Altimmune Inc.’s peptide-based glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1)/glucagon dual receptor agonist pemvidutide hiccupped in a phase I study earlier this year but has bounced back with top-line results from its phase II study in obesity. Pemvidutide posted a mean weight loss of 15.6% on a 2.4-mg dose at week 48, with weight loss continuing until the treatment ended. The data showed liver-fat loss similar to Novo Nordisk A/S’ GLP-1 drug Wegovy (semaglutide). Following the news, Altimmune’s stock (NASDAQ:ALT) was trading at about $4 per share, up 27%, at midday Dec. 1. In the meantime, though, Pfizer Inc., battling disappointing phase IIb results for its GLP-1R agonist, danuglipron, has decided to not undertake a phase III study in obesity for the twice-daily formulation.

Targeting gene coactivation factors with inobrodib to treat blood cancer

Cellcentric's inobrodib, a novel drug with a distinct mechanism of action, shows promise in treating various hematological malignancies, as revealed in a recent publication in Cancer Cell. The paper reports on the therapeutic mechanism of inobrodib and relevant clinical results, highlighting its potency as a selective bromodomain inhibitor of p300 and CREB binding protein, thereby inducing cell-cycle arrest and differentiation in hematologic malignancy model systems. In June 2023, Cellcentric was granted orphan drug and fast track designation status from the U.S. FDA for inobrodib in multiple myeloma.

Alveogene secures seed, advances AVG-001 for rare respiratory disease

Arriving on the gene therapy scene with an undisclosed seed funding sum, Alveogene is tackling respiratory diseases with high unmet need via a next-generation lentiviral delivery platform to advance into the clinic a candidate for rare inherited disorder alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. The company’s gene therapy, AVG-001, works by promoting the production of alpha-1 antitrypsin in a localized manner. “The viral vector has been specifically designed to be both stable and capable of being delivered by a standard nebulizer … in the clinic,” David Hipkiss, Alveogene’s executive chair, told BioWorld. The firm plans to enter phase I and II combination studies in the next two to three years.

Biopharma grants record 75% year-over-year growth 

Biopharma grants have sustained the upward trajectory noted in August, ending October up nearly 75% compared to the corresponding period last year. In contrast, nonprofit deal value has continued its year-over-year decline, marked by a more than 90% decrease in transaction value.

Is AI on the way to designing drugs? Astrazenca thinks so

Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven tools have the ability to design new drugs, with a bit of help from humans, said Anders Hogner, from Astrazeneca plc’s R&D department at the Bio-IT World Conference & Expo Europe in London. “We don’t have anything out there yet,” he added, but the company appears to be working on it. Computer aided drug design is complex. There are three key challenges that must be addressed, Hogner told delegates. One is understanding the target, the second is mining the chemical space to find the drug-like molecules and the third is getting the drug properties right.

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Also in the news

Abbvie, Acadia, AC Immune, Aexon, Akari, Annovis, Aptose, Aqilion, Astellas, Benitec, Briacell, Calliditas, Cerecin, Chromadex, Clarity, CNX, Cybin, Cyclerion, Edgewise, Everest, Galderma, Gilgamesh, Inipharm, Jasper, Johnson And Johnson, Kazia, Lexicon, Ligand, Maat, Mithra, Navidea, Neurogene, NLS, Orchard, Palvella, Partner, Perpetual Medicines, Pharmnovo, Polaris, Protara, Sanofi, Scilex, Scineuro, Silence, Sol-Gel, Soligenix, Tharimmune, Transcode