U.K. biotech Complement Therapeutics Ltd has come out of stealth mode with €5 million ($5.7 million) in seed funding to tackle complement-related diseases, initially targeting the currently untreatable condition geographic atrophy due to dry age-related macular degeneration.
PERTH, Australia – Prota Therapeutics Ltd.’s lead candidate PRT-120 induced clinical remission of peanut allergy in 51% of children in a phase IIb clinical trial. There are currently no curative therapies to treat food allergies, Prota Therapeutics CEO Mimi Tang told BioWorld. Peanut allergy in children can be particularly problematic because the only treatment is avoidance.
LONDON – The team that opened up the market for anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drugs in the treatment of eye diseases has formed a new company, Eyebio Ltd., with the aim of developing a new generation of ocular therapies. David Guyer and Anthony Adamis, founders of Eyetech Pharmaceuticals Inc., which brought Macugen (pegaptanib sodium) through to FDA approval in December 2004, set up Eyebio in August last year, with seed funding from SV Health Investors.
LONDON – Oxford University spinout Oxdx Ltd. has raised £2.6 million (US$3.6 million) in pre-seed funding to advance development of a technology for directly identifying infectious pathogens without the need to purify, culture or amplify samples first. The instant testing method uses a mixture of a single universal reagent, high resolution microscopy and machine learning, to identify specific species and strains of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens within minutes.
After a landmark clinical trial of the first POLQ inhibitor in cancer last year, a recently formed U.K. biotech is gearing up to bring a potential rival to the clinic in the coming months. Varsity Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Cambridge, is planning to begin a phase I trial of novobiocin, a drug previously used as an antibiotic, which has also been found to inhibit the polymerase theta inhibitor (POLQ) pathway.
Before taking on the role of CEO at Bluesphere Bio Inc., David Apelian would have said the most exciting work he’d done in immuno-oncology had been at Globeimmune Inc., where he’d served as chief medical officer for more than a decade, working in the field of cancer immunotherapy “back when no one believed the immune system would be something we could leverage against cancer.”
In the bad old days of cancer treatment, it was the nasty side effects of chemotherapy that often ended up limiting treatment – and while checkpoint inhibitors have raised the bar in terms of efficacy and safety, they can have dangerous and unpleasant off-target consequences, too. Finding ways to focus the immune system on cancer and limiting any off-target effects will not only make checkpoint inhibitor therapy more tolerable but could also improve survival rates – and Sweden’s Ilya Pharma AB aims to do this with a novel approach combining synthetic biology with cell therapy.
Altesa Biosciences Inc. CEO Brett Giroir called the firm’s scientific co-founders George Painter and Dennis Liotta “the most important developers of drugs against viruses on the planet, and probably in history.” Giroir’s remarks came as the College Park, Ga.-based firm launched to develop and commercialize new antiviral drugs against common respiratory bugs such rhinovirus and parainfluenza, as well as vector-borne threats such as Dengue fever, yellow fever, Zika and Powassan.
Xanadu Bio, a Yale University spinout developing an intranasal SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine booster, has secured an exclusive license from the school for a polymeric nanoparticle delivery platform to support the project. The delivery tech could potentially have future applications for influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and even cystic fibrosis.
The Royal Academy of Engineering in the U.K. has revealed a new batch of 70 entrepreneurs, including some developers of med-tech solutions, for its Leaders in Innovation Fellowships Global (LIF Global) program. This comes just two months after the LIF Advance edition of the initiative, which had 15 chosen. The selected entrepreneurs will receive equity-free support over the next six months from the training and mentorship program.