Advanz Pharma Corp. Ltd., of London, said that its board of directors has reached an agreement on the terms of a cash offer, to be made by a subsidiary of Nordic Capital, pursuant to which Nordic will acquire the entire issued and to-be-issued limited voting share capital of Advanz. Under the terms, each Advanz shareholder will be entitled to receive $17.26 in cash in respect of each Advanz share. The acquisition values the entire issued and to-be-issued limited voting share capital of Advanz at about $846 million.
Aeterna Zentaris Inc., of Charleston, S.C., received a notification letter from the Nasdaq market notifying the company that it has been granted an additional 180-day period to regain compliance with the minimum bid price requirement for continued listing.
Ajinomoto Bio-Pharma Services, of Wetteren, Belgium, and Humanigen Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., said the companies will be expanding their manufacturing agreement for the fill finish supply of lenzilumab, which is one of the few phase III treatment options in development for patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Ajinomoto will assume a key role in simplifying the supply chain efforts for Humanigen by providing drug product aseptic fill finish services at its San Diego facility to support continued clinical trial efforts through potential commercialization. Humanigen is actively enrolling patients in a phase III study in the U.S. and Brazil.
BenevolentAI Ltd., of London, said Astrazeneca plc, of London, has selected a chronic kidney disease (CKD) target to advance to its drug development portfolio, making it the first AI-generated target from the collaboration to enter the company's portfolio. The Benevolent platform predicted the target, which was subsequently biologically validated through Astrazeneca's experimental testing. In 2019, Benevolent and Astrazeneca entered a strategic collaboration aiming to discover new drugs for CKD and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Citrine Medicine Inc., of Shanghai, said it signed a licensing agreement with Diurnal Group plc, of Cardiff, U.K., that provides Citrine with exclusive rights to develop, register and commercialize Alkindi (hydrocortisone) in the greater China market. Citrine is a therapeutics company building the first rare disease ecosystem in China by in-licensing clinically validated assets developed in the U.S. and Europe. Alkindi was approved in the U.S. for adrenocortical Insufficiency in children under 17 years of age.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) awarded Just-Evotec Biologics Inc., of Seattle, $28.6 million to produce monoclonal antibodies for developing a treatment and/or prophylaxis for COVID-19. The DOD will have access to pivotal manufacturing capacity for anti-SARS-CoV-2 MAbs and priority access to future biomanufacturing capacity for seven years in the company’s soon-to-be-completed facility in Redmond, Wash. The agreement continues the collaboration that began in July 2020 to select anti-SARS-CoV2 MAbs. Just-Evotec is a subsidiary of Hamburg, Germany-based Evotec SE.
JCR Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd., of Ashiya, Japan, said preclinical data on JR-141 (pabinafusp alfa) in mucopolysaccharidosis II mice were published in Molecular Therapy. The fusion protein was administered intravenously once weekly at 2 mg/kg or once biweekly at 4 mg/kg for 36 weeks. Either regimen reduced heparin sulfate (HS) and attenuated histopathological changes in the brain; HS concentration in cerebrospinal fluid highly correlated with that in the brain. In addition, loss of spatial learning ability was suppressed by treatment with pabinafusp alfa but not with a comparator. The findings are scheduled for presentation in February at the lysosomal diseases conference, the 17th annual Worldsymposium 2021.
Kiromic Biopharma Inc., of Houston, said it completed the chPD1 licensing agreement with Longwood University. The company said the addition of chPD1 should allow its chimeric PD1 CAR T program to overcome the tumor microenvironment issues that have plagued other CAR T programs. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Lumen Bioscience Inc., of Seattle, said it initiated an up to $14.5 million project funded by CARB-X (Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator) to develop an oral monoclonal antibody cocktail targeting Campylobacter jejuni and enterotoxigenic E. coli, which are involved in serious diarrheal disease. The product is projected to be a low-cost, edible antibody cocktail that can be easily shipped, stored and used worldwide, including in regions like Africa and parts of southeast Asia that lack refrigerated distribution. The initial funding is $5.2 million. An additional $8.26 million is available if milestones are met.
Medolife Rx Inc., of Burbank, Calif., said 400 patients in the Dominican Republic reported 100% improvement in COVID-19 symptoms after being treated with Escozine, small-molecule peptides derived from the Rhopalurus princeps scorpion. The company said Escozine is on fast track to be registered with the Ministry of Health in the Dominican Republic in the first quarter of 2021 and that it submitted the study data to the FDA.
Mindset Pharma Inc., of Toronto, said that its common shares have been accepted for listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and began trading Jan. 27 under the symbol 9DF. The company's common shares are also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange. Mindset is developing psilocybin-inspired medicines to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Moderna Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said it is discussing the additional purchase of 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine by the U.S. government, which has already agreed to buy 200 million doses of the mRNA-based treatment. The vaccine received EUA in December 2020 to prevent COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 in individuals 18 years of age and older.
Scholar Rock Holding Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., said preclinical data demonstrating selective inhibition of TGFβ1 activation with SRK-181-mIgG1 (murine version of SRK-181) induces combination treatment effects with anti-PD-1 on tumor growth in checkpoint inhibition therapy-resistant tumors as well as an improved preclinical toxicity profile compared to less selective TGFβ inhibition. SRK-181 is a selective inhibitor of TGFβ1 activation and is being developed to overcome primary resistance to checkpoint inhibitor therapy, such as anti-PD-(L)1 antibodies. TGFβ1 is the predominant TGFβ isoform expressed in many human tumors, particularly for tumors where checkpoint therapies are approved.
Shasqi Inc., of San Francisco, published preclinical data in Chemical Science showing the maximum tolerated dose of its protodrug of doxorubicin, SQP-33, combined with its locally injected tetrazine-modified biopolymer, SQL70, was 19.1-times higher than the maximum tolerated dose of conventional doxorubicin. In a separate paper in Advanced Therapeutics, the combination, referred to as SQ-3370, increased survival by 63% over conventional doxorubicin in preclinical models.
Vaxart Inc., of South San Francisco, said that computational modeling simulating norovirus infection and transmission in a community setting showed that a potential norovirus vaccine can avert symptomatic cases and result in cost savings. The study found, the company said, that vaccination against the norovirus can reduce the economic burden of the virus and is cost effective even if priced at $500 per course when vaccinating children under 5 and older adults, a much higher value than previously estimated. The company added that even with a 25% vaccine efficacy and 10% vaccination coverage, a norovirus vaccine could decrease symptomatic cases in a community by a relative 7.7%. In preschool-aged children, the cost of vaccination could be as high as $1,300 and still provide cost savings and as high as $1,600 and still be cost-effective, Vaxart added.
Vaxil Bio Ltd., of Ness-Ziona, Israel, said mice received three administrations of its Corvax protein subunit COVID-19 vaccine candidate by Dec. 31, 2020, and had developed an immune response consistent with previous in vivo results. The company said it expects to expose the mice to the COVID-19 virus by the end of January. The research is part of a cooperative R&D agreement with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.