Alzheimer’s experts have suggested that future research may involve combination therapies after yet another trial failure involving a drug targeting amyloid – in this case Roche Holding AG’s crenezumab. Originally discovered by the Swiss biotech AC Immune SA, of Lausanne, crenezumab failed to slow or prevent cognitive decline in people with a certain mutation that causes early onset in a closely watched trial. After a series of study failures over the last decade or so, the potentially pivotal phase II Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative Autosomal Dominant Alzheimer’s Disease (API ADAD) trial was testing whether a drug targeting amyloid beta would work as a preventive treatment in people who are virtually destined to develop the condition earlier in life because of a rare genetic mutation.

Exelixis paying $25M up front to access Bioinvent’s screening, discovery platforms

Bioinvent International AB is banking an up-front payment of $25 million as part of an option and license agreement with Exelixis Inc., which aims to discover antibodies acting on new immuno-oncology targets. Further financial details were not disclosed, but the alliance entails the discovery of three novel targets and their associated antibodies, identified through Bioinvent’s F.I.R.S.T screening platform and its n-Coder antibody library. Lund, Sweden-based Bioinvent will be responsible for initial target and antibody discovery activities, as well as preclinical characterization of the antibodies’ mechanism of action. Alameda, Calif.-based Exelixis will pay an option exercise fee on any antibody candidates it decides to take forward. Bioinvent would also receive development and commercialization milestones, as well as royalties on product sales.

Infectious disease firms struggle in market downcycle

In sharp contrast with its up and down rhythm of 2021, the BioWorld Infectious Disease Index (BIDI) is mostly down this year, having fallen 63.4% to date. The index ended last year up by 10.4%, which was its lowest point. In 2020, when the SARS-CoV-2 infection became a global focus, BIDI was up by 144%. As COVID-19 cases and deaths have subsided worldwide, the enthusiasm for several companies working in the space has dwindled. On top of that, stocks in general have taken a blow this year on the heels of rising inflation. Of BIDI’s 17 company stocks, all but one have declined in 2022, with 14 losing a quarter or more of their value.

Meta Pharma nets $15M in financing to develop its pipeline and AI drug platform 

Meta Pharmaceuticals Inc. has raised $15 million in seed and pre-series A rounds in six months for the pipeline and AI platform development. Forcefield Ventures, Xtalpi Inc., IMO Ventures Inc. and Tiantu Capital Management LLC. led the rounds. Shenzhen, China-based Meta Pharma plans to use the new funds to support its three candidates to enter clinical trials, as well as the development of its Meta-map platform for pipeline expansion.

Newco news: Vectus shows lead candidate reverses heart, kidney fibrosis 

From 20 years of research on metabolic change as a result of salt intake, Karen Duggan discovered in 2003 that a naturally occurring molecule in the human body, native vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), was capable of reversing fibrosis caused by hypertension and other chronic diseases such as diabetes. From that discovery, Vectus Biosystems Ltd. was founded, and the company has developed a new class of mimetic drug candidates and a drug library based on VIP. 

MHRA goes big with harmonization with IMDRF, ICH

The U.K. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is still considering a drastic overhaul of the 2002 medical device regulatory framework, but may have sent a signal that its new framework won’t deviate too far from established regulatory approaches. The agency announced June 16 that it has signed on with both the International Conference for Harmonization for drugs and the International Medical Device Regulators Forum for devices, providing members of both industries with at least some modest confidence that access to the 67-million strong U.K. market won’t suffer from a new set of unique regulatory hurdles.

Also in the news

180 Life Sciences, Aceragen, Affini-T, Akero, Algernon, Arcellx, Astrocyte, Attralus, Biogen, Clovis, Covis, Coya, Eurocine, Evotec, Fusion, Halia, Horizon, Immunic, Janssen, Jazz, Karyopharm, Kintara, Kymera, Lassen, Leo, Mcurex, Neoimmunetech, Olix, Omega, Pfizer, Phanes, Prothione, Quoin, Recordati, Redx, Renibus, Scancell, Scilex, Sorrento, Vipergen