Laura Shawver (Silverback Therapeutics)

Fol­low­ing a hefty Se­ries B, Sil­ver­back Ther­a­peu­tics quick­ly pulls in $85M for 'an im­por­tant growth phase'

Months af­ter reel­ing in a $78 mil­lion Se­ries B round, Sil­ver­back Ther­a­peu­tics has hooked an even larg­er Se­ries C.

The Seat­tle-based com­pa­ny an­nounced Wednes­day that it net­ted $85 mil­lion from a slate of new and pre­vi­ous in­vestors. The quick boost could be a sign that an IPO is on the way.

In an email, Sil­ver­back CEO Lau­ra Shawver told me she was “not able to pro­vide any ad­di­tion­al com­ments about Sil­ver­back” be­yond what was shared in the com­pa­ny’s news re­lease. In the pre­pared state­ment, she said the com­pa­ny is at “an im­por­tant growth phase.”

In March, around the time of its Se­ries B an­nounce­ment, Sil­ver­back laid out plans to re-con­cep­tu­al­ize an­ti­body-drug con­ju­gates. Where­as oth­er AD­Cs de­liv­er can­cer-killing tox­ins, Sil­ver­back is us­ing the tech to de­liv­er im­mune-stim­u­la­to­ry agents. Its lead can­di­date, SBT6050, de­liv­ers a TLR8 ag­o­nist to HER2-ex­press­ing tu­mors in the hopes of ac­ti­vat­ing and re­pro­gram­ming myeloid cells to dri­ve an im­mune re­sponse. The com­pa­ny says it will use its lat­est round to ad­vance the drug, which is in Phase I test­ing, as well as oth­er ADC can­di­dates.

Va­lerie Ode­gard

“TLR8 is the in­nate im­mune re­cep­tor ex­pressed in hu­man myeloid cells, and the abil­i­ty then to sys­tem­i­cal­ly de­liv­er an agent, whose ac­tiv­i­ty is lo­cal­ized to the site of the tu­mor and on­ly ac­ti­vates myeloid cells in the tu­mor is a very ex­cit­ing ther­a­peu­tic,” CSO Va­lerie Ode­gard told End­points News back in March.

The Se­ries C saw some help from re­turn­ing in­vestors Or­biMed Ad­vi­sors, US Ven­ture Part­ners, Nex­tech In­vest, Hunt Tech­nol­o­gy Ven­tures, and Pon­tif­ax Ven­ture Cap­i­tal. New in­vestors Box­er Cap­i­tal of Tavi­s­tock Group, Fi­deli­ty Man­age­ment & Re­search Com­pa­ny, Nan­ta­ha­la Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, and RA Cap­i­tal chipped in. EcoR1 Cap­i­tal led the round.

Sil­ver­back al­so seized the op­por­tu­ni­ty to an­nounce two pro­mo­tions: Ode­gard, who’s been the com­pa­ny’s CSO for two years, is adding pres­i­dent to her ti­tle. And Nao­mi Hun­der jumped from se­nior VP of clin­i­cal re­search and de­vel­op­ment, where she’s been for about a year and a half, to CMO.

“We are at an im­por­tant growth phase for the com­pa­ny and their on­go­ing lead­er­ship will be crit­i­cal as we progress SBT6050 through clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, as well as ad­vance our ro­bust pre­clin­i­cal pipeline,” Shawver said in a state­ment.

The can­cer space is abound with AD­Cs, in­clud­ing Im­munomedics’ Trodelvy, which was re­cent­ly ap­proved for metasta­t­ic triple-neg­a­tive breast can­cer. The biotech, which is set to be ac­quired by Gilead, pre­sent­ed pos­i­tive new da­ta at vir­tu­al ES­MO 2020, and is rac­ing to­ward ap­proval in urothe­lial can­cer, where it will com­pete with Seat­tle Ge­net­ics’ ADC Pad­cev.

Ear­li­er this year, Dai­ichi Sankyo and As­traZeneca’s En­her­tu was ap­proved for breast can­cer — months ahead of sched­ule. And Roche’s Kad­cy­la, ap­proved for HER-2 pos­i­tive breast can­cer, scored huge sales last year.

Charles Baum, Mirati CEO

Mi­rati plots a march to the FDA for its KRAS G12C drug, breath­ing down Am­gen’s neck with bet­ter da­ta

Mirati Therapeutics $MRTX took another closely-watched step toward a now clearly defined goal to file for an approval for its KRAS G12C cancer drug adagrasib (MRTX849), scoring a higher response rate than the last readout from the class-leading rival at Amgen but still leaving open a raft of important questions about its future.

Following a snapshot of the first handful of responses, where the drug scored a tumor response in 3 of 5 patients with non-small cell lung cancer, the response rate has now slid to 45% among a pooled group of 51 early-stage and Phase II patients, 43% — 6 of 14 — when looking solely at the Phase I/Ib. Those 14 patients had a median treatment duration of 8.2 months, with half still on therapy and 5 of 6 responders still in response.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 92,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

In his­toric Covid-19 ad­comm, vac­cine ex­perts de­bate a sea of ques­tions — but of­fer no clear an­swers

The most widely anticipated and perhaps most widely watched meeting in the FDA’s 113-year history ended late Thursday night with a score of questions and very few answers.

For nearly 9 hours, 18 different outside experts listened to public health agencies and foundations present how the United States’ Covid-19 vaccine program developed through October, and they debated where it should go from there: Were companies testing the right metrics in their massive trials? How long should they track patients before declaring a vaccine safe or effective? Should a vaccine, once authorized, be given to the volunteers in the placebo arm of a trial?

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 92,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Michel Vounatsos, Biogen CEO (via YouTube)

Bio­gen spot­lights a pair of painful pipeline set­backs as ad­u­canum­ab show­down looms at the FDA

Biogen has flagged a pair of setbacks in the pipeline, spotlighting the final failure for a one-time top MS prospect while scrapping a gene therapy for SMA after the IND was put on hold due to toxicity.

Both failures will raise the stakes even higher on aducanumab, the Alzheimer’s drug that Biogen is betting the ranch on, determined to pursue an FDA OK despite significant skepticism they can make it with mixed results and a reliance on post hoc data mining. And the failures are being reported as Biogen was forced to cut its profit forecast for 2020 as a generic rival started to erode their big franchise drug.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 92,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Biond­Vax stock im­plodes af­ter a big PhI­II gam­ble for its uni­ver­sal flu vac­cine fails

After flying high on Wall Street for the last few months of a pandemic, BiondVax’s stock and dreams of getting approval for its universal flu vaccine hit the windshield.

The Jerusalem-based biotech announced on Friday that its only clinical candidate, M-001, failed both primary and secondary endpoints in a Phase III study. There was no statistically significant difference in reduction of flu illness and severity between the vaccine and placebo groups, according to the company. The vaccine did prove safe, if ineffective, BiondVax said.

A top drug pro­gram at Bay­er clears a high bar for CKD — open­ing the door to an FDA pitch

Over the past 4 years, Bayer has been steering a major trial through a pivotal program to see if their drug finerenone could slow down the pace of chronic kidney disease in patients suffering from both CKD as well as Type 2 diabetes.

Today, their team jumped on a virtual meeting hosted by the American Society of Nephrology to offer a solid set of pivotal data to demonstrate that the drug can delay dialysis or a kidney replacement as well as cardio disease, while also adding some worrying signs of hyperkalemia among the patients taking the drug. And they’re hustling it straight to regulators in search of an approval for kidney disease and cardio patients — one of the toughest challenges in the book, as demonstrated by repeated past failures.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 92,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Stephen Hahn, FDA commissioner (AP Images)

As FDA sets the stage for the first Covid-19 vac­cine EUAs, some big play­ers are ask­ing for a tweak of the guide­lines

Setting the stage for an extraordinary one-day meeting of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee this Thursday, the FDA has cleared 2 experts of financial conflicts to help beef up the committee. And regulators went on to specify the safety, efficacy and CMC input they’re looking for on EUAs, before they move on to the full BLA approval process.

All of this has already been spelled out to the developers. But the devil is in the details, and it’s clear from the first round of posted responses that some of the top players — including J&J and Pfizer — would like some adjustments and added feedback. And on Thursday, the experts can offer their own thoughts on shaping the first OKs.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 92,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Bo Cumbo, AavantiBio CEO (file photo)

Bo Cum­bo jumps from the top com­mer­cial post at Sarep­ta to the helm of a gene ther­a­py start­up with some in­flu­en­tial back­ers, big plans and $107M

After a 7-year stretch building the commercial team at Sarepta, longtime drug salesman Bo Cumbo is jumping to the entrepreneurial side of the business, taking the helm of a startup that’s got several deep-pocket investors. And he’s not just bringing his experience in selling drugs.

He tells me that when he told Sarepta CEO Doug Ingram about it, his boss got excited about the venture and opted to jump in with a $15 million investment from Sarepta to add to the launch money, alongside 3 of the busiest investors in biotech.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 92,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

CRISPR Ther­a­peu­tics gets a snap­shot of off-the-shelf CAR-T suc­cess in B-cell ma­lig­nan­cies — marred by the death of a pa­tient

Just days after scientific founder Emmanuelle Charpentier shared the Nobel prize for her work on CRISPR/Cas9, CRISPR Therapeutics $CRSP is showing off a snapshot of success in their early-stage study for an off-the-shelf CAR-T approach to CD19+ B cell malignancies — a snapshot marred by the death of a patient who had been given a high dose of the treatment.

Using their gene editing tech, researchers for CRISPR engineered cells from healthy donors into an attack vehicle aimed at cancer, something that has been achieved with great success using patients’ own cells — the autologous approach. But autologous CAR-T is hampered by the more complex vein-to-vein requirement that delays treatment, and now CRISPR Therapeutics along with other players like Allogene are determined to replace the pioneers with CAR-T 2.0.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 92,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca CEO (Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: FDA gives As­traZeneca the thumbs-up to restart PhI­II Covid-19 vac­cine tri­als, and J&J is prepar­ing to re­sume its study

Several countries had restarted their portions of AstraZeneca’s global Phase III Covid-19 vaccine trial after the study was paused worldwide in early September, but the US notably stayed on the sidelines — until now. Friday afternoon the pharma giant announced the all clear from US regulators. And on top of that, J&J announced Friday evening that it’s preparing to resume its own Phase III vaccine trial.