Aslan Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Singapore, reported data characterizing its ASLAN-003 as a potential treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). A study found the orally active inhibitor of dihydroorotate dehydrogenase inhibited protein synthesis and induced differentiation of AML cell lines through activating AP-1 transcription factors. The study confirmed that ASLAN-003-meditated AP-1 activation is a component in reversing blocked differentiation of AML cells. ASLAN-003 has orphan drug designation from the FDA and was licensed from Barcelona, Spain-based Almirall SA in 2012. Aslan has global rights for all nontopical and nondermatological indications. 

Celularity Inc., of Warren, N.J., reported preclinical data at the Society for Neuro-Oncology meeting in Phoenix, showing CYNK-001, a placental-derived, cryopreserved natural killer cell therapy had in vivo activity against glioblastoma multiforme.

Celyad SA, of Brussels, received €8.5 million (US$9.4 million) in grants and nondilutive funding from the Walloon region of Belgium to support its development of CAR T candidates, including CYAD-01 and CYAD-02 to treat relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia. Of the award, €2.4 million is a grant and €6.1 million is nondilutive funding in the form of recoverable cash advances, which is reimbursable over the economic life of the projects. Thirty percent is refundable based on a fixed reimbursement schedule varying between 20 and 25 years, while the balance is refunded as royalties over the same period. 

Horizon Therapeutics plc, of Dublin, opened a new 20,000-square-foot office in South San Francisco for use in formulation and process development for manufacturing, bioanalytical method development and other R&D functions. Horizon plans to add new positions in bioanalysis, clinical research, pharmacology, manufacturing and business development during the next year. The company is currently in a phase III study of Krystexxa (pegloticase) for treating chronic gout. 

Novelion Therapeutics, of Vancouver, British Columbia, in its voluntary liquidation and dissolution of the company, has applied to the Supreme Court of British Columbia to affirm appointing a liquidator, granting a stay of proceedings against the company, and approving a court-supervised process to solicit and determine any claims against the company.  Novelion seeks approval of a court-ordered charge on the company’s property as security for the liquidator’s fees and counsel, and the company’s counsel. The application also seeks a court order suspending the company’s obligation to comply with certain ongoing reporting, audit and shareholder meeting obligations. Novelion anticipates seeking relief from its ongoing Canadian and U.S. reporting obligations pending commencement of the liquidation. The company expects its application will be heard by the court on or around Dec. 11.  In May, Novelion’s wholly owned subsidiary, Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc., entered a plan funding agreement and a restructuring support agreement that will result in Aegerion selling 100% of its reorganized stock to, and becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of, Amryt Pharma plc, of London. 

As part of its planned merger with Philadelphia's Spark Therapeutics Inc., Roche Holding AG, of Basel, Switzerland, extended its offer to buy all outstanding shares of Spark's common stock for $114.50 each from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10. The extension is designed to accommodate the FTC and U.K. Competition and Markets Authority to complete their reviews of the merger.  

Wuxi Biologics, of China, said its subsidiary, Wuxi Vaccines, will invest $240 million to build a new vaccine manufacturing facility in Ireland. The investment follows a 20-year manufacturing letter of intent signed earlier this year.


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