GV backs new genomics R&D upstart; Vertex advances plans for next-gen CF drugs

GV — formerly known as Google Ventures — is joining a syndicate providing a $40 million Series A round to Dublin-based Genomics Medicine Ireland. The company plans to build a world-class genomics research effort to better comprehend diseases like Alzheimer’s. Arch and Polaris are also backing the new company.

Geoffrey Porges, Leerink

Geoffrey Porges, Leerink

Vertex outlined plans to advance its next-gen cystic fibrosis drugs in the clinic, adding a new program along the way, though some analysts raised concerns about their chances of success. From Geoffrey Porges: “The company’s triple development plans initially seemed straightforward and encouraging but became increasing more complicated during the conference call. Management announced that both drugs in phase Ia would advance to phase II, in both het-mins and homozygous delF508’s, in similar two-part triple combination trials. In explaining why they had chosen a multi-part format for each triple drug program, management disclosed that one of the two drugs had been associated with significant GI adverse events (Vx152) at the higher doses tested in phase Ia, while the other drug was associated with significant teratogenicity risks from pre-clinical studies (Vx440), thus restricting its use in women to those on “pre-specified, non-hormonal” contraception. This compound appears to be complicated by the occurrence of liver enzyme induction, which impairs the effectiveness of hormonal contraception, and presumably also has drug-drug interaction issues with other medicines also prescribed to CF patients.”

Teva and IBM are expanding their collaboration on new drug development. The work includes a more aggressive focus on repurposing therapies along with data-driven management of chronic diseases.

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