Bridgebio Pharma Inc. is going back to the Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (BMS) well to restore its stalled momentum as the two companies have supercharged their July 2021 collaboration to develop an SHP2 inhibitor. Bridgebio could receive up to $905 million, along with an up-front payment of $90 million plus $815 million in milestone and royalty payments in its new BMS collaboration to develop and commercialize BBP-398 in oncology. Bridgebio announced layoffs last week that are tied to a restructuring after its phase III study of acoramidis for treating symptomatic transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy missed its primary endpoint in late December. The deal’s cash infusion shored up the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company’s stock (NASDAQ:BBIO) as shares were up 12% at midday.

Cullinan, Taiho in potential $405M deal to advance NSCLC candidate

Shares of Cullinan Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ:CGEM) were trading midday at $9.09, up $1.78, or 24%, on word of a deal with Taiho Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. for the latter to acquire Cullinan Pearl Corp. to co-develop and co-commercialize in the U.S. Cullinan’s lead program, CLN-081/TAS-6417, an oral, irreversible EGFR inhibitor for non-small-cell lung cancer that selectively targets cells expressing EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations while sparing cells expressing wild-type EGFR. Taiho gains exclusive global rights to the drug outside the U.S. Under the terms, Cullinan will bank an up-front cash payment of $275 million from Taiho, with potential to receive up to $130 million more as regulatory milestones are reached. The two companies will equally share profits in the U.S. from the compound, which has reached the phase I/II stage.

BMS makes case for Otezla rival deucravacitinib with long-term psoriasis data

Bristol Myers Squibb Co. has announced long-term data from its closely watched psoriasis pill deucravacitinib, which it hopes will supplant Amgen Inc.’s blockbuster, Otezla (apremilast), as the main oral therapy for the disease. Results announced today from the POETYK PSO long-term extension study seem to further the case for deucravacitinib in adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. Clinical efficacy was maintained through up to two years of deucravacitinib treatment, with response rates at week 60 in the long-term extension trial of 77.7% and 58.7% for Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) 75 and static Physicians Global Assessment (sPGA) 0/1 (clear/almost clear skin), respectively.

Mooted reverse merger with Medsenic a lifeline for Bone Therapeutics

Bone Therapeutics SA has entered an exclusive three-month discussion period with Medsenic SAS, which could culminate in a reverse merger. The potential transaction represents a lifeline for the troubled Belgian cell therapy developer, which is running out of cash and which has been more or less abandoned by its shareholders. “We hope to come to a conclusion on this pretty quickly,” CEO Miguel Forte told BioWorld. The two companies have signed a nonbinding term sheet. Talks are ongoing, but a merger could result in shareholders of privately held Medsenic, of Strasbourg, France, owning 80% of Bone Therapeutics.

Orion picks up rights to Jemincare non-opioid pain drug in €15M deal 

Orion Corp. has secured exclusive global rights, outside China, to a non-opioid pain drug candidate from Jiangxi Jemincare Group Co. Ltd. The deal, for oral sodium channel inhibitor JMKX-000623, brought Jemincare €15 million (US$15.6 million) up front. In addition, Orion could pay the Chinese company development, commercialization and sales milestones that Orion suggested could be “significant,” as well as tiered royalties of 8% to 15% based on future sales.

Riddle me this: How are COVID-19 vaccines like smartphones?

The commercial success of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines has other companies in the space “looking in the attic, so to speak,” to see if they have any patents they can claim against the vaccines so they can get a percentage of the sales, Aziz Burgy, a patent attorney, told BioWorld. Given the global spread of the pandemic and how quickly it came on, the vaccines have generated a tremendous amount of sales in a short period of time, and other companies want a share, he said. He compared today’s patent infringement cases against the vaccine producers to the litigation seen in the early days of the smartphone revolution.

Key to predicting next pandemic lies in infectious diseases’ zoonotic component

As the COVID-19 pandemic slowly starts to ease globally, efforts are already gearing up to predict the next potential pandemic. One institute researching the increasing number of diseases transmitted from animals to humans is Canada’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, part of the University of Saskatchewan. Now, together with collaborators including the Canadian government, it’s sponsoring a phase II trial of COVAC-2, a squalene-in-water adjuvanted microsphere peptide-based protein subunit vaccine that contains a portion of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

US NIH COVID-19 technologies going global

In an effort to increase global access to COVID-19 technologies, the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool and the Medicines Patent Pool finalized a licensing agreement today with the U.S. NIH for the development of several innovative therapeutics, early stage vaccines and diagnostic tools. The global, nonexclusive licenses will allow manufacturers from around the world to make the technologies available to people in low- and middle-income countries. Under the agreement, the NIH will not collect royalties, in most cases, on sales of the licensed products in 49 countries classified by the U.N. as “least developed countries.” The licensed technologies include three diagnostics, three vaccine candidates and a number of research tools for the development of drugs and vaccines.

Across body parts, ‘parts list’ gives insights into the lives of a cell

“People often think about the genome as the blueprint of the organism, but that’s not really correct,” Steven Quake told reporters at a Science press briefing earlier this week. “The genome is more of a parts list, because every cell type uses different parts.” Quake is a member of the international Human Cell Atlas (HCA) consortium, a group of researchers whose goal, according to its original white paper published in 2017, is “to define all human cell types in terms of their distinctive patterns of gene expression, physiological states, developmental trajectories and location.” The HCA consortium has previously published work on individual organs and specific tissue types. Four new papers published in the May 13, 2022, issue of Science have more comprehensively mapped the transcription patterns of more than 400 cell types in multiple organs from the same donors – an attempt to understand how different cell types use the genomic “parts list” to create their unique but overlapping identities.

Also in the news

ABVC, Acorda, Aeterna Zentaris, Aim, Aimmax, Alimera, Apirx, Biopas, Blue Water Vaccines, Bristol Myers Squibb, Emerald Health, Formosa, Heparegenix, Hyundai, Incannex, Inflarx, Lava, Lipocine, Mediwound, Mindset, Moonlake, Myrtelle, Nervgen, NGM, Nrx, Palatin, Pneumagen, Protara, Reheva, Rockwell Medical, Salarius, Skye, Stealth, Vallon, Vifor, Zealand, Zhimeng, Zynerba