Airway Therapeutics Inc., of Cincinnati, filed with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to evaluate AT-100, a recombinant human surfactant protein D (rhSP-D), as a potential therapy for COVID-19. The company is advancing the candidate primarily for the prevention of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in very preterm infants, but "research has demonstrated that rhSP-D plays a key role in the clearance of numerous bacteria and viruses across a range of serious respiratory diseases," said Airway's president and CEO, Marc Salzberg.

Brii Biosciences, of Beijing, has agreed to fund New York-based Columbia University to facilitate creating a framework for forming strategic collaborations focused on the treatment, prevention and diagnosis of COVID-19 and other coronavirus-linked illnesses. Columbia intends to disseminate the results of the project's research.

Burke Therapeutics LLC, of Hot Springs, Ark., signed an exclusive marketing and supply agreement with Coeptis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Pittsburgh, for the U.S. market. Burke will market the fixed-dose combination drug Consensi, a prescription medicine for adults who need both treatment with amlodipine for hypertension and celecoxib for the management of the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis. Commercial launch is expected in May 2020.

Can-Fite Biopharma Ltd., of Petach Tikva, Israel, reported new preclinical data demonstrating that cannabis-derived cannabidiol-enriched fractions, supplied by Univo Pharmaceuticals, inhibit the expansion of pre-adipocytes by 60%, pointing toward a potential anti-obesity effect. Can-Fite, which expects to soon release data from its phase II study of namodenoson in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, did not disclose plans for further clinical exploration of the CBD findings.

Cannabics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tel Aviv, Israel, said scans of selected cannabis strains from Hof Ashkelon, Israel-based RCK Medical Cannabis, have shown that two specific cultivars have a "more significant" necrotic effect on gastric adenocarcinoma cells, though relative to what was unclear. The results will be used to further breed the selected cultivars for specific cancers, focusing on gastric cancer, Cannabics said.

Creative Medical Technology Holdings Inc., of Phoenix, said it has completed some preliminary work on a personalized adoptive immunotherapy for the treatment of autoimmune disease.

Deinove SA, of Paris, said it completed the second key milestone of the AGIR (Antibiotics against Resistant Infectious Germs) program, which is supported by the Investments for the Future Program. The milestone triggered the payment of €1.5 million (US$1.7 million). The AGIR program aims to explore the antimicrobial potential of rare bacterial strains with the objective of identifying new antibiotic structures and developing innovative treatments to address the health challenge of increasing antimicrobial resistance.

Forty Seven Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., and New York-based Rocket Pharmaceuticals Inc. have agreed to collaborate on pursuit of clinical proof of concept for Forty Seven's antibody-based conditioning regimen, FSI-174 plus magrolimab, with Rocket’s ex vivo lentiviral vector hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy, RP-L102. The initial collaboration will evaluate that treatment regimen in Fanconi anemia, a genetic disease that affects patients’ capacity to produce blood cells and is associated with an increased risk of leukemia and other neoplasms. Financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.

Hitgen Inc., of Chengdu, China, said Tokyo-based Kaken Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. has licensed for development a number of novel small-molecule leads for an undisclosed target identified by the company. Under the terms, Hitgen will grant exclusive rights to Kaken for further development and commercialization, and be eligible for preclinical and clinical milestone payments from Kaken as the project progresses, in addition to an up-front license fee. It's the second time Kaken has licensed candidates from Hitgen, the company said.

Ideaya Biosciences Inc., of South San Francisco, announced an expanded research collaboration with Cancer Research UK and the University of Manchester, U.K., to develop small-molecule inhibitors of poly(ADP-ribose) glycohydrolase (PARG). The expanded research collaboration will evaluate Ideaya's PARG inhibitors in vitro in multiple ovarian cancer cell lines and in vivo in ovarian cancer xenograft models.

Innovate Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Raleigh, N.C., said it expects to close its merger with RDD Pharma Ltd., of New York and Tel Aviv, Israel, around the end of the first quarter of 2020. Based on the most recent communications, Israeli regulatory approval is expected by late March, paving the way for closing the merger shortly thereafter, Innovate said.

Kamada Ltd., of Rehovot, Israel, plans to start development of an anti-corona polyclonal immunoglobulin for the treatment of COVID-19. The product will be derived from plasma of donors who have recovered from the virus. Kamada also said it received a notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a patent on the method of treatment for using polyclonal human immunoglobulins against the Zika virus.

Medigene AG, of Munich/Martinsried, Germany, is joining the collaboration of Phio Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Marlborough, Mass., and Helmholtz Zentrum München, to develop self-delivering RNAi drugs to enhance immune cell function using Phio's Intasyl platform. Medigene will have an option to license drugs from the collaboration. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Nicox SA, of Sophia Antipolis, France, and Ocumension Therapeutics Ltd., of Shanghai, amended their licensing agreement for NCX-470, a nitric oxide-donating prostaglandin analogue, to include Korea and Southeast Asia in addition to Ocumension's license for the Chinese market. Ocumension will pay Nicox €15 million (US$16.9 million) in place of the milestones in the original agreement and will cover half of the cost of the Denali phase III trial of NCX-470 in patients with glaucoma. The companies will jointly manage the Denali trial in the U.S. and China. Nicox and Ocumension also amended their licensing agreement for Zerviate (cetirizine ophthalmic solution) to expand Ocumension's territory from the Chinese market to the majority of Southeast Asian region. Ocumension plans to file an IND with China's Center for Drug Evaluation for a clinical trial testing Zerviate in patients with allergic conjunctivitis, which is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Novavax Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., and Serum Institute of India (SII) inked a commercial license agreement for the use of Novavax’s Matrix-M vaccine adjuvant with SII’s malaria vaccine candidate. Under the terms, SII is granted rights to use Matrix-M in the vaccine in regions where the disease is endemic and will pay Novavax royalties on its market sales of the vaccine. Matrix-M will be manufactured and supplied to SII by Novavax AB, a wholly owned subsidiary of Novavax based in Uppsala, Sweden. Novavax also gained the rights to sell and distribute the SII-manufactured vaccine in high-income countries, primarily in the travelers and military vaccine markets. SII licensed the R21 malaria vaccine, which targets the most severe Plasmodium falciparum-induced malaria disease, from the Jenner Institute at Oxford University in 2017. Matrix-M is a key component in the malaria vaccine candidate, currently in a phase IIb sponsored by the Jenner Institute, with top-line data expected to be reported in the second quarter of 2020.

Oncology Pharma Inc., of San Francisco, extended its licensing agreement with Nanosmart Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Laguna Hills, Calif., for an additional year. The agreement gives Oncology access to Nanosmart's Anti-Nuclear Antibody-targeted drug delivery technologies to develop and commercialize drugs for human oncology and veterinary oncology.

Oncosec Medical Inc., of San Diego, received a research and development tax incentive cash rebate of $850,000 from the Australian Tax Office.

Sophiris Bio Inc., of San Diego, is being delisted from Nasdaq because the company doesn't have at least $2.5 million in stockholders’ equity or at least $35 million in market value of its listed securities. Trading is scheduled to be suspended at the open of business on March 12. The company expects shares to begin trading on the OTCQB on March 12. Shares of Sophiris (NASDAQ: SPHS) fell 35 cents, or 60%, to 23 cents on March 11.

Sōrse Technology, of Seattle, is partnering with Pascal Biosciences Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, to use Sōrse’s formulation technology with Pascal’s medical cannabinoid programs. The companies have established a term sheet for Sōrse to make an undisclosed investment in Pascal.

Tiziana Life Sciences plc, of London, is developing TZLS-501, a monoclonal antibody targeting interleukin-6 receptor, for treatment of patients infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Shares of Tiziana (NASDAQ:TLSA) shot up $1.90, or 93%, to close at $3.95 on March 11.

Vir Biotechnology Inc., of San Francisco, is collaborating with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Vaccine Research Center to develop monoclonal antibodies against coronaviruses, including SARS, MERS and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Vir has already identified antibodies that bind to SARS-CoV-2 from individuals who recovered from a SARS infection. Shares of Vir (NASDAQ:VIR) jumped $3.86, or 12.9%, to close at $33.77 on March 11.

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