Abbvie Inc., of North Chicago, said it extended the expiration date of the offers to exchange any and all outstanding notes of certain series issued in connection to its acquisition of Dublin-based Allergan plc, from 5 p.m. New York time Feb. 28 to 5 p.m. New York time on March 13. The firms entered the $63 billion cash-and-stock deal last year.
Amorchem II, a venture capital fund in Montreal, financed a new university project focusing on preclinical development of retinal gene augmentation to treat peroxisome biogenesis disorders in the Zellweger spectrum (PBD-ZSD). The fund’s financing will bring together three major research groups from the Research Institute of the McGill University Hospital Center, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Southern California. The program is focused on developing and testing a gene therapy construct that may ultimately improve the well-being of patients with a disabling disorder by treating retinal degeneration, Amorchem said. Retinal degeneration leading to blindness is a major, untreatable feature of PBD-ZSD. The collaborators propose to test the gene therapy targeting retinal photoreceptor cells in PEX1 animal models to study recovery of peroxisomal function.
Anavex Life Sciences Corp., of New York, disclosed the publication in the Journal of Neuroimmunology of an article, titled “Sigma-1 Receptor Agonists as Potential Protective Therapies in Multiple Sclerosis,” featuring preclinical data of Anavex2-73 (blarcamesine) relevant to multiple sclerosis. A unique trait of the candidate, compared to another sigma-1 receptor agonist studied, is that while the molecules increase proliferation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), blarcamesine does not inhibit the maturation of OPCs to oligodendrocytes (OLs), the company said. Data also demonstrate that the compound provides protection for OLs, OPCs, as well as central nervous system neurons in addition to helping repair by increasing the pool of OPCs that can go on to matter to OLs.
Antibe Therapeutics Inc., of Toronto, said data published in Antioxidant and Redox Signaling demonstrate that ATB-352, a hydrogen sulfide-releasing derivative of ketoprofen, induces much greater pain relief than ketoprofen in a well-characterized animal model of surgical pain. Despite the increased analgesic potency, ATB-352 was also much better tolerated in the gastrointestinal tract, the company noted, and the pain-relieving potency of ATB-352 compared to ketoprofen was greater than threefold.
Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Dhaka, Bangladesh, now has exclusive rights to launch several of Hertfordshire, U.K.-based Mylan NV’s products in Bangladesh to treat different types of cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The initial launch, set for the first quarter of 2021, will be for Ogivri, a biosimilar to Herceptin (trastuzumab), for treating breast cancer. Ogivri is FDA-approved and has marketing authorization from the EMA. No financial details were released.
Cocrystal Pharma Inc., of Bothell, Wash., said it entered a license agreement with Kansas State University Research Foundation (KSURF) to further develop certain broad-spectrum antiviral compounds for the treatment of norovirus and coronavirus infections. Under the terms, Cocrystal has been granted an exclusive, royalty-bearing right and license to certain antiviral compounds for humans covered by KSURF’s patents. Cocrystal intends to pursue research and development of those compounds, including preclinical and clinical development.
Cytomx Therapeutics Inc., of South San Francisco, said the advancement of anti-CLTA4 Probody BMS-986249 into the phase II cohort of phase I/IIa study triggered a milestone payment of $10 million to Cytomx from partner Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York.
Enlivex Therapeutics Ltd., of Ness Ziona, Israel, plans to increase manufacturing capacity for Allocetra to prep for potential requests for treating coronavirus (COVID-19) patients. Allocetra is being investigated to treat organ failure associated with sepsis, whose pathophysiology is similar to COVID-19. The drug is designed to treat or prevent complications associated with bone marrow transplants and/or hematopoietic stem cell transplants, organ dysfunction and acute multiple organ failure associated with sepsis.
Innovation Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Wakefield, Mass., said it submitted a material transfer agreement with a U.S.-based virology laboratory to research its lead defensin mimetic drug candidate, brilacidin, as a potential novel coronavirus treatment. Brilacidin has demonstrated broad and robust antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties in multiple FDA clinical trials in different indications, the company said. Under the terms, brilacidin’s potential inhibition of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, is planned to be assessed.
Magenta Therapeutics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., presented results at the Transplant and Cellular Therapy meeting in Orlando, Fla., showing CD117-targeted antibody-drug conjugate MGTA-117 depleted stem and progenitor cells with an improved therapeutic index over prior molecules and exhibited a broad therapeutic dose range across mouse and primate models. MGTA-117 is in development for use in conditioning prior to stem cell transplant and hematopoietic stem cell-based gene therapy.
Medivir AB, of Stockholm, and Chinese firm Shijiazhuang Yuanmai Biotechnology Co. Ltd. signed a licensing agreement for Shijiazhuang to register, manufacture and market Medivir’s Xerclear for labial herpes in China. Medivir receives a fixed royalty for each unit sold and guarantees minimum sales during the first three years of single-digit million amounts in Swedish krona. No further financial details were released.
Paratek Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boston, said it entered a license grant with Barcelona, Spain-based Almirall SA for Seysara (sarecycline) for the greater China region, which includes the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong and Macau. Under the terms, Paratek will earn high single-digit royalties on net sales in the greater China region. Almirall plans to develop sarecycline for acne in China, with a potential submission to the China National Medical Products Administration in 2023. Almirall also has rights to Seysara for acne in the U.S. and has commercialized the product since its launch in January 2019. As part of the latest agreement, Paratek and Almirall also finalized a license granting Paratek exclusive rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize sarecycline outside of the U.S., with Paratek sharing with Almirall any potential revenues of Seysara outside of the U.S. and greater China region.
Proteostasis Therapeutics Inc., of Boston, and CF Europe, a federation of 48 national cystic fibrosis (CF) associations in Europe, completed enrolling 502 CF patients in the HIT-CF initiative. For the ex vivo portion of HIT-CF, organoids derived from tissue samples provided by the patients are evaluated for responsiveness to investigational CFTR modulators, including Proteostasis' CFTR potentiator, corrector and amplifier, dirocaftor, posenacaftor and nesolicaftor, respectively. Based on an individual's organoid response, patients will be invited to the study’s next phase, a placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study, the CHOICES trial. The initiative is led by the HIT-CF consortium and funded through the European Commission's Horizon 2020 program.
A newly published review of somatic mosaicism in Fanconi anemia (FA) by New York-based Rocket Pharmaceuticals Inc. summarized the existing literature and identified a cohort of cases that most likely emanated from reversion in long-term repopulating hematopoietic stem cell populations. It also detailed diagnostic methods and outcomes of published cases of mosaicism with an evaluation of cases in which FA mosaic patients were followed long-term in a clinical setting. The company said those findings provide detail on the mechanism and chronology by which gene-corrected cells may repopulate patients’ blood and bone marrow following treatment with Rocket’s gene therapy candidate, RP-L102, a FANCA gene stimulator, which is in a global phase II registration-enabling study for treating FA. The review was published in Annals of Hematology,
Sichuan Clover Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Chengdu, China, said it entered a research collaboration with Glaxosmithkline plc, of London, for its protein-based coronavirus vaccine candidate (COVID-19 S-Trimer). GSK will provide Clover with its pandemic adjuvant system for further evaluation of S-Trimer in preclinical studies.
Viva Biotech Holdings, of Shanghai, is now included as a constituent stock of seven indexes: Hang Seng Composite Index, Hang Seng Healthcare Index, Hang Seng Stock Connect Hong Kong Index, Hang Seng Stock Connect Hong Kong Midcap & Smallcap Index, Hang Seng Stock Connect Hong Kong Smallcap Index, Hang Seng SCHK HK Companies Index and Hang Seng SCHK ex-AH Companies Index. The constituent changes to the Hang Seng Family of Indexes go into effect March 9. Viva Biotech will be selected as an eligible stock of the China-Hong Kong Stock Connect in accordance with the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect’s selection requirements. A total of 22 stocks will be added and 26 will be removed during this quarterly review of Hang Seng Composite Index. Constituents will decrease from 480 to 476.