Investors add $17M to Emulate Series B as Covance partners; UMass professor to work with Spark on next-gen vectors

Emulate has topped up its B round with a fresh injection of $17 million, bringing the total to $45 million. The biotech has been developing organs-on-a-chip tech that are being used to supplement, and perhaps one day replace, animals in preclinical research. The big CRO Covance, meanwhile, has signed up to start to integrate Emulate’s kidney-on-a-chip tech into its drug evaluation work.

Ganging Gao, University of Massachusetts

Guangping Gao, University of Massachusetts

Spark Therapeutics is partnering up with University of Massachusetts Professor Guangping Gao to pursue next-gen viral vectors that can work as better delivery vehicles for future gene therapies for the retina, liver and central nervous system. “These next-generation AAV vectors, Gao says, will be designed to “deliver genetic information to certain cell types more efficiently and to cell types that are otherwise hard to target.”

An FDA advisory panel provided a lopsided vote backing approval of Allergan’s experimental drug to treat frequent night time urination. The group, though, wants it limited to patients whose condition is spurred by an increase in the volume of urine, which is called nocturnal polyuria.

Novartis is partnering with Perlara PBC – formerly known as Perlstein Lab PBC – on discovering new drugs for lysosomal storage disorders, starting with a lead program Niemann-Pick Type C Disease. Novartis is investing in the company, but no terms were disclosed.

Actelion has begun a late-stage study of a combination of ponesimod and Biogen’s Tecfidera as a new therapy for multiple sclerosis. “We have the ideal drug, ponesimod, which can be used in combination,” Chief Executive Officer Jean-Paul Clozel told Bloomberg Television on Thursday. “It’s a very busy market,” he added, but there’s still plenty of unmet need in the field.

The FDA has accepted Teva’s resubmission of its NDA for SD-809 (deutetrabenazine) for the treatment of chorea associated with Huntington disease. The new PDUFA date is April 3, 2017.

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

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