Atomwise Inc., of San Francisco, and Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd., of Jiangsu, China, are collaborating to develop drug candidates for up to 11 undisclosed targets in multiple therapeutic areas. Atomwise will use its artificial intelligence technology to develop the drugs, while Hansoh contributes its research and development, manufacturing and commercial capabilities. Atomwise is eligible for undisclosed technology access fees, option exercise fees, royalties and income based on sublicensing or sale of assets created under the collaboration that it believes could reach $1.5 billion.

Benitec Biopharma Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, said it plans to complete three BB-301 nonclinical studies that will facilitate the filing of an IND and the formal initiation of a phase I trial in patients suffering from oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD). The product is an internally optimized, AAV-based gene therapy agent that offers the potential to restore the underlying physiology of the treated tissues and, in the process, improve treatment outcomes for patients with OPMD. The studies, conducted in canine subjects, will support the optimization of the methods of administration, confirm the efficiency of vector transduction in the key tissue compartments underlying the disease phenotype, confirm the optimal drug doses in advance of initiation of human clinical studies, and finalize experiments designed to characterize any toxicological data points that would underlie future regulatory filings and clinical study designs.

Catalyst Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Coral Gables, Fla., said it has started an underwritten public offering of 8 million shares of its common stock, and underwriters have been granted a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 15% of the shares of common stock offered in the public offering on the same terms and conditions. The company plans to use the net proceeds to continue the commercialization activities for Firdapse (amifampridine phosphate); to fund business expansion activities in the U.S. and Japan; and for general corporate purposes.

Edigene Inc., of Beijing, said it completed an $11 million series pre-B2 financing round with series A lead investor IDG Capital and series pre-B lead investor Lilly Asia Ventures participating. Separately, the company said it has formed a research collaboration with a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing T-cell therapies to explore new allogeneic T-cell therapeutic approaches for cancer. Financial terms were not disclosed.

I-Mab Biopharma (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., of Shanghai, has agreed to collaborate with Shanghai Junshi Biosciences Co. Ltd., also of Shanghai, to evaluate the combination of I-Mab's TJD-5, a CD73 antibody, with Junshi's Tuoyi (toripalimab), a recombinant humanized anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody, in patients with cancers in China. I-Mab recently established a collaboration and license agreement with Macrogenics Inc., of Rockville, Md., to develop and commercialize enoblituzumab, an immune-optimized, anti-B7-H3 monoclonal antibody. (See BioWorld, July 12, 2019.)

Insilico Medicine, of Hong Kong, said it completed a $37 million funding round led by Qiming Venture Partners, joined by Eight Roads, F-Prime Capital, Lilly Asia Ventures, Sinovation Ventures, Baidu Ventures, Pavilion Capital, Bold Capital Partners and other investors, including series A investors. The funding will be used to commercialize its validated generative chemistry and target identification technology. The company said it has identified promising targets in a variety of therapeutic areas, including cancer, fibrosis and immunology.

Redback SARMs, an Australian business that marketed selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), paid $15,210 in penalties after the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) slapped it with six infringement notices for the alleged advertising of prescription-only substances, including SARMs and melanotan II. In announcing the penalties, the TGA reminded businesses that prescription drugs cannot be advertised to the public. Promoting general classes of prescription drugs, such as SARMs, is generally considered advertising, the TGA said, as are online sites that allow consumers to review and select prescription drugs.

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