6 Dimensions backs Lyvgen’s $30M B round; Novartis hands off global rights to IL-2 drug

→ Shanghai’s immuno-oncology drugmaker Lyvgen Biopharma has scored a $30 million B round led by one of China’s most active biotech VCs — 6 Dimensions Capital. Joining the round are new investors Winfair Global and Runling Capital, along with existing backers from the A round Morningside Ventures. Lyvgen has an antibody platform and an early pipeline, including a PD-1 antibody and a set of proprietary agonist antibodies.

→ Clinical and commercial service provider Clinigen has picked up ex-US global rights to Novartis’ Proleukin, a recombinant interleukin-2 therapy primarily indicated for use in metastatic renal cell carcinoma, and for metastatic melanoma in some of the 20 markets it’s licensed in. Financial details of the deal deal were not disclosed; Clinigen said it will investigate potential combos for the drug and seek to revitalize sales — a figure around $80 million for the past couple of years. “This acquisition strengthens our offering in Commercial Medicines and brings our specialty pharma product portfolio to six,” said CEO Shaun Chilton.

→ In yet another effort to stave off generic competition for its blockbuster Humira, AbbVie $ABBV has struck a deal with Mylan, which has agreed to begin selling its biosimilar in the US on July 31, 2023 — a month after Samsung Bioepis and Merck will unveil theirs, and six months after Amgen’s knockoff will hit the markets. Based on the deal, Mylan will pay royalties to AbbVie for licensing the Humira patents once its biosimilar is launched.

→ Seattle biotech Presage Biosciences added some fresh capital to its coffers Tuesday, allowing the cancer company to work on the design of a device it created to conduct its early clinical work. The company makes a microinjector and drug loading device, coupled with fluorescent tracking microspheres, that they use to inject patients with small doses of investigational drugs. The device is designed to allow the dosing to be highly localized on a patient’s tumor. Presage is calling it the CIVO platform, and they say this small $6 million Series D round — led by Takeda and Celgene — will push its development forward.

At the same time, Presage announced its CSO Rich Klinghoffer is taking over as CEO, while former CEO Nathan Caffo steps into an advisory role. “When Nathan and I joined Presage as the first two employees of the company, it was because we recognized the transformative potential of the CIVO platform to enable faster proof-of-concept studies for early stage drug candidates,” Klinghoffer said in a statement. “Given the well-known lack of translation of animal models to the human clinic, we are excited to provide an approach that allows our partners to test assets in the context where they are ultimately intended to be used – the human cancer patient.”

Aquestive Therapeutics, the manufacturer-turned drug developer making oral film formulations of CNS disease treatments, settled on a price range of $14 to $16 for its IPO. All told, the Warren, NJ-based company expects to raise $60 million to fund commercialization of several late-stage products as well as clinical trials for two preclinical assets. Among them Sympazan (AQST-120), a formulation of clobazam used to treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, has been filed for approval and will potentially join the group of two products that Aquestive is already marketing with partners. The company plans to list under the symbol $AQST.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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