Anika Therapeutics Inc., of Bedford, Mass., said it completed the acquisition of Arthrosurface Inc., of Franklin, Mass., by acquiring the company’s outstanding shares in exchange for an up-front payment of approximately $60 million in cash. Arthrosurface shareholders are eligible to receive an additional $40 million on the achievement of predetermined regulatory and commercial milestones. Arthrosurface’s product portfolio includes surface implant curvatures designed to treat upper and lower extremity orthopedic conditions caused by trauma, injury and arthritic disease. On Feb. 4, Anika’s shares (NASDAQ:ANIK) closed at $40.59, up 34 cents.
Athenex Inc., of Buffalo, N.Y., said Johnson Lau, the company’s chair and CEO, informed shareholders that he received notice of a proposed administrative fine of ¥100,000 (US$14,300) from the China Securities Regulatory Commission in connection with accounting and compliance infractions by officials at Porton Pharma Solutions Ltd., of Chongqing, China, where Lau served as an outside director from March 2016 to December 2019. The infractions, which occurred in 2018, resulted in inaccurate financial disclosures by Porton that were reviewed and approved by its board. Lau did not serve on Porton’s audit committee, the administrative notice did not allege any wrongdoing by him and his decision to resign from the Porton board in December 2019 was amicable and unrelated to the matter. Lau said he intends to request a hearing to oppose the proposed fine. Following review of the disclosure, the Athenex board maintained its confidence in Lau's leadership.
Biomotiv LLC, of Cleveland, a drug development accelerator associated with The Harrington Project for Discovery and Development, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMS), of New York, said they launched Anteros Pharmaceuticals to pursue development of a class of drugs to treat fibrotic and other inflammatory diseases based on intellectual property (IP) developed at Yale University, in-licensed by BMS and subsequently assigned to Anteros. The company represents the first launch under the strategic partnership inked by Biomotiv and BMS in September 2019. BMS will contribute the IP, data and reagents for a series of small molecules against an undisclosed mechanism. Biomotiv, through Anteros and working in partnership with Yale, will be solely responsible for R&D. Once Anteros nominates a preclinical candidate, BMS has the option to acquire the company under pre-arranged terms, which were not disclosed.
Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, of Ingelheim, Germany, presented results from a new retrospective analysis of real-world data that showed patients prescribed Spiriva Respimat (tiotropium bromide) inhalation spray 1.25 mcg experienced fewer asthma-related exacerbations when Spiriva Respimat was added to a popular class of asthma treatments (combination inhaled corticosteroid and long-acting beta2-agonist [ICS+LABA]) vs. patients receiving an increased dose of ICS+LABA. That new analysis, from nearly 8,000 adults and adolescents with asthma, was presented at the Western Society of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 2020 Annual Scientific Session in Hawaii.
Cerecor Inc., of Rockville, Md., said it completed the acquisition of Aevi Genomic Medicine Inc. (formerly Medgenics, Inc.), of Wayne, Pa., in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $15.6 million at close and contingent value rights for milestone payments of up to $6.5 million. With the transaction’s close, Cerecor’s pipeline includes six clinical-stage assets with a focus on medicines to treat unmet needs in rare diseases, particularly for pediatric patients. The company continues to explore strategic alternatives for noncore neurological assets, including NMDA receptor epsilon 2 subunit inhibitor CERC-301, as well as its sole commercialized product, the corticosteroid Millipred (prednisolone). On Feb. 4, Cerecor’s shares (NASDAQ:CERC) gained 11 cents to close at $4.09.
CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Houston, completed the final GMP manufacturing run of its chemotherapy, berubicin. The product will be used in an upcoming phase II study in patients with glioblastoma.
Contrafect Corp., of Yonkers, N.Y., said it completed a 1-for-10 reverse split of its common shares (NASDAQ:CFRX), which began trading Feb. 4 on a split-adjusted basis. The reverse split, approved at a special stockholders meeting on Jan. 31, was intended to give the company greater flexibility to meet business needs and to increase the trading price of its shares to satisfy the $1 minimum price requirement for continued listing on Nasdaq. The company is recruiting participants in the phase III Disrupt trial of exebacase (CF-301) in Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia, including infectious endocarditis. CFRX shares closed Feb. 4 at $7.80.
Cormedix Inc., of Berkeley Heights, N.J., was approved by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to transfer approximately $5.5 million of its net operating loss tax benefits to an unrelated profitable New Jersey company. Cormedix expects to receive approximately $5.2 million in cash proceeds from the sale of the tax benefit in the first quarter of 2020.
Eyepoint Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Watertown, Mass., licensed the right to develop vorolanib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion from Equinox Science LLC. Eyepoint is developing EYP-1901, which combines vorolanib with its bioerodible Durasert technology to create a sustained-release intravitreal drug. Eyepoint will pay Equinox $1 million up front, as well as undisclosed developmental and regulatory milestones and royalties on sales.
FSD Pharma Inc., of Toronto, and Solarvest Bioenergy Inc., of Summerville, Nova Scotia, amended their collaboration and development agreement to develop cannabidiol from algae. FSD issued an additional 225,371 shares to Solarvest to continue funding of the project, and Edward Brennan, FSD's president of biosciences, will join Solarvest's board.
Genekam Biotechnology AG, of Duisburg, Germany, said it developed tests to detect the 2019-nCoV virus and related viruses originating from bats. Genekam has developed a commercial test, which it said is highly sensitive and can detect Wuhan strain specifically. It can be used on different kinds of samples like oral, nasal, respiratory and blood, the company said.
Ibio Inc., of New York, and Beijing CC-Pharming Ltd., of Beijing, said they are collaborating to develop and test a new 2019-nCoV vaccine to be manufactured using Ibio’s Fastpharming System.
Navrogen Inc., of Cheyney, Pa., and Levena Biopharma Co. Ltd., of San Diego, are collaborating to develop antibody-drug conjugates targeting humoral immunosuppressed cancers. Levena will contribute its linker and cytotoxic payload chemistry, and Navrogen will add its antibodies. Financial terms of the collaboration weren't disclosed.
Pattern Bioscience (formerly Klaris Diagnostics), of Austin, Texas, said it was awarded funding from CARB-X (Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator) to develop a rapid identification and antimicrobial susceptibility test (ID/AST) to diagnose drug-resistant infections, helping health care professionals to determine the most appropriate antibiotic to treat the infection. Pattern’s digital culture for rapid ID/AST combines single-cell analysis with deep learning, enabling phenotypic susceptibility testing across common bacterial infections to provide diagnosis of superbug infections within four hours. The initial CARB-X award is designed to cover 80% to 90% of development costs. If the project achieves predetermined development milestones, Pattern is eligible for up to $15.1 million in additional funding from CARB-X.
Plex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, was awarded a $600,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop antiviral drug candidates for the treatment of dengue fever, West Nile virus and Zika virus infections. The company will use the funds to optimize and develop its lead candidates.
Q Biomed Inc., of New York, said research partner Mannin Research Inc. is developing new therapeutics to treat a variety of vascular diseases, including the new coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, China. While Mannin is not generating a vaccine against infectious diseases, Q Biomed said it is developing a new class of therapeutics that may increase the survival rate of patients by reducing endothelial dysfunction and severity of infectious and other diseases through enhancement of host-directed therapeutic response.
Rhythm AI Ltd., of London, and Biosense Webster Ltd., a unit of New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson, are collaborating to allow Rhythm access to certain data from Biosense's Carto3 system. Rhythm will incorporate the data into its Star Mapping artificial intelligence system.
Salarius Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Houston, published preclinical data on its LSD1 inhibitor, seclidemstat (SP-2577), on the preprint server Biorxiv. In an in vitro 3D immune-organoid model using small-cell carcinoma of the ovary hypercalcemic type (SCCOHT) cells, SP-2577 stimulated IFN-dependent antitumor immunity. The drug promoted the expression of PD-L1 in SCCOHT and ovarian clear cell carcinoma models.
Samus Therapeutics Inc., of Boston, published preclinical data on epichaperomes in Nature Communications. Epichaperomes, which are caused by Alzheimer's disease-related stressors, lead to dysfunctional protein networks. Samus is developing drugs targeting Hsp90 in the epichaperome.
Sirion Biotech GmbH, of Munich, Germany, and Inprother Aps, of Copenhagen, Denmark, expanded their collaboration to include a broad license covering Sirion's adenovirus technologies to cancer vaccines encoding endogenous retrovirus-derived antigens for active immunotherapy. Sirion will receive shares in Inprother and undisclosed milestones and royalties.
Syntrix Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Auburn, Wash., published data in Frontiers in Pharmacology showing that desmetramadol, the active metabolite of tramadol, is a G protein biased opioid receptor agonist. Syntrix is developing desmetramadol as a pain reliever without the metabolic liabilities of tramadol.
Theratechnologies Inc., of Montreal, said it signed long-term agreements with the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Steven Grinspoon toward the development of tesamorelin for the potential treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in people living with HIV. MGH will assist Theratechnologies in connection with the study design, selection of optimal patient population, dosing, study duration and other safety matters and to participate, if need be, in regulatory meetings with the FDA and EMA. In consideration, Theratechnologies has agreed to make certain milestone payments related to the development of tesamorelin for the treatment of NAFLD/NASH and royalty payments on all sales of Egrifta (tesamorelin for injection), above a certain threshold amount, upon approval by the FDA or the EMA (the first to occur) of an expanded label of tesamorelin for the treatment of NAFLD or NASH in the HIV patient population. Grinspoon also will become a member of Theratechnologies’ scientific committee.
Trefoil Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, and contract developer and manufacturer AGC Biologics executed a manufacturing contract to supply Trefoil’s lead compound, TTHX-1114. The drug, an engineered form of FGF-1 to restore lost vision in patients with corneal diseases by regenerating corneal tissue, is set to enter clinical trials during 2020.
Trianni Inc., of San Francisco, and Mablytics Inc., of Boston, said they entered a license agreement for the use of the Trianni Mouse, a transgenic mouse R&D platform for the discovery of fully human monoclonal antibodies, to support Mablytics' antibody-based therapeutic discovery programs. No financial details were disclosed.