BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Iktos and Teijin Pharma to Co-Develop New Technology for Small Molecule Drug Discovery

Iktos | April 07, 2022

Iktos and Teijin
Iktos, a company specialized in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design, and Teijin Pharma Limited, the core company of the Teijin Group’s healthcare business that provides comprehensive healthcare services to improve the quality of life, today announced a strategic collaboration agreement in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design.

Under the agreement, Iktos generative modelling technology will be implemented and applied to several Teijin Pharma’s small molecule drug discovery projects to expedite the identification of potential pre-clinical candidates. Iktos and Teijin Pharma will collaborate in developing new AI technology aiming to bring further improvement and speed to the drug design process, leveraging Iktos’ proprietary know-how in AI for Computer Aided Drug Design (CADD) and complementing Teijin’s research and development capabilities.

In the recent years, Iktos has emerged as one of the world leaders in AI for drug design, establishing multiple collaborations with renowned pharmaceutical companies and successfully developing the AI software platforms Makya™ for new drug design and Spaya™ for synthesis planning. Iktos’ generative AI technology, based on deep generative models, automatically designs virtual novel molecules presenting the desirable characteristics specified by the researchers. This approach brings unprecedented efficiency in the exploration of chemical space and produces innovative molecule designs with greater freedom to operate. It is a novel solution, validated through many collaborations, to one of the key challenges in drug design: the rapid identification of molecules that simultaneously satisfy multiple parameters, such as potency, selectivity, safety, and project-specific properties.

Based on the recent drastic demographic change and increased health consciousness, Teijin Pharma is committed to providing healthcare solutions in the priority fields of bone, joint, rehabilitation, neurology, respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Creating innovative drugs is one of the company’s core business strategies and Teijin Pharma is now focusing on strengthening technological foundation for small molecule drugs that play major roles among the drug modalities for innovative drug discovery.

"We are thrilled and proud to announce a strategic collaboration with Teijin Pharma, a leading company that contributes to society by providing advanced healthcare solutions. It is a major recognition for Iktos to be selected by Teijin Pharma as a strategic partner for implementation, development, and application of generative modeling technology for new drug design. Iktos has been a pioneer in the application of generative models for drug discovery and is recognized as a world leader in the technology space that has the potential to disrupt the way new therapeutics are designed.’’ “Our ultimate objective is to expedite drug discovery and achieve time and cost efficiencies for our global collaborators by using Iktos’s proprietary AI platform and know-how. We are confident that together with our Teijin collaborators, we will be able to develop new technology to bring further speed and efficiency to drug discovery.”

Yann Gaston-Mathé, Co-founder and CEO of Iktos

“We are delighted to create innovative new small molecule drugs together with Iktos,” said Ichiro Watanabe, President of Teijin Pharma. “We provide solutions in the field of demographic change and increased health consciousness and are focusing on the launch of new drugs. Iktos’ proprietary AI technology will dramatically accelerate our small molecule drug discovery. We continue to enhance patients' quality of life by providing new treatment options for diseases with high unmet needs.”

About Iktos
Incorporated in October 2016, Iktos is a start-up company specializing 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, the design of 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.

About the Teijin Group
Teijin is a technology-driven global group offering advanced solutions in the fields of environmental value; safety, security and disaster mitigation; and demographic change and increased health consciousness. Originally established as Japan's first rayon manufacturer in 1918, Teijin has evolved into a unique enterprise encompassing three core business domains: high-performance materials including aramid, carbon fibers and composites, and also resin and plastic processing, films, polyester fibers and products converting; healthcare including pharmaceuticals and home healthcare equipment for bone/joint, respiratory and cardiovascular/metabolic diseases, nursing care and pre-symptomatic healthcare; and IT including B2B solutions for medical, corporate and public systems as well as packaged software and B2C online services for digital entertainment. Deeply committed to its stakeholders, as expressed in the brand statement “Human Chemistry, Human Solutions,” Teijin aims to be a company that supports the society of the future. The group comprises more than 170 companies and employs some 20,000 people across 20 countries worldwide. Teijin posted consolidated sales of JPY 836.5 billion and total assets of JPY 1,036.4 billion in the fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2021.

Spotlight

Genetic engineering has been boosted by the discovery and characterization of CRISPR-associated Cas9 RNA-guided endonuclease. This technology enables rapid genetic perturbation and manipulation, as well as genome-wide functional screening. With broad basic science and translational applications, this technology is driving innovative life science and medical research.


Other News
PHARMACY MARKET

CASI PHARMACEUTICALS ANNOUNCES CNCT19 (CD19 CAR-T) GRANTED ORPHAN DRUG DESIGNATION BY THE U.S. FDA

CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | January 19, 2022

CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a U.S. biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapeutics and pharmaceutical products, announced today, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as granted Orphan Drug Designation for CNCT19, an investigational CD-19 directed CAR-T therapy, for the treatment of patients with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. CNCT19 is currently being developed independently by Juventas to meet the urgent clinical needs of patients with hematologic malignancies globally. The National Medical Products Administration has granted CTA approval for CNCT19 in two indications in Nov. 2019. Currently, the Phase II clinical trials of CNCT19 are in progress. Positive clinical data for adult and pediatric patients with relapsed/refractory B-ALL has been presented at the December 2021 ASH annual meeting, which further demonstrated its safety and efficacy profile. CNCT 19 is expected to be the first domestic CD19 directed CAR-T product in China with independent intellectual property rights. "Our partner Juventas continues to make encouraging progress in developing their CD19 CAR-T therapy. The Orphan Drug Designation, from the FDA, and the Breakthrough Designation status, granted by the China Center of Drug Evaluation (CDE) in December 2020, represent significant milestones that demonstrate our belief that CNCT19's commercialization will not only be successful in China, but potentially on a global scale. CASI has worldwide co-commercial rights of CNCT19, and will start the global commercialization process according to CNCT19's regulatory progress outside China." Dr. Wei-Wu He, CASI's Chairman, and CEO About Juventas Juventas is a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in China dedicated to the development and commercialization of cell therapies globally. Utilizing innovative and integrated technology platforms, the company has developed a diverse pipeline of cellular immunotherapies for treatment of hematological malignancies, solid tumors, and other non-oncological conditions both in China and globally. At present, the company is conducting two pivotal clinical trials of CNCT19 for treating adult r/r-B-ALL and r/r-B-NHL in China. CNCT19 has the potential to become the first launched domestically developed CD19 CAR-T therapy in China and the first CAR-T product for the treatment of adult R/R B-ALL in China. About CASI Pharmaceuticals CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a U.S. biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapeutics and pharmaceutical products in China, the United States, and throughout the world. The Company is focused on acquiring, developing and commercializing products that augment its hematology oncology therapeutic focus as well as other areas of unmet medical need. The Company intends to execute its plan to become a leader by launching medicines in the greater China market leveraging the Company's China-based regulatory and commercial competencies and its global drug development expertise. The Company's operations in China are conducted through its wholly-owned subsidiary, CASI Pharmaceuticals (China) Co., Ltd., which is located in Beijing, China. The Company has built a commercial team of more than 100 hematology oncology sales and marketing specialists based in China.

Read More

BUSINESS INSIGHTS

AbCellera and Empirico Expand Strategic Multi-Target Antibody Discovery Collaboration

AbCellera | May 04, 2022

AbCellera and Empirico Inc. announced today that they have expanded their strategic multi-target discovery collaboration, which leverages Empirico’s Precision Insights PlatformTM to discover genetically validated drug targets and AbCellera’s technology to identify lead candidate antibodies against those targets. Following the rapid progress of their first collaborative program, which identified a lead candidate against an undisclosed G protein-coupled receptor target in less than 12 months, the companies have expanded their partnership to include seven targets. In addition, under the expanded agreement, AbCellera has a co-development option on a program-by-program basis. Empirico’s platform is designed to uncover causal relationships between genes, proteins, and clinical outcomes by integrating genetic data and health information from millions of individuals together with experimental validation. AbCellera integrates leading technologies to solve all steps in the antibody discovery process and delivers to partners diverse and developable lead candidates against drug targets. “We have been impressed by Empirico’s ability to discover and validate new drug targets and believe the combination of our respective technologies has great potential to bring new first-in-class treatments to patients. We are pleased to build on our productive collaboration with Empirico by expanding the number of targets and maximizing the opportunity for mutual success by having an option to co-invest on a program-by-program basis.” Carl Hansen, Ph.D., CEO and President of AbCellera “AbCellera’s technology enables us to extend our competitive advantage in target discovery and validation with best-in-class antibodies to rapidly advance our programs towards the clinic,” said Omri Gottesman, M.D., CEO and President of Empirico. “We are excited to expand our relationship with AbCellera and to translate many more genetically validated targets into potential new antibody-based therapies together.” Under the terms of the expanded agreement, Empirico will have the right to develop and commercialize therapeutic antibodies resulting from the collaboration, and AbCellera has the option to co-develop each therapeutic program to maintain up to a 50 percent ownership stake. Financial terms were not disclosed. About Empirico Inc. Empirico is a next-generation therapeutics company founded on utilizing human genetics, data science, and programmable biology to power novel target discovery and development. Empirico’s Precision Insights PlatformTM, a proprietary human genetics-focused discovery platform, leverages a world-leading dataset, hyperscale infrastructure and algorithmic approaches that encode and enhance human intuition to identify and prioritize therapeutic targets. All potential therapeutic targets are subjected to rigorous in vitro and in vivo experimental validation to elucidate the mechanism by which genetic variation impacts disease risk and provide insights about which therapeutic modality could be ‘programmed’ to mimic or interfere with that mechanism. Empirico is advancing multiple programs across a broad range of indications and therapeutic modalities, both independently and in collaboration with industry partners. Empirico is headquartered in San Diego, California with laboratories in Madison, Wisconsin. About AbCellera Biologics Inc. AbCellera is a technology company that searches, decodes, and analyzes natural immune systems to find antibodies that its partners can develop into drugs to prevent and treat disease. AbCellera partners with drug developers of all sizes, from large pharmaceutical to small biotechnology companies, empowering them to move quickly, reduce cost, and tackle the toughest problems in drug development.

Read More

BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Athira Pharma Announces Topline Results from ACT-AD Phase 2 Proof of Concept Study of Fosgonimeton in Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease

Athira Pharma, Inc. | June 27, 2022

Athira Pharma, Inc. a late clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing small molecules to restore neuronal health and slow neurodegeneration, today announced topline results from its exploratory ACT-AD Phase 2 study of fosgonimeton in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Fosgonimeton is a small molecule designed to enhance the activity of Hepatocyte Growth Factor and its receptor, MET, which are expressed in the central nervous system to promote brain health and function. “Following compelling ERP P300 latency biomarker data from a small Phase 1b trial over eight days in Alzheimer’s patients on fosgonimeton monotherapy, this Phase 2 trial provides valuable insights into the nature of this novel intervention over 26 weeks. ACT-AD was designed as a learning study to further investigate the ERP P300 biomarker signal over 6 months, assess safety in a patient population more representative of the real world, by allowing the use of add-on standard-of-care acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs, e.g., donepezil), and explore fosgonimeton’s effect on psychometric outcomes, including ADAS-Cog11, to inform the ongoing Phase 3 LIFT-AD study. To that end, this study achieved its goal,” said Hans Moebius, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer of Athira. “The study was intended to show differences on the biomarker ERP P300 latency. This primary endpoint was not met by protocoled analysis, however a pre-specified subgroup analysis indicated a potential diminished effect of fosgonimeton when given in combination with AChEIs. A subsequent post hoc analysis of the data from patients on fosgonimeton monotherapy showed a meaningful improvement in both ERP P300 latency and cognitive performance compared to placebo at 26 weeks. “These data points are very encouraging as they indicate the expected pharmacological activity of fosgonimeton by parallel improvement on ERP P300 latency and ADAS-Cog11 and show a favorable safety profile over six months. This is the first time monotherapy fosgonimeton has shown an effect on ADAS-Cog11, suggesting a potential cognitive benefit. We will use these insights for a rational optimization of the ongoing LIFT-AD trial. We plan to seek advice from our scientific advisors, investigators, and ultimately regulators on how to expeditiously analyze and potentially adapt the LIFT-AD study,” Dr. Moebius “The data from the fosgonimeton monotherapy analysis are encouraging and show biologic activity that may support the potential role of the HGF/MET pathway in neurodegenerative diseases,” said Marwan Sabbagh, M.D., FAAN, professor of neurology at Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, AZ. “ACT-AD adds to the body of literature suggesting ERP P300 latency as an important biomarker for cognitive status.”

Read More

BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Can-Fite Granted Key NASH Patent in Israel

Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd. | May 17, 2022

Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd. a biotechnology company advancing a pipeline of proprietary small molecule drugs that address inflammatory, cancer and liver diseases, announced that its patent titled "An A3 Adenosine Receptor Ligand For Use In Treating Ectopic Fat Accumulation" has been granted by the Israel Patent Office. This patent has been issued in approximately 40 countries and territories including Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Mexico, and in the European Union. It addresses the use of the A3 Adenosine Receptor ligand, the target receptor for Can-Fite's drug platform technology, for the treatment of ectopic fat accumulation particularly in fatty liver as manifested in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. The treatment of NASH is a market estimated to reach $35 billion by 2025. Can-Fite is currently enrolling and treating patients in a Phase IIb NASH study of its liver drug candidate Namodenoson. The multi-center, randomized, double blind, and placebo controlled study of biopsy-confirmed NASH patients will measure efficacy periodically through biomarkers, with a primary efficacy endpoint determined by liver biopsy at the end of the treatment period. In a prior Phase IIa study, Namodenoson met endpoints including reduced liver fat content, anti-inflammatory effects, and decreased body weight with excellent safety. “The treatment of NASH is an enormous unmet need that Can-Fite seeks to meet through our advanced stage clinical trial and our expanding patent estate for the use of our target A3AR in the treatment of fatty liver disease,” Can-Fite CEO Dr. Pnina Fishman About Namodenoson Namodenoson is a small orally bioavailable drug that binds with high affinity and selectivity to the A3 adenosine receptor. Namodenoson is being evaluated in a pivotal Phase III trial as a second line treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma, and in a Phase IIb trial as a treatment for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. A3AR is highly expressed in diseased cells whereas low expression is found in normal cells. This differential effect accounts for the excellent safety profile of the drug. About Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd. Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd. is an advanced clinical stage drug development Company with a platform technology that is designed to address multi-billion dollar markets in the treatment of cancer, liver, and inflammatory disease. The Company's lead drug candidate, Piclidenoson has completed enrollment in a Phase III trial for psoriasis. Can-Fite's liver drug, Namodenoson, is being evaluated in a Phase IIb trial for the treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and enrollment is expected to commence in a Phase III trial for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer. Namodenoson has been granted Orphan Drug Designation in the U.S. and Europe and Fast Track Designation as a second line treatment for HCC by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Namodenoson has also shown proof of concept to potentially treat other cancers including colon, prostate, and melanoma. CF602, the Company's third drug candidate, has shown efficacy in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. These drugs have an excellent safety profile with experience in over 1,500 patients in clinical studies to date.

Read More

Spotlight

Genetic engineering has been boosted by the discovery and characterization of CRISPR-associated Cas9 RNA-guided endonuclease. This technology enables rapid genetic perturbation and manipulation, as well as genome-wide functional screening. With broad basic science and translational applications, this technology is driving innovative life science and medical research.

Resources