After a bust with knee pain drug and 3 Covid-19 flops, Ampio lays off staff; Antibody startup nabs second deal in two weeks
Since at least April 2015, Ampio Pharmaceuticals has reeled from one Phase III fail after another for its knee osteoarthritis drug, known as Ampion.
The issue has only escalated in recent months with a trifecta of hurdles that are now sending the penny stock biotech $AMPE into a downward spiral, with 10 of 18 employees being laid off Tuesday, according to an SEC filing. Ampio had $28.8 million at the end of March, enough to get into the second half of next year.
To recap: the FDA said another Phase III trial did not provide sufficient data for a path to market; the company enlisted an independent committee to review unauthorized use of Ampion outside of clinical trials; and the biotech launched a strategic review to find its way out of financial doom.
There’s also a trio of clinical trials evaluating Ampion for Covid-19, for acute respiratory distress syndrome related to Covid-19 and for long Covid that all found no clinically meaningful treatment effects. Long Covid has tripped up PureTech Health and Axcella, the latter of which reported Phase IIa results on Tuesday, saying it will move toward a Phase III despite flunking the primary endpoint.
Landos will head into PhII with ulcerative colitis drug
Landos Biopharma said data from its Phase Ib study of an ulcerative colitis drug give it the confidence to move into a Phase II clinical trial.
The New York biotech will take the once-daily oral drug, known as NX-13, into a proof of concept study after showing it was well tolerated across multiple doses after four weeks. The penny stock $LABP rose nearly 15% shortly after the opening bell Wednesday.
The NLRX1 agonist was tested at 250mg immediate release, 500mg immediate release and 500mg modified release. Each arm contained 11 patients, and another five were given placebo.
“While the study was shorter in duration than standard induction trials and not powered for efficacy, there was an indication of promising signals of clinical improvement as soon as two weeks in patients’ symptoms and four weeks by endoscopy in exploratory endpoints,” CEO and president Gregory Oakes said in a statement. — Kyle LaHucik
Following Covid-19 antibody approval, AbCellera wins second deal in two weeks
Following its Eli Lilly antibody deal, AbCellera has been on the up. Today, Atlas Ventures announced that it tapped the antibody discovery biotech in a collaboration for three drug targets. The details on the collaboration are sparse, but the antibodies will be developed by an Atlas stealth company.
AbCellera will receive an undisclosed amount in research payments and could get paid for downstream milestones as well.
Previously, AbCellera collaborated with Eli Lilly to develop a Covid-19 antibody, bebtelovimab, which was approved by the FDA earlier this year. For that partnership, the two companies got a $720 million deal to supply 600,000 doses of the drug, bebtelovimab, to the US government.
And just last week, AbCellera inked a deal with Versant on another stealth partnership with minimal details. AbCellera had previously collaborated with a number of Versant’s stealth companies. — Lei Lei Wu