BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Cyclenium Pharma and Vuja De Sciences Announce Oncology Drug Discovery Collaboration

Cyclenium Pharma | January 06, 2022

Cyclenium Pharma, Inc. an emerging pharmaceutical company specializing in the discovery and development of novel therapeutic agents based on their proprietary macrocyclic chemistry, and Vuja De Sciences, Inc. a biotechnology startup dedicated to discovering therapies that target the unique vulnerability of undetected disseminated tumor cells before they can cause deadly metastatic cancer recurrence, have announced today the signing of a drug discovery collaboration agreement. The companies will screen and optimize lead candidates to advance treatments uniquely suited for preventing cancer metastatic recurrence, the biggest unmet need in oncology.

The collaboration will exploit Vuja De’s proprietary anti-metastatic progression in vitro and ex vivo drug discovery screening platform and Cyclenium’s proprietary QUEST™ Library of next generation synthetic small-molecule macrocycles and associated optimization expertise to identify clinical candidates effective against dormant disseminated tumor cells for the prevention of metastatic cancer recurrence. Vuja De will be responsible for all screening efforts, while Cyclenium will be responsible for all medicinal chemistry efforts to generate new optimized macrocyclic compounds by employing its unique CMRT™ Technology.

We are very excited about entering this collaboration with Vuja De. We are confident that our CMRT™ Technology and proven success in the macrocycle area combined with the innovative anti-metastatic progression platform and excellent research team at Vuja De will enable the discovery and development of novel macrocyclic therapeutic agents to effectively control metastatic progression.”

 Helmut Thomas, Ph.D., President, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Scientific Officer of Cyclenium

“We highly appreciate Cyclenium’s expertise in the macrocycle area and their technology platform that is based on over 20 years of pioneering experience in small molecule macrocyclic chemistry,” said David Warshawsky, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Vuja De. “We are very pleased to work with Cyclenium on identifying and developing novel game-changing drug candidates that prevent metastatic recurrence, the most urgent need of most cancer patients,” he added.

About Cyclenium Pharma
Cyclenium Pharma is an emerging, privately held pharmaceutical research and development company exploiting its proprietary next generation CMRT™ macrocyclic drug discovery technology for the discovery and development of novel small molecule therapeutic agents to address areas of unsatisfied medical need. Cyclenium is creating value through progression of internal programs in oncology, infectious diseases and inflammation/pain. In addition, Cyclenium is providing its extensive experience and exploring its CMRT-based QUEST™ screening library in risk-sharing partnerships with leading academic and research driven non-profit organizations, as well as collaborations with innovative pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies world-wide seeking to modulate unique and difficult disease targets in diverse therapeutic areas. 

About Vuja De Sciences
Vuja De is a biotechnology startup company dedicated to discovering and developing therapies that target the unique vulnerability of undetected disseminated tumor cells before they can cause deadly metastatic cancer recurrence. This vulnerability of DTCs stems from their dependence on a unique phenotype that includes stress adaptation, survival & dormancy, which we have coined “Metastatic Endurance”. ME enables DTCs to persist undetected at secondary sites like “ticking time-bombs” and eventually start to rapidly divide and form overt deadly tumors. We successfully created the first-ever cell-based and ex vivo drug screening platform that finds drugs that target ME. We are using the largely adolescent, orphan disease, osteosarcoma, as the best proof of concept model for developing anti metastatic progression drugs for many cancers such as breast, melanoma and kidney. We are testing repurposed drugs that have previously been in clinical trials, as well as novel preclinical drugs. 

About Osteosarcoma
Osteosarcoma is an aggressive cancer of the bone and is the most common type of bone cancer in children and teens. Since metastatic recurrence has shared biological mechanism in many other cancer types, therapies that show promise in osteosarcoma can be developed in parallel for many other cancer types, such as breast, kidney and melanoma. Despite successful control of the primary osteosarcoma tumors and follow-up chemotherapy, metastasis continues to be the most common cause of mortality. The last 30 years have brought little improvement in survival outcomes for children with osteosarcoma, despite intensification of therapy. Due to lack of improved outcomes, new approaches to therapy are highly needed. Furthermore, if targeted therapeutics are found to prevent metastasis in this cancer, a strong biological rationale would exist for the evaluation of such a therapy in other human cancers.

Spotlight

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz and her team at the University of Cambridge have developed a way to grow embryos in vitro for up to 14 days, double the time it has previously been possible to keep the embryos alive in the lab. This will allow scientists to study embryos past the time they would normally implant in the womb, giving invaluable insight into the development of the early embryo.

Spotlight

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz and her team at the University of Cambridge have developed a way to grow embryos in vitro for up to 14 days, double the time it has previously been possible to keep the embryos alive in the lab. This will allow scientists to study embryos past the time they would normally implant in the womb, giving invaluable insight into the development of the early embryo.

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PHARMACY MARKET

LIDDS Next Step with NanoZolid® formulated docetaxel

LIDDS AB | February 22, 2022

LIDDS AB announced that the next step in the development of NanoZolid®-formulated docetaxel will be to conduct a short clinical study to understand the immunological effects observed in the Phase I clinical study NZ-DTX-001. In the NZ DTX-001 study, activation of systemic inflammatory biomarkers was observed, which can provide improved conditions for treatment with so-called checkpoint inhibitors and result in treatment effect in non-injected tumors. In the clinical phase I study with nanodotax, which ended in October 2021, an activation of systemic inflammatory biomarkers was observed, which may open up the possibility of a combination therapy with so-called checkpoint inhibitors in cancer immunotherapy. Clinical studies have shown that systemically administered docetaxel significantly improves the response to treatment with checkpoint inhibitors. If LIDDS can show a similar effect with locally administered nanodotax but without systemic side effects, which risk inhibiting the specific immune response against the tumors, both improved efficacy and safety could be achieved. LIDDS has shown in preclinical studies that locally administered nanodotax has as good effect as systemically administered docetaxel but without systemic side effects. In order to provide a better foundation for decision-making in the clinical development of nanodotax, LIDDS has chosen to take over the sponsorship of the previously approved investigator driven trial on prostate cancer patients. The study provides an important analysis opportunity of the immunological response as the included patients will have their prostate surgically removed, which can be analyzed in detail. The study is planned to be conducted at one clinical site and is expected to include ten patients. “Based on the exciting activation of immunoregulatory molecules we saw in the Phase I study, it is important to confirm the mechanism of action of nanodotax. The increased understanding of the mechanism will more promptly lead us to the right form of treatment and patient group. The results may possibly also pave the way for more effective combination treatments, which is considered crucial for the commercial positioning of nanodotax and it justifies a further study” Nina Herne, CEO of LIDDS In December 2021, LIDDS announced the top-line data of the clinical Phase I study NZ-DTX-001. It was demonstrated that NanoZolid® in combination with docetaxel was safe and well tolerated, reaching the primary endpoint of the trial. The data also showed that the systemic docetaxel exposure was low and that activity in injected lesions was observed. Patients receiving docetaxel showed activation of systemic inflammatory biomarkers that are considered important for efficient recruitment and activation of immune effector cells and for creating a good environment for treatments with immune-modulating drugs such as check-point inhibitors. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the aforementioned contact person, on February 21, 2022 at 16.30 CET. LIDDS AB (publ) is a Swedish-based pharmaceutical company with a unique drug delivery technology NanoZolid®. NanoZolid® is a clinically validated drug development technology and superior in its ability to provide a controlled and sustained release of active drug substances for up to six months. LIDDS has licensing agreements where NanoZolid is combined with antiandrogens and in-house development projects in clinical and preclinical phase for cytostatics and immunoactive agents. LIDDS (LIDDS) shares are listed on Nasdaq First North Growth Market. Redeye AB, certifiedadviser@redeye.se, +46 (0)8 121 576 90, is a certified adviser to LIDDS.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Astorg to Acquire Global Medical Communications and Market Access Platform OPEN Health From Amulet Capital Partners

Astorg and Amulet Capital Partners | June 01, 2022

Astorg and Amulet Capital Partners announce that they have signed a binding agreement whereby Astorg will acquire OPEN Health, a leading global provider of scientific communications and market access services to the pharmaceutical industry. Established in 2011 and headquartered in London, UK, OPEN Health is a key partner to its customers in helping them develop strategies for evidence generation and data communication by leveraging their extensive scientific knowledge and relentless focus on quality. Together, this approach consistently delivers best-in-class scientific communications, health economics and outcomes research (HEOR) and market access services to an ever-increasing audience. OPEN Health has more than 1,000 employees in 15 locations and six countries, across North America, Europe and Asia. OPEN Health serves over 170 life sciences customers, including 48 of the top 50 pharmaceutical companies. OPEN Health’s existing management team, led by CEO Rob Barker, will continue to lead the organization, building on a strong track-record of organic growth and strategic acquisitions. "We are excited to build on the momentum across our business and to continue executing with our new partners at Astorg on a shared long-term vision to bring deep scientific solutions that support our clients in driving positive health outcomes. We are grateful for the strong partnership of the Amulet team over the last three and a half years and for all that we have accomplished in expanding our industry-leading capabilities across disciplines. We continue to be very well positioned to drive innovation and growth, and we look forward to embarking on this next chapter for OPEN Health." Rob Barker, CEO, OPEN Health Building on OPEN Health’s leading service offerings, Astorg will invest in the development of the business across its main existing offerings, and beyond, to continue delivering best-in-class scientific content to OPEN Health’s customer base and help them harness the full value of their most important assets. "OPEN Health is a very impressive company. We have been following the development of the medical affairs space for a long time as the function evolved from a supportive to a central role and identified OPEN Health as a global leader in the making. We have been impressed with its outstanding reputation and the trust it benefits from its customer base,” said Judith Charpentier, Partner and Head of Healthcare, Astorg. “We look forward to supporting Rob and the OPEN Health management team in continuing to build a global leading scientific focused medical affairs platform, expanding the platform through both organic initiatives and additional strategic acquisitions,” said Olivier Lieven, Director, Astorg. Ramsey Frank, President and Managing Partner of Amulet, said, “OPEN Health was built around Amulet’s investment thesis in medical affairs: the current generation of drugs is fundamentally different from prior generations, and these therapies need to be brought to market with the support of high science communications and data analytics. We brought OPEN Health together very intentionally via three acquisitions to create a purpose-built suite of services to meet pharma’s evolving needs.” Amulet Partner Nick Amigone continued, “We could not be more grateful to Rob Barker and his team for the outstanding job they have done in building a true industry leader.” The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals. Houlihan Lokey served as financial advisor to OPEN Health and Rothschild & Co advised Astorg on the transaction. About OPEN Health OPEN Health brings together deep scientific knowledge, global understanding, and broad specialist expertise to support our clients in improving health outcomes and patient wellbeing. We are united as one flexible organization, harnessing the power of the collective to solve complex challenges. About Astorg Astorg is a European private equity firm with over €17 billion of assets under management. Astorg works with entrepreneurs and management teams to acquire market leading global companies headquartered in Europe or the US, providing them with the strategic guidance, governance and capital they need to achieve their growth plans. Enjoying a distinct entrepreneurial culture, a long-term shareholder perspective and a lean decision-making body, Astorg has valuable industry expertise in healthcare, software, technology, business services and technology-based industrial companies. Astorg has offices in London, Paris, New York, Frankfurt, Milan and Luxembourg. About Amulet Capital Partners, LP Amulet Capital Partners, LP is a middle-market private equity investment firm based in Greenwich, CT, focused exclusively on the healthcare sector. Amulet seeks to achieve long-term capital appreciation through privately negotiated investments in companies. Amulet Capital Partners focuses on those segments it believes have the most attractive long-term fundamentals with a target investment size generally between $25 million to $150 million.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Iktos and Zealand Pharma to Develop Artificial Intelligence Technology for Peptide Drug Design

Iktos | June 22, 2022

Iktos, a company specialized in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design, announced a research collaboration with Zealand Pharma A/S a biotechnology company changing lives with innovative peptide-based medicines to co-develop generative and predictive AI technologies for peptide drug design. Iktos’ AI technology, based on a comprehensive data-driven chemical structure generation technology, brings new insights into the drug discovery process. This technology automatically designs virtual novel molecules with all the characteristics of a successful drug molecule. Iktos has recently diversified its R&D efforts into the development of an AI technology for peptide-based therapeutics and has developed state-of-the-art generative and predictive models to facilitate design of novel peptide therapeutics with desired properties. Zealand Pharma A/S has a track record of successfully inventing and developing novel peptide-based drugs. This success is based on the extensive experience in improving the therapeutic characteristics of peptides. Zealand Pharma has a keen interest in expanding its computational chemistry toolbox to include AI and machine learning based approaches for the design of novel therapeutic peptides. Under the agreement, Zealand will contribute its expertise in peptide drug discovery to Iktos’ generative modelling technologies and expertise in machine learning and AI. “We are very pleased to join forces with Zealand Pharma and leverage their deep know-how in peptide therapeutics with our state-of-the-art existing technology assets to peptide drug discovery. We look forward to working with Zealand’s experienced R&D team to build leading/state of the art peptide generative and predictive modelling technology in the field of peptides - a new area for Iktos.” Yann Gaston-Mathé, President and CEO of Iktos About IKTOS Incorporated in October 2016, Iktos is a French start-up company specialized in the development of artificial intelligence solutions applied to chemical research, more specifically medicinal chemistry and new drug design. Iktos is developing a proprietary and innovative solution based on deep learning generative models, which enables, using existing data, to design molecules that are optimized in silico to meet all the success criteria of a small molecule discovery project. The use of Iktos technology enables major productivity gains in upstream pharmaceutical R&D. Iktos offers its technology both as professional services and as a SaaS software platform, Makya™. Iktos is also developing Spaya™, a synthesis planning software based upon Iktos’s proprietary AI technology for retrosynthesis. Iktos has recently diversified its R&D efforts into the development of an AI technology for peptide-based therapeutics and has developed state-of-the-art generative and predictive models to facilitate design of novel peptide therapeutics with desired properties.

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