Biobohemia Inc., of Boston, said its scientists experimented with cancer cells, removing unnecessary components to isolate substance called antigenic essence that may help develop cancer vaccines. The company’s initial work was not in the field of cancer immunotherapy, but in the large-scale study of proteins, which enabled its scientists to take an unbiased look at cancer vaccines and deploy proteomics technologies to find a new approach. Findings were published in the journal Cancers.

Cannabics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tel Aviv, Israel, disclosed results of its in vivo study evaluating the efficacy of the company's drug candidate RCC-33 in prolonging survival rate in mice inoculated with human colorectal cancer cells. Study results indicate a 35% prolonged survival rate in mice exposed to RCC-33 in comparison with sham control mice, as shown by Kaplan-Meier survival curve analysis (p=0.08). The company is aiming to schedule a pre-IND meeting with the FDA by the next quarter of this year, and start phase I/IIa trials by the start of 2022.

The merger between Chemomab Ltd. and Anchiano Therapeutics Ltd. is complete, with trading on Nasdaq, under the symbol CMMB, started March 17. The combined company name is Chemomab. The companies, both of Tel Aviv, Israel, said a private investment of $45.5 million will be made in the combined company. Chemomab said it expects to use the net proceeds to advance its lead product, CM-101, an antibody for treating rare fibrotic conditions, in three phase II clinical trials and to further develop its earlier-stage pipeline. In February, Chemomab began enrolling patients in the phase IIa trial of CM-101 for treating primary sclerosing cholangitis and said it plans to begin enrolling patients in a phase II trial for systemic sclerosis later in 2021.

Cybin Inc., of Toronto, said it completed its 20th preclinical study and is progressing its psychedelic molecules CYB-003 and CYB-004 into IND-enabling studies. The company also said it initiated an API manufacturing contract with an unnamed pharmaceutical manufacturing partner. Cybin said it will continue progressing its psychedelics based on scaffolds, including psilocybin, DMT, MDMA with improved bioavailability and optimized pharmacokinetic profiles, to provide shorter duration of action with reduced side effects.

Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics Inc., of Madison, Wis., granted Sana Biotechnology Inc., of Seattle, a non-exclusive right to use Cellular Dynamics’ iPSC platform to develop commercial cell therapies. Sana received a non-exclusive license under intellectual property rights owned or controlled by Cellular Dynamics and will provide iPSC cell lines to Sana. Sana may use the iPSC cell lines and exercise the licensed intellectual property rights. Terms were not disclosed.

Fresh data from Phoenix Biotechnology Inc., of San Antonio, Texas, showed in vitro evidence for inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 by oleandrin and PBI-06150, a defined extract of N. oleander. The in vitro study, using Vero cells, found that prophylactic oleandrin as either the pure compound or as the active principal ingredient in PBI-06150 administration at concentrations as low as 0.05 μg/ml exhibited potent antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2. The study also found, according to Phoenix, an 800-fold reduction in virus production and that a 0.1 μg/ml concentration resulted in a greater than 3,000-fold reduction in infectious virus production. The data was published in the Journal of Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy.

Probiogen AG, of Berlin, said it signed a commercial multiproduct license agreement for Paris-based Sanofi SA to use Probiogen’s Glymaxx technology in product development for an undisclosed number of antibody candidates across several business units. Glymaxx, Probiogen said, boosts antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity that leads to an elevated natural killer cell mediated killing activity of target cells. A single Glymaxx modified cell line can produce completely fucosylated and/or afucosylated antibodies and those with intermediate defined fuscosylation levels, the company added.

New data from Resverlogix Corp., of Calgary, Alberta, demonstrated the interaction between SARS-CoV-2 protein E with bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) proteins. The findings initiated in-house preclinical research to further characterize and investigate the efficacy of apabetalone, a small molecule and selective BET inhibitor, for treating COVID-19 infection. Apabetalone treatment prevents SARS-CoV-2 from infecting human cells and reduces inflammation and cytokine storm response, which can result in organ damage and long-term negative impacts, according to Resverlogix. The findings were published in Cell.

T-Cure Bioscience Inc., of Sherman Oaks, Calif., said it formed a clinical research pact with Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, covering a phase I study testing a TCR-based candidate to treat tumors expressing Kita-Kyushu lung cancer antigen 1 (KK-LC-1), including gastric, cervical, lung and triple negative breast cancers. T-Cure acquired the KK-LC-1 TCR therapy in 2020 under an exclusive global license with the NCI. Christian Hinrichs, chief of the section of cancer immunotherapy and co-director of the Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, will serve as principal investigator. T-Cure expects the KK-LC-1 TCR therapy to enter the multisite phase I study at the NCI in the second quarter of 2021, with study responsibilities transferring to Rutgers in the second half of the year.

Timber Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Basking Ridge, N.J., said that development partner Aft Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Auckland, New Zealand, formed an exclusive license and supply agreement in Europe with Desitin Arzneimittel GmbH, of Hamburg, covering the mTOR inhibitor, Pascomer (sirolimus, TMB-002, topical rapamycin), to treat facial angiofibromas associated with tuberous sclerosis complex. In 2019, Timber inked a North American licensing and development agreement with Aft that entitled Timber to receive a percentage of royalties and milestones in licensing transactions executed by Aft outside North America, Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.

Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp., of Chatham, N.J., reported preliminary results following vaccination of nonhuman primates with TNX-1800, a live attenuated COVID-19 vaccine candidate engineered to express the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Immunogenicity and protective efficacy of single-dose TNX-1800 were assessed at two dose levels. At day 41 after the vaccination, animals were challenged with live SARS-CoV-2 through intranasal and intra-tracheal routes. Six days later, no (0/8) samples taken from vaccinated animals showed infection (>1,000 genome copies of SARS-CoV-2) in either upper or lower airway samples, while all (8/8) animals vaccinated with control vaccine TNX-801, a monkeypox synthetic live virus vaccine, showed infection in either the upper or lower airway samples, as did 4/4 monkeys vaccinated with vehicle control. At day 14 after a single vaccination, the eight TNX-1800 vaccinated animals made anti-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies (≥1:40 titer) but none of the control vaccination or placebo animals made the antibodies (≤1:10 titer). Six days after CoV-2 challenge, TNX-1800 vaccinated animals showed neutralizing antibody titers of ≥1:1280 titer, with the level of neutralizing antibody production similar between low and high dose groups. For unvaccinated animals, neutralizing antibodies were measurable after vaccination (≥1:40 titer) but were lower and appeared later than those in vaccinated animals.

AI-enabled drug design company Valence Discovery, of Montreal, said it agreed to a drug discovery alliance with Repare Therapeutics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., combining Valence’s expertise in few-shot learning, generative chemistry and multiparameter optimization with Repare’s capabilities in target identification and medicinal chemistry to optimize drug candidates against multiple potency, selectivity, safety and pharmacology criteria. Additional details were not disclosed.

Verrica Pharmaceuticals Inc., of West Chester, Pa., said it granted an exclusive license to Torii Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, covering development and commercialization in Japan of Verrica’s candidates to treat molluscum contagiosum and common warts, including lead candidate VP-102, under review by the FDA with a PDUFA date of June 23, 2021. The license follows an August 2020 option agreement between the companies that called for Torii to make an up-front payment of $11.5 million and up to $58 million in additional development, regulatory and sales milestone payments plus tiered transfer price payments for product supply. With the license, Torii assumed responsibility for development activities and costs to obtain regulatory approval in Japan. VP-102 is a combination drug-device product that contains a formulation of cantharidin 0.7% topical solution delivered via a single-use applicator.