Assertio Therapeutics Inc., of Lake Forest, Ill., said it inked agreements with certain holders of its outstanding 2.5% convertible notes due 2021 and 5% convertible senior notes due 2024 to repurchase approximately $188 million in principal amount for a cash payment plus accrued but unpaid interest. Suntrust Robinson Humphrey Inc. acted as sole exchange agent and financial advisor. The company’s shares (NASDAQ:ASRT) gained 9 cents on Feb. 19, closing at $1.38.
Aveo Pharmaceuticals Inc., commonly called Aveo Oncology, of Cambridge, Mass., said it planned to effect a 1-for-10 reverse stock split as of 5 p.m. Eastern time on Feb. 19, reducing the number of outstanding common shares (NASDAQ:AVEO) from approximately 160.8 million to approximately 16.1 million. The shares, which closed Feb. 19 at 53 cents, are expected to begin trading on Nasdaq on a split-adjusted basis when the market opens on Feb. 20.
Caribou Biosciences Inc., of Berkeley, Calif., said it inked a sale and assignment agreement with Promab Biotechnologies Inc., of Richmond, Calif., gaining access to a Promab humanized single-chain variable fragment (scFv) targeting the B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA), for use in allogeneic engineered cell therapies. Caribou intends to use the scFv in the development of CB-011, an allogeneic CAR T therapy targeting BCMA-positive tumors, including multiple myeloma. Promab is set to receive an up-front payment and royalties on product sales.
Cellectis SA, of Paris, and Les Laboratoires Servier SAS, of Suresnes, France, said they executed a binding term sheet expanding their 2014 agreement. Through the amendment, Cellectis granted Servier an expanded exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialize next-generation gene-edited allogeneic CAR T-cell products targeting CD19, either directly or through U.S. sublicensee Allogene Therapeutics Inc., including rights to ALLO-501A, an anti-CD19 candidate in which the rituximab recognition domains have been removed. Financial terms included an additional $27.6 million (€25 million) up-front payment, as well as up to $410 million in clinical and commercial milestones. The royalty rate on the agreement is set to increase from tiered high single digits to flat low double digits, based on net sales. As part of the amendment, Cellectis said it will regain exclusive control over five undisclosed allogeneic CAR T-cell targets previously covered by the initial agreement. On Feb. 19, shares of Cellectis (NASDAQ:CLLS) gained $1.56 to close at $18.59.
Enzo Biochem Inc., of New York, published data showing that SK1-I, its sphingosine kinase inhibitor, reduced lupus-associated parameters in a chemically induced animal model of systemic lupus erythematosus. The treatment resulted in reductions in interferon signature, pDC activation and glomerulonephritis, inflammation of the kidney’s filtration units. SK1-I was effective when administered simultaneously with the chemical induction of lupus in the model and was also effective when administered 30 days after the chemical induction of the disorder, the company said.
Researchers at Jangobio LLC, of Fitchburg, Wis., created organoids that emulate production of ovarian and testicular hormones, giving the company the capacity to regenerate and replace hormone-producing tissues and reverse the natural decline of sex hormones that occurs with age. Restoring circulating hormone concentrations, the company said, offers the opportunity to prevent the symptoms of menopause and male andropause, halt age-related disease and increase the healthy lifespan of humans and animals.
Microcures Inc., of New York, said it entered a material transfer agreement with the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine. Under terms of the agreement, U.S. Department of Defense researchers will conduct a preclinical study of siFi2, Microcures’ lead product candidate, in animal models of spinal cord injury. siFi2 is a small interfering RNA therapeutic that can be applied topically and is designed to enhance recovery after trauma. Researchers will evaluate the potential of siFi2 treatment to drive axon regeneration and functional recovery in a rat model of spinal cord injury. As part of the study, multiple siFi2 formulations will be evaluated in order to assist in the identification of a lead formulation to be advanced into clinical development.
Nimble Therapeutics Inc., of Madison, Wis., disclosed a multiyear collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, of Basel, Switzerland, to accelerate discovery and development of peptide-based medicines for targets across a range of diseases. The collaboration will involve Nimble’s peptide synthesis, screening and optimization platform, chemical diversity and integrated suite of assays. Under the terms, Nimble will receive an undisclosed up-front payment and will be eligible for downstream milestone payments and royalties.
Orgenesis Inc., of Germantown, Md., and John Hopkins University agreed to develop and supply a variety of cell and gene therapies and technologies, including cell-based immunotherapy technologies. The project will use Orgenesis’ point-of-care cell therapy platform to develop products through collaborations and in-licensing. Orgenesis out-licenses the products through regional partners while providing regulatory, preclinical and training to reach patients in hospitals.
Vivus Inc., of Campbell, Calif., and Alvogen Korea Holdings Ltd., its Korean marketing partner, launched Qsymia (phentermine and topiramate extended release) in South Korea. Alvogen is responsible for obtaining and maintaining regulatory approvals and for all sales and marketing activities in Korea. Vivus will receive a $2 million payment tied to the commercial launch of Qsymia. Vivus is also eligible to receive royalties on Alvogen's net sales of Qsymia and future milestone payments contingent upon achievement of net sales goals within the covered territory. Qsymia is indicated as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with an initial body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or greater or 27 kg/m2 or greater in the presence of at least one weight-related medical condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol.