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News brief­ing: Ax­o­vant re­ports im­proved mo­tor func­tion in small Parkin­son's tri­al; Bain life sci­ences SPAC files for $125M IPO

Axovant reported a snapshot of Phase II follow-up data from one cohort in a small Parkinson’s disease trial Tuesday.

The treatment, a gene therapy designed to stabilize dopamine levels in the brain, was well-tolerated with all 4 patients reporting no serious adverse effects. Only two of the patients proved to be evaluable, but they reported an average of 40% improvement in certain motor function. Axovant noted that the other two patients were not able to be evaluated in this area due to one Covid-19-related issue and a refusal.

News brief­ing: Kro­nos Bio sets terms for IPO, flirt­ing with bil­lion-dol­lar uni­corn val­u­a­tion; Corvus col­labs with spin­out, un­veils pos­i­tive Covid-19 da­ta

Kronos Bio announced it’s looking to raise more than $200 million in its jump onto Nasdaq, flirting with a billion-dollar unicorn valuation.

The Cambridge, MA-based biotech — helmed by 28-year Gilead vet Norbert Bischofberger — set the terms of its IPO on Monday. It plans to offer 10.3 million shares at a range of $16 to $18, the midpoint of which would give it a fully diluted market value of $940 million. Kronos was named to the 2020 Endpoints 11 list a few days ago, featuring some of the top startups in biotech.

News brief­ing: Pox­el flash­es ear­ly pos­i­tive NASH re­sults; Io­n­is teams up with AI-fo­cused Ge­nu­ity Sci­ence

A day after Genfit announced they were slashing staff in the wake of a major NASH failure, another French biotech said they had achieved positive results in their latest study on the fatty liver disease.

Poxel, which is developing a small molecule kinase activator for the condition, said that in a 12o-person trial, its drug proved safe and significantly reduced liver fat levels compared to placebo.  For the high-dose it was an 18% reduction, compared to a 0.7% reduction on placebo. There was also a statistically signficant reduction in liver enzymes compared to placebo and a significant improvement in the percentage  of patients who saw at least a 30% reduciton in liver fat: 6.5% of the placebo group and 27.6%   of the high-dose group.

News brief­ing: Ovid shows mixed re­sults on epilep­sy pro­gram; Il­i­ad re­ports pos­i­tive whoop­ing cough da­ta

Ovid Therapeutics $OVID announced Wednesday mixed results of a Phase II study in a program seeking to treat rare epilepsies.

The 20-patient trial, which was a signal-finding open-label pilot study, measured how its compound soticlestat could reduce the average frequency of seizures in patients with CDKL5 deficiency disorder and Dup15q syndrome. In the initial 12-week maintenance period, patients with CDD saw an average reduction of 24%, but those with Dup15q saw an increased seizure frequency of 12%.

News brief­ing: PhI­II Alzheimer's play draws an­oth­er $33M+; Ar­ran­ta un­veils $100M+ mi­cro­bio­me man­u­fac­tur­ing site

More money is flowing towards the disaster-prone yet highly sought after quest for an Alzheimer’s disease treatment. Today, it is AZTherapies’s turn to rake it in.

The Boston-based biotech has closed $33.6 million in Series C-1 funding, which comes on the heels of a $37.5 million Series C.

“This additional funding positions us extremely well as we drive towards completion of our Phase 3 COGNITE trial in Alzheimer’s disease later this year, with data readout expected in early 2021,” CEO David Elmaleh said in a statement.

News brief­ing: Bio­gen gets a quick date with an FDA pan­el for con­tro­ver­sial ad­u­canum­ab; Abeona CEO, board mem­bers ex­it — shares im­plode

Mark your calendars for November 6, which looms as the next major test for Biogen’s aducanumab. That’s the day the FDA has set aside for a panel review of the drug, which will be preceded by an in-house report on the pros and cons of the controversial drug.

The big biotech $BIIB gained steam on the news that the FDA had offered a priority review for the Alzheimer’s drug, which succeeded in one late-stage study and failed in another, only to be resurrected on the basis of some deep dives into subgroup data.

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News brief­ing: HHS chas­tis­es Eli Lil­ly for end­ing some dis­counts in a pan­dem­ic; Gilead to pay $97 mil­lion to set­tle kick­back al­le­ga­tions

Gilead agreed to pay $97 million to settle allegations that it illegally used a charity to pay thousands of Medicare patients’ co-payments for its pulmonary arterial hypertension drug Letairis.

The US government claimed that between June 2007 and December 2010, Gilead $GILD used the Caring Voice Coalition as a conduit to cover the costs of just its own drug. The alleged behavior goes against the False Claims Act.

News brief­ing: PureTech plans Nas­daq de­but with sec­ondary list­ing; GoodRx prices $725M IPO

London Stock Exchange-listed PureTech Health announced Wednesday that it’s looking to extend to Nasdaq. But due to its “strong cash position,” the biotech says it isn’t issuing any new shares in the potential secondary listing.

The company’s shares closed at £256.50 Tuesday on the London Stock Exchange. Its candidate LYT-100 is currently in Phase I development for various indications, including lymphatic flow disorders and fibrotic and inflammatory disorders. PureTech is expecting a Phase Ib readout in lymphatic flow disorders later this year, and is also planning to launch a Phase II study for the drug to treat respiratory conditions experienced after Covid-19.

News brief­ing: Tiny Vac­cinex's drug flops in PhII Hunt­ing­ton's tri­al, stock craters; Siol­ta nabs $30M Se­ries B to de­vel­op mi­cro­bio­me drug

Siolta Therapeutics, a microbiome company targeting allergic diseases, raked in a $30 million Series B to develop its lead candidate, STMC-103H. The drug, which has been FDA fast-tracked, is headed for proof-of-concept trials, according to the company. Its various indications include allergic asthma, food allergies, atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, and allergy prevention.

The news comes just after the California-based biotech added a prominent biopharma veteran as an advisor: 20-year Gilead CEO John Martin. The biotech also gained Richard Shames as CMO, who came by way of Protagonist Therapeutics.

News brief­ing: Bausch Health clos­ing in on deal to ac­quire Al­le­gro as­sets; PharmAbcine strikes deal with Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics to de­vel­op an­ti­body pro­gram

Bausch Health is closing in on a deal that would allow it to buy out all of Allegro Ophthalmics’ eye-related assets — including the rights to lead candidate risuteganib — for $50 million.

The payment would be made in two tranches: $10 million at signing, and $40 million in 2021.

Risuteganib is in clinical development for intermediate dry Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). It’s expected to enter two concurrent Phase III trials for that indication in the next year. The drug is also being tested in patients with diabetic macular edema (DME), and last year met the primary endpoint in a Phase II study, with 48% of patients gaining 8 or more letters in visual acuity from baseline at week 28, compared to 7% in the control group at week 12.