Focusing on next-gen cancer drugs, GSK touts a ‘breakthrough’ at FDA; Aisling raises $280M fund

Axel Hoos

→ Anyone looking for fresh signs of GlaxoSmithKline’s plans to go much deeper into oncology should check out the pharma giant’s notice that its multiple myeloma drug GSK2857916 just won the FDA’s breakthrough designation. GSK’s Axel Hoos, who’s been running the early-stage oncology effort after the big asset swap with Novartis, said this drug could be a transformational therapy.  “Oncology R&D at GSK is focused on developing medicines with transformational potential for patients and we are pleased that our investigational antibody-drug conjugate is the first BCMA targeting agent to receive Breakthrough Therapy and PRIME designation,” he noted. “GSK plans to rapidly advance clinical trials with this promising therapy, alone and in combination with other therapies, to further investigate how GSK2857916 could benefit patients with multiple myeloma.”

→ Less than 2 months after helping BridgeBio raise $135 million to build a portfolio of drug developers, 17-year-old Aisling Capital has rolled out a relatively modest $280 million biotech fund, the latest in a string of venture funds to debut this year. They’re a pure-play biotech investor, making frequent appearances among the syndicates coming together to back the upstarts in the business. “Today, every biotech company must develop treatments that generate significant upside for patient care through profound impact on disease, fewer side effects, and a shift away from toxic therapies toward a personalized approach,” said Steve Elms, managing partner, Aisling Capital. “We are pleased to have the resources to continue to be a significant participant in our market and help the companies we invest in achieve this goal.”

→ Cambridge, MA-based microbiome player Vedanta is jumping into immuno-oncology with new technology to activate CD8-positive cells. The biotech sub-licensed intellectual property from JSR Corporation to develop and commercialize microbiome-derived cancer immunotherapies. Kenya Honda, a professor at Keio University School of Medicine, and his collaborators in the University of Tokyo in Japan developed the IP.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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