Global Roundup: VectivBio Acquires Comet Therapeutics to Expand Rare Disease Pipeline

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

Switzerland-based VectivBio Holding AG is acquiring privately-held Comet Therapeutics, which focuses on the development of drugs aimed at previously untreatable inherited metabolic diseases. With the acquisition, VectivBio will see a significant expansion of its rare disease pipeline.

The CoMET platform gained through this acquisition is aimed at the treatment of inherited metabolic diseases that have a deficit of energy metabolism and depletion of functional Coenzyme A (CoA). The modular technology has the potential to address multiple previously untreatable IMDs by targeting the key cellular dysfunctions that underlie these conditions. This approach is expected to overcome important limitations of standard of care and has the potential to prevent the clinical progression of IMDs, VectivBio said in a statement.

There are already four distinct programs currently in research, with plans to enter the clinic with the first program in the next 18 months, the company added.

Under the terms of the agreement, VectivBio will acquire Comet Therapeutics in exchange for equity and cash, as well as additional milestone payments that were not disclosed.

“The acquisition of the CoMET platform is in line with our core mission of developing disease-modifying treatments for rare severe diseases,” Luca Santarelli, founder and chief executive officer of VectivBio, said in a statement. “The platform’s potential to deliver a pipeline of medicines that target the fundamental molecular pathophysiology of IMDs by unlocking previously inaccessible pathways, would provide us with the opportunity to transform the lives of these patients. We are eager to begin work on our new programs and look forward to progressing our first candidate towards the clinic.”

Elsewhere around the globe:

AlzeCure Pharma – Sweden’s AlzeCure Pharma AB received approval from Swedish regulators to initiate a Phase I study of ACD856 focused on Alzheimer’s disease. The Phase I study is AlzeCure’s third clinical study with ACD856, the lead candidate drug within the company’s NeuroRestore platform. ACD856 is being developed as a symptom-relieving treatment for disease states where the cognitive ability is impaired. The primary study goal is to evaluate ACD856’s tolerability and safety after repeated dosing, as well as to examine early signals on brain activity.

Meletios Therapeutics – French biotech Meletios Therapeutics announced a financial round that raised €3.8 million to accelerate its research programs aimed at identifying and developing a new generation of antiviral treatments. The financial infusion will allow Meletios to finalize a proof-of-concept study for its first product and will help the company to rapidly launch a first clinical trial, while pursuing the research and development of new innovative antiviral compounds.

TISSIUM – Also based in France, TISSIUM closed a Series C financing round that brought in €50 million from new and existing international investors. The financing will allow TISSIUM to continue to execute on its development plan, funding the company up to the commercialization of its leading nerve repair, hernia repair and cardiovascular sealant products.

CellCarta – Sweden-based CellCarta and Olink Proteomics AB announced a strategic collaboration that will provide Olink with Target 96 & Target 48 to pharmaceutical and biotech customers, advancing targeted protein biomarker quantification in clinical studies. With the acquisition of the first Olink Signature Q100 instruments and the collaborative support of Olink, CellCarta becomes the first global clinical CRO to offer the technology. The Olink platform offers a high-multiplex technique to quantify protein biomarkers that uses minimal clinical sample volume.

AC Immune – Switzerland’s AC Immune SA announced that Roche subsidiary Genentech saw positive data with its licensed anti-tau monoclonal antibody, semorinemab, in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Semorinemab met one of its co-primary endpoints in a clinical study, although a second co-primary endpoint was not met. Safety data showed that semorinemab is well tolerated with an acceptable safety profile and no unanticipated safety signals. Semorinemab demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in cognitive decline from baseline by 43.6% compared to placebo.

Immutep Limited – Australia-based Immutep announced its Chinese partner EOC Pharma will expand its clinical trial pipeline for eftilagimod alpha in that country. EOC is preparing to initiate a clinical trial of efti in combination with an anti-PD-1 therapy. The new trial is expected to commence in the first half of calendar year 2022. The new trial builds on the latest promising data presented by Immutep at ASCO 2021 and on EOC’s previously announced Phase II trial evaluating efti in combination with chemotherapy in metastatic breast cancer patients.

Relief Therapeutics – Switzerland’s RELIEF Therapeutics Holding announced additional findings in a Phase IIb/III study conducted by U.S. partner NRx Pharmaceuticals. The study assessed Zyesami (aviptadil) for the treatment of patients with acute Respiratory Failure due to Critical COVID-19. The new analysis shows that patients treated with Zyesami demonstrated improvement in blood oxygen, indicative of improved lung function, within a day of starting treatment. NRx will seek Breakthrough Therapy designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. If granted, RELIEF believes this could confer Priority Review to the aviptadil New Drug Application, when submitted.

FairJourney Biologics – Portugal-based FairJourney Biologics S.A. has relocated into a larger, newly purpose-built research center in Portugal. The new premises support the company’s expansion and plans for further growth. FairJourney Biologics now occupies over 200,000 square feet, with the new premises containing 140 fully equipped laboratories, meeting rooms and social areas, as well as green spaces and leisure areas to promote employee well-being. The state-of-the-art facility will house more projects and industry-leading equipment, enabling the company to support more clients and carry out world-class research into antibody-based drugs.