective glucokinase activator, as a treatment for type 1 diabetes. The agreement also includes vTv granting G42’s affiliate an exclusive license to develop and commercialize TTP399 pharmaceutical products in areas outside the U.S. and EU.

Another $30 million worth of potential issuance of Class A Common Stock to G42 Investments is also part of the agreement if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the marketing and sale of TTP399.

The deal comes three months after Deepa Prasad resigned as CEO at vTv after only four months. During her time as CEO, Prasad streamlined company operations to focus on TTP399. She temporarily remains an advisor to the acting CEO, Rich Nelson, to help guide the company’s direction.

Astellas Pharma and GO Therapeutics

Astellas Pharma has entered into a strategic research collaboration and license agreement with GO Therapeutics. In the agreement, Xyphos Biosciences Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Astellas, will work with GO to develop novel immuno-oncology therapeutics.

“The combination of GO’s targets and antibodies and Astellas’ ACCEL technology promises to create a new generation of cancer treatments that have a greater therapeutic index. This will enable oncologists to increase the efficacy of antibody-based immunotherapies for solid tumors with less damage to healthy tissues,” Constantine Theodoropulos, co-founder and CEO of GO Therapeutics, said in a statement.

The companies will collaborate and identify novel antibodies that have a high affinity for certain glycoprotein targets. GO will lead the discovery of the antibodies, and Astellas will lead research, clinical development and commercialization of the therapeutics that GO develops.

The agreement states that Xyphos will pay GO an upfront $20.5 million in cash. Another $763 million is on the table, pending the achievement of milestones and contingency payments.