Atomwise, OncoStatyx launch JV to target triple-negative breast cancer; Cancer biotech woos former Spark COO John Furey
→ Celyad is teaming up with Be The Match BioTherapies, a cell and gene therapy solutions provider, on a clinical trial of its non-gene edited allogeneic CAR-T therapies. Be The Match BioTherapies will provide the biotech with over 20 million volunteer donors from their registry of potential blood stem cell donors, the source of starting material for hematopoietic stem cell transplant and cellular therapy.
→ AI-focused Atomwise is launching a joint venture with Ohio-based OncoStatyx to discover and develop small molecule compounds that inhibit KDM5B — a key epigenetic modulator protein — as an anti-cancer agent, especially for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). “Inhibition of KDM5B will reactivate expression of the tumor suppressor protein HEXIM1, which plays an important role in turning off the cancerous state in multiple types of solid tumor cancers, including TNBC,” the partners noted.
→ Imvax has wooed John Furey, former COO of Spark Therapeutics, to the helm as CEO and to its board of directors. Furey succeeds interim CEO David Andrews, the company’s co-founder and CMO. During his time at Spark, Furey led the US launch of pioneering gene therapy Luxturna. Prior to Spark, Furey served as SCP and head of global operations at Baxalta. He also held a stint at Pfizer, where he initiated the restructuring and divestiture of Baxter International’s vaccines franchise to Pfizer.
In his new role Furey will steer Philadelphia-based Imvax through a Phase II for its autologous tumor cell vaccine for glioblastoma multiforme, a notoriously hard-to-treat cancer.
→ Flexion Therapeutics $FLXN — which in 2017 scored FDA approval for injectable treatment for osteoarthritis-related knee pain — has inked a deal to develop Xenon Pharmaceuticals‘ $XENE NaV1.7 inhibitor — XEN402 —to manage post-operative pain. Flexion will use an extended release formulation of XEN402 for its preclinical program, FX301. FX301 is expected to hit the clinic by 2021. Under the deal, Xenon gets an upfront $3 million, and up to about $125 million in milestone payments, in addition to potential royalties.