Radek Spisek, SOTIO CEO (Cellestia)

A Czech biotech bets big on ris­ing ADC play­er LegoChem as part of li­cens­ing pact aimed at sol­id tu­mors

Czech biotech So­tio will pay $29.5 mil­lion up­front and in near-term mile­stones with a po­ten­tial $1.03 bil­lion in down­stream biobucks to li­cense five an­ti­body-drug con­ju­gate pro­grams from LegoChem Bio­sciences, the part­ners an­nounced Tues­day.

De­tails on the col­lab­o­ra­tion are slim, but So­tio did say the pro­grams would tar­get dis­tinct anti­gens in sol­id tu­mors. The pact will lever­age So­tio’s an­ti­body li­brary with LegoChem’s pay­load-link­er tech­nol­o­gy in what the part­ners hope will prove a po­tent com­bi­na­tion against can­cer.

Here’s what So­tio CEO Radek Spisek had to say about the deal:

At SO­TIO we are build­ing an in­no­v­a­tive pipeline of ADC pro­grams and plan IND fil­ing for our lead pro­gram SOT102 by the end of 2021.  The li­cens­ing agree­ment with our new, ex­pe­ri­enced part­ner LegoChem al­lows us to broad­en our on­col­o­gy pipeline with ad­di­tion­al pro­grams and sol­id tu­mor tar­gets. We are look­ing for­ward to us­ing the po­ten­tial of LegoChem’s ADC tech­nol­o­gy plat­form and to de­vel­op in­no­v­a­tive AD­Cs for pa­tients in need.

Per the terms of their deal, So­tio will pick up R&D, man­u­fac­tur­ing and com­mer­cial­iza­tion for any po­ten­tial mar­ket­ed drugs while LegoChem will take on more of an ad­vi­so­ry role in the ear­ly stages, the com­pa­nies said.

Ko­rea-based LegoChem has qui­et­ly cir­cled in the ADC space for some time, link­ing re­search and li­cens­ing pacts with a range of small- to mid-size drug­mak­ers over the past few years. But the pace has ap­peared to quick­en in re­cent months.

Most re­cent­ly, UK biotech Ik­su­da an­nounced it was ad­vanc­ing an in-li­censed LegoChem ADC, which tar­gets the CD19 anti­gen and de­liv­ers a pro­drug dubbed pyrroloben­zo­di­azepine. Ik­su­da is ex­pect­ed to file an IND for the drug this quar­ter with da­ta read­ing out as ear­ly as Q3 2022.

In March, biotech Pyx­is re­vealed a LegoChem in-li­censed ADC as part of its grow­ing drug port­fo­lio. That can­di­date, PYX-202, is al­so aimed at sol­id tu­mors.

Mean­while, So­tio has built a bustling pipeline of its own with the back­ing of the PPF Group, a Czech hedge fund. The drug­mak­er’s most ad­vanced can­di­date is a IL-15 su­per­ag­o­nist, dubbed SOT101, that is cur­rent­ly in Phase II test­ing. The com­pa­ny has a slate of can­cer meds set to en­ter the clin­ic with­in the next 12 months, it said in a re­lease.

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Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, one of the leading mRNA players whose quick vault into the markets with a highly effective vaccine created an instant multibillion-dollar market, added his voice to the rising chorus early Tuesday. According to Bancel, there will be a significant drop in efficacy when the average immune system is confronted by Omicron. The only question now is: How much?

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Astellas and Dyno will work together as part of an R&D pact to develop next-gen AAV vectors for gene therapy using Dyno’s CapsidMap platform directed at skeletal and cardiac muscle, the companies said Wednesday. Under the terms of the deal, Dyno will design AAV capsids for gene therapy, while Astellas will be responsible for conducting preclinical, clinical and commercialization activities for gene therapy product candidates using the capsids.

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Dormitzer had been with Pfizer for a little more than six years, joining up after a seven-year stint with Novartis, where he reached the role of US head of research and head of global virology for the company’s vaccines and diagnostics unit.

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In­tro­duc­ing End­points Stu­dio, a new way to ad­ver­tise with End­points-craft­ed brand­ing cam­paigns

Since our start in 2016, Endpoints has grown fast while executing our mission to cover biopharma’s most critical developments for industry pros worldwide. As readership has grown, our advertising business has too. Endpoints advertising partners support the mission and engage their desired audiences through announcements on our email and web platforms, brand recognition in our event coverage and sponsorships of Endpoints daily and weekly reports.

Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Cyril Marcilhacy/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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The French pharma giant isn’t sharing any financial details about the buyout of Origimm, a low-profile, private Austrian biotech whose technology promises to identify antigens causing skin disease and build vaccines against them. Their lead candidate targets acne vulgaris.

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As first Omi­cron case in US crops up, re­searchers won­der: which an­ti­bod­ies, vac­cines will hold up?

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The unidentified individual was a traveler who returned from South Africa on Nov. 22, 2021, was fully vaccinated, and had mild symptoms that the CDC described as improving. All close contacts have been contacted and have tested negative, the centers said.

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For years, Moderna has been battling a tiny Pennsylvania biotech known as Arbutus over patents for a technology required to deliver its mRNA drugs and vaccines, known as lipid nanoparticles or LNP. Moderna is concerned there’s a substantial risk that Arbutus will assert the ’069 patent in an infringement suit targeting Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, particularly as Arbutus has boasted of its patent protection and refused to grant a covenant not to sue Moderna.

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Months af­ter shock­ing in­vestors with lung can­cer win, Be­yond­Spring's lead drug hits road­block at the FDA

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The FDA issued BeyondSpring a complete response letter for its plinabulin in combination with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, effectively shutting down the drug’s immediate chances at a marketing approval, the biotech said Wednesday.

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