→ Moderna‘s pipeline now includes 19 mRNA drug candidates, including two new liver disease programs and 10 drugs in the clinic. New programs include mRNA-3927, for a rare disease within the liver modality, and mRNA-1944, which directs liver expression of an antibody that might neutralize chikungunya virus circulating in the blood. The company’s product candidates span infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, rare diseases and cardiovascular diseases. “We have achieved critical milestones in R&D, having gone from four clinical programs at the beginning of the year to now having 10 medicines in human testing, and our intention is to continue to rapidly advance our pipeline with an array of new development programs,” said Moderna’s CEO Stéphane Bancel in a statement. “2016 was the year of mRNA vaccines in the clinic. 2017 was the year of several mRNA therapeutics in the clinic. In 2018, we will continue to evolve our pipeline of mRNA therapeutics, specifically focusing on discovering new rare disease drug candidates, while remaining committed to advancing new vaccine development candidates to address serious unmet needs.”
→ Heptares Therapeutics, a UK-based biotech focused on G protein-coupled receptors, has lined up a new partnership with Imperial College London. Researchers at the university (more specifically, gut experts) will tackle gastrointestinal diseases by identifying druggable targets, all funded and supported by Heptares. The hope is that Heptares will be able to translate new discoveries into drug candidate molecules. This multi-year partnership adds to an already-wide variety of targets and partnerships the Sosei subsidiary has in its pipeline, which features pacts with the likes of Allergan, Pfizer and AstraZeneca. “This research will build on the growing body of knowledge around these key membrane receptors in the gut, investigating their potential in therapeutic interventions,” said Imperial professor Gary Frost in a statement.
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