Har­bour Bio­Med fol­lows can­cer drug deals with a hefty $85M Se­ries B backed by Sin­ga­pore's GIC

Rid­ing on the mo­men­tum of two li­cens­ing deals, Har­bour Bio­Med now has $85 mil­lion to ad­vance its fresh­ly beefed up pipeline.

GIC — Sin­ga­pore’s sov­er­eign wealth fund — led the Se­ries B, lead­ing a syn­di­cate that in­cludes Chi­na Life Pri­vate Eq­ui­ty In­vest­ment and Ver­tex Ven­tures as well as Se­ries A in­vestors Ad­van­Tech and Leg­end Cap­i­tal.

Jing­song Wang

Founder and CEO Jing­song Wang calls the round a “strong vote of con­fi­dence” for the Chi­nese biotech’s three-pronged strat­e­gy built around its foun­da­tion­al hu­man trans­genic an­ti­body tech­nol­o­gy, dubbed Har­bour Mice: out-li­cens­ing its tech, in-li­cens­ing as­sets to de­vel­op on the plat­form and dis­cov­er­ing new ones in-house.

So far, the in-li­cens­ing stream has yield­ed all of Har­bour Bio­Med’s core drugs. A week ago Har­bour ac­quired ex­clu­sive rights to de­vel­op, man­u­fac­ture and com­mer­cial­ize a PD-L1 agent out­side of greater Chi­na from from Cheng­du-based Kelun biotech — one of at least 22 PD-1/L1 agents in de­vel­op­ment in Chi­na and an­oth­er spark in the glob­al ex­plo­sion of check­point in­hibitors. The deal is po­ten­tial­ly worth $350 mil­lion in­clud­ing biobucks.

Days be­fore that, Har­bour struck a deal with In­dia’s Glen­mark Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals to ob­tain Chi­na rights to a CD3-based bi-spe­cif­ic an­ti­body ther­a­py against HER-2 over­ex­pressed breast can­cer.

The rest of the pipeline has yet to en­ter the clin­ic, in­clud­ing an an­ti-FcRn based an­ti­body against au­toim­mune dis­eases and a bi­o­log­ic for in­flam­ma­to­ry dry-eye dis­ease, among oth­er po­ten­tial in­di­ca­tions.

Launched in late 2016 through the ac­qui­si­tion of Nether­lands-based Har­bour An­ti­bod­ies, Har­bour Bio­Med is head­quar­tered in Shang­hai with a Boston out­post.

“Dur­ing the one and half years since we es­tab­lished op­er­a­tions, Har­bour has suc­cess­ful­ly ex­pand­ed its net­work of col­lab­o­ra­tions for its core trans­genic mouse tech­nolo­gies, rapid­ly built an in­no­v­a­tive pipeline through in­ter­nal dis­cov­ery and in-li­censed de­vel­op­ment stage pro­grams in the ar­eas of on­col­o­gy and im­munol­o­gy, and es­tab­lished an ex­pe­ri­enced and pro­fes­sion­al team,” said Wang in a state­ment. “The fi­nanc­ing is a very strong vote of con­fi­dence by our new and ex­ist­ing in­vestors in our vi­sion for the com­pa­ny, strat­e­gy, progress to date and our team.”

IDC: Life Sci­ences Firms Must Em­brace Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion Now

Pre-pandemic, the life sciences industry had settled into a pattern. The average drug took 12 years and $2.9 billion to bring to market, and it was an acceptable mode of operations, according to Nimita Limaye, Research Vice President for Life Sciences R&D Strategy and Technology at IDC.

COVID-19 changed that, and served as a proof-of-concept for how technology can truly help life sciences companies succeed and grow, Limaye said. She recently spoke about industry trends at Egnyte’s Life Sciences Summit 2022. You should watch the entire session, free and on-demand, but here’s a brief recap of why she’s urging life sciences companies to embrace digital transformation.

Martin Landray, Protas CEO (Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News)

Those big bil­lion-dol­lar PhI­II stud­ies? Mar­tin Lan­dray says they can be done for a tiny frac­tion of the cost

Martin Landray knows what controversy in clinical drug development feels like, from first-hand experience.

Landray was the chief architect of RECOVERY, a study that pitted a variety of drugs against Covid-19. And he offered some landmark data that would help push dexamethasone out into broader use as a cheap treatment, while helping ice hydroxy’s reputation as a clear misfire.

“Lots of people told us we shouldn’t use it,” Landray says about dexamethasone and Covid-19. “It was dangerous. We shouldn’t even do a trial. They also cared about hydroxychloroquine and lots of people said we shouldn’t do a trial because it must be used. I’ve got the letters from both sets of people.”

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FDA ap­proves one of the prici­est new treat­ments of all time — blue­bird's gene ther­a­py for be­ta tha­lassemia

The FDA on Wednesday approved the first gene therapy for a chronic condition — bluebird bio’s new Zynteglo (beti-cel) as a potentially curative treatment for those with transfusion-dependent thalassemia.

The thumbs-up from the FDA follows a unanimous adcomm vote in June, with outside experts pointing to extraordinary efficacy, with 89% of subjects with TDT who received beti-cel having achieved transfusion independence.

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Geoffrey Porges, new Schrödinger CFO

Long­time an­a­lyst Ge­of­frey Porges de­parts SVB to lead fi­nances at a drug dis­cov­ery shop

Geoffrey Porges has ended his two-decade run as a biotech analyst, as the former SVB Securities vice chair began as CFO of Schrödinger on Thursday.

The long-running analyst, who previously headed up vaccines marketing at Merck before the turn of the millennium, will lead the financial operations of the 700-employee company as Schrödinger broadens its focus from a drug discovery partner to also building out an in-house pipeline, with clinical trial No. 1 set to begin next quarter.

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Joel Dudley, new partner at Innovation Endeavors (Bosch Health Campus)

For­mer Google CEO’s VC is mak­ing a big­ger push in­to the biotech world, hir­ing promi­nent Ther­a­nos skep­tic

Venture capital firm Innovation Endeavors has mainly had its focus on investments across the tech space, but it has been slowly turning its attention to the biotech world. Now, a new partner is coming into the fold showing that its interest in biotech is likely to grow further.

The Silicon Valley-based company, which is headed up by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, has brought on Joel Dudley as a partner. According to Dudley’s LinkedIn page, he is joining Innovation Endeavors after serving as the chief science officer of biotech startup Tempus Labs since 2020.

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James Sabry, Roche global head of pharma partnering

Roche, Genen­tech plunk down $60M up­front to part­ner with Chi­nese phar­ma on PRO­TAC-based prostate can­cer drug

Roche and Genentech are always on the hunt for deals, and on Thursday they found their newest partner.

The pair will team up with the Chinese pharma company Jemincare to push forward a new program for prostate cancer, the companies announced. Roche is ponying up $60 million upfront to get its hands on the candidate and promising up to $590 million in biobucks, plus royalties, down the line.

In return, Genentech will get a worldwide license to develop the program, known as JMKX002992, and bring it to market.

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Bayer's first DTC ad campaign for chronic kidney disease drug Kerendia spells out its benefits

Bay­er aims to sim­pli­fy the com­plex­i­ties of CKD with an ABC-themed ad cam­paign

Do you know the ABCs of CKD in T2D? Bayer’s first ad campaign for Kerendia tackles the complexity of chronic kidney disease with a play on the acronym (CKD) and its connection to type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Kerendia was approved last year as the first and only non-steroidal mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist to treat CKD in people with type 2 diabetes.

In the TV commercial launched this week, A is for awareness, B is for belief and C is for cardiovascular, explained in the ad as awareness of the connection between type 2 and kidney disease, belief that something can be done about it, and cardiovascular events that may be reduced with treatment.

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James Mock, incoming CFO at Moderna

Mod­er­na taps new CFO from PerkinElmer af­ter for­mer one-day CFO oust­ed

When Moderna hired a new CFO last year,  it didn’t expect to see him gone after only one day. Today the biotech named his — likely much more vetted — replacement.

The mRNA company put out word early Wednesday that after the untimely departure of then brand-new CFO Jorge Gomez, it has now found a replacement in James Mock, the soon-to-be former CFO at diagnostics and analytics company PerkinElmer.

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Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF’s supply division

GSK lands first-ever UNICEF con­tract for malar­ia vac­cine worth $170M

GSK has landed a new first from UNICEF the first-ever contract for malaria vaccines, worth up to $170 million for 18 million vaccine doses distributed over the next three years.

The vaccine, known as Mosquirix or RTS,S, won WHO’s backing last October after a controversial start, but UNICEF said these doses will potentially save thousands of lives every year.

“We hope this is just the beginning,” Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF’s supply division, said. “Continued innovation is needed to develop new and next-generation vaccines to increase available supply, and enable a healthier vaccine market. This is a giant step forward in our collective efforts to save children’s lives and reduce the burden of malaria as part of wider malaria prevention and control programmes.”