While full details of the underlying science are due to be published in a peer reviewed journal, Kither Biotech Srl has announced its closure of an €18.5 million (US$20.4 million) series B financing with which it aims to translate its approach to rare respiratory diseases into the clinic.
Bridge Biotherapeutics Inc. has signed an exclusive option-to-license agreement for Cellionbiomed Inc.’s preclinical ion channel modulator, BBT-301, thus adding a second idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) candidate to its fibrotic diseases portfolio. The company hopes to enter the clinic with the drug in the U.S. by the end of 2022.
Endeavor Biomedicines Inc.’s $101 million series B round will let the firm forge ahead with ENV-101 (taladegib), a small-molecule inhibitor of the PTCH1 receptor in the Hedgehog signaling pathway, for cancer and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), as well as ENV-201, described as a potentially best-in-class small-molecule inhibitor of ULK1/2 in KRAS-driven cancers.
Blueprint Medicines Corp.’s cancer drug Ayvakyt (avapritinib) looks set to gain an expanded label in Europe, amid a flurry of decisions from the European Medicines Agency’s CHMP scientific committee. Late last week the CHMP gave a positive opinion for Ayvakyt for treatment of adults with advanced systemic mastocytosis, meaning the drug is likely to gain a further European indication in the coming weeks.
Merck & Co Inc. has had a setback with its chronic cough drug gefapixant after the FDA rejected its NDA, a decision that also briefly hit the share price of rival Bellus Health Inc. before it regained market traction late Jan. 24. The FDA had been reviewing gefapixant since March 2021, but the regulator is now asking for additional information related to measurement of efficacy in a dreaded complete response letter. Merck said the response was not related to the safety of gefapixant, a P2X3 receptor antagonist, under development for treatment of refractory chronic cough (RCC) or unexplained chronic cough in adults. Shares in Merck (NYSE:MRK) ticked down 1.4% to $78.86 while Bellus Health shares (NASDAQ:BLU) rose by 1.8% to $5.66.
The FDA has approved Astrazeneca plc and Amgen Inc.’s first-in-class biologic, tezepelumab, for the add-on maintenance treatment of adults and children ages 12 and older with severe asthma, adding further competition to a hotly contested market. An injection marketed under the brand name Tezspire, tezepelumab inhibits the action of thymic stromal lymphopoietin (anti-TLSP). This is a signaling molecule at the top of several cascades influencing allergic, eosinophilic and other types of airway inflammation associated with severe asthma, including airway hyperresponsiveness.
PERTH, Australia – It’s been a year that Mesoblast Ltd. might like to forget. The company’s stock dropped 17% on the news that Novartis AG will terminate its licensing agreement with Mesoblast for remestemcel-L. The decision puts an end to an exclusive global licensing deal Mesoblast inked with Novartis in November 2020 for the development, manufacture and commercialization of the mesenchymal stromal cell product, with an initial focus on acute respiratory distress syndrome, including that associated with COVID-19.
Stimulating the innate immune system with defective viral genomes (DVG)-based strategy provided broad-spectrum protection against RNA viral infections, including SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory diseases in animal models, according to a U.S.-led international collaborative study reported in the Nov. 17, 2021, edition of Cell.
In the year’s second biggest M&A deal, Merck & Co. Inc. will take over pulmonary and hematologic specialist Acceleron Pharma Inc. for $11.5 billion. The acquisition brings Merck a pair of potential blockbuster drugs, one of them already marketed. There is sotatercept, in development for treating pulmonary hypertension (PH), and also Reblozyl (luspatercept-aamt), the first and only erythroid maturation agent approved in the U.S., Europe and Canada for treating anemia in certain blood disorders.