BlackRock and QLS Advisors | July 19, 2022
BlackRock and QLS Advisors LLC, a life sciences technology and advisory firm, have announced a partnership through BlackRock Systematic to develop data-driven investment solutions to help accelerate biomedical innovation. The partnership will leverage the firms’ combined Research and Development and investment experience, directing funding toward public and private companies that have the potential to create transformative therapies while seeking to earn attractive investment returns for clients.
Biomedicine is at an inflection point: breakthrough therapies—with the potential to extend longevity and improve quality of life—are emerging at an ever-increasing pace. Funding these therapeutic development programs has the potential to deliver attractive investment returns, but as biomedicine has grown more complex, so have the risks to investors.
QLS has developed proprietary technology for estimating the probability of success of clinical trials, a key driver of financial performance, and systematically incorporating these forecasts into fundamental valuation models and portfolio construction algorithms. Their approach applies machine learning techniques to a multitude of predictive factors including therapeutic characteristics, clinical trial design features, disease-specific characteristics, and drug company track records.
This methodology, coupled with BlackRock Systematic’s global platform, proprietary analytics, and more than 35 years1 of data-driven investment experience, presents a differentiated approach to investing in life sciences companies.
“BlackRock’s partnership with QLS applies sophisticated quantitative investment technologies to the intersection of finance, academia, and life sciences. QLS brings an industry-leading approach to investing in life sciences that complements the work that BlackRock Systematic is doing in our actively managed portfolios. We expect this will create compelling, differentiated solutions that can deliver attractive returns for our clients while providing funding for life-changing therapies.”
Rich Kushel, Head of the Portfolio Management Group BlackRock
Andrew Lo, QLS Co-founder and Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management commented: “We founded QLS to improve the way financial resources are allocated to emerging therapies, with the goal of lowering the cost of capital in this important sector. With BlackRock, we gain a partner who is a recognized leader in data-driven investing and shares our passion for delivering investment returns with positive outcomes for society. We’re thrilled and honored to join forces with a firm that has such a strong and trusted global brand, broad network, and access to world-class investment resources.”
BlackRock and QLS have also assembled a Scientific Advisory Council comprising renowned academics, medical doctors, and inventors. The Council will support sourcing, due diligence, and value creation through the members’ vast networks and decades of experience as industry leaders in their respective fields. The Council is expected to include
Dr. Robert Langer, Institute Professor, MIT Department of Chemical Engineering, and founder of over 40 biotechnology companies including Moderna.
Ms. Lita Nelsen, retired director of the MIT Technology Licensing Office; now consultant in technology licensing.
Dr. Larry Norton, Senior Vice President, Norna S. Sarofim Chair in Clinical Oncology and Medical Director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Past President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, ASCO David Karnofsky Awardee, FASCO, FAACR.
Dr. Richard H. Scheller, Chairman of Research and Development BridgeBio. Board of Directors BridgeBio, Alector, 23andMe, DICE and others. Former Executive Vice President Research and Early Development Genentech and former HHMI Investigator and Professor Stanford University Medical School.
Dr. Phillip A. Sharp, Institute Professor, MIT Department of Biology, geneticist and molecular biologist who co-discovered RNA splicing, co-founded Biogen and Alnylam, and the recipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
About BlackRock Systematic
BlackRock’s systematic investment platform brings together BlackRock’s community of systematic investors across equity, fixed income, and factor-based strategies. Systematic portfolios combine cutting-edge technology, scientific research, and human insight in the relentless pursuit of investment performance. With over 35 years of experience and nearly 200 professionals across the globe managing over US$200 bn in client assets as of March 31, 2022, BlackRock Systematic partners with clients to deliver quantitative alpha-seeking and factor-based investment solutions for the whole portfolio.
About QLS Advisors LLC
QLS Advisors LLC is a life sciences technology and advisory company based in Cambridge, MA, dedicated to fostering biomedical innovation. QLS employs a unique blend of fundamental and quantitative tools to help clients manage risk, assess reward, and develop investment and financing strategies for portfolios of healthcare-related assets.
Antengene Corporation Limited | June 27, 2022
Antengene Corporation Limited a leading innovative, commercial-stage global biopharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercializing first-in-class and/or best-in-class therapeutics in hematology and oncology, today announced that it has entered into a clinical trial collaboration with BeiGene to evaluate the safety, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and preliminary efficacy of selinexor in combination with BeiGene's anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor, tislelizumab. This multi-center, open-label Phase I/II trial will evaluate the investigational combination as a potential treatment option for patients with T and NK-cell lymphoma.
"We are delighted to partner with BeiGene, a company that strives for innovation and excellence, and is committed to developing best-in-class or first-in-class anti-cancer therapies for patients across the globe. These qualities are very similar to those of our vision at Antengene. We look forward to advancing the combination of selinexor and tislelizumab to clinical development. With good data we will be able to bring this treatment regimen to patients with T and NK-cell lymphoma, diseases that are endemic in Asia but underserved by current therapies."
Dr. Jay Mei, Antengene's Founder, Chairman and CEO
"At Antengene, we believe that the combinational use of immuno-oncology drugs and Selective Inhibitor of Nuclear Export compounds possesses huge potential as novel treatment regimens for cancer patients," said Dr. Kevin Lynch, Antengene's Chief Medical Officer. "The mechanism of action of selinexor in inhibiting the nuclear export protein XPO1 facilitates the intranuclear accumulation of tumor suppressors, making it a good partner in multiple combination treatment regimens. Preclinical research we conducted demonstrated that selinexor combined with a checkpoint inhibitor increased anti-tumor activity in multiple tumor models. In addition, deep and durable responses were also seen in multiple case reports of patients with T and NK-cell lymphoma treated with selinexor in combination with an anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor. We hope to confirm that selinexor can synergize with tislelizumab to deliver an effective treatment regimen and help address the huge unmet medical needs in T and NK-cell lymphoma in the Asia Pacific regions and around the world." continued Dr. Lynch.
Tislelizumab is a PD-1 inhibitor designed to help aid the body's immune cells to detect and fight tumors. Tislelizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody, is specifically designed to minimize binding to FcγR on macrophages. In pre-clinical studies, binding to FcγR on macrophages has been shown to compromise the anti-tumor activity of PD-1 antibodies through activation of antibody-dependent macrophage-mediated killing of T effector cells.
About T and NK-Cell Lymphoma
T and NK-cell lymphoma is a set of heterogeneous diseases, accounting for 25-30% of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma cases in China and only about 10% in USA and Europe. There has been little improvement in the past decade when compared to B-cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (B-NHL) as 5-year overall survival rate was only 30% in most common subtypes. The unmet medical needs remain as agents with new mechanism of action to be explored and possibility to improve the treatment paradigm for the disease.
About the SINE Compounds
Selective Inhibitor of Nuclear Export compounds are inhibitors of the major nuclear export protein Exportin 1 Currently, there are three oral SINE compounds, ATG-010 ATG-016 and ATG-527, under clinical development. Antengene has obtained exclusive development and commercialisation rights from Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc. to these three compounds in certain APAC markets.
XPOVIO® is the world's first approved orally-available, selective inhibitor of the nuclear export protein XPO1. It offers a novel mechanism of action, synergistic effects in combination regimens, fast onset of action, and durable responses.
XPOVIO® is approved in Australia for two indications
In combination with bortezomib and dexamethasone for the treatment of adult patients with multiple myeloma (MM) who have received at least one prior therapy.
In combination with dexamethasone for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma who have received at least three prior therapies and whose disease is refractory to at least one proteasome inhibitor at least one immunomodulatory agent, and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody.
XPOVIO® is approved in Singapore for three indications
In combination with bortezomib and dexamethasone for treatment of adult patients with multiple myeloma (MM) who have received at least one prior therapy.
In combination with dexamethasone for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma (R/R MM) who have received at least four prior therapies and whose disease is refractory to at least two proteasome inhibitors, at least two immunomodulatory agents, and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody.
As a monotherapy for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (R/R DLBCL), not otherwise specified, including DLBCL arising from follicular lymphoma, after at least 2 lines of systemic therapy who are not eligible for haematopoietic cell transplant.
Antengene Corporation Limited is a leading commercial-stage R&D-driven global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, manufacturing and commercialization of innovative first-in-class/best-in-class therapeutics for the treatment of hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, in realizing its vision of "Treating Patients Beyond Borders".
BeiGene is a global, science-driven biotechnology company focused on developing innovative and affordable medicines to improve treatment outcomes and access for patients worldwide. With a broad portfolio of more than 40 clinical candidates, we are expediting development of our diverse pipeline of novel therapeutics through our own capabilities and collaborations. We are committed to radically improving access to medicines for two billion more people by 2030. BeiGene has a growing global team of over 8,000 colleagues across five continents.
Simulations Plus, Inc. | August 08, 2022
Simulations Plus, Inc. a leading provider of modeling and simulation software and services for pharmaceutical safety and efficacy, announced it has entered a new collaboration with a large pharmaceutical company to extend the industry’s top-rated machine learning models for the prediction of ionization constants (pKa) in the ADMET Predictor® platform.
In this collaboration, the partner company will contribute tens of thousands of proprietary pKa measurements. The team at Simulations Plus will aim to leverage the expansive databases to improve the accuracy of predictions, and extend the chemical coverage space, using its novel machine learning and atomic descriptor calculation methods.
“The ionization of molecules in water impacts nearly all properties driving the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination processes which occur in vivo and determine whether a molecule can be turned into a drug. We identified early the importance of accurately, and rapidly, predicting this information using machine learning approaches and were fortunate to benefit from government grants and other collaborations over the years to develop novel 2D pKa models which have consistently outperformed other software and are on par with the accuracy of the best computationally intensive ab initio methods. This new partnership will enhance our current approaches and further distinguish ADMET Predictor as the preeminent property prediction platform in the drug discovery space. We value the trust and confidence our partner has in the people and technologies at Simulations Plus, and our team is looking forward to working with them to achieve our mutual goals.”
Dr. Robert Fraczkiewicz, Research Fellow and project lead
“The surging popularity of our pKa models and associated ionization-related property predictions, coupled with the seamless integration with the GastroPlus® platform in our high-throughput pharmacokinetic simulation technology, have contributed to the accelerated adoption of ADMET Predictor at the interface between discovery and development,” added Dr. Eric Jamois, director for key accounts and strategic alliances. “This new collaborative effort will combine the strengths of both companies and result in significant advancements for predictive modeling. Simulations Plus ensures that improvements made to ADMET Predictor are available for all clients to apply to their research activities, and we continue to invite future collaborations which benefit our entire user community and, most importantly, the patients that we serve.”
About Simulations Plus
Serving clients worldwide for more than 25 years, Simulations Plus is a leading provider in the biosimulation market providing software and consulting services supporting drug discovery, development, research, and regulatory submissions. We offer solutions that bridge machine learning, physiologically based pharmacokinetics, quantitative systems pharmacology/toxicology, and population PK/PD modeling approaches. Our technology is licensed and applied by major pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and regulatory agencies worldwide.
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