Can­cer Re­search UK spin­off rais­es $41M+ in Se­ries B in­jec­tion

The es­tro­gen re­cep­tor (ER) — which is in­hib­it­ed by tar­get­ed drugs such as the hor­mone ther­a­py ta­mox­ifen and aro­matase in­hibitors — is a tran­scrip­tion fac­tor im­pli­cat­ed in 75% of breast can­cers. Re­search from Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty sug­gests that the DNA in­ter­ac­tions and tran­scrip­tion­al scope of ER re­ly on a pro­tein that plays a key role in de­ter­min­ing tu­mor growth and pro­gres­sion — even when re­sis­tance to ex­ist­ing drugs has built up.

Ja­son Car­roll Az­e­ria

Az­e­ria Ther­a­peu­tics — a com­pa­ny found­ed by Ja­son Car­roll from the Can­cer Re­search UK Cam­bridge In­sti­tute at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cam­bridge who spear­head­ed the re­search — has now en­ticed Syn­cona and about $41.4 mil­lion in fund­ing to de­vel­op ther­a­pies for drug-re­sis­tant breast can­cer.

The com­pa­ny, which was spun out of Sixth El­e­ment Cap­i­tal and Can­cer Re­search UK’s com­mer­cial part­ner­ships team in 2017, is laser-fo­cused on pi­o­neer fac­tors — the pro­teins that dic­tate where in the genome tran­scrip­tion fac­tors as­so­ciate with DNA and what genes are reg­u­lat­ed.

Its lead pro­gram is tar­get­ing the pi­o­neer fac­tor FOXA1, which has shown to be in­stru­men­tal in the tu­mor de­vel­op­ment and main­te­nance of ER-pos­i­tive lu­mi­nal breast can­cer (typ­i­cal­ly 30% of these pa­tients progress to late-stage en­docrine-re­sis­tant dis­ease). FOXA1 is req­ui­site in all ER-DNA in­ter­ac­tions and in the ab­sence of FOXA1, ER does not li­aise with DNA, switch genes on or cause cells to grow. Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, FOXA1 is al­so es­sen­tial for cells that have grown re­sis­tant to stan­dard ther­a­pies, such as ta­mox­ifen, Car­roll’s re­search sug­gests.

The fund­ing will help Az­e­ria shep­herd the ex­per­i­men­tal ther­a­py in­to the clin­ic and help the com­pa­ny ex­pand its ar­se­nal of in­ves­ti­ga­tion­al drugs.

The Cam­bridge, UK-based drug de­vel­op­er pre­vi­ous­ly raised £5.5 mil­lion in a Se­ries A fi­nanc­ing from the CRT Pi­o­neer Fund, which is man­aged by UK based fund man­ag­er Sixth El­e­ment Cap­i­tal.

This fresh in­jec­tion of £32 mil­lion in Se­ries B fi­nanc­ing was led by Syn­cona, which made a hefty £29.5 mil­lion com­mit­ment.

BiTE® Plat­form and the Evo­lu­tion To­ward Off-The-Shelf Im­muno-On­col­o­gy Ap­proach­es

Despite rapid advances in the field of immuno-oncology that have transformed the cancer treatment landscape, many cancer patients are still left behind.1,2 Not every person has access to innovative therapies designed specifically to treat his or her disease. Many currently available immuno-oncology-based approaches and chemotherapies have brought long-term benefits to some patients — but many patients still need other therapeutic options.3

Pfiz­er’s Doug Gior­dano has $500M — and some ad­vice — to of­fer a cer­tain breed of 'break­through' biotech

So let’s say you’re running a cutting-edge, clinical-stage biotech, probably public, but not necessarily so, which could see some big advantages teaming up with some marquee researchers, picking up say $50 million to $75 million dollars in a non-threatening minority equity investment that could take you to the next level.

Doug Giordano might have some thoughts on how that could work out.

The SVP of business development at the pharma giant has helped forge a new fund called the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative. And he has $500 million of Pfizer’s money to put behind 7 to 10 — or so — biotech stocks that fit that general description.

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Gilead re­leas­es an­oth­er round of murky remde­sivir re­sults

A month after the NIH declared the first trial on remdesivir in Covid-19 a success, Gilead is out with new results on their antiviral. But although the study met one of its primary endpoints, the data are likely to only add to a growing debate over how effective the drug actually is.

In a Phase III trial, patients given a 5-day dose of remdesivir were 65% more likely to show “clinical improvement” compared to an arm given standard-of-care. The trial, though, gave little indication for whether the drug had an impact on key endpoints such as survival or time-to-recovery. And in a surprising twist, a 10-day dosing arm of remdesivir didn’t lead to a statistically significant improvement over standard of care.

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Hill­house re­casts spot­light on Chi­na's biotech scene with $160M round for Shang­hai-based an­ti­body mak­er

Almost two years after first buying into Genor Biopharma’s pipeline of cancer and autoimmune therapies, Hillhouse Capital has led a $160 million cash injection to push the late-stage assets over the finish line while continuing to fund both internal R&D and dealmaking.

The Series B has landed right around the time Genor would have listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, according to plans reported by Bloomberg late last year. Insiders had said that the company was looking to raise about $200 million.

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Novus Ther­a­peu­tics plunges deep in­to pen­ny stock ter­ri­to­ry af­ter failed ear tri­al

After a more than 15-year run, a California-based biotech is exploring options, including a sale, after its lead experimental therapy failed an exploratory mid-stage study in patients with middle ear infections characterized by a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum.

The company, initially called Tokai Pharmaceuticals but which subsequently changed its name to Novus Therapeutics in 2017, saw its shares more than halve on Monday after the drug — OP0201— did not pass muster as an adjunct therapy to oral antibiotics in infants and children aged 6 to 24 months with acute otitis media (OM).

Fangliang Zhang (Imaginechina via AP Images)

The big mon­ey: Poised to make drug R&D his­to­ry, a Chi­na biotech un­veils uni­corn rac­ing am­bi­tions in a bid to raise $350M-plus on Nas­daq

Almost exactly three years after Shanghai-based Legend came out of nowhere to steal the show at ASCO with jaw-dropping data on their BCMA-targeted CAR-T for multiple myeloma, the little player with Big Pharma connections is taking a giant step toward making it big on Wall Street. And this time they want to seal the deal on a global rep after staking out a unicorn valuation in what’s turned out to be a bull market for biotech IPOs — in the middle of a pandemic.

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Len Schleifer (left) and George Yancopoulos, Regeneron (Vimeo)

Eyes on he­mo­phil­ia prize, Re­gen­eron adds a $100M wa­ger on joint de­vel­op­ment cam­paign with In­tel­lia

When George Yancopoulos first signed up Intellia to be its CRISPR/Cas9 partner on gene editing projects 4 years ago, the upstart smartly ramped up its IPO at the same time. Today, Regeneron $REGN is coming back in, adding $100 million in an upfront fee and equity to significantly boot up a whole roster of new development projects.

And they’re highlighting some clinical hemophilia research plans in the process.

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IPOs abound in the time of coro­n­avirus, as For­ma Ther­a­peu­tics pen­cils in $150M Nas­daq de­but

The IPO engine is thriving, never mind the rampage of the coronavirus crisis on R&D timelines.

On Friday, along with synthetic lethality-focused biotech Repare Therapeutics, another Bristol Myers partner Forma Therapeutics also unveiled its plans to vault on to the Nasdaq — penciling in a target of $150 million.

The Watertown, Massachusetts-based company — which poached senior Genentech executive Frank Lee to take over the reins last year after more than a decade under founder Steve Tregay — raised a plump $100 million late last year, while shepherding its sickle cell disease (SCD) drug through an early-stage trial.

Jean-Jacques Bienaimé, BioMarin chairman and CEO

Bio­Marin holds the line on bleeds with 4-year val­rox up­date on he­mo­phil­ia A — but what's this about an­oth­er de­cline in Fac­tor 8 lev­els?

BioMarin has posted some top-line results for their 4-year followup on the most advanced gene therapy for hemophilia A — extending its streak on keeping a handful of patients free of bleeds and off Factor VIII therapy, but likely stirring fresh worries over a continued drop in Factor VIII levels.

We just don’t know how big a drop.

We’ll see more data when the results are presented at the World Federation of Hemophilia in a couple of weeks. But in a statement out Sunday night, BioMarin $BMRN reported that none of the patients required Factor VIII treatment, adding:

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