Codexis Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., signed a license agreement to provide Roche Holding AG, of Basel, Switzerland, with Codexis’ EvoT4TM DNA ligase high-performance molecular diagnostic enzyme. The enzyme was developed using Codexis’ Codeevolver protein engineering platform and is expected to be incorporated into Roche’s next-generation sequencing library preparation kits and other sequencing products. The royalty-bearing license grants Roche worldwide rights to include the EvoT4TM DNA ligase in its nucleic acid sequencing products and workflows. Terms were not disclosed.
Genscript Corp., of Piscataway, N.J., signed a collaboration agreement with Selecxine Inc., of Seoul, South Korea, for antibody drug development. Genscript will be responsible for preclinical pharmacy research and an IND filing in Selecxine's project. The effort is based on cytokine-antibody complexes. Terms were not disclosed.
Kadmon Holdings Inc., of New York, and Tokyo’s Meiji Seika Pharma Co. Ltd. plan to exclusively develop and commercialize KD-025, Kadmon’s rho-associated protein kinase 2 inhibitor, in Japan and certain other Asian countries. KD-025 is in a phase II study for treating chronic graft-vs.-host disease. Kadmon could receive milestone payments possibly exceeding $29 million and is eligible for double-digit percentage royalty payments on sales in the territory. A joint venture for the project, Romeck Pharma LLC, will be headquartered in Japan.
Melinta Therapeutics Inc., of Morristown, N.J., entered a voluntary chapter 11 restructuring support agreement with Deerfield Private Design Fund III and Deerfield Private Design Fund IV. Under the agreement, those supporting lenders would acquire Melinta by exchanging $140 million of secured claims arising under its senior credit facility for 100% of the equity to be issued by the reorganized company. Melinta officials said the company intends to operate its business in the normal course while it completes the transaction. Company shares (NASDAQ:MLNT) dropped 38% in November after Melinta filed a 10-Q form that included a "going concern" warning. Shares closed Friday at 62 cents, down 87 cents, or 58%.
After reviewing strategic alternatives, the management of Hilden, Germany’s Qiagen NV concluded the business should remain a standalone company. Qiagen provides sample and assay technology for molecular diagnostics, applied testing, and academic and pharmaceutical research. In November, Qiagen disclosed a series of agreements expanding its immuno-oncology assets for future commercialization of companion diagnostics for precision medicine in immune-oncology. The agreements include a new collaboration with Repertoire Genesis Inc., of Osaka, Japan, to study T-cell/B-cell receptor repertoire assays. Qiagen also entered a new licensing agreement with researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany for novel epigenomic biomarkers based on immune checkpoint gene methylation, including CTLA4, PD-L1 and PD-1, with rights to co-develop predictive companion diagnostics. In a second licensing agreement, Qiagen has gained exclusive access to biomarker intellectual property held by the diagnostic company Stratifyer Molecular Pathology GmbH, of Cologne, Germany, that is intended to provide guidance for treatment decisions in bladder cancer.
Starton Therapeutics Inc. is the new name of New York’s Chemiocare USA Inc., as the company shifts from being a cancer supportive care company to a clinical-stage biotech studying hematology and other cancer therapeutics. Starton recently completed a proof-of-concept study of multiple myeloma with lenalidomide using a model emulating transdermal delivery. The results show a continuous subcutaneous delivery of lenalidomide is superior in terms of efficacy and equivalent in tolerability when compared to a standard once-daily pulsatile dosing of Revlimid in mice. The results are from a study of transdermal lenalidomide in hematologic malignancies including multiple myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.