Merck | September 22, 2022
Merck, a leading science and technology company, announced a collaboration agreement with licensing option with Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l. for the next-generation highly selective and brain-penetrant PARP1 inhibitor, NMS-293. NMS-293 has strong potential in combination with a wide variety of DNA-damaging agents, including systemic or targeted chemotherapy or with DNA damage response inhibitors, in numerous tumor types. NMS-293 is in early clinical development for the treatment of patients with BRCA-mutated tumors as a single agent and in combination with temozolomide in recurrent glioblastoma.
“Building on the therapeutic impact that PARP inhibitors have had over the last several years, we believe this new PARP1 program, if successful, could fill a significant unmet need for patients unresponsive to existing PARP inhibitors with an improved hematological adverse event profile. The work of NMS to discover and advance this next generation PARP1 selective inhibitor coupled with our deep expertise in developing therapies which modify DNA damage response mechanisms, creates a strong foundation to further develop this investigational therapy for patients.”
Victoria Zazulina, M.D., Head of Development Unit Oncology for the Healthcare business of Merck
PARP is key in the repair of DNA damage, and PARP inhibitors have been shown to be highly efficacious in the treatment of patients with tumors deficient in homologous recombination repair, such as breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancers with BRCA-mutations.
Under the current agreement, Merck will make early payments (up-front and option exercise fees) of up to $65 million to NMS. Furthermore, NMS will receive payments for the achievement of certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones and tiered royalties on net sales by Merck. Upon exercise of the option, NMS will grant to Merck the exclusive rights to research, develop, manufacture, and commercialize NMS-293.
During the option period, NMS and Merck will collaborate on the clinical development of NMS-293, with NMS designing, sponsoring, conducting, and funding global clinical trials.
NMS-293 is an orally available small molecule inhibitor of PARP1 and is currently in early clinical development for the treatment of patients with BRCA mutated tumors as single agent and with recurrent Glioblastoma (GBM), a brain tumor with very high medical need, in combination with temozolomide (TMZ).
Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across life science, healthcare and electronics. More than 60,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2021, Merck generated sales of € 19.7 billion in 66 countries.
Asahi Kasei | October 17, 2022
Asahi Kasei Pharma, subsidiary of diversified Japanese multinational company Asahi Kasei, is publicly calling for new proposals for drug development research as part of its efforts for open innovation to promote pharmaceutical research and development through enhanced cooperation with universities, research institutes and enterprises around the world. The application period begins at 5:00 a.m. GMT on January 5, 2023 and ends at 8:00 a.m. GMT on February 28, 2023.
Asahi Kasei Pharma established its Open Innovation Department in October 2016 with the mission to further strengthen and enhance global licensing and alliance-building activities, and has since funded around 5 proposals per year on average with a total of over 20 funded proposals for state-of-the-art pharmaceutical drug developments as well as collected a wealth of creative new ideas. The Open Innovation team is seeking to fund innovative proposals from researchers around the world for up to US$200,000 per year, per project for this upcoming round in 2023. Asahi Kasei Pharma will then pursue joint research opportunities with the drug discovery researchers together with their parent institutions in hopes to create new innovative drugs for diseases that currently have unmet needs or pioneer new platform technologies for drug discovery.
Asahi Kasei Pharma has demonstrated a successful track record in developing new drugs in the realms of autoimmune, renal, neurological, and bone disease, so the organization can provide the greatest contribution from correlating research areas and subjects.
"Asahi Kasei Pharma believes that nobody should have to give up what they would like to do because of illness. We believe great science comes from working together, and we are excited for the opportunity to accomplish this mission with researchers all over the world.”
Osamu Matsuzaki, Primary Executive Officer and Head of R&D and Business Development at Asahi Kasei Pharma
Open Innovation works to establish research collaborations related to innovative drug targets and candidate drug compounds up to the preclinical stage as well as advanced drug discovery technologies. Advancements in exploring a new mechanism of action for treating refractory autoimmune disease is one of the most promising outcomes of the research so far, with many more on the horizon. Asahi Kasei believes that these continued efforts to advance drug discovery and research technology will further contribute to life and living for people around the world.
About Asahi Kasei
The Asahi Kasei Group contributes to life and living for people around the world. Since its foundation in 1922 with ammonia and cellulose fiber businesses, Asahi Kasei has consistently grown through the proactive transformation of its business portfolio to meet the evolving needs of every age. With more than 46,000 employees around the world, the company contributes to a sustainable society by providing solutions to the world's challenges through its three business sectors of Material, Homes, and Health Care. Its health care operations include devices and systems for acute critical care, dialysis, therapeutic apheresis, transfusion, and manufacture of biotherapeutics, as well as pharmaceuticals and diagnostic reagents.
NeuroBo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | September 16, 2022
NeuroBo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Dong-A ST Co., Ltd. announced that they have entered into a conditional exclusive license agreement for NeuroBo to develop and commercialize DA-1241 and DA-1726, which are currently being evaluated for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis obesity and type 2 diabetes.
DA-1241 is a novel G-Protein-Coupled Receptor 119 agonist, which promotes the release of key gut peptides GLP-1, GIP and PYY, which, in turn, play an important role in glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism and weight loss. DA-1241 is a synthetic, selective small molecule, suitable for oral administration and has been shown to be well tolerated in phase 1 studies. Further, its multimodal mechanism appears to induce strong anti-NASH effects, supported by potential best-in-class efficacy, as demonstrated in pre-clinical studies.
DA-1726 is a novel oxyntomodulin analogue functioning as a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor and glucagon receptor dual agonist. OXM is a naturally-occurring, 37-amino acid peptide hormone that is released from the gut after ingestion of a meal, activating both the GLP-1 and glucagon receptors, prompting reduced food intake as well as an increase in energy expenditure, potentially resulting in superior body weight loss compared to selective GLP-1 receptor agonists. The beneficial effects of this dual mechanism of DA-1726 on weight loss compared to selective GLP-1 activity has been demonstrated in animal models. Additionally, DA-1726 has shown the ability to improve hepatic steatosis, inflammation and fibrosis when compared to the GLP-1 agonist, semaglutide in these same models.
Under the license agreement, NeuroBo will be responsible for global development, regulatory and commercial activities other than for certain Asian-Pacific geographies. Dong-A will manufacture clinical supplies and initial commercial supplies of the product at its manufacturing facility in Korea.
"The acquisition of these two cardiometabolic assets marks a seismic shift for NeuroBo, providing us with a highly promising, diversified pipeline with several upcoming value inflection points in the NASH and obesity space -- areas with enormous market opportunity," stated Gil Price, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of NeuroBo. "Through this agreement, Dong-A, one of our largest shareholders, has reaffirmed its commitment to remain a long-term strategic partner of NeuroBo. Dong-A is dedicated to our success and we are grateful it has also committed to provide continued support to facilitate the clinical development of the licensed assets. Once the transaction has closed, which is contingent upon certain closing conditions, we will be uniquely positioned to initiate a phase 2a study of DA-1241 in NASH in the first half of 2023, with data expected in the second half of 2024. We also intend to initiate a phase 1a safety study of DA-1726 in the first half of 2023, for which data is expected in the second half of 2023. We are truly excited about the prospects of NeuroBo as we transition to a cardiometabolic company across the large and growing markets of obesity and NASH."
"We are highly enthusiastic about this opportunity to accelerate development of our novel treatments in partnership with NeuroBo. Dong-A plans to continue to strengthen its R&D capability and to seek additional collaboration opportunities to establish ourselves in the US market",
Min Young Kim, Chief Executive Officer of Dong-A
About the Proposed Licensing Transaction
Under the terms of the license agreement, Dong-A will receive an upfront payment of $22 million in Series A convertible preferred stock, which will automatically convert into common stock upon receipt of requisite stockholder approval, and will be eligible to receive commercial- and regulatory-based milestone payments, dependent upon the achievement of specific regulatory and commercial developments. Dong-A will also be entitled to single digit royalties on net sales of the two assets. Dong-A has also agreed to commit $15,000,000 toward financing the assets, subject to NeuroBo's ability to obtain additional financing under the terms of the license agreement.
The license agreement has been approved by the board of directors of NeuroBo. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022, subject to obtaining third party financing for development of the assets and other customary closing conditions.
About NeuroBo Pharmaceuticals
NeuroBo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company historically focused on therapies for neurodegenerative, infectious, and, upon closing of the license agreement, cardiometabolic diseases. Its therapeutics programs currently include ANA001, an oral niclosamide formulation, which is in Phase 2/3 clinical trials to treat patients with moderate coronavirus disease (COVID-19); NB-01 for the treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy; NB-02 for the treatment of symptoms of cognitive impairment and to modify the progression of neurodegenerative diseases associated with the malfunction of tau protein; and gemcabene currently being assessed as an acute treatment for COVID-19 in combination with ANA001. NeuroBo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.
Dong-A ST Co. is a leading healthcare company in South Korea with a business focus on developing, manufacturing and distributing pharmaceutical products and medical devices worldwide. Dong-A has successfully developed and marketed several products globally and continues to develop prospective clinical candidates. Dong-A also provides licensed-in and licensed-out drugs, and medical devices, including high-technology medical devices, custom-made products, and sets of artificial cardiac circuits for use in open-heart surgery. Dong-A has over 5,500 employees including 2,300 in the pharmaceutical sector. Dong-A was founded in 1932 and is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea.