Pfizer agrees on $340M upfront to buy Therachon for dwarfism drug

fiercebiotech | May 08, 2019

Pfizer is set to pay $340 million (€304 million) upfront to buy Therachon for its treatment for a form of short-limbed dwarfism. The deal commits Pfizer to up to $470 million in additional milestones tied to the advance of the early-phase rare disease drug. Therachon has emerged as one of the better financed European rare disease biotechs in recent years, pulling in $100 million from investors including Novo Holdings and OrbiMed across its series A and B rounds. The funding has supported work on TA-46, a FGFR3 ligand trap designed to prevent the excessive signalling thought to suppress bone growth in people with achondroplasia. Limited data are available publicly on the drug, which only began testing in healthy volunteers last year. But Pfizer has seen enough promise in the preclinical and phase 1 results to put together an $810 million financial package and make TA-46 a key part of its plans in pediatric growth disorders.

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Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in both men and women in the United States. Most colorectal cancers grow slowly over several years, and about 1 in 20 people develop colorectal cancer at some point in life. Due to a combination of early screening and improved treatments, survivorship has increased over the past 20 years.


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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Kubota Vision Announces Collaboration Agreement with Leading Diabetes Center

PBOS | September 30, 2022

Kubota Vision Inc. a clinical-stage specialty ophthalmology company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings Co., Ltd. announced today that the Company and Joslin Diabetes Center have entered into a material transfer and collaboration agreement for our Patient Based Ophthalmology Suite in-home optical coherence tomography device. Joslin Diabetes Center is conducting two clinical studies to evaluate the ability of PBOS to identify cases of diabetic macular edema that may need treatment compared to a commercially-available OCT device. The studies will be led by Dr. Paolo S. Silva at Joslin Diabetes Center. Dr. Silva is the Co-Chief of Telemedicine at the Beetham Eye Institute of the Joslin Diabetes Center. His work is focused on innovative and investigative work in a field at the intersection of clinical care and technology with the hope of providing an ideal model for the delivery of evidence-based, highly effective, and efficient diabetes eye care to the population that needs it the most. Joslin Diabetes Center, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School, is a one-of-a-kind institution on the front lines of the world epidemic of diabetes — leading the battle to conquer diabetes in all of its forms through cutting-edge research and innovative approaches to clinical care and education. Dr. Silva stated, “Through these studies, we will determine if home-based in-home optical coherence tomography is useful in the evaluation of diabetic macular edema and how we monitor patients at risk for losing vision from the condition.” “Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common diseases in the world. The use of our technology brings us great excitement as we continue to focus on the development of medical devices and explore further possibilities.” Ryo Kubota, MD, PhD, Chairman, President, and CEO of Kubota Vision Inc. About PBOS PBOS is a low cost, home-based, ophthalmic self-monitoring OCT device. This small handheld device addresses needs in mobile Health applications for self-monitoring of retina health by patients, in the home and in remote field locations. The PBOS aims to improve ophthalmic treatment outcomes in patients diagnosed with and treated for wet age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema and other neovascular retinal diseases. PBOS is being designed to detect nascent disease progression and support patient re-treatment prior to irreversible vision loss due to disease progression. Key features are low cost and a patient-friendly design, to be used directly by patients at home. PBOS is being designed to capture changes in retinal anatomy. Network connectivity and cloud-based technologies are used to alert the patients and their physicians of disease progression and re-treatment needs. About Kubota Vision Inc. Kubota Vision Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings Co., Ltd. committed to translating innovation into a diverse portfolio of drugs and devices to preserve and restore vision for millions of people worldwide. Kubota Pharmaceutical group’s pipeline includes a wearable device for myopia control using Kubota GlassTM technology and a handheld OCT device for the monitoring of neovascular retinal diseases, to be used directly by patients.

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PHARMA TECH

Innate Pharma to Present Lacutamab PTCL Phase 1b Design and ANKET™ Platform at ESMO 2022

Innate Pharma | September 06, 2022

Innate Pharma SA announced that the following presentations will be presented at the ESMO Annual Meeting 2022 taking place from 9 to 13 September 2022, in Paris, France. About Lacutamab Lacutamab is a first-in-class anti-KIR3DL2 humanized cytotoxicity-inducing antibody that is currently in clinical trials for treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma an orphan disease, and peripheral T cell lymphoma. Rare cutaneous lymphomas of T lymphocytes has a poor prognosis with few efficacious and safe therapeutic options at advanced stages. KIR3DL2 is an inhibitory receptor of the KIR family, expressed by approximately 65% of patients across all CTCL subtypes and expressed by up 90% of patients with certain aggressive CTCL subtypes, in particular, Sézary syndrome. It is expressed by up to 50% of patients with mycosis fungoides and peripheral T-cell lymphoma. It has a restricted expression on normal tissues. About ANKET™ ANKET™ is Innate's proprietary platform for developing next-generation, multi-specific natural killer cell engagers to treat certain types of cancer. This versatile, fit-for-purpose technology is creating an entirely new class of molecules to induce synthetic immunity against cancer. It leverages the advantages of harnessing NK cell effector functions against cancer cells and also provides proliferation and activation signals targeted to NK cells. Our latest innovation, the tetra-specific ANKET molecule, is the first NK cell engager technology to engage activating receptors via a single molecule. About Monalizumab Monalizumab is a potentially first-in-class immune checkpoint inhibitor targeting NKG2A receptors expressed on tumor infiltrating cytotoxic CD8+ T cells and NK cells. NKG2A is an inhibitory checkpoint receptor for HLA-E. By expressing HLA-E, cancer cells can protect themselves from killing by NKG2A+ immune cells. HLA-E is frequently overexpressed in the cancer cells of many solid tumors and hematological malignancies. Monalizumab may reestablish a broad anti-tumor response mediated by NK and T cells, and may enhance the cytotoxic potential of other therapeutic antibodies1. The ongoing development for monalizumab is focused on investigating monalizumab in various combination strategies in different malignancies, including, in early lung cancer, the Phase 3 PACIFIC-9 study in adults with locally advanced (Stage III), unresectable NSCLC, who have not progressed following platinum-based concurrent chemoradiotherapy, and the Phase 2 NeoCOAST-2 study in the neoadjuvant early-stage setting of NSCLC. About Innate Pharma Innate Pharma S.A. is a global, clinical-stage oncology-focused biotech company dedicated to improving treatment and clinical outcomes for patients through therapeutic antibodies that harness the immune system to fight cancer. Innate Pharma’s broad pipeline of antibodies includes several potentially first-in-class clinical and preclinical candidates in cancers with high unmet medical need. Innate is a pioneer in the understanding of Natural Killer cell biology and has expanded its expertise in the tumor microenvironment and tumor-antigens, as well as antibody engineering. This innovative approach has resulted in a diversified proprietary portfolio and major alliances with leaders in the biopharmaceutical industry including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novo Nordisk A/S, Sanofi, and a multi-products collaboration with AstraZeneca.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Hovione expands drug product offering with a new manufacturing line dedicated to Continuous Tableting

Hovione | September 07, 2022

Hovione, the leader in spray drying and particle engineering, announced that it has expanded its continuous manufacturing offering and services. A new state-of-the-art continuous manufacturing facility is now coming online at the Loures site in Portugal. In addition, to support Hovione's commitment to providing access and services for continuous tableting, Hovione has further strengthened its capabilities by establishing a highly experienced multi-disciplinary global team in continuous tableting and upgrading its labs with the tools needed to support the drug product lifecycle, thereby further guaranteeing competency and capacity from research & development to production. Continuous manufacturing is expected to change the landscape of drug product development and commercial production. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is partnering with the International Council for Harmonization and leading a global initiative to advance continuous manufacturing of small molecules and other pharmaceutical modalities. Hovione is offering customers a commercial continuous tableting platform prepared to support key control needs and deliver on operational excellence, mechanistic modeling, and appropriate process analytical technology (PAT). Additionally, Hovione´s quality system has been designed to support the release of continuous tableting products through automated in-process controls, deployment of real time release, and compliant digital infrastructure. This cutting-edge technology offers a distinct set of features and advantages including faster development of simpler processes, agile manufacturing for variable demand, robust control strategies and high process quality standards. "Hovione has been historically focused on innovative technologies that benefit our customers and patients. With this investment in continuous tableting, our customers can rely on our support to bring much needed medicines to the market as fast as possible with the highest quality and manufacturing standards. We are investing to accelerate the adoption of this technology as we continue to innovate and enhance our offering around our areas of expertise." Jean-Luc Herbeaux, Hovione´s CEO "This investment in continuous tableting from R&D to production further strengthens Hovione´s CDMO offering and responds to the growing customer interest." says Filipe Neves, Hovione´s Strategic Business Director. This latest investment in Continuous Tableting is part of Hovione´s broader strategy to build differentiated and enabling capabilities and assets to meet customers unique needs for oral dosage forms manufacturing. About Hovione Hovione is an international company with over 60 years of experience as a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization with a fully integrated offering of services for drug substance, drug product intermediate and drug product. The company has four FDA inspected sites in the USA, Portugal, Ireland and China and development laboratories in Lisbon, Portugal and New Jersey, USA. Hovione provides pharmaceutical customers services for the development and compliant manufacture of innovative drugs, including highly potent compounds, and customized product solutions across the entire drug life cycle. In the inhalation area, Hovione offers a complete range of services, from API and formulation development to devices. Hovione´s culture is based on innovation, quality and delivery. Hovione was the first Chemical/ Pharmaceutical Company to become a Certified B Corp, is a member of Rx-360, EFCG and participates actively in industry quality improvement initiatives to lead new global industry standards.

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PHARMACY MARKET

FogPharma Announces $178 Million Series D Financing to Advance Pipeline of First-in-Class Helicon Polypeptide Therapeutics

FogPharma | November 28, 2022

FogPharma®, a biopharmaceutical company pioneering a new class of precision medicines that could ultimately prove applicable to the vast majority of therapeutic targets, including those previously considered “undruggable,” announced a $178 Million Series D financing. The financing round includes new investors ARCH Venture Partners, Milky Way Investments and Fidelity Management & Research Company and existing investors VenBio Partners, Deerfield Management, GV, Cormorant Asset Management, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Invus, Farallon Capital Management, HBM Healthcare Investments, Casdin Capital, and PagsGroup, also participated. Proceeds from the Series D financing will be used to advance and accelerate FogPharma’s growing pipeline of hyperstabilized α-helical (Helicon™) polypeptide therapeutics, a proprietary new class of drugs designed to overcome the limitations of today’s precision medicines with broad applicability to the vast majority of disease targets and therapeutic areas. FogPharma’s lead Helicon polypeptide development candidate, FOG-001, a first-and-only-in-class direct TCF-blocking β-catenin inhibitor with potential applicability to significant cancer patient populations, is expected to enter clinical development in mid-2023. In addition, FogPharma is advancing other first-in-class programs against important, biologically validated cancer targets that have remained elusive to other approaches including TEAD, NRAS, Pan-KRAS, ERG and Cyclin E1. “FogPharma continues to make rapid progress on our moonshot mission to achieve universal druggability – a world where no targets are off-limits to medicine. We believe that Helicon polypeptides, a compelling new therapeutic modality, represent the future of precision medicine. We are thrilled by the support of our investors and will continue to build our platform capabilities, product pipeline which aims to address a significant percentage of cancer patient populations, and our phenomenal team across all levels as we aim to create one of the most impactful new classes of drugs in history.” Gregory Verdine, Ph.D., founder, chairman and chief executive officer of FogPharma In connection with the Series D Financing, Rick Klausner, M.D., has been appointed to FogPharma’s board of directors. In addition, Dr. Verdine has been appointed as chairman of the board. “The team at FogPharma is building an unprecedented new therapeutic modality and robust pipeline with the potential to make a meaningful difference in the lives of cancer patients,” said Dr. Klausner. “I am excited to join the board of directors and be part of something special particularly at this important time as FogPharma continues to impressively scale its science, team, operations and infrastructure, with the goal of advancing its first Helicon polypeptide therapeutic into the clinic.” Dr. Klausner is currently the founder and chief scientist of Altos Labs and founder and chairman of Lyell Immunopharma. Dr. Klausner was founder and director of Juno Therapeutics and founder and director of GRAIL. He is also the chairman of Sonoma Biotherapeutics and co-founder and chairman of Lifemine Therapeutics. Previously, Dr. Klausner served as senior vice president, chief medical officer and chief opportunity officer of Illumina Corporation and as executive director for global health for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Klausner was appointed by Presidents Clinton and Bush as the eleventh director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute between 1995 and 2001. Dr. Klausner served as chief of the Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development as well as a past president of the American Society of Clinical Investigation. He has served in senior advisory roles to the U.S., Norwegian, Qatari and Indian governments. About FogPharma’s Universal Druggability Platform and Helicon™ Polypeptide Therapeutics Existing drug classes are limited in both reach and applicability, with more than 80% of known human protein disease targets considered “undruggable” because they are beyond the reach of both antibodies and small molecules. FogPharma’s Helicon peptide drug discovery engine integrates directed evolution, proprietary α-helix conformational hyperstabilization chemistry, highly multiplexed drug optimization technology, artificial intelligence including deep learning and machine learning, structure-based drug discovery, cancer genomics and biology, and multiscale manufacturing to rapidly discover Helicon polypeptide therapeutics. This novel therapeutic modality combines the targeting strength and specificity of antibodies with the broad tissue distribution, intracellular target engagement and oral dosing optionality of small molecules to address the limitations of today’s precision medicines and reach the most difficult targets – achieving universal druggability. About FOG-001 FogPharma’s lead Helicon polypeptide development candidate, FOG-001, a first-and-only-in-class direct TCF-blocking β-catenin inhibitor. Dysregulation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway has been shown to occur in at least 20% of all human cancers. In the U.S. alone, FOG-001 has the potential to become a new treatment option for >1 million patients suffering from a broad range of intractable cancers. In biochemical and cellular studies, FOG-001 has been shown to potently, precisely and selectively disrupt the interaction of β-catenin with its obligate downstream transcription factor, TCF. Preclinical studies have demonstrated the ability of FOG-001 to cause tumor growth inhibition and regression by disrupting β-catenin-dependent signaling. FOG-001 is the inaugural member of FogPharma’s TCF-Catenix family of direct-acting β-catenin antagonists and combines key features that distinguish it from previously reported Wnt/β-catenin pathway modulators: FOG-001 acts inside the cell, where it directly binds the key oncogenic driver β-catenin; and FOG-001 blocks TCF-β-catenin engagement at the most downstream node in the canonical Wnt pathway, thus abrogating the signal transmission mechanism by which most, if not all, known Wnt pathway mutations are believed to drive oncogenesis. About FogPharma FogPharma is a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the discovery and development of Helicon™ polypeptides. Through this novel therapeutic modality, FogPharma aims to address the limitations of existing drug classes and achieve universal druggability – a world where no targets are off-limits to new medicines. Spun out of Harvard University by pioneering academic scientist and successful biotech company builder Dr. Gregory Verdine, FogPharma is advancing a broad pipeline of Helicon polypeptide therapeutics against important and biologically validated cancer targets that have remained elusive to other approaches, with the goal of providing new targeted treatment options for significant cancer patient populations. FogPharma is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., and has raised more than $360 million to date from leading life sciences investors.

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Spotlight

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in both men and women in the United States. Most colorectal cancers grow slowly over several years, and about 1 in 20 people develop colorectal cancer at some point in life. Due to a combination of early screening and improved treatments, survivorship has increased over the past 20 years.

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