Global Roundup: BioMed X, Merck KGaA Expand Oncology Collaboration

Biopharma and life sciences companies from around the globe provide updates on their businesses and pipelines.

Biopharma and life sciences companies from around the globe provide updates on their businesses and pipelines.

Germany-based BioMed X Institute expanded its collaboration with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany to include a total of eight research programs in the field of DNA damage response and RNA splicing. The expanded program will explore the role of extrachromosomal circular DNA (ecDNA) in cancer, which complements current oncology programs being studies by BioMed X.

Extrachromosomal circular DNA has been found to be abundant in multiple human cancer cells, however its frequency can vary among different cancer types. Elevated levels of ecDNA have been considered to be correlated with poor clinical outcome in human cancers, BioMed X said.

The partnership with Merck KGaA aims to generate comprehensive data of extrachromosomal DNA in human cancer tissues and investigate how (onco)genes in ecDNA could contribute to tumorigenesis, disease progression, tumor heterogeneity, metastasis, and treatment resistance. Additionally, the program aims to develop novel therapeutic strategies based on oncogenic alterations in ecDNA.

Christian Tidona, Founder and Managing Director of the BioMed X Institute said the program will further cancer research and strengthen the company’s expertise in deep cancer biology.

Elsewhere around the globe:

Mimetas – Netherlands-based MIMETAS struck a partnership with Roche to develop human disease models to characterize novel compounds in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and hepatitis B virus infections (HBV). MIMETAS will be responsible for developing tissue-based disease models and assays in the OrganoPlate, its proprietary organ-on-chip platform. Roche will gain access to technology, disease models, and scientific results. Financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.

Y-Biologics – South Korea’s -Biologics and the French pharmaceutical group Pierre Fabre have entered into a license agreement for antibodies generated through the phage display human antibody Ymax-ABL library owned by Y-Biologics. These antibodies included in the deal have been functionally validated by the Pierre Fabre R&D teams for their specific properties on a pivotal immuno-oncology. Pierre Fabre intends to select a new therapeutic candidate in immuno-oncology for further developments.

Novasep – France’s Novasep signed a manufacturing services agreement with U.S. based Exelixis for the cGMP clinical production of XB002, a next-generation tissue factor-targeting antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) for oncology applications. XB002 is a novel ADC composed of a human monoclonal antibody against tissue factor that is conjugated to a cytotoxic agent and leverages proprietary linker-payload technology.

Ilya Pharma – Sweden’s Ilya Pharma will present its ILP100 accelerated wound healing therapy at the US Military Health System Research Symposium next month. Ilya will present data explaining how this new-in-class drug candidate of engineered Limosilactobacillus reuteri bacteria produces and releases the key human chemokine CXCL12 at the actual wound site. After delivery, ILP100 is designed to enhance the healing properties of immune cells in the wound. Phase I results released earlier this year indicate that ILP100-treated wounds in healthy subjects healed on average six days faster than controls.

Bio-Me – Norway-based Bio-Me, a microbiome precision medicine company, secured NOK 10 million in financing that will be used to support development of clinical programs and explore additional business opportunities. These steps are part of the company’s strategic plan to position Bio-Me as a leader in microbiome-based Precision Medicine and contribute to optimal patient treatment and success of microbiome-based therapy. Bio-Me has developed a novel gut microbiome analysis tool dubbed Precision Microbiome Profiling, which offers a targeted approach to microbiome analysis/profiling using state-of-the-art qPCR technology.

Cyxone – Following new data showing the potential of T20K, Sweden’s Cyxone AB entered into a research collaboration with Prof. Christian Gruber, the inventor of T20K & Prof. Gernot Schabbauer from the Medical University of Vienna. T20K is a potential first-in-class peptide drug candidate that shows promise as a novel and safe therapy which can halt the progression of multiple sclerosis. In animal models, T20K has been shown to both delay disease development and to halt its progression once disease has been initiated. The aim of the study is to deepen the understanding of the mode of action of T20K and to explore these new uses and the potential to provide significant additional therapeutic benefit in a model for multiple sclerosis. The study is expected to begin later this month, with planned readout in June 2022.

Nonacus – Based in the United Kindgom, Nonacus and the University of Birmingham have partnered to develop a non-invasive test for bladder cancer. The test, which is expected to be available by mid-2022, will use highly sensitive liquid biopsy technology developed by Nonacus. Bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the developed world. Nonacus intends to launch the new bladder cancer test within 12 months, and the final product will include access to bioinformatics software to help with analysis. The company expects the test will provide high sensitivity for all stages and grades of disease, and will ensure the test is available worldwide to laboratories, hospitals and clinics.

Swissfillon AG – Swissfillon AG, a Swiss Drug Product Contract Manufacturing Organisation specializing in the sterile filling of highly potent liquid APIs, has supplied 0.8 million aseptically filled transport media in syringes for the Swiss Army Pharmacy’s COVID-19 PCR test kit. In less than 4 weeks, Swissfillon developed and established an efficient and reliable filling process for the transport medium, which the Swiss Army Pharmacy had procured from Zurich-based KlusLab.

NVIDIA – U.K.-based NVIDIA launched Cambridge-1, the United Kingdom’s most powerful supercomputer, which will enable top scientists and healthcare experts to use the powerful combination of AI and simulation to accelerate the digital biology revolution and bolster the country’s world-leading life sciences industry. Its first projects with AstraZeneca, GSK, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London and Oxford Nanopore Technologies include developing a deeper understanding of brain diseases like dementia, using AI to design new drugs and improving the accuracy of finding disease-causing variations in human genomes.

Gyros Protein Technologies – Sweden’s GPT, part of Mesa Labs’ Biopharmaceutical Development Division, announced the next phase of its on-going collaboration with Cygnus Technologies, a Maravai LifeSciences company. The partnership introduced a new HEK 293 HCP immunoassay solution. The Cygnus HEK 293 HCP Assay Reagent Set for Gyrolab is the first of a planned range of ready-to-use bioprocess impurity reagent sets optimized for use with the Gyrolab platform to be developed by Cygnus as part of the expanded collaboration.

Mallinckrodt plc – Ireland’s Mallinckrodt announced results from the pivotal Phase III STRATA2016 study assessing StrataGraft (allogeneic cultured keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts in murine collagen – dsat), which is approved for the treatment of adults with thermal burns containing intact dermal elements for which surgical intervention is clinically indicated. The trial, which evaluated the efficacy and safety of a single application of StrataGraft in adult patients with deep partial-thickness thermal burns, achieved both co-primary efficacy endpoints.