Decibel chief Holtzman champions Fenway as the new ‘hood in biotech; Aduro adds 2nd Keytruda combo for cancer

Steven Holtzman, CEO Decibel Therapeutics

→ Decibel Therapeutics CEO Steve Holtzman isn’t just hoping to pioneer new hearing drugs at his startup. The Biogen vet is also crusading to make Fenway, a Boston neighborhood just across the Charles River from Cambridge, as the next big biotech hub in the city. Today he and his fast-growing staff of 50 moved into 32,000 square feet of freshly renovated lab space in Van Ness, located at 1325 Boylston Street. And he’s urging others to follow his path to a neighborhood where rents are somewhat more reasonable.

→ Aduro is adding another Phase II combo study that will pair its immunotherapy CRS-207 with Merck’s Keytruda for treatment-resistant cases of malignant pleural mesothelioma. They already have a matchup in Phase II for gastric cancer, and this latest study adds to hundreds of combo studies now underway using one of the 5 PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoints now approved for marketing. “Data from our ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial of CRS-207 with standard chemotherapy as frontline treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma have been very encouraging, including disease control in 94 percent of patients treated with the CRS-207/chemotherapy combination,” said Natalie Sacks, chief medical officer at Aduro.

→ Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim and Peking University have forged a strategic partnership aimed at some early-stage discovery work targeting cancer, cancer immunology and immune modulation, respiratory, cardiometabolic and central nervous system diseases.

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