J&J leads a $25M A round for cancer startup; BMJ frets about Trump’s impact on the scientific community

• J&J Innovation has led a $25 million startup round for Fusion Pharmaceuticals. The Canadian biotech is working on targeted alpha-particle emitting radiotherapeutics which combine “the precision of molecular targeting agents, such as antibodies with the potency of alpha-particle emitting radioisotopes to specifically attack and eradicate cancer cells.” The company is a spinout from McMaster University in Ontario. “Targeted delivery of medical isotopes that emit alpha particles can be used to kill tumor cells with remarkable precision and unprecedented potency, and it has the added potential of having complementary effects with treatments which activate the immune system,” said Dr. John Valliant, CEO.

• The editors at The BMJ are frankly worried for the future of science now that Donald Trump has moved into the White House. “The Trump administration’s early policies risk head-on collision with the scientific and health communities. The BMJ’s ongoing campaigns for open science and open data, the health effects of climate change, and corruption and conflict of interest in healthcare are some examples of where conflict may occur. At this early stage it seems unlikely that the administration will change its course and promote open discourse, based on respect for scientific evidence and data. But whichever way Trump turns, the scientific and healthcare communities must commit to serving the best interests of patients and the public. Arguments, whichever side of the debate they fall on, should be based on data, evidence, and, ultimately, the scientific method. Clinicians, researchers, and policy makers in the US and elsewhere need independent evidence and open debate.”

• Four years after it was rejected by the FDA, Aveo Oncology said that its pivotal, Phase III TIVO-3 trial successfully completed the first safety review by the study’s Safety Monitoring Committee.

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