Novo Nordisk picks up sickle-cell disease drug in $400M licensing pact; Sapience teams up with UK researcher on cancer drugs
→ Novo Nordisk has been saying that it’s seeking new assets in the hematology space, and today the Danish pharma came up with a licensing deal to show for it. The agreement, worth up to $400 million in upfront, development and sales milestones if all goes to plan, gives Novo exclusive worldwide rights to EpiDestiny’s sickle-cell disease program — which recently concluded a Phase I study. The two companies are setting up a collaboration to develop EPI01 in SCD and beta-thalassaemia together, while Solon, OH-based EpiDestiny will continue developing the candidate in cancer on its own. “This is a great opportunity for Novo Nordisk to enter into a new therapeutic area closely related to our existing biopharmaceutical business and thereby utilise our core R&D and commercial capabilities to make a significant difference for patients living with a serious chronic disease,” said Novo CSO Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen in a statement. The financial breakdown of the pact was not disclosed.
→ Harrison, NY-based Sapience Therapeutics has struck a deal to collaborate with Jody Mason at the University of Bath on new cancer drugs. “This collaboration gives Sapience the opportunity to supplement our ST101 program with a broad pipeline of new peptide therapeutics targeting oncogenic and immune-modulatory protein-protein interactions,” said CEO Barry Kappel.
→ Slow patient enrollment has forced Oslo, Norway-based Nordic Nanovector to push back a pivotal Phase IIb trial for its CD37 inhibitor, according to the company. Originally planned for a readout in the second half of 2019, the study evaluating dosing regimens for Betalutin in third line follicular lymphoma patients will now have results out in the first half of 2020. Subsequently, the company has also postponed a Phase I study of another anti-CD37 antibody conjugate to later this year.