Shanghai- and San Diego-based Degron Therapeutics Inc. secured a potential $1.2 billion deal with Tokyo-headquartered Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. May 23 for a multitarget collaboration and exclusive licensing agreement for molecular glue degraders. “It is a breakthrough technology in the small-molecule drug discovery field,” Degron CEO Lily Zhou told BioWorld. “People talk about cell and gene therapy, but small molecules are still the mainstream of drug discovery, [with] more reach.” Specific up-front and milestone payments of the deal were not disclosed, but the potential $1.2 billion payment includes an up-front fee and potential discovery-stage milestone, clinical-stage milestone and commercial-stage milestone payments from Takeda, along with tiered royalty payments on sales of any commercialized products.

Promising data help Grey Wolf land $50M series B expansion

Grey Wolf Therapeutics Ltd. added $50 million to its series B, bringing the total for the round to $99 million and providing funding to expand the scope of an ongoing phase I/II trial of its lead antigen modulation program. The spur for raising more money was initial data from the ongoing trial of GRWD-5769, a targeted inhibitor of endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1 (ERAP1). This indicates the proposed mechanism of action, of modulating the antigen presentation pathway to increase the number and range of cancer antigens on the surface of tumor cells and make them more visible to the immune system, is playing out in vivo.

FDA adcom considers risks and benefits of Novo’s once-weekly insulin 

Once-daily insulin treatment is getting a challenge from Novo Nordisk A/S’s once-weekly option. The U.S. FDA’s Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee meets tomorrow, May 23, to review the BLA for once-weekly Awiqli (insulin icodec), the human insulin analogue from Novo for adults with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D). The FDA will present its views on the benefits and risks of insulin icodec and the risk of hypoglycemia in those with T1D. It will also present what it thinks of the role of continuous glucose monitoring devices and measures of glycemic variability. Novo submitted the BLA in April 2023. The injectable has an estimated PDUFA date of the third quarter of 2024. The EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use has recommended Awiqli for approval in treating adults.

Disgorgement but no penalty for insider trader

A woman who allegedly made $292,850 from trading last year on insider trading based on undisclosed information about a pending biopharma acquisition will have to disgorge her profits, along with interest, to the U.S. Treasury but will face no other penalties. That’s because Teresa Perez de Madrid reported herself to the SEC within days of the transaction and never withdrew the gains from her brokerage account. In this case, the SEC said, disgorgement “is the most equitable alternative” for resolving the issue.

Merck to acquire Mirus Bio for $600M

Milleporesigma, a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, agreed to acquire Mirus Bio LLC from Gamma Biosciences LP for $600 million. Mirus develops tailored transfection reagents that deliver nucleic acid into cells for a wide range of uses.

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