Axis Therapeutics Ltd., of Buffalo, N.Y., and Pharmaessentia Corp., of Taiwan, are collaborating to develop Axis Therapeutics’ TCRT-ESO-A2 T Cell Receptor-T cell therapy in Taiwan. The companies will jointly conduct the initial clinical trial in patients with solid tumors and manufacture the investigational products in Taiwan. Pharmaessentia will be responsible for the rest of the clinical development in Taiwan.

Biomica Ltd. and Evogene Ltd., both of Rehovot, Israel, advanced BMC-128 to large-scale production. Biomica plans to run its first clinical trial with the four-strain live bacterial product in 2021.

Bryologyx Inc., of Danville, Calif., completed synthesis of bryostatin-1 under the FDA’s good manufacturing practice regulations. The company plans to run its first clinical trial in patients with relapsing or refractory CD22-expressing acute lymphoblastic leukemia and lymphoma in partnership with the National Cancer Institute.

Cerus Corp., of Concord, Calif., was awarded a five-year, $11.1-million contract from the FDA for the development of next-generation compounds to optimize pathogen reduction treatment of whole blood to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections.

Fujitsu Ltd., of Tokyo, and Peptidream Inc., of Kawasaki, Japan, were able to identify a cyclic peptide in silico within 12 hours using Fujitsu's Digital Annealer technology. Peptidream plans to apply the Digital Annealer to its drug discovery process

Gamida Cell Ltd., of Boston, and Be The Match Biotherapies, of Minneapolis, expanded their collaboration for omidubicel, Gamida's cell therapy for patients undergoing an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Be The Match will supply umbilical cord blood units, which are the starting material for omidubicel.

Iksuda Therapeutics Ltd., of New Castle, U.K., licensed worldwide rights to tumor-activated prodrug payloads from the University of Goettingen. Iksuda plans to incorporate the payloads into its antibody-drug conjugate drugs.

Iontas Ltd., of Cambridge, Mass., licensed its mammalian antibody display technology to Bristol Myers Squibb Co., of New York. Iontas will receive an undisclosed up-front payment and is eligible for maintenance fees, milestone payments and royalties on all antibodies derived from the platform.

Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp., of Taipei, Taiwan, received a subsidy from the Taiwan government for starting the phase I study testing its COVID-19 vaccine with CpG 1018, an adjuvant from Dynavax Technologies Corp., of Emeryville, Calif. Medigen is eligible for up to NT$472 million (US$ 16.4 million), which is paid out as agreed-upon milestones are met.

Nanthealth Inc., Nantomics LLC and Immunitybio Inc., all of Culver City, Calif., developed image-based risk models for tumors using images from 82 pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients. The model significantly stratified risk on unseen test patients compared to an optimal set of clinicopathological features.

Novellus Therapeutics Ltd., of Cambridge, Mass., licensed the worldwide rights to its induced mesenchymal stem cells on a worldwide basis to Novecite Inc., a newly formed subsidiary of Cranford, N.J.-based Citius Pharmaceuticals Inc. Novellus received a $5 million up-front payment and is eligible for up to $51 million in development milestone payments and low double-digit royalties.

Oncimmune Holdings plc, of Nottingham, U.K., signed an agreement with Cedars-Sinai to provide serum samples from staff exposed to or infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Oncimmune will use the serum to identify biomarkers of COVID-19.

Portage Biotech Inc., of Toronto, issued 375,014 shares at a deemed price of $6.64 per common share and 72,291 share purchase warrants to purchase shares at $6.64 per share to settle approximately $4.4 million of certain debt obligations and equity entitlements of the company's wholly owned subsidiary, Salvarx Ltd.

Regulus Therapeutics Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., received $5 million in milestone and material payments from Paris-based Sanofi SA for completing the transfer and verification of certain materials as part of the companies’ pact to develop miR-21, a microRNA. Regulus used the $5 million to pay down principal on its loan from Oxford LLC, of Oxford, U.K.

Sidero Bioscience LLC, of Hershey, Pa., licensed its biologic iron, Biofe, for the management of iron deficiency and related disorders in India and Southeast Asia to SRS Life Sciences Pte. Ltd., of Singapore. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Silo Pharma Inc., of New York, executed an option agreement with the University of Maryland, Baltimore to use its central nervous system-homing peptides in vivo as a potential treatment of multiple sclerosis and other neuroinflammatory pathology. Financial terms of the agreement weren't disclosed.

SK Biopharmaceuticals Co. Ltd., of Pangyo, South Korea, and Ono Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, signed an exclusive licensing agreement for Ono to develop and commercialize cenobamate in Japan. Cenobamate is a treatment for partial-onset seizures that received FDA approval in 2019. SK collects an up-front payment of ¥5 billion (US$47 million) from Ono. SK Biopharmaceuticals will also be eligible to receive up to ¥48.1 billion based on the achievement of certain regulatory and commercial milestones, as well as double-digit royalties on net sales generated in Japan.

Sorrento Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, entered an exclusive license agreement with Personalized Stem Cells Inc., of Poway, Calif., to acquire global rights to its adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for patients suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome associated with COVID-19, which have been cleared for a phase I trial by the FDA. The study is a single-arm, non-randomized experiment to test the safety and preliminary efficacy of an adipose-derived allogeneic MSC product candidate. The outcome data will be compared to contemporaneous non-enrolled patients at the same clinical sites as the enrolled patients.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, and Amazon Web Services Inc., of Seattle, signed a five-year strategic agreement to accelerate Takeda’s digital transformation. The long-term collaboration is meant to fuel Takeda’s cloud-driven business transformation by modernizing platforms, accelerating data services, establishing an internal engine for innovation, and equipping Takeda’s employees with new skills and ways of working, the company said.

Twist Bioscience Corp., of South San Francisco, and Neogene Therapeutics Inc., of New York, disclosed a broad strategic partnership. The companies will leverage Neogene’s expertise in targeting tumor neoantigens, mutated proteins found in cancer cells due to cancer-associated DNA mutations with Twist’s DNA synthesis platform and product lines to develop personalized chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapies and T-cell receptor (TCR) therapies for patients with cancer. Twist will create a specialized TCR library for Neogene with the goal of discovering engineered TCRs against two specified T-cell targets in cancer for future Neogene personalized T-cell therapies. Twist will receive technology access fees as well as milestones and royalties based on key preclinical, clinical and commercial milestones for any antibodies and TCRs resulting from the collaboration. Neogene will have exclusive rights to the synthetic TCR library for targeting viral and neoantigens in the field of oncology.

Vaxil Bio Ltd., of Ness-Ziona, Israel, started the preclinical program for Immucin in combination with the E-selectin binding polymer-based therapeutic Vaxil licensed for development and commercialization from BGN Technologies, the technology transfer company of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. The program will assess the potential for Immucin and the second product separately and in combination for the treatment of solid tumors including breast and ovarian cancers.

Windmil Therapeutics Inc., of Philadelphia, and Stephenson Cancer Center said the first patients have been identified in an investigator-sponsored study for the collection of bone marrow from patients with renal and urothelial carcinomas. The study will evaluate generating marrow infiltrating lymphocytes for these patients through Windmil’s cellular activation and expansion process. The study is being conducted at the Stephenson in Oklahoma City.

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