Advaxis and Ayala Pharmaceuticals | October 20, 2022
Ayala Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a clinical-stage oncology company focused on developing and commercializing small molecule therapeutics for patients suffering from rare tumors and aggressive cancers and Advaxis, Inc. a biotechnology company devoted to the discovery, development and commercialization of immunotherapies based on a technology which uses engineered Listeria monocytogenes, today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement. The merger would result in a combined company that will focus predominantly on the development and commercialization of Ayala’s lead program AL102 for the treatment of desmoid tumors and Advaxis’s candidate ADXS-504 in development for prostate cancer.
Kenneth A. Berlin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Advaxis, said, “Advaxis took a thorough approach in our quest to find the right partner with the right products. This merger is expected to enhance Advaxis’s portfolio of clinical assets, with Ayala’s proprietary gamma secretase inhibitors that are being developed as targeted therapies for rare and aggressive tumors. Ayala’s lead candidate, AL102, is currently being investigated in the Phase 2/3 RINGSIDE study in desmoid tumors, which we believe will accelerate the stage of product development for the combined company dramatically. We are particularly excited about very promising interim data from RINGSIDE, which showed that AL102 monotherapy had meaningful anti-tumor activity with tumor shrinkage in the majority of patients that appeared to be deepening over time. The combined management team has extensive commercial and R&D experience, and we believe we have the cash to advance the combined portfolio through key milestones in 2023, including longerterm data from Part A of RINGSIDE, clarity on the registration path for AL101 in recurrent/metastatic adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) and initial clinical and PSA data from the Phase 1 trial of ADXS-504 in prostate cancer. We believe that this transaction will also help drive our efforts to return to a Nasdaq listing and enhance our ability to access capital.”
“We are pleased to announce the proposed merger with Advaxis, which is expected to provide our pipeline and AL102 with additional financial resources as well as additional infrastructure in the U.S. The two companies have a shared mission to develop innovative therapies to improve the lives of patients with cancer and I believe we have found a good partner to advance our pipeline and create value for our stakeholders.”
Roni Mamluk, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Ayala
Consummation of the merger is subject to certain closing conditions, including, among other things, approval by the stockholders of Ayala. At the closing of the merger, Ayala will be delisted from The Nasdaq Global Market. The combined company’s common stock is expected to begin trading on the OTCQX at the effective time of the merger, subject to Advaxis’ planned efforts to have the stock of the combined company listed on Nasdaq, as to which no assurances can be made.
About Ayala Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Ayala Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a clinical-stage oncology company focused on developing and commercializing small molecule therapeutics for patients suffering from rare tumors and aggressive cancers. Ayala’s approach is focused on predicting, identifying and addressing tumorigenic drivers of cancer through a combination of its bioinformatics platform and next-generation sequencing to deliver targeted therapies to underserved patient populations. The company has two product candidates under development, AL101 and AL102, targeting the aberrant activation of the Notch pathway with gamma secretase inhibitors to treat a variety of tumors, including adenoid cystic carcinoma and desmoid tumors. AL102 has received Fast Track Designation from the U.S. FDA and is currently in the Phase 3 portion of a pivotal study for patients with desmoid tumors. AL101 has received Fast Track Designation and Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. FDA and is currently in a Phase 2 clinical trial for patients with ACC bearing Notch activating mutations.
About Advaxis, Inc.
Advaxis, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of proprietary Lm-based antigen delivery products. These off-the-shelf immunotherapies are a significant advancement in immunotherapy as they integrate multiple functions into a single therapy by directing antigen presenting cells to stimulate T-cells and other components of the immune system, while reducing tumor protection in the tumor microenvironment, facilitating the elimination of tumors. The company has two programs in the clinic: ADXS-503 for late-stage lung cancer and ADXS-504 for early-stage prostate cancer.
Astellas Pharma Inc. | September 20, 2022
Astellas Venture Management LLC a wholly-owned venture capital subsidiary of Astellas Pharma Inc. and Mission Bay Capital BioLabs a life-science incubator, today announced their collaboration on the "Astellas Future Innovator Prize" formerly known as the Astellas Golden Ticket competition. Building on over three successful years, the competition offers entrepreneurial scientists or emerging biotechnology start-ups one year's priority usage of MBC BioLabs' state-of-the-art lab facility and access to Astellas' research and development (R&D) capabilities and business leaders.
With a shared commitment to discovering and advancing innovative science for the potential future benefit of patients worldwide, AVM and MBC BioLabs are continuing their partnership to support scientists and early-stage companies to accelerate their novel therapeutic programs, modalities or platforms. The 2022 competition will prioritize innovative research that compliment Astellas' Focus Area Approach and pipeline.
"We are truly thrilled to host the Astellas Future Innovator Prize again this year. Through our long-term collaboration with MBC BioLabs, we aim to create an environment that encourages innovation to thrive. The Astellas Future Innovator Prize enables us to provide biotech companies with expertise and capabilities to turn an innovative idea into a real solution, which could transform the lives of patients in need around the world."
William Watt, President, AVM
"We are pleased to continue our partnership with Astellas to uncover the innovators of tomorrow," said Douglas Crawford, MBC BioLabs General Manager. "The past winners of the Astellas Future Innovator Prize show what can be achieved by combining Astellas' support, advice and expertise with our laboratory incubator, and we are excited to see the result of our ongoing collaboration."
Entrepreneurial scientists, emerging life-science and biotechnology start-ups have until November 4, 2022 to enter the Astellas Future Innovator Prize.
About the Astellas Future Innovator Prize at MBC BioLabs
Astellas is offering up to two prizes for pioneering scientists with innovative research that complements Astellas' areas of interest in alignment with its Focus Area Approach and pipeline, including Blindness & Regeneration, Mitochondria, Genetic Regulation, Immuno-Oncology, Cell Therapy, and other areas.
The 2021 Astellas Future Innovator Prize winners were Vcreate and Weatherwax Biotechnologies, chosen for the potential of their innovations to deliver therapeutic advances for unmet medical needs and their potential synergy with Astellas' Focus Area Approach.
About Astellas Venture Management LLC
AVM is the wholly-owned venture capital organization within Astellas, dedicated to supporting pre-clinical, cutting-edge science that can bring VALUE to patients. For over 15 years, AVM has provided equity investments to private, early-stage companies developing therapeutic programs and platform technologies, helping them to advance their innovations faster. AVM is a strategic investor, making investments in science that will enhance the current Astellas R&D pipeline or that could catalyze new directions in discovery research.
Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients.
About MBC BioLabs
MBC BioLabs is dedicated to helping life-science startups succeed. By renting space as small as a single bench and providing these entrepreneurial scientists with access to millions of dollars of equipment, MBC BioLabs allows companies to be fast, focused, and frugal. It has three sites: one in the Dogpatch neighborhood in San Francisco and two campuses in San Carlos, California. Each site has a complete molecular biology core facility that allows companies to do experiments on day one. MBC BioLabs has partnerships with leading pharmaceutical and life-science companies as well as a built-in venture capital firm, Mission BioCapital. These partnerships provide entrepreneurs with valuable insights about where to focus their efforts and accelerates the innovation pipeline. Since opening in 2013, MBC BioLabs has helped launch and grow 290 companies. These companies have brought 58 programs to the clinic, produced 13 approved diagnostics, and raised over $14 billion.
Accord BioPharma | September 21, 2022
Accord BioPharma, the U.S. specialty division of Intas Pharmaceuticals, Ltd., focused on development of oncology, immunology, and critical care therapies, announced today a partnership with StoryMD. The StoryMD platform is a single, unified, personalized digital health information portfolio that curates the most relevant, visually rich content based on a patient's condition. Accord BioPharma has signed on as StoryMD's very first corporate partner, to support StoryMD's advanced prostate cancer content, allowing Accord BioPharma to provide a comprehensive, user-friendly tool to help patients and their caregivers navigate advanced prostate cancer, just in time for prostate cancer awareness month this September.
"At Accord BioPharma, we recognize the need to go beyond biology – and beyond our responsibility of drug development – to help change the clinician and patient experience at all touchpoints in the care continuum where we can," said Chrys Kokino, President of U.S. BioPharma at Accord BioPharma. "StoryMD exemplifies that mission by providing clinicians with clear, easy-to-understand visuals, videos, and health information that help their patients understand their disease journey. Partnering with StoryMD on their advanced prostate cancer content felt like a natural fit given our recent drug launch."
In March of this year, Accord BioPharma announced the U.S. launch of CAMCEVI® (leuprolide) 42mg injection emulsion for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer in adults. CAMCEVI should not be used in patients with hypersensitivity to GnRN, GnRH agonist analogs as anaphylactic reactions to these drugs have been reported in the medical literature. Accord BioPharma is heading all commercial initiatives in the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the New Drug Application (NDA) of CAMCEVI from Foresee Pharmaceuticals on May 25, 2021.
Through a vast library of curated, clinically accurate disease-state information, graphics, and videos, StoryMD enables physicians to share an easy-to-understand disease journey with patients at the point of care, which can help increase patient retention of information and engagement, improve physician efficiency, and reduce the amount of misinformation patients may seek out on their own. "Accord BioPharma is making efforts to provide important patient and provider education in pursuit of our aim to offer latest treatment options to patients of advanced prostate cancer and we look forward to our collaboration with StoryMD to provide comprehensive and user-friendly tools for patients and care givers" said Binish Chudgar, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd, which is the parent company of Accord BioPharma.
"Every once in a while, you meet a person and a partner who has a vision. Chrys Kokino has that vision to go beyond drug development and sees the value in advancing technology rather than being afraid of it. And that's exactly what we want – partners who recognize the gap in communication between physicians and patients and who want to work together to close that gap and fill an unmet need."
Alexander Tsiaras, CEO and Founder at StoryMD
On the importance of prostate cancer awareness, Tsiaras said, "I have a family member who works in the medical field, and when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, it was amazing how little he knew. Cancer is such a confusing and overwhelming disease – 'Do I wait and watch? Should I be aggressive in treatment?' So, even for the most educated among us, it is a scary moment. Accord BioPharma and StoryMD are working together to go beyond offering patients drug options to impart knowledge and serve as a trusted resource."
About Accord BioPharma
Accord BioPharma, the U.S. specialty division of Intas Pharmaceuticals, Ltd., seeks to provide affordable, accessible, patient-centric therapies in oncology, immunology, and critical care. With a focus on improving the patient's experience, Accord BioPharma goes beyond the biology of medicine to see disease from the patient's perspective and develop high-quality therapies that impact patient's lives. The founders of Accord BioPharma have dedicated their time, passion, and resources to focusing on specialty care and treatments, proactively developing better ways of working, and delivering enhanced therapies.
CAMCEVI® injection emulsion is the first-ever ready-to-inject sterile formulation of leuprolide mesylate for subcutaneous injection that comes in a pre-filled syringe with no mixing required. In an open-label, single-arm study of 137 adults who received 42mg of CAMCEVI on Day 0 and Week 24, CAMCEVI offered consistent testosterone suppression to castrate levels (less than or equal to 50ng/dL) after the initial injection, from Week 4 to Week 48.1 CAMCEVI should not be used in patients with hypersensitivity to GnRH or GnRH analogs due to possible anaphylactic reactions.