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Updated: 2 hours 59 min ago

Revolution Medicines Maps Out an IPO to Reach Cancer’s Frontiers

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 19:20

Cancer research has revealed proteins known to play a role in the disease, but with no known way of stopping what they do. In pharmaceutical parlance, they’re “undruggable.”

Revolution Medicines is trying to drug the undruggable with small molecules that block the signaling pathways these proteins use to help cancer grow and thrive. With one of its experimental therapies now in early-stage testing under a partnership with a large pharmaceutical company and more compounds in the pipeline, the Redwood City, CA, biotech is preparing to go public to finance its research.

In documents filed with securities regulators late Friday, Revolution set... Read more »

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Bio Roundup: EQRx’s Ambitions, Nektar No Vote, New Frazier Fund & More

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 06:37

Perhaps the most talked-about news at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference this week was a new startup that launched with $200 million and an ambitious claim its first drug would be approved within five years, and 10 more within as many years.

Cambridge, MA-based EQRx contends it will be able achieve its goals by re-engineering the way new drugs are created, tested, and commercialized—significantly accelerating the typical drug development timeline in ways others have been unable to do. CEO Alexis Borisy says the venture’s “market-based solution to rising drug costs” aims to develop medicines similar to, yet better, than existing drugs,... Read more »

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BioCryst Pharma Promotes Charles Gayer to Chief Commercial Officer

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 15:21

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: BCRX) has promoted Charles Gayer to chief commercial officer. Gayer joined the Durham, NC-based drug developer in 2015 as vice president of global strategic marketing. His experience also includes positions at Talecris and GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK). BioCryst is preparing for the expected commercial launch of berotralstat, a drug that has been submitted for FDA review for preventing the swelling attacks associated with the rare disease hereditary angioedema.

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Cancer Drug Developer BioNTech to Buy Neon Therapeutics in $67M Deal

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 08:30

Neon Therapeutics closed 2019 by curtailing its cancer vaccine programs and laying off 24 percent of its workforce, part of a corporate restructuring aimed at finding a new path for the company. That new path will now be as a division of cancer drug developer BioNTech.

BioNTech announced Thursday that it has agreed to acquire Cambridge, MA-based Neon (NASDAQ: NTGN) in a $67 million stock deal. According to the terms, the BioNTech shares that Neon shareholders will receive value the company at $2.18 per share—a 77.2 premium to Wednesday’s closing stock price. When Neon went public less than two years... Read more »

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Adaptimmune Appoints Elliot Norry Chief Medical Officer

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 07:15

Elliot Norry, acting chief medical officer of Adaptimmune (NASDAQ: ADAP) since last August, now holds the job outright. Norry initially joined the company in 2015 as head of clinical safety and pharmacovigilance. Adaptimmune, which splits its operations between Philadelphia and Oxfordshire, UK, is developing cancer immunotherapies based on its technology for engineering T cells.

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Event Announcement: Xcelerating Life Sciences San Diego

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 07:12

We’re excited to announce the first in Xconomy’s new Xcelerating Life Sciences event series convening local communities of innovators, executives, rising pioneers, entrepreneurs, investors, and scientists: Xcelerating Life Sciences San Diego will help you stay at the forefront of San Diego’s genomic trends and technologies that are fueling today’s biotech investment and partnership opportunities.

Early bird tickets are on sale now for only $99. Grab yours today before prices go up.

Each half-day Xcelerating Life Sciences forum is dedicated to helping industry leaders develop meaningful partnerships and explore bold new ideas to overcome healthcare’s biggest challenges. Can’t make the San Diego... Read more »

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Mayo Clinic Joins $60M Financing for Biomedical Software Firm nference

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 05:58

Startup nference has closed a $60 million Series B financing round to expand the use of its augmented intelligence platform in clinical research and drug development.

Mayo Clinic and NTT Venture Capital joined previous investors Matrix Partners and Matrix Capital Management, which participated in the Cambridge, MA-based company’s Series A round in 2018.

The relationship with Mayo Clinic is not new, however, as the research group in 2017 launched a startup with nference—dubbed Qrativ—to help match drugs with diseases they might be able to treat. Also familiar faces, Matrix Capital Management and Matrix Partners, in addition to Mayo, participated in Qrativ’s... Read more »

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Disarm Therapeutics Names Scott Holmes Chief Financial Officer

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 16:22

Disarm Therapeutics has appointed Scott Holmes to serve as its chief financial officer, the same position he held most recently at Kiadis Pharma. Before working at Kiadis, Holmes was the CFO of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals. Cambridge, MA-based Disarm is developing drugs neurodegenerative disease drugs that target a protein called SARM1.

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Emendo Biotherapeutics Nabs $61M for “Next-Generation CRISPR” R&D

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 13:39

Emendo Biotherapeutics, a company aiming to apply CRISPR gene editing to a wider range of genetic diseases, has raised $61 million in financing.

The Series B round was led by AnGes, a Japan-based biopharmaceutical company.

New York-based Emendo did not respond to a request for comment. But on its website, it contends that CRISPR is limited in its ability to treat dominant genetic diseases, which are diseases caused by a mutation to one copy of a gene. Treating these diseases, which represent the majority of genetic disorders, require edits to the mutated gene while leaving the other one intact. Emendo says... Read more »

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Phage Therapy Firm APT Lands DoD Contract for Antibiotic Alternative

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 05:00

The Department of Defense has awarded Adaptive Phage Therapeutics a $10.2 million contract to help advance its experimental therapy for the treatment of multidrug-resistant infections.

Gaithersburg, MD-based Adaptive Phage Therapeutics (APT) says it will pursue a two-year multi-site clinical trial as it looks to get the OK from the FDA, which considers phage to be “Generally Regarded as Safe” and has identified phage therapy as a potential alternative to antibiotics.

Phages are bacterial viruses that destroy targeted bacteria—including those which have become resistant to antibiotics—and APT is developing its phage collection, “PhageBank,” to do just that.

According to the... Read more »

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FDA Panel Votes Down Nektar Opioid Painkiller, Asks for More Data

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 18:48

As the nation grapples with the ongoing opioid crisis, an FDA advisory panel on Tuesday unanimously voted against recommending approval of a Nektar Therapeutics painkiller that would add a new compound to the drug class—even though it was designed to reduce the risk of abuse.

Some members of the panel, which was comprised mainly of physicians and pharmacists, said Nektar (NASDAQ: NKTR) did not provide enough data to support its claims. Others expressed concern that an approval could send the message that the San Francisco company’s drug is a “safer opioid.” Overall, panelists said that they want more clinical data.... Read more »

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Pfizer Taps Insilico Medicine to Use AI for Drug Target Discovery

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 09:09

Insilico Medicine on Tuesday announced that it has entered a research collaboration with Pfizer, which Insilico CEO Alex Zhavoronkov says has “one of the most advanced AI teams internally both in target identification and chemistry.”

Under the agreement, Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) will use Insilico’s machine learning technology and proprietary Pandomics Discovery Platform. Pfizer, not new to applying such advanced analytics, also has worked with IBM Watson and Concerto HealthAI.

“We will use our generative biology platform to attempt the discovery of new previously invisible biological targets implicated in specific diseases,” Zhavoronkov tells Xconomy, though specific disease targets were not disclosed.... Read more »

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Schrödinger Sets Course for IPO to Support Growing Internal Pipeline

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 08:26

Scan the landscape of experimental medicines in development today and you’ll spot Schrödinger’s handiwork. The company’s software has helped discover compounds that are now advancing in the pipelines of several drug developers.

Schrödinger isn’t shying away from that work. But as it continues building its own drug pipeline, it’s now laying out plans to go public. In documents filed with securities regulators, the New York company has set a preliminary $100 million goal for its IPO.

Schrödinger has developed software intended to make the process of discovering and developing drugs faster and more efficient. The company describes its technology as “physics... Read more »

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Daré Bioscience Inks Deal With Bayer for Non-Hormonal Contraceptive

Mon, 01/13/2020 - 22:33

Daré Bioscience launched in 2015 with the aim of assembling a portfolio of novel women’s health products intended to pique interest from major pharmaceutical companies.

Now the San Diego-based company has inked its first deal with Big Pharma, signing an agreement with German biopharma Bayer for its lead asset, a monthly non-hormonal form of birth control. Under terms announced Monday, Bayer will pay Daré an undisclosed upfront sum to secure the right to license its experimental contraceptive, Ovaprene, for US commercialization.

Daré (NASDAQ: DARE) this year plans to conduct a pivotal trial of Ovaprene, an insertable ring that uses a... Read more »

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NeoGenomics Nabs Human Longevity’s Oncology Division for $37M

Mon, 01/13/2020 - 14:19

The genetic testing company NeoGenomics has acquired Human Longevity’s Oncology Division, which provides next-generation sequencing services.

The division of San Diego-based Human Longevity generated approximately $10 million in revenue in 2019—an amount NeoGenomics (NASDAQ: NEO) thinks it can grow by nearly 50 percent, says Charlie Eidson, investor relations and corporate development analyst, NeoGenomics. Additionally, the oncology division closed out the year with a backlog of approximately $15 million worth of signed contracts.

According to Eidson, the deal boosts NeoGenomics’s pharma services and next-generation sequencing capabilities, two areas of high growth. This includes germ line testing as well as whole genome... Read more »

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Biogen Adds Another Neuro Drug to Pipeline in Deal With Pfizer

Mon, 01/13/2020 - 12:47

Continuing to make headlines in the neurodegenerative disease space, Biogen on Monday announced a deal to acquire a clinical-stage Pfizer asset that has potential applications in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, for $75 million.

Cambridge, MA-based Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB) could end up paying Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) up to $635 million in potential milestone payments and royalties, should the experimental drug—PF-05251749—reach commercialization.

The Pfizer asset is not being developed to address the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. PF-05251749 is a novel small molecule that penetrates the central nervous system and inhibits casein kinase 1 (CK1), a protein that helps regulate... Read more »

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Incyte Commits $900M to MorphoSys for Rights to Lymphoma Drug

Mon, 01/13/2020 - 12:06

Two weeks after MorphoSys filed for FDA review of its experimental treatment for a form of lymphoma, the company has struck a deal with Incyte to further develop and commercialize the therapy in the US and around the world.

According to financial terms announced Monday, Incyte (NASDAQ: INCY) is paying MorphoySys (NASDAQ: MOR) $750 million up front for the right to co-commercialize the drug tafasitamab in the US, where profits will be split equally. In addition, Wilmington, DE-based Incyte will buy $150 million worth of MorphoSys stock at an unspecified premium.

The deal also gives Incyte the right to... Read more »

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Generation Bio Pockets $110M for Next Wave of Gene Therapy, IPO Plans

Mon, 01/13/2020 - 07:04

JP Morgan’s annual healthcare conference convenes in San Francisco this week and Generation Bio CEO Geoff McDonough is betting gene therapy will be among the discussion topics. While such therapies now offer ways to address some rare diseases that previously had no treatment, they also have limitations.

Generation Bio is among the new wave of companies trying to avoid or overcome the challenges facing the current slate of gene therapies. To support its efforts, the Cambridge, MA-based company has raised an additional $110 million for its most advanced programs while also aiming for something more.

“It gets us to the... Read more »

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Roche Pays $40M to Use Amunix Pharma’s Half-Life Extension Tech

Mon, 01/13/2020 - 05:26

Roche will pay Amunix Pharmaceuticals $40 million up front to use the company’s proprietary technology to discover and develop new drugs outside of the oncology space.

The clinically validated platform—XTEN—is a proprietary unstructured polypeptide, which when attached to molecules, can extend the half-life of drugs with low associated immunogenicity, according to Amunix.

As per the agreement, Mountain View, CA-based Amunix could potentially receive up to $1.5 billion in development and sales milestones. Specific disease targets were not disclosed.

Amunix CEO Angie You says the cash for IP deal will allow Amunix to focus on advancing its internal pipeline as well as... Read more »

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Allogene, SpringWorks to Test Drug Combo in Multiple Myeloma Trial

Mon, 01/13/2020 - 03:49

Springworks Therapeutics and Allogene Therapeutics have agreed to collaborate on a clinical trial to test a combination of an investigational cancer drug from each biotech in patients with multiple myeloma.

The experimental treatment from Springworks, nirogacestat, is one of the four drug compounds that the company took off the Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) shelf when it spun out in 2017.

Stamford, CT-based Springworks (NASDAQ: SWTX) is studying nirogacestat in a Phase 3 trial enrolling patients with desmoid tumors, rare growths that form in the connective tissue and, while benign, can cause debilitation and disfigurement.

The other half of the... Read more »

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