Adverum Biotechnologies Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., opened its new headquarters at 800 Saginaw Dr. in the Seaport Center. The 80,000-square-foot facility will serve as the company’s headquarters and will include expanded laboratory space and manufacturing process capabilities to further advance Adverum’s gene therapies.
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boston, said it completed its acquisition of Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Blue Bell, Pa., adding two clinical-stage oral small-molecule factor D inhibitors to Alexion’s pipeline. The companies inked the deal in October, with Alexion paying $930 million up front, with contingent value rights.
Armata Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Marina Del Rey, Calif., and Innoviva Inc., of Brisbane, Calif., signed a securities purchase agreement pursuant to which Innoviva will purchase, upon satisfaction of certain closing conditions, about $25 million in Armata common stock and warrant securities (excluding any consideration payable upon exercise of warrants). Armata expects to use the proceeds from the offering to support the ongoing advancement of its bacteriophage development programs, including the expected first-in-human studies related to lead phage candidate AP-PA02, targeting Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as well as AP-SA02, its phage candidate targeting Staphylococcus aureus. Innoviva will purchase about 8.7 million newly issued shares of Armata's common stock at a price of $2.87 per share, and warrants to purchase up to approximately 8.7 million more shares of Armata's common stock, with an exercise price of $2.87 per share.
Avacta Group plc, of Cambridge, U.K., demonstrated initial proof of concept for its tumor microenvironment activated drug conjugate (TMAC) in a preclinical animal model of cancer. The study showed that AVA04-VbP outperformed Bavencio (avelumab, EMD Serono Inc./Pfizer Inc.), an anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy. TMACs combine the company’s Affimer biotherapeutics with chemotherapies in a single drug, using a linker designed to only release the chemotherapy in the tumor microenvironment through the action of an extracellular enzyme.
Clover Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Chengdu, China, started development of a recombinant subunit vaccine for 2019-nCoV, the newly identified coronavirus that is believed to have originated from Wuhan, China. Clover is using its Trimer-Tag technology to construct a recombinant 2019-nCoV S protein subunit-trimer vaccine (S-Trimer) and will produce it via a rapid mammalian cell culture-based expression system. Clover expects to obtain a highly purified S-Trimer vaccine for further preclinical safety and analysis within the next six to eight weeks. The company said it could be able to rapidly scale up and produce large quantities of a coronavirus vaccine, if a successful vaccine candidate is able to be identified.
Concert Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lexington, Mass., granted the company’s motion to vacate and remand the Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision to invalidate U.S. Patent No. 9,249,149. The ’149 patent covers CTP-543, Concert’s investigational drug candidate for the treatment of alopecia areata. The inter partes review (IPR) proceeding does not prohibit Concert from developing CTP-543 and does not affect other intellectual property protection that the company is pursuing, the firm noted. The grant of the company’s motion will take effect on March 16, 2020, unless Incyte Corp., of Wilmington, Del., which filed the petition for the IPR, or the patent office director, who intervened in the case, seeks a rehearing.
Correvio Pharma Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, received two written notifications from Nasdaq notifying the company that it is not in compliance with the minimum bid price and the minimum market value of listed securities requirements. In the event the company does not regain compliance with the minimum bid price by July 22, it may be eligible for additional time to regain compliance or may face delisting.
Horizon Therapeutics plc, of Dublin, said it agreed to purchase the three-building campus in Deerfield, Ill., that formerly belonged to Takeda Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd., of Osaka, Japan. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter, with additional terms of the purchase not disclosed. Horizon is expected to occupy the campus in the second half of this year.
The not-for-profit Loulou Foundation, of London, said the rare genetic disease CDKL5 deficiency disorder, or CDD, was designated with a new disease code in the International Classification of Diseases, or ICD, and the diagnostic code will be incorporated into the Oct. 1, 2020, classification revision.
Outlook Therapeutics Inc., of Cranbury, N.J., said it inked agreements with Biolexis Pte. Ltd., of Singapore, its largest stockholder, and MTTR LLC, its development partner for ONS-5010, an ophthalmic formulation of the VEGF ligand inhibitor bevacizumab, that align the interests of the parties with the company’s common stockholders and support continued development of the lead program. Outlook and MTTR agreed to terminate their strategic partnership, eliminating rights by MTTR to potential future royalty payments from licensing agreements and net sales in exchange for the issuance of approximately 7.2 million common shares of Outlook (NASDAQ:OTLK) to MTTR’s four principals, subject to stockholder approval. Outlook inked consulting agreements with the principals describing terms of their respective compensation arrangements. With termination of the MTTR strategic partnership agreement, Outlook regained full ownership of potential licensing proceeds or net sales from ONS-5010. The company also agreed to seek stockholder approval to amend the terms of its outstanding series A-1 convertible preferred stock in exchange for an agreement by Biolexis to convert its series A-1 preferred outstanding shares once terms are amended. If approved, the proposed amendment will increase the conversion rate to approximately $431.03 per share, resulting in the issuance of approximately 29.4 million shares upon conversion of the 68,112 preferred outstanding shares held by Biolexis. In addition, Outlook and Biolexis agreed to reduce the exercise price to 23.2 cents per share on warrants to acquire approximately 4.7 million common shares held by Biolexis in exchange for its agreement to exercise the warrants promptly for cash, resulting in proceeds to Outlook of approximately $1.1 million. On Jan. 28, OTLK shares closed at 93 cents.
Oxford Gene Technology IP Ltd., a unit of Sysmex Corp., of Kobe, Japan, said Vincente Peg, a pathologist at the Vall d´Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, and colleagues showed a correlation between the clearance of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in HER2-positive or triple-negative breast cancer patients undergoing neoadjuvant treatment with a clinical/pathologic complete response. The researchers used a Sureseq NGS cancer gene enrichment panel from Oxford to identify driver mutations from breast cancer formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue of 29 individuals with early stage disease and the Safeseq personalized liquid biopsy platform from Sysmex Inostics for patient-specific longitudinal analysis of plasma ctDNA. The plasma analysis, conducted at neoadjuvant treatment midpoint and post-treatment immediately prior to surgery, showed the absence of ctDNA in all patients (12/12) who showed a complete clinical response, but ctDNA was detected in three of five patients who did not achieve complete response. Researchers said the findings suggested ctDNA testing is an important clinical parameter to consider alongside imaging to determine complete response to neoadjuvant treatment. The data were reported at the American Association for Cancer Research Advances in Liquid Biopsies conference in Miami.
Predictive Technology Group Inc., of Salt Lake City, and Atrin Pharmaceuticals LLC, of Doylestown, Pa., said they plan to collaborate in developing molecular diagnostic tools to facilitate improved selection of cancer patients most likely to benefit from treatment with DNA damage and response (DDR) inhibitors, including small-molecule ATR inhibitors in development by Atrin and other firms. The companies plan to use Predictive’s sequencing capabilities and genomics expertise to identify cancer patients with molecular markers that predict the level of clinical response to Atrin’s and other targeted therapies. The collaboration also is expected to help optimize the safety and efficacy of Atrin’s targeted cancer therapeutics and other DDR drug candidates. Through the agreement, Atrin gained access to Predictive’s Gendb databases and women’s health biobank to improve its understanding of the clinical spectrum of germline mutations in DDR pathways. The companies also plan to study common gynecologic disorders, such as endometriosis, associated with the development of cancers in affected patients. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Seelos Therapeutics Inc., of New York, said it plans to begin an in vivo study on delivering its alpha-synuclein peptidic inhibitor, SLS-007, by adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector, marking its second gene therapy approach to treat Parkinson’s disease. Seelos is producing the viral vectors and preparing animals for the study, which will include measurements of key biomarkers that will assess the extent of alpha-synuclein aggregate expression in target areas of the brain. Data to determine delivery and target engagement are expected in the second half of the year.
Syndivia SAS, of Strasbourg, France, said it was granted an exclusive global license by Satt Conectus Alsace of Bas Rhin, France, for its Darx technology, which provides access to previously inaccessible biologics formats, such as antibody-drug, antibody-oligonucleotide and antibody-interleukin conjugates with a defined degree of conjugation of 1. The minimum possible degree of conjugation was found to have advantages to address solid cancer indications in vivo. Syndivia agreed to develop the technology for therapeutic and diagnostics applications, including potential drug candidates, in exchange for undisclosed up-front and milestone payments to Conectus.