Novartis’ Cosentyx beats J&J, Lilly to land first-in-class Chinese psoriasis nod

Novartis | April 02, 2019

Novartis’ psoriasis blockbuster Cosentyx has beaten out rivals from Eli Lilly and Johnson & Johnson as the first interleukin inhibitor approved in China. China’s National Medical Product Administration has approved Cosentyx to treat moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis in adult patients, Novartis said Tuesday. The nod comes months after the Center for Drug Evaluation put Cosentyx among 48 “clinically urgently needed drugs,” for which the agency invites their makers to file applications based on foreign data. Novartis does have some China-specific data to back its case. In an ongoing phase 3 trial that includes 441 Chinese patients, Cosentyx achieved clear or almost clear skin—reaching a score of 90 on the Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI)—in 80.9% of patients during the first 12 weeks, and expanded the effect to 87% of patients after 16 weeks, according to data unveiled at the American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting in March. That trial will follow all 543 patients for a total of 52 weeks.

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ADDING MULTIMEDIA Entos Pharmaceuticals Expands R&D Operations into the US

Entos Pharmaceuticals | June 08, 2022

Entos Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing genetic medicines with its Fusogenix proteolipid vehicle (PLV) nucleic acid delivery platform, announced today the opening of its new 9,600 square foot research and development facility in the Torrey Pines community of San Diego, California. This collaborative space will be shared with Entos’ sister companies, Oisín Biotechnologies, OncoSenX, and Aegis Life, allowing the companies to expand their team and infrastructure and support continued growth. Entos’ new office and lab space is located at the MUSE in Torrey Pines, a redeveloped 186,000 square foot life sciences property completed in 2021. Featuring three buildings, the campus was designed with walking paths, a locally-sourced restaurant, and conference space with indoor and outdoor seating. The US location complements Entos’ existing Canadian headquarters and R&D facilities in Edmonton, Canada, and new offices in London, UK. “We’re excited to move into our new lab space in San Diego, which is becoming one of the largest biotechnology hubs in the world for pharmaceutical research and innovation. This is a significant milestone for Entos as we continue developing genetic medicines for some of our most challenging diseases.” John D. Lewis, Ph.D., founder, and CEO of Entos Pharmaceuticals Entos’ proprietary Fusogenix PLV drug delivery system is formulated with FAST proteins to enable the delivery of nucleic acid cargo, such as DNA and RNA, directly into target cells. This technology is applicable to a wide range of genetic medicines. Unlike conventional lipid-based and viral-based delivery systems, Fusogenix PLVs have demonstrated, in multiple studies, to be well tolerated at high systemic doses, redosable, and able to target multiple tissues in the body. This announcement comes on the heels of two significant collaborations that began in late 2021, granting exclusive rights to Entos’ Fusogenix PLV nucleic acid delivery technology to research, develop and commercialize therapeutic genetic medicines. The first agreement was with BioMarin to target certain rare diseases. The second was a license agreement with Eli Lilly for multiple programs for central and peripheral nervous system diseases and came with an initial payment of $50M and $400M in milestones per program. About Entos Pharmaceuticals A new reality in genetic medicine lies ahead, one that will be ushered in with the advent of safe, effective, and redosable nucleic acid delivery technologies. At Entos, we develop next generation genetic medicines using our proprietary Fusogenix proteolipid vehicle (PLV) drug delivery system. Fusogenix PLVs are formulated with FAST proteins to enable the delivery of nucleic acid into target cells through direct fusion.

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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.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Cullinan Oncology Forms Strategic Collaboration Agreement with Mount Sinai to Advance Oral HPK1 Protein Degrader for Cancer Treatment

Cullinan Oncology, Inc. | January 10, 2022

Cullinan Oncology, Inc. a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing a diversified pipeline of targeted therapies for cancer patients, today announced the Company has entered into a collaboration agreement with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to develop novel small molecule immune modulators.​ This exclusive option and multi-year collaboration agreement will be focused on the optimization and development of oral protein degraders targeting hematopoietic progenitor kinase 1 (HPK1), a key regulator of immune cell activation and a high-priority target in immune-oncology. The collaboration aims to accelerate the development of novel, best-in-class HPK1 degraders that stimulate robust anti-tumor immunity. The research will be conducted by leading scientists at both Cullinan and Icahn Mount Sinai. Cullinan will fund the collaboration and has an exclusive option to license the intellectual property for further development and commercialization. The Icahn Mount Sinai team will be co-led by Steven J. Burakoff, M.D., Lillian and Henry M. Stratton Professor of Cancer Medicine, Dean for Cancer Innovation, and Chief, Pediatric Oncology at Icahn Mount Sinai, and Jian Jin, Ph.D., Mount Sinai Professor in Therapeutics Discovery and Director, Mount Sinai Center for Therapeutics Discovery, at Icahn Mount Sinai. “Our team is excited to work with the talented and experienced cancer drug developers at Cullinan. Our research has already demonstrated that a degrader approach to targeting HPK1 may control tumor growth more effectively compared to simply inhibiting HPK1 kinase activity. We believe this collaboration will help us identify novel, differentiated oral HPK1 degraders and can bring future benefit to cancer patients worldwide.” Dr. Jin “We are proud to partner with Icahn Mount Sinai, which is at the forefront of cancer research and patient care,” said Leigh Zawel, Chief Scientific Officer, Small Molecules, of Cullinan Oncology. “We are very excited to build on the synergy between the deep scientific expertise of the Icahn Mount Sinai team and the strong drug development capabilities at Cullinan to advance therapies that have the potential to significantly improve the lives of patients with cancer. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration in this novel area of science.” About Cullinan Oncology Cullinan Oncology is a biopharmaceutical company that is developing a diversified pipeline of targeted therapeutic candidates across multiple modalities in order to bring important medicines to cancer patients. The Company’s strategy is to source innovation through both internal discovery efforts and external collaborations, focusing on advanced stage assets with novel technology platforms and differentiated mechanisms.

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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.”

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