Dragonfly gets Merck on second TriNKET candidate since 2018 collab; Chinese eye gene therapy developer nabs $60M
Dragonfly Therapeutics is doing better and better in getting Big Pharma on its TriNKET platform. First Celgene, then BMS, and now Merck — again.
After Merck licensed its first candidate from the platform back in November 2020, the pharma giant is back for seconds as part of a 2018 collaboration between the two companies, which was initially focused on a number of solid tumor targets.
The companies expanded their collaboration last year with an agreement to develop and commercialize NK cell engaging immunotherapies for multiple targets in oncology, infectious diseases and immune disorders.
“We are delighted that Merck has now exercised its option for this second immunotherapy candidate from our initial collaboration, and excited by the progress we are making together on bringing Dragonfly’s TriNKET technology to targets across a broader set of diseases,” said Dragonfly’s CEO Bill Haney.
Merck exercised its option to license exclusive worldwide intellectual property rights on its second immunotherapy candidate developed using the TriNKET platform, under a pre-existing agreement. As for Dragonfly, it received an payment from Merck at an undisclosed amount.
Chinese eye disease biotech Neurophth raises $60M in Series C to progress pipeline
Chinese eye disease biotech Neurophth Therapeutics closed $60 million in a Series C round, the company announced today.
The round, co-led by CMG-SDIC Capital and Sequoia Capital China, included new investing funds and accounts managed by Sunshine Insurance and China Merchant Bank International Capital.
According to Neurophth, this round of financing will be used to progress its lead clinical program in LHON (Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy) outside of China, improve its R&D pipeline and programs through business development and expand Neurophth’s gene therapy manufacturing platform.
Neurophth’s lead candidate NR082 was the first AAV2 gene therapy to get IND application approval in China, with the first patient being dosed in June.
“We are very pleased to have leading China and ex-China investors to support the company mission and vision,” said Neurophth chairman and founder Bin Li.
Ieso raises $53M in Series B to develop digital therapy systems for mental health
UK-based digital therapeutics developer ieso has more money, thanks to lead investor Morningside.
The company announced today that it has finished its Series B round — with a total of $53 million raised. Other investors that tagged along include Sony Innovation Fund, IP Group and Molten Ventures.
The funds raised will help ieso develop autonomous digital therapy systems to deliver a higher standard of care — ones “that match the high standards of human care delivery,” according to the company — at significantly lower cost to health systems.
Ieso plans to develop these AI-enabled digital assessment tools and therapeutics on their outcomes-linked therapy dataset, which includes at least 460,000 hours of information.
Ieso intends to seek regulatory approval for these digital tools in the US and UK ahead of bringing them to market. And as part of the raise, ieso will expand its commercial teams to the US and target both co-development and distribution partnerships.
“Through the support of our investors, who share our purpose, we’ll continue on our mission of combining clinical expertise, data science and technology to enable better and more accessible mental healthcare,” said ieso chairman Andy Richards in a statement.
FDA extends review for Amryt Pharma’s EB drug
Amryt Pharma announced this morning that the FDA has extended the review period for the NDA for its epidermolysis bullosa (EB) treatment Oleogel-S10. EB, a rare genetic skin disorder, has no approved treatment.
The FDA extended the PDUFA by three months to February 28 of next year. And additionally, the FDA also issued a new Information Request regarding existing study data in order to continue the agency’s evaluation of Amryt’s NDA.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the EMA’s review process for Oleogel-S10 in EB is ongoing — and Amryt is in the process of responding to the remaining Major Objections in the List of Outstanding Issues sent by the EMA. Those objections remain undisclosed. The CHMP opinion is expected in January.
“We are well positioned to address these regulatory requests from our existing data within the time periods required and we look forward to our continued productive discussions as the regulatory agencies complete their review,” said Amryt CEO Joe Wiley.