Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings Inc., of San Diego, selected ARCT-032, an aerosolized LUNAR mRNA-based therapeutic, as a development candidate for cystic fibrosis.

Moderna Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said it is engaged in discussions with the government of South Korea to potentially provide 40 million or more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to support the country’s aim of providing vaccines to the public as soon as possible. Under terms of the proposed agreement, distribution would begin in the second quarter of 2021.

Propanc Biopharma Inc., of Melbourne, Australia, said the proenzymes optimization project 1 (POP1) joint research and drug discovery program advanced toward producing commercial scale quantities of the two proenzymes trypsinogen and chymotrypsinogen. The company’s product candidate is targeting the global metastatic cancer treatment market. The POP1 program is designed to produce a backup clinical compound to the lead product candidate, PRP. The objective is to produce large quantities of trypsinogen and chymotrypsinogen for commercial use that exhibits minimal variation between lots and without sourcing the proenzymes from animals.

Vaxil Bio Ltd., of Ness-Ziona, Israel, said under the cooperative research and development agreement with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), mice have received two of three scheduled vaccinations with the third and final vaccine scheduled to be administered within days. USAMRIID reported that the mice appear to be fine having responded normally to the injections administered to date and that the experiment is proceeding on schedule. The company expects that the mice will be “challenged” with the COVID-19 virus in mid-January, after having had the chance to develop an immune response. In addition, it initiated an exploratory preclinical study to determine the viability of oral administration with results expected in late January.

Vistagen Therapeutics Inc., of South San Francisco, said the proposed mechanism of action of its investigational neuroactive nasal sprays, PH-94B and PH-10, currently in development as potential rapid-onset treatments for anxiety and depression disorders, respectively, was published in CNS Spectrums. The article details the proposed neural circuits mediating the mechanism of action of pherines, including PH-94B and PH-10, which are synthetic neuroactive steroids designed to engage nasal chemosensory receptors and produce rapid-onset anxiolytic and antidepressant effects, respectively. They are administered in microgram-level doses and are designed to achieve therapeutic benefits without requiring systemic uptake, potentially avoiding the side effects and safety concerns often associated with current antidepressants and anxiolytics, including benzodiazepines.

Wize Pharma Inc., of Hod Hasharon, Israel, and Cosmos Capital Ltd., said they have entered into a bid implementation agreement (BIA), under which Wize agreed to make an off-market takeover offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Cosmos, subject to satisfaction of various closing conditions set forth in the BIA, resulting in Cosmos becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary. The transaction involves the exchange of 38.78 shares of Wize common stock and 22.33 warrants, each to acquire one share of Wize common stock for each Cosmos share. Upon completion of the transaction, preclosing Wize securityholders will receive one contingent value right (CVR) for each share of Wize held on the record date. Each CVR will entitle the holder to a pro rata share of any consideration that may be received in connection with Wize's existing LO2A business. Concurrently with the execution of the BIA, Wize entered into a $3 million private investment in public equity financing.