Biontech SE, of Mainz, Germany, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., will collaborate on a clinical trial combining Biontech’s BNT-111, an mRNA cancer immunotherapy, and Libtayo (cemiplimab), a fully human anti-PD-1 therapy, for treating melanoma. The companies will jointly conduct a randomized phase II study in patients with anti-PD-1-refractory/relapsed, unresectable stage III or IV cutaneous melanoma. BNT-111 has shown clinical antitumor activity as a monotherapy and in combination with checkpoint inhibitors in an ongoing phase I trial in patients with advanced melanoma after prior checkpoint blockade.

Privately held Harbour Biomed, of Cambridge, Mass., and Viva Biotech Ltd., of Shanghai, said they will promote biotech startup incubation. Harbour will combine its transgenic mouse platforms for generating fully human monoclonal antibodies and its experience in global research and development of molecules with Viva's structure-based early stage drug discovery services. The partnership is intended to offer access to technologies for accelerating the path between ideation to product.

Hoth Therapeutics Inc., of New York, said it executed a licensing agreement with Baltimore’s Isoprene Pharmaceuticals Inc. to acquire rights to VNLG-152, a retinoic acid metabolism blocking agent for treating dermatological diseases. Isoprene is a cancer therapeutic company that is a University of Maryland, Baltimore New Venture Initiative startup. Hoth will receive royalty payments from Isoprene for any use of VNLG-152.

Immunoprecise Antibodies Ltd., of Victoria, British Columbia, said additional characterization of a subset of fully human, therapeutic anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies exhibit enhanced neutralization upon combinatorial testing. The new data, Immunoprecise said, demonstrate a binding to the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor binding domain. Their activities are enhanced in combination studies resulting in near complete neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus infection, the company added.

Nicox SA, of Sophia Antipolis, France, completed the divestment of its remaining stake in Amsterdam-based Visufarma BV for €5 million (US$5.9 million).

Oxford Biomedica plc., of Oxford, U.K., signed a three-year clinical supply agreement with Axovant Gene Therapies Ltd., of New York, to manufacture AXO-Lenti-PD, Axovant’s gene therapy product for severe Parkinson’s disease that’s based on Oxford Biomedica’s Lentivector platform. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Sesen Bio Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., licensed the right to Vicineum for the treatment of BCG-unresponsive non-muscle invasive bladder cancer and other types of cancer in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan to Jinan, China-based Qilu Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. Sesen is due $12 million up front and is eligible to receive up to an additional $23 million in technology transfer and regulatory milestone payments, as well as royalties on net sales in greater China. Sesen will transfer manufacturing technology to Qilu Pharmaceutical for the production of Vicineum for greater China with the potential for an expanded deal to use Qilu’s production to meet global demand.

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