Xencor, Zenas BioPharma | November 22, 2021
Xencor, Inc. a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing engineered monoclonal antibodies and cytokines for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases, and Zenas BioPharma (“Zenas”), a global biopharmaceutical company based in the USA and China committed to the development and delivery of immune-based therapies, today announced that Zenas has acquired from Xencor exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize the investigational antibody obexelimab.
Obexelimab is a potential first-in-class bifunctional antibody that targets CD19 with its variable domain and uses Xencor's XmAb® Immune Inhibitor Fc Domain to target FcγRIIb, a receptor that inhibits the function of B-cells, which are important components in the immune system. Xencor demonstrated through early-stage clinical studies that obexelimab effectively inhibits B-cell function without depleting the cells and generates an encouraging treatment effect in patients with multiple autoimmune diseases.
“Zenas is advancing a broad pipeline of differentiated drug candidates that are intended to bring best-in-class innovation to patients with underserved medical needs. Today, we are pleased to add obexelimab to our portfolio, and based on its clinical profile, we believe it is positioned as a first-in-class candidate with the potential to treat numerous autoimmune diseases.”
Hua Mu, Ph.D., MD, president and chief executive officer at Zenas
“Obexelimab’s highly potent and broad blockade of B-cell activation—without depleting B cells—differentiates it from other B-cell targeting therapies, and it has demonstrated disease-modifying activity in settings where B-cell inhibition is a proven strategy,” said Bassil Dahiyat, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer at Xencor. “In Zenas BioPharma, we have found a partner committed to broadly and aggressively developing therapeutics like obexelimab for patients with autoimmune diseases, enabling Xencor’s continued focus on the growing opportunities provided by our XmAb bispecific antibody and cytokine pipeline.”
Under the terms of the new agreement, Zenas will issue to Xencor a warrant giving Xencor the right to acquire additional Zenas equity, such that Xencor’s total equity in Zenas would be 15% of its fully diluted capitalization following the closing of Zenas’ next round of equity financing, subject to certain requirements. Xencor previously received equity in Zenas under a separate license agreement. Xencor is also eligible to receive up to $480 million based on the achievement of certain clinical development, regulatory and commercialization milestones and is eligible to receive tiered, mid-single digit to mid-teen percent royalties upon commercialization of obexelimab, dependent on geography. Zenas will have sole responsibility for advancing the research, development, regulatory and commercial activities of obexelimab worldwide.
About Xencor, Inc.
Xencor is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing engineered monoclonal antibodies and cytokines for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. Currently, 22 candidates engineered with Xencor's XmAb® technology are in clinical development internally and with partners. Xencor's XmAb antibody engineering technology enables small changes to the structure of proteins resulting in new mechanisms of therapeutic action.
About Zenas BioPharma
Zenas BioPharma is a global biopharmaceutical company based in the USA and China committed to becoming a leader in the development and delivery of immune-based therapies for patients in the US, China and around the world. Zenas is rapidly advancing a deep pipeline of innovative therapeutics that continues to grow through our successful business development strategy. Our experienced leadership team and network of business partners drive operational excellence to deliver potentially transformative therapies to improve the lives of those facing autoimmune and rare diseases.
Xencor Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements contained in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking statements include statements that are not purely statements of historical fact, and can generally be identified by our use of words such as “potential,” “can,” “will,” “plan,” “may,” “could,” “would,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “seek,” “look forward,” “believe,” “committed,” “investigational,” and similar terms, or by express or implied discussions relating to the development of obexelimab as a potential treatment for patients with autoimmune diseases; the commercial potential of obexelimab; the safety, tolerability, efficacy and pharmacokinetics of obexelimab; the quotations from Xencor’s president and chief executive officer; and other statements that are not purely statements of historical fact. Such statements are made on the basis of the current beliefs, expectations, and assumptions of the management of Xencor and are subject to significant known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements and the timing of events to be materially different from those implied by such statements, and therefore these statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results. Such risks include, without limitation, the risks associated with the process of discovering, developing, manufacturing and commercializing drugs that are safe and effective for use as human therapeutics and other risks described in Xencor's public securities filings. For a discussion of these and other factors, please refer to Xencor's annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 as well as Xencor's subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. This caution is made under the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended to date. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement and Xencor undertakes no obligation to revise or update this press release to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, except as required by law.
Invitae | September 07, 2021
Invitae , a leading medical genetics company, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Ciitizen, a patient-centric consumer health tech company. Backed by a16z, Section 32 and Verily, Ciitizen is working to build a global platform to help patients collect, organize, store and share their medical records digitally. The acquisition would enhance Invitae's platform by providing patients an easy-to-use, centralized hub for their genomic and clinical information, which together comprise a powerful dataset with the potential to drive research and improve healthcare decision making.
"Invitae is relentlessly pursuing a day when genetics is used routinely to improve healthcare for billions of people around the globe. We believe combining Ciitizen's state-of-the-art, transparent and patient-consented platform with our technologies and services will accelerate our evolution into a genome information company that informs healthcare throughout one's life. This would give us the ability to engage patients, create an innovative patient-centered data ecosystem and deliver better outcomes for everyone. Invitae views the acquisition of Ciitizen as an important part of its strategy to be the industry leader across the genetic testing, software and health information technology spaces," said Sean George, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Invitae.
"Ciitizen has already helped patients take ownership of their medical records to optimize therapy for themselves and contribute their data towards a variety of goals, including research on rare diseases," said Anil Sethi, CEO and founder of Ciitizen. "Patients leave a breadcrumb trail of records behind them, and we believe access to this real-world data is key to personalized therapeutics in the future. The combination of lifelong health history together with Invitae's world-class genetic and data services would enable a digital ecosystem of personalized services for each patient. Democratization of patient-consented data is expected to improve outcomes by providing access to third-parties for whom the patient has granted consent. Unlike many health data companies, we operate on the premise that it's the patient's data, not ours."
Invitae is working to aggregate results from the world's genetic tests into a single, easy-to-use service that makes genetic information accessible to all who can benefit from it - always with patient consent. Over the past five years, Invitae has completed 13 acquisitions that have expanded its testing menu, lowered the cost of its tests, improved its customer experience and enhanced its ability to attract partners. Invitae raised more than $1.4 billion since the beginning of 2021, in part to identify and acquire key assets that bring the company closer to delivering on its vision.
The addition of Ciitizen is expected to empower Invitae to more quickly extend its platform, adding a complementary patient service that streamlines the process of collecting and organizing health information from any source and uses machine learning to transform the unstructured (and largely untapped) health information to enable better care decisions, find clinical trials, and power research using real-world evidence. In addition, as the use of Invitae testing and the Ciitizen service expands, third-party access to consented genomic and other clinical data can be democratized to power a variety of applications that can enhance Invitae's business and growth strategy.
Invitae Corporation is a leading medical genetics company, whose mission is to bring comprehensive genetic information into mainstream medicine to improve healthcare for billions of people. Invitae's goal is to aggregate the world's genetic tests into a single service with higher quality, faster turnaround time, and lower prices.
Ciitizen is a patient-centric consumer health technology platform that enables patients to collect, store and share their medical records in a single location. Ciitizen developed proprietary machine learning and AI technologies to abstract critical information from unstructured health records to advance the understanding of diseases, match patients with potentially life-saving clinical trials, and enable better care decisions. Ciitizen also provides valuable big data analytics and data quality technologies to the network of Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) to produce research-ready, regulatory-grade data within minutes, instead of hours or days, and ensure HIEs can comply with the Information Blocking regulations.
Xeris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | September 01, 2021
Xeris Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company leveraging its novel formulation technology platforms to develop and commercialize ready-to-use injectable drug formulations, today announced that the company has completed enrollment and successfully dosed all participants in a Phase 1 study of levothyroxine (XP-8121) to evaluate the pharmacokinetics, safety and tolerability, and potential for weekly dosing of the investigational, novel, subcutaneous (SC) injection for the treatment of hypothyroidism.
XP-8121 is a novel formulation that could potentially mitigate many of the challenges associated with oral formulations, such as identification of an ideal dose due to absorption variation and medication adherence for patients who have difficulty maintaining a stable, therapeutic serum level. Preclinical studies of SC XP-8121 showed a sustained plasma exposure profile and similar maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) when compared with equivalent doses of the oral formulation.
The Phase 1 clinical study of levothyroxine (XP-8121) is a single ascending dose crossover design in 30 healthy participants to compare matching doses of oral levothyroxine (Synthroid®) and subcutaneous (SC) XP-8121. The primary endpoints of the study are to characterize the absorption and elimination kinetics of XP-8121 and compare bioavailability of XP-8121 to oral levothyroxine. Secondary endpoints are safety and tolerability of XP-8121. The study is being conducted in partnership with Dr. Danielle Armas and Celerion, a leading contract research organization with extensive experience performing first-in-human studies.
“The potential for a once weekly subcutaneous injection of levothyroxine would represent a promising novel approach in treating patients with hypothyroidism. Drug non-compliance, resistant hypothyroidism, and limited GI absorption are some of the major reasons for treatment failure or suboptimal treatment with oral levothyroxine. These challenges could be mitigated by XP-8121 and translate into the long-term health benefit of achieving a euthyroid state for patients,” said Dr. Armas, Senior Principal Investigator, Celerion.
“Because our levothyroxine formulation enables a small volume SC injection, as an injectable maintenance therapy, it may facilitate less frequent dosing. This may provide clinical advantages over the established oral daily route, by providing predictable bioavailability, comparable safety, and ease of use,” said Dr. Ken Johnson, Xeris’ Senior Vice President of Global Development and Medical Affairs.
About Levothyroxine and Hypothyroidism.
The thyroid gland is responsible for the synthesis, storage, and release of metabolic hormones including thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) [Colucci et al, 2013]. These hormones are crucial in the regulation of critical metabolic processes and are vital for normal growth and development during fetal life, infancy, and childhood. Therapeutically, levothyroxine is administered when the body is deficient in the endogenous hormone. The goal of therapy is restoration of the euthyroid state which can reverse the clinical manifestations of hypothyroidism and significantly improve quality of life [Winther et al, 2016]. The treatment of choice for correction of hypothyroidism is levothyroxine, which is the mainstay of thyroid hormone replacement therapy. It is one of the most widely prescribed drug products in the United States, but the complexity of maintaining biochemical and clinical euthyroidism in patients undergoing treatment with oral levothyroxine cannot be underestimated. It has been reported that nearly 40% of patients undergoing treatment with oral levothyroxine are either over- or under-treated [Laurent et al, 2018] due to factors that include, but are not limited to, drug formulation, use of the drug with food, adherence to the drug, use of concomitant medications, and pre-existing medical conditions. Many patients failing to reach target TSH levels are generally managed by simply increasing their levothyroxine daily dose [Chiovato et al, 2019]. However, levothyroxine is a drug with a narrow therapeutic index [Vita et al, 2014], meaning that relatively small deviations from the proper dose can cause a clinically meaningful shift in pharmacological effects when administered to a patient; thus, the titration of levothyroxine oral drug may be a tailored and incremental process.
About Xeris Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Xeris is a pharmaceutical company delivering innovative solutions to simplify the experience of administering important therapies that people rely on every day around the world. With a novel technology platform that enables ready-to-use, room-temperature stable formulations of injectable drug, the company is advancing a portfolio of solutions in various therapeutic categories, including its first commercial product, Gvoke® in the U.S. Its proprietary XeriSol™ and XeriJect™ formulation technologies have the potential to offer distinct advantages over conventional product formulations, including eliminating the need for reconstitution, enabling long-term, room-temperature stability, significantly reducing injection volume, and eliminating the requirement for intravenous (IV) infusion. With Xeris’ technology, new product formulations are designed to be easier to use by patients, caregivers, and health practitioners and help reduce costs for payers and the healthcare system. Xeris is headquartered in Chicago, IL.