Evotec inks li­cense agree­ment with J&J; On­colyt­ic virus biotech prices $15M IPO

Drug dis­cov­ery and de­vel­op­ment play­er Evotec en­tered an­oth­er li­cens­ing deal with Big Phar­ma — this time with J&J’s Janssen.

The com­pa­nies put out word that they en­tered in­to a strate­gic col­lab­o­ra­tion and li­cense agree­ment with each oth­er that fo­cus­es on tar­get­ed im­mune-based can­cer ther­a­pies, to be com­mer­cial­ized by Janssen.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment, the col­lab­o­ra­tion will hinge on Evotec’s in­te­grat­ed drug dis­cov­ery and man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Dur­ing the pre-clin­i­cal R&D phase, the com­pa­nies will col­lab­o­rate close­ly — and then Janssen will take on full re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for both clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and com­mer­cial­iza­tion.

That said, Evotec gets an undis­closed pay­ment up­front and is en­ti­tled to both re­search and com­mer­cial mile­stones worth more than $350 mil­lion, plus tiered roy­al­ties.

It’s not Evotec’s first al­liance with Big Phar­ma, as Evotec had a deal with Bris­tol My­ers Squibb for a neu­rode­gen­er­a­tion can­di­date. Bris­tol My­ers ex­er­cised its op­tion in 2021, pay­ing Evotec $20 mil­lion and tak­ing on any fur­ther de­vel­op­ment.

Genelux nabs $15 mil­lion IPO af­ter ini­ti­at­ing PhI­II

A small on­col­o­gy biotech sold 2.5 mil­lion shares at $6 apiece to kick off its time in the pub­lic mar­ket.

The qui­et, San Diego-based biotech found­ed in 2001 has been de­vel­op­ing on­colyt­ic vi­ral im­munother­a­pies. Its lead can­di­date, called Olvi-Vec and a mod­i­fied strain of the vac­cinia virus, met a pre-es­tab­lished end­point in a Phase II tri­al for pa­tients with plat­inum-re­sis­tant/re­frac­to­ry ovar­i­an can­cer.

Now, the biotech has start­ed up a Phase III tri­al. A state­ment said that the tri­al of­fi­cial­ly launched in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2022, and be­gan en­roll­ment in Q3.

The com­pa­ny will be trad­ing un­der the tick­er $GN­LX.

Cy­tomX trig­gers $5M mile­stone pay­ment from Astel­las

Cy­tomX Ther­a­peu­tics has a new up­date on its pre­vi­ous deal with Astel­las.

The com­pa­ny put out word that it reached a mile­stone for a clin­i­cal can­di­date, which nets Cy­tomX $5 mil­lion from Astel­las. The two are still col­lab­o­rat­ing on ad­di­tion­al mol­e­cules that Cy­tomX can get more mile­stones from.

This col­lab­o­ra­tion is cen­tered around T cell bis­pecifics, which got kicked off back in 2020 thanks to Astel­las start­ing things off with $80 mil­lion up­front. The deal at the time al­so al­lowed for $1.6 bil­lion in mile­stones for a num­ber of tar­gets — and gave Cy­tomX the op­tion to co-fund part of the clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment for sev­er­al pro­grams in ex­change for prof­it-share or co-com­mer­cial­iza­tion.

Has the mo­ment fi­nal­ly ar­rived for val­ue-based health­care?

RBC Capital Markets’ Healthcare Technology Analyst, Sean Dodge, spotlights a new breed of tech-enabled providers who are rapidly transforming the way clinicians deliver healthcare, and explores the key question: can this accelerating revolution overturn the US healthcare system?

Key points

Tech-enabled healthcare providers are poised to help the US transition to value, not volume, as the basis for reward.
The move to value-based care has policy momentum, but is risky and complex for clinicians.
Outsourced tech specialists are emerging to provide the required expertise, while healthcare and tech are also converging through M&A.
Value-based care remains in its early stages, but the transition is accelerating and represents a huge addressable market.

Clay Siegall, Morphimmune CEO

Up­dat­ed: Ex-Seagen chief Clay Sie­gall emerges as CEO of pri­vate biotech

Clay Siegall will be back in the CEO seat, taking the helm of a private startup working on targeted cancer therapies.

It’s been almost a year since Siegall resigned from Seagen, the biotech he co-founded and led for more than 20 years, in the wake of domestic violence allegations by his then-wife. His eventual successor, David Epstein, sold the company to Pfizer in a $43 billion deal unveiled last week.

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No­vo Nordisk oral semaglu­tide tri­al shows re­duc­tion in blood sug­ar, plus weight loss

Novo Nordisk is testing higher levels of its oral version of its GLP-1, semaglutide, and its type 2 diabetes trial results released today show reductions in blood sugar as well as weight loss.

In the Phase IIIb trial, Novo compared its oral semaglutide in 25 mg and 50 mg doses with the 14 mg version that’s currently the maximum approved dose. The trial looked at how the doses compared when added to a stable dose of one to three oral antidiabetic medicines in people with type 2 diabetes who were in need of an intensified treatment.

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Ly­me vac­cine test com­ple­tion is pushed back by a year as Pfiz­er, Val­ne­va say they'll ad­just tri­al

Valneva and Pfizer have adjusted the end date for the Phase III study of their investigational Lyme disease vaccine, pushing it back by a year after issues at a contract researcher led to thousands of US patients being dropped from the test.

In a March 20 update to clinicaltrials.gov, Valneva and Pfizer moved the primary completion date on the trial, called VALOR, from the end of 2024 to the end of 2025.

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Stuart Peltz, former PTC Therapeutics CEO

Stu­art Peltz re­signs as PTC Ther­a­peu­tics CEO af­ter 25 years

Stuart Peltz, the longtime CEO of PTC Therapeutics who’s led the rare disease drug developer since its founding 25 years ago, is stepping down.

Succeeding him in the top job is Matthew Klein, who joined PTC in 2019 and was promoted to chief operating officer in 2022. In a call with analysts, he said the CEO transition has been planned for “quite some time” — in fact, as part of it, he gave the company’s presentation at the JP Morgan healthcare conference earlier this year.

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89bio to net $275M from stock of­fer­ing; As­sem­bly Bio to pause work on one HBV in­hibitor pro­gram

San Francisco-based biotech 89bio announced on Friday that it expects to rake in $275 million on a stock offering. The raise comes after 89bio announced on Tuesday results of a Phase II study showing that its drug was better than placebo at lessening fibrosis without worsening nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH.

To run a Phase III study, 89bio CEO Rohan Palekar told Endpoints News that the biotech “would need to raise additional capital.” 89bio offered over 16 million shares of its common stock at $16.25 per share, and expects the offering closes on March 28.

Bet­ter Ther­a­peu­tics cuts 35% of staff while await­ing dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tic ap­proval

Digital therapeutics company Better Therapeutics announced on Thursday that it’s cutting 35% of its staff as it awaits FDA clearance for its first product.

The company, which launched eight years ago, is one of a growing group of companies seeking a digital alternative to traditional medicine. The space saw a record $7.5 billion in investments in 2021, according to Chris Dokomajilar at DealForma, with uses spanning ADHD, PTSD and other indications. However, private insurers have been slow to hop on board.

FDA spells out how can­cer drug de­vel­op­ers can use one tri­al for both ac­cel­er­at­ed and full ap­provals

The FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence has been a bright spot within the agency in terms of speeding new treatments to patients. That flexibility was on full display this morning as FDA released new draft guidance spelling out exactly how oncology drug developers can fulfill both the accelerated and full approval’s requirements with just a single randomized controlled trial.

While Congress recently passed legislation that will allow FDA to require confirmatory trials to be recruiting and ongoing prior to granting an accelerated approval, the agency is now making clear that the initial trial used to win the AA, if designed appropriately, can also serve as the trial for converting the accelerated approval into a full approval.

Zhi Hong, Brii Biosciences CEO

Brii Bio­sciences stops man­u­fac­tur­ing Covid-19 an­ti­body com­bo, plans to with­draw EUA re­quest

Brii Biosciences said it will stop manufacturing its Covid-19 antibody combination, sold in China, and is working to withdraw its emergency use authorization request in the US, which it started in October 2021.

The Beijing and North Carolina biotech commercially launched the treatment in China last July but is now axing the work and reverting resources to other “high-priority programs,” per a Friday update. The focus now is namely hepatitis B viral infection, postpartum depression and major depressive disorders.

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