Amgen axes 149 of its staff in Cambridge office; Evotec, MilliporeSigma enter research pact
→ Amgen has submitted a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act (WARN) — a warning of impending mass layoffs 60 days in advance of the date — to the state of Massachusetts in the wake of the company’s exodus from the neurosciences R&D sector. Bob Bradway, CEO of the company, said in a Q3 earnings call that the company is cutting ties in the field to focus on its other pipelines in cardiovascular disease, inflammatory disease and cardiovascular disease, oncology. In its WARN notice, the Cambridge-based company stated that 149 of its employees would be affected — among the total 180 being let go. The company said that impacted employees, who are not relocating, will be departing the company between the end of 2019 to mid-2020.
→ After recently launching a joint venture with Galencia spinoff Vifor, German CRO Evotec is now inking a license agreement with MilliporeSigma, gaining access to their CRISPR gene editing tech to create edited cell lines for Evotec’s commercial and internal research purposes.
→ bluebird bio and Forty Seven are teaming up in a research collaboration to test Forty Seven’s FSI-174 (anti-cKIT antibody) plus magrolimab (anti-CD47 antibody) as a conditioning regimen for patients taking bluebird’s ex vivo lentiviral vector hematopoietic stem cell (LVV HSC) gene therapy. The goal is to reduce toxicity in therapies relative to the current approaches being used, including radiation and chemotherapy, and will initially target “diseases that have the potential to be corrected with transplantation of autologous gene-modified blood-forming stem cells.” The deal comes a few months after Forty Seven caught the attention of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) with their anti-CD47 work in myelodysplastic syndromes.
→ Evgen Pharma‘s Phase II trial of its lead drug, SFX-01, testing its efficacy in hemorrhagic stroke has ended in failure, leaving the company’s stock to plummet by more than half and to languish in the penny stock range.
→ NANOBIOTIX and their research partners at MD Anderson recently presented positive data from a mouse study evaluating NBTXR3 activated by radiation therapy in combination with anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 immune checkpoint inhibitors versus radiation therapy plus anti-PD-1 combination in an in vivo anti-PD-1 resistant model in treating tumors.