Two scientists at Agex Therapeutics Inc., of Alameda, Calif., published data in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications about reprogramming the cells of supercentenarians, people well past 100 years old. The paper is designed to show how that age group manages to avoid major chronic illnesses better than any other age group, including centenarians. “We can essentially put their cells in a time machine and revert them to an earlier state, then study their biology to help unlock the mysteries of super-longevity,” said Dana Larocca, vice president of discovery research at Agex and the paper’s senior author. The paper describes the cells of an 8-year-old with progeria, a rapid-aging syndrome, and a 43-year-old, healthy disease-free control subject. The paper notes that the supercentenarian’s cells reverted to induced pluripotent stem cells at the same rate as the disease-free subject and the progeria patient. There may, the authors note, be some negative impact of extreme age on telomere resetting as that did not occur as frequently in the supercentenarian as in the other two donors.
Altimmune Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., completed the design and synthesis of an intranasal vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and is advancing it toward animal testing and manufacturing. The vaccine is based on the same platform vaccine technology as Nasovax, Altimmune’s influenza vaccine candidate, which is designed to provide systemic immunity following a single dose. A recent phase II study with Nasovax highlighted the ability of intranasal vaccine delivery to stimulate a durable and broad immune response against the influenza virus, the company said. Altimmune added that the clinical profile of Nasovax is relevant to COVID-19 because intranasal delivery directs the immune response where it is needed most to protect against respiratory infection, including the likely site of initial viral attack. Clinical testing of the vaccine could begin by August. Shares of Altimmune (NASDAQ:ALT) soared 100% on the news, closing Feb. 28 at $3.70, up $1.94.
Generex Biotechnology Corp., of Miramar, Fla., agreed to a deal with China Technology Exchange, Beijing Zhonghua Investment Fund Management Co. Ltd., the Biology Institute of Shandong Academy of Sciences and Sinotek-Advocates International Industry Development Co. Ltd. to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Generex receives an up-front $1 million payment to initiate the project in the U.S., a $5 million licensing fee for the peptide technology, payment by the Chinese consortium for all costs and expenses related to the development of a vaccine, and a 20% royalty on each dose produced. A subsidiary, Nugenerex Immuno-Oncology, has developed peptide vaccines against several potentially pandemic viruses, including bird flu, swine, influenza, HIV and a previous coronavirus, SARS, said Generex’s president and CEO, Joe Moscato.
Graybug Vision Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., reported preclinical data showing its GB-401, an injectable depot formulation of a proprietary beta-adrenergic antagonist prodrug, as a potential sustained-delivery treatment of up to six months for primary open-angle glaucoma. The study evaluated the in vitro and in vivo performance of GB-401, including pharmacokinetics, ocular safety and intraocular pressure (IOP) lowering efficacy, and showed that GB-401 achieved sustained ocular drug levels and reduced IOP in experimental animal models after a single intravitreal or subconjunctival injection. The company is evaluating GB-401 as a potential long-term treatment for primary open-angle glaucoma in a phase I/IIa trial.
Merck KGaA, of Darmstadt, Germany, and AMCM GmbH, of Starnberg, Germany, will collaborate on the 3D printing of tablets. The process is designed to aid drug development by using powder bed fusion, in which a laser melts and fuses powder together layer by layer. 3D printing could allow active pharmaceutical development formulation to be scalable while avoiding costly reformulations throughout the pharmaceutical development and commercial production processes. No financial details were released.
Sonoma Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Petaluma, Calif., closed on an asset purchase agreement for certain wound care, disinfection and animal health care products in the Middle East, Australia and Europe for $1.1 million with Microsafe Group. Microsafe retains exclusive right to distribute a wide range of wound care and animal health care products in the Middle East and acquires the exclusive right to distribute disinfectant products in Europe and Australia. Sonoma will provide Microsafe with products for up to 10 years at negotiated transfer prices. No further details were released. Microsafe is located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Therapix Biosciences Ltd., of Tel Aviv, Israel, received written notice from Nasdaq indicating that Therapix was not in compliance with the $1 minimum bid price. The company has until Aug. 24 to regain compliance.