Apollon Papadimitriou, iOmx CEO

iOmx re­fu­els with $75M+ on its search for im­mune check­point tar­gets on tu­mor cells

While a big chunk of on­col­o­gy re­search is fo­cused on tar­get­ing T-cell reg­u­la­tors to stamp out can­cer, iOmx Ther­a­peu­tics is hom­ing in on im­mune check­point tar­gets on tu­mor cells — and it’s just re­ceived an­oth­er $75.3 mil­lion to fu­el their push to­ward the clin­ic.

iOmx un­veiled the €65 mil­lion Se­ries B round on Tues­day morn­ing, rough­ly five years af­ter emerg­ing from stealth. The new cash will help the start­up put its first can­di­date, an SIK3 ki­nase in­hibitor called IMT-07, in the clin­ic late next year for sol­id tu­mors.

Right be­hind that pro­gram is an IGSF11-tar­get­ing an­ti­body to treat PD-1/PD-L1-re­sis­tant tu­mors, which is al­so in the lead op­ti­miza­tion stage, ac­cord­ing to iOmx’s web­site.

“Us­ing our iO­Targ plat­form, we have pre­vi­ous­ly iden­ti­fied two nov­el im­mune-check­point mol­e­cules ex­pressed by can­cer cells, SIK3 and IGSF11, and shown that block­ing these tar­gets with our pro­pri­etary drug can­di­dates has an­ti-tu­mor ef­fects and the po­ten­tial to treat tu­mors that can­not oth­er­wise be ad­dressed by ex­ist­ing im­mune ther­a­pies,” CEO Apol­lon Pa­padim­itri­ou said in a state­ment.

Pa­padim­itri­ou was tapped as CEO back in 2019, tak­ing the reins from Se­bas­t­ian Meier-Ew­ert, who gave up his job as a man­ag­ing part­ner at MPM Cap­i­tal to take the lead at iOmx. Meier-Ew­ert is now at Roscue Ther­a­peu­tics, ac­cord­ing to his LinkedIn. Be­fore tak­ing the helm, Pa­padim­itri­ou was iOmx’s chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer for two years.

The biotech isn’t say­ing much about its pro­grams for now. But ac­cord­ing to its web­site, there’s al­so a third can­di­date (an undis­closed mon­o­clon­al an­ti­body) in the works.

iOmx co-founder Philipp Beck­hove did much of the com­pa­ny’s foun­da­tion re­search while work­ing at the Ger­man Can­cer Re­search Cen­ter in Hei­del­berg and is now at the RCI Re­gens­burg Cen­ter for In­ter­ven­tion­al Im­munol­o­gy. The com­pa­ny’s screen­ing plat­form was de­vel­oped by co-founder Nisit Khan­del­w­al, SVP of re­search. Al­so among the com­pa­ny’s co-founders are Patrick Baeuer­le, who’s laud­ed as a pi­o­neer in the bis­pe­cif­ic space; and El­mar Maier, cur­rent CEO at EM Biotech.

“In the vi­tal world of can­cer im­munother­a­py, iOmx’s plat­form tech­nol­o­gy stands out be­cause it screens for nov­el drug­gable im­mune check­point tar­gets on tu­mor cells in­stead of T cells, there­by al­low­ing the de­vel­op­ment of drugs that can pre­vent tu­mor im­mune eva­sion,” said Matthias Kro­may­er, man­ag­ing part­ner at MIG Cap­i­tal, which co-led the Se­ries B round.

Athos Ser­vice (the Strüng­mann fam­i­ly of­fice) al­so helped lead the round, and Welling­ton Part­ners, Sofinno­va Part­ners and M Ven­tures chipped in.

Biotech in­vestors and CEOs see two paths to growth, but are they equal­ly vi­able?

The dynamic in the biotech market has been highly volatile in the last few years, from the high peaks immediately after the COVID vaccine in 2021, to the lowest downturns of the last 20 years in 2022. This uncertainty makes calling the exact timing of the market’s turn something of a fool’s errand, according to Dr. Chen Yu, Founder and Managing Partner of TCG Crossover (TCG X). He speaks with RBC’s Noël Brown, Head of US Biotechnology Investment Banking, about the market’s road ahead and two possible paths for growth.

Vlad Coric, Biohaven CEO

Vlad Coric charts course for new Bio­haven with neu­ro­science push and Big Phar­ma vets on board

What’s Biohaven without its CGRP portfolio? That’s what CEO Vlad Coric is tasked with deciding as he maps out the new Biohaven post-Pfizer takeover.

Pfizer officially scooped up Biohaven’s CGRP assets on Monday, including blockbuster migraine drug Nurtec and the investigational zavegepant, for $11.6 billion. As a result, Coric spun the broader pipeline into an independent company on Tuesday — with the same R&D team behind Nurtec but about 1,000 fewer staffers and a renewed focus on neuroscience and rare disease.

In AstraZeneca's latest campaign, wild eosinophils called Phils personify the acting up often seen in uncontrolled asthma

As­traZeneca de­buts an­noy­ing pur­ple ‘Phil’ crea­tures, per­son­i­fied asth­ma eosinophils ‘be­hav­ing bad­ly’

There are some odd-looking purple creatures lurking around the halls of AstraZenca lately. The “Phil” character cutouts are purple, personified eosinophils with big buggy eyes and wide mouths, and they’re a part of AZ’s newest awareness effort to help people understand eosinophilic asthma.

The “Asthma Behaving Badly” characters aren’t only on the walls at AZ to show the new campaign to employees, however. The “Phils” are also showing up online on the campaign website, and in digital and social ads and posts on Facebook and Instagram.

Casey McPherson shows his daughters Rose (left) and Weston around Everlum Bio, a lab that he co-founded to spark a treatment for Rose and others with ultra-rare conditions. (Ilana Panich-Linsman)

Fa­ther starts lab af­ter in­tel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty is­sues stymie rare dis­ease drug de­vel­op­ment

Under bright lab lights, Casey McPherson holds his 6-year-old daughter, Rose. His free hand directs Rose’s gaze toward a computer screen with potential clues in treating her one-of-a kind genetic condition.

Gray specks on the screen show her cells that scientists reprogrammed with the goal of zeroing in on a custom medicine. McPherson co-founded the lab, Everlum Bio, to spark a treatment for Rose — and others like her. A regarded singer-songwriter, McPherson never imagined going into drug development.

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Dave Marek, Myovant CEO

My­ovant board balks as ma­jor­i­ty own­er Sum­it­o­mo swoops in with a $2.5B deal to buy them out

Three years after Sumitomo scooped up Roivant’s 46% stake in the publicly traded Myovant $MYOV as part of a 5-company, $3 billion deal, they’re coming back for the whole thing.

But these other investors at Myovant want more than what the Japanese pharma company is currently offering to pay at this stage.

Sumitomo is bidding $22.75 a share for the outstanding stock, which now represents 48% of the company after Sumitomo bumped its ownership since the original deal with Roivant. Myovant, however, created a special committee on the board, and they’re shaking their heads over the offer.

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Christophe Bourdon, Leo Pharma CEO

Leo Phar­ma looks 'be­yond the skin' in atopic der­mati­tis aware­ness cam­paign

As Leo Pharma aims to take on heavyweight champ Dupixent in atopic dermatitis, the company is launching “AD Days Around the World,” an awareness campaign documenting real patient stories across Europe.

The project, unveiled on Monday, spotlights four patients: Marjolaine, Laura, Julia and África from France, Italy, Germany and Spain, respectively, in short video clips on the challenges of living with AD, the most common form of eczema.

Ying Huang, Legend CEO

Lentivi­ral vec­tor ramp-up: J&J and Leg­end to in­vest $500M in New Jer­sey man­u­fac­tur­ing to sup­port Carvyk­ti

In response to a question on manufacturing scale at Legend Biotech’s R&D day yesterday, the company’s top exec said its partnership with Johnson & Johnson will be doubling its investment in its New Jersey manufacturing center and will be investing a total of $500 million.

With an eye on their BCMA-directed CAR-T therapy Carvykti (cilta-cel), approved in February as a fifth-line treatment for multiple myeloma, Legend CEO Ying Huang said that the ramp-up in production and the decision to manufacture its own lentiviral vectors — currently in shortage worldwide — means they won’t have to deal with that shortage.

Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: No­var­tis re­cruits NFL coach for Leqvio cam­paign; Pfiz­er pro­motes ‘Sci­ence’ merch on so­cial me­dia

Novartis is turning to a winning coach to talk about Leqvio and the struggles of high cholesterol — including his own. Bruce Arians, the retired NFL head coach of the Arizona Cardinals and Super Bowl-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is partnering with the pharma for its “Coaching Cholesterol” digital, social and public relations effort.

In the campaign, Arians talks about the potential for “great comebacks” in football and heart health. Once nicknamed a “quarterback whisperer,” he is now retired from fulltime coaching (although still a front-office consultant for Tampa Bay), and did a round of media interviews for Novartis, including one with People and Forbes.

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Amy West, Novo Nordisk head of US digital innovation and transformation (Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News)

Q&A: No­vo Nordisk dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion chief Amy West dis­cuss­es phar­ma pain points and a health­care 'easy but­ton’

Amy West joined Novo Nordisk more than a decade ago to oversee marketing strategies and campaigns for its US diabetes portfolio. However, her career path shifted into digital, and she hasn’t looked back. West went from leading Novo’s first digital health strategy in the US to now heading up digital innovation and transformation.

She’s currently leading the charge at Novo Nordisk to not only go beyond the pill with digital marketing and health tech, but also test, pilot and develop groundbreaking new strategies needed in today’s consumerized healthcare world.

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