Azymus Therapeutics Inc., of Boise, Idaho, an emerging company, said it is utilizing tailored microvesicular particles to deliver optimized concentrations of specific proteins and genetic materials. The AZ platform enables researchers to discover ways to influence microvesicular composition to impact the disease state in Parkinson's and chemo-resistant cancers. Its proof-of-concept studies on drug candidates AZ-001 and AZ-002 have revealed the role of reactive oxygen species metabolism and mitochondrial bioenergetics as cellular mechanisms for evading cell death. The studies have provided mechanistic insights into how living drugs may restore the neuronal circuitry that affects motor functions and improve quality of life for Parkinson's disease patients.
Biomotiv LLC, of Cleveland, and Atomwise Inc., of San Francisco, said they will form co-owned, joint development companies (JDCs) that will integrate Atomwise’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology and Biomotiv’s expertise in preclinical and clinical development to translate academic and early stage research into small-molecule therapies. Atomwise’s AI technology will enable the pursuit of programs for targets considered undruggable with traditional tools, provide compounds by screening ultra-large compound libraries, and decrease the time and cost of projects by reducing physical testing of compounds. The firms will source targets, assays and compounds for the JDCs from the Harrington Project, the AIMS program and research institutions around the world. Atomwise and Biomotiv said they will provide the JDCs with funding, expertise in medicinal chemistry, biology and drug development, and access to an established ecosystem of providers and biopharma partners.
Cellphire Inc., of Rockville, Md., was awarded a 6.5-year, $29.25 million contract, including options, from the U.S. Army to develop a dimethyl sulfoxide cryopreserved platelets product. Cellphire will perform all research, development, manufacturing and regulatory activities on platelets that can be stored for two years and are designed to treat severe hemorrhage in combat.
The DNA exam laboratory completed by China SXT Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Taizhou, China, in October has been approved by the Jiangsu province drug administration to perform research and development and quality control of traditional Chinese medicine raw materials and traditional Chinese medicine products applying DNA testing technology. The DNA testing technology will be used for developing new products.
Coimmune Inc., of Durham, N.C., and Formula Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Berwyn, Pa., have merged. The new company, Coimmune, will focus on a phase IIb trial for its lead asset, CMN-001, in advanced renal cell carcinoma and a phase I trial for cytokine-induced killer cells in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The close of the deal will be accompanied by a $6 million investment in the combined entity to fund the killer cells program.
Evotec SE, of Hamburg, Germany, said its wholly owned Seattle-based subsidiary company, Just-Evotec Biologics Inc., has established a collaborative relationship with Oncoresponse Inc., of Seattle. The latter’s lead antibody product candidate, OR-2805, is a fully human antibody derived from an elite responder that reverses immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment and promotes greater cancer killing. Under the agreement, Just-Evotec will leverage its integrated technology platform, J.Design, to provide Oncoresponse with services to accelerate OR-2805 into the clinic. The services include cell line development, process development, and phase I/II cGMP clinical manufacturing of a selected drug candidate.
Intellistem Technologies Inc., of Toronto, launched Intellipeptidome, a discovery platform for rapid and systematic identification of MHC/HLA bound peptide candidates for clinical applications. The platform, which can break down antigens to allow for stable peptide presentation to the immune system, allows Intellistem to work with CAR T-cell companies in targeting solid tumors.
Merck & Co. Inc., of Kenilworth, N.J., completed the cash tender offer, through a subsidiary, for all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Arqule Inc., of Burlington, Mass., at a purchase price of $20 per share. As of the tender offer expiration, about 103 million shares of common stock of Arqule were validly tendered and not withdrawn from the tender offer, representing about 75.3% of the outstanding common stock of Arqule on a fully diluted basis.
Oncotartis Inc., of Buffalo, N.Y., and the Children’s Cancer Institute in Australia disclosed publication of two research manuscripts in Leukemia, the first of which describes OT-82’s mechanism of action, toxological profile and preclinical efficacy. The drug was shown to inhibit nicotinamide phosphoribosyl transferase, which is responsible for NAD production. The second study demonstrated the drug’s efficacy when used alone and in combination with conventional treatments, indicating promise for use in children with high-risk blood cancers. OT-82 is being tested in a clinical trial in adults with relapsed or refractory lymphoma. Following the successful completion of that study, it is anticipated the drug will proceed to testing in children with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Syndivia SAS, of Strasbourg, France, said it was granted an exclusive, worldwide sublicense by SATT Sud-Est to the immunoconjugates of the anti‑CD146-ts antibody (excluding diagnosis), which binds a tumor-specific form of CD146 found on a number of solid cancers. CD146-ts has a central role in the mechanism of tumorigenesis and has the potential to address a current unmet need in cancer therapy, the company said. Syndivia will undertake further development and commercialization of anti-CD146-ts immunoconjugates in exchange for undisclosed up-front, milestone and royalty payments to SATT Sud-Est.
Trillium Therapeutics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., regained compliance with the market minimum bid price requirement. According to the letter received from Nasdaq, the closing bid price of the company’s common stock has been at $1 per share or greater for a minimum of 10 consecutive days.