Abbvie Inc., of North Chicago, and Harvard University disclosed a $30 million research alliance, launching a multi-pronged effort at Harvard Medical School (HMS) to study and develop therapies against emergent viral infections, with a focus on those caused by coronaviruses and by viruses that lead to hemorrhagic fever. The pact aims to rapidly integrate fundamental biology into the preclinical and clinical development of new therapies for viral diseases that address a variety of therapeutic modalities. HMS has led several large-scale, coordinated research efforts launched at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Dahka, Bangladesh, and the Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. (SII), of Pune, India, disclosed an agreement to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, for which Beximco will be the exclusive supplier in Bangladesh. SII has partnered with Astrazeneca plc, of London, the Gates Foundation and the vaccine alliance Gavi to produce more than 1 billion doses of a vaccine for global supply. Under the terms, Beximco will make a financial contribution to advance the development of the vaccine which will be adjusted based on the vaccine price. SII will prioritize Bangladesh to be one of the first countries to receive an agreed quantity of doses once the vaccine receives all necessary regulatory approvals.
Enanta Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Watertown, Mass., reported preclinical data on its farnesoid X receptor agonist, EDP-297, at the Digital International Liver Congress 2020 of the European Association for the Study of Liver. In human 3D microtissue models of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), EDP-297 decreased expression of genes encoding multiple lipogenic and inflammatory proteins. In rats with bile duct ligation, EDP-297 produced a 76% reduction in ALT (p<0.001), 83% reduction in AST (p<0.001) and a 6% reduction in GGT (p<0.001). In a diet-induced obese NASH model in mice, EDP-297 was hepatoprotective.
Fixx Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Francisco, launched its biotechnology business operations in Las Vegas and San Francisco. The company is focused on developing a cure for hemophilia through the use of CRISPR gene editing. Officials said they hope to come up with a treatment costing less than $2 million per patient.
Fortress Biotech Inc., of New York, signed a $60 million loan agreement with funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management LP. The company expects the proceeds from the five-year loan will be used to refinance existing indebtedness. The loan will mature in August 2025. Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. served as financial advisor to Fortress and Sidley Austin LLP acted as legal counsel to Fortress. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP served as legal counsel to Oaktree.
Ibio Inc., of New York, signed an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Planet Biotechnology Inc., of Hayward, Calif., for the development of Planet’s COVID-19 therapeutic candidate, ACE2-Fc, a recombinant protein comprised of human angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) fused to a human immunoglobulin G Fc fragment (Fc). As an immunoadhesin, ACE2-Fc targets the coronavirus virions directly by using the ACE2 extracellular domain as a decoy to bind the spike protein and block infection of healthy cells, while the fused Fc domain prolongs the life of the protein in circulation. Planet is eligible to receive certain prespecified payments upon achievement of clinical development milestones.
Jacobson Pharma Corp. Ltd., of Hong Kong, said it signed a letter of intent with Fosun Industrial Co. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., to market and supply up to 10 million doses of Biontech SE's BNT-162 mRNA-based vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2 in the Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions. A phase I clinical trial for the vaccine has been initiated in China.
Moderna Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said it is in discussions with Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to purchase 40 million or more doses of mRNA-1273, Moderna’s vaccine candidate against COVID-19. The vaccine would be supplied by Moderna and distributed in Japan by Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. beginning in the first half of 2021.
Sanofi SA, of Paris, said it intends to commence a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of common stock of South San Francisco’s Principia Biopharma Inc. for $100 per share in cash. On Aug. 16, a merger plan was proposed by Principia, Sanofi and Kortex Acquisition Corp., an indirect, wholly owned Sanofi subsidiary. The offer is scheduled to expire one minute past 11:59 p.m. ET on Sept. 25.
Tiziana Life Sciences plc, of New York and London, clarified its reason for filing a corrected amendment registration statement on form F-6 registering additional American depositary shares (ADS) by stating the registration statement was not filed to register shares for a capital raise but for the sole purpose of increasing the number of ADSs available for shareholders to exchange ordinary shares of Tiziana for ADSs. Over the past few months, Tiziana said, an increasing number of ordinary shares have been exchanged for ADSs. Each ADS represents two ordinary shares, the company added.