News briefing: Atomwise partners with Israeli incubator; Bayer collaborates with Veracyte in thyroid cancer
AI player Atomwise has teamed up with the Israeli-based incubator FutuRx to launch a company that will use its platform tech to target a new drug for immuno-oncology.
A2i Therapeutics will tap the Israeli Innovation Authority, the FutuRx investors, and in-kind resources and support provided by Atomwise for the help it needs setting out.
“FutuRx is excited to launch a new bio convergence company jointly with a world leader in AI-based drug discovery,” said Kinneret Savitzky, the CEO of FutuRx. — John Carroll
Bayer teams with Veracyte for thyroid cancer testing
Bayer has a new partner for thyroid cancer.
The big pharma is teaming up with Veracyte to advance research into the area, planning to combine Bayer’s platform with Veracyte’s testing capabilities to identify underlying genomic drivers, including NTRK gene fusions, within patients’ tumors. They expect the program will focus on patients with advanced or metastatic thyroid cancer that is radioactive iodine refractory.
Veracyte’s testing, called the Afirma XA, uses RNA whole-transcriptome sequencing to distinguish DNA variants and RNA fusions within about 600 genes. That includes the NTRK gene fusion group.
Bayer plans to offer testing at no cost to all eligible patients when ordered by their physician, regardless of the final results and treatment decision. The companies anticipate the program to launch in the first quarter of next year.
Bayer estimates that about 2.5% to 12% of radioactive iodine refractory thyroid cancer tumors contain NTRK gene fusions. — Max Gelman
A day after GSK tie-up, Sosei lands a protein degradation pact
Sosei Heptares is closing out its year with a bang.
A day after signing a $44 million upfront, $437 million-in-milestones deal with GlaxoSmithKline, the Japanese discovery specialists announced a collaboration with Captor Therapeutics to discover small molecules targeting G protein-coupled receptors, the ubiquitous cell membrane proteins that Sosei has come to specialize in.
Sosei will help Captor with its protein degradation pipeline, trying to come up with small molecules that can tag hard-to-hit proteins for destruction through the body’s natural disposal system. It’s a field that has heated up over the last two years, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in Big Pharma and VC dollars. — Jason Mast