Medicxi launches a diabetes upstart with $11M; Arrowhead partners on hep B; Immunotherapy startup gains $12.2M round

The Medicxi venture group has committed up to 10 million euros to back a spinout focusing on diabetes and metabolics. The upstart Kymo Therapeutics will pursue Metabrain Research’s work on kynurenine metabolism inhibitors for immune inflammatory disorders, including type 2 diabetes. Providing they can nail down proof of concept data, the investors plan to seek out partners to help fund further work.

Arrowhead Pharma $ARWR may have picked the wrong day to announce a new collaboration. The RNAi company, which picked up Novartis’s abandoned RNAi portfolio, will partner with Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals on a combo approach to hepatitis B. ARC-520, SB 9200, and an oral direct-acting antiviral will be tested in a new cohort of patients being added to a Phase IIb trial. “The MONARCH Phase 2b combination study was specifically designed to be iterative in nature, allowing us to seamlessly add cohorts when additional novel agents are available to study in combination with ARC-520,” said Bruce Given, M.D., chief operating officer and head of R&D at Arrowhead. Arrowhead’s shares are down, though, dropping 6% in the wake of Alnylam’s late-stage RNAi disaster.

The cancer immunotherapy startup Immunome, based in Philadelphia, has raised $12.2 million in a launch round. CSO Michael Morrin said that the cash will fuel advanced work with its discovery platform. “We begin the process with patients who have cancer-educated immune systems, particularly those who have had a robust response to a checkpoint inhibitor,” he said. “Our platform then generates large libraries of hybridomas, utilizes high-content screening approaches and identifies targets of the most important antibodies, before finally engineering drug-like qualities into the therapeutic candidates.”

The ultra-virtual Milo Biotechnology has won orphan drug status from the FDA for their gene therapy for inclusion body myositis. The treatment is currently in a Phase I/II trial at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, funded by Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy and The Myositis Association.

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