Provention Bio inks China deal for autoimmune program; Kyowa Kirin releases positive topline data in atopic dermatitis
Provention Bio is making its way into China with a new deal announced Wednesday.
The Red Bank, NJ-based biotech has agreed to a deal with a subsidiary of Huadong Medicine to work on PRV-3279, a bispecific antibody-based molecule targeting CD32B and CD79B, in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Provention will get $6 million upfront and up to $11.5 million in funding over the next three years to cover expected research costs.
The deal also includes regulatory and commercial milestones of up to $172 million. Provention will retain all rights to PRV-3279 in the rest of the world.
Provention’s theory behind the experimental drug is to engage both the CD32B and CD79B receptors to trigger inhibition of B cell function and suppress the immune system from attacking its own body. It’s currently in a Phase I trial for systemic lupus erythematosus, a chronic autoimmune disorder characterized by an overactivation of B cells.
Wednesday’s news comes a few months before Provention’s lead program teplizumab is due for a PDUFA decision in Type 1 diabetes at the FDA. The biotech picked up the drug in 2018, eight years after it was dumped by Eli Lilly. — Max Gelman
Kyowa Kirin program meets primary in AD study
Japanese pharma Kyowa Kirin has new positive data out Thursday for moderate to severe atopic dermatitis.
The company’s KHK4083 program met the primary endpoint, with all cohorts achieving statistical significance in percent change from baseline in Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI) after 16 weeks. Kyowa also noted the program passed in two key secondary endpoints, and saw further improvement in efficacy after week 16.
KHK4083 is a monoclonal antibody targeting OX40 hoping to suppress inflammatory responses in a range of autoimmune diseases. Kyowa says OX40 plays an important role in maintaining T cell proliferation and survival, and this study helps validate it as an appropriate target for AD.
Full results will be shared “in the near future,” Kyowa R&D chief Yoshifumi Torii said in a statement. — Max Gelman
Chinese AI player gets $30M Series A
NeoX Biotech announced last week it had raised $30 million in a Series A funding round.
The Chinese company plans to use funds mainly to enhance its AI drug R&D platform, accelerate preclinical development and expand international business cooperation. NeoX says its tech can help optimize the drug discovery process and make it more efficient.
“We are focusing on cutting-edge drug modalities, such as multispecific molecules and biologics,” CEO Michael Chen said in a statement. “We use our next-generation neoPlatform to design new drug modalities and to truly ‘think out of the box’, in an effort to address undruggable targets.”
The financing was co-led by Sky9 Capital and 5Y Capital (formerly known as Morningside Venture Capital), with participation from BAI Capital and Vertex Ventures alongside existing investors Vision Plus Capital and Sequoia Capital China. — Max Gelman
Fred Hutch spinout lands seed round for AI tech
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center spinout Ozette has nabbed a $6 million seed round to develop its AI platform designed to automate cell analysis.
The biotech, incubated at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2), says its Immune Monitoring Platform can extract info from single-cell data across instruments, experiments and disease states, condensing a manual, labor-intensive process from months to hours.
“We’ve spent a decade working at Fred Hutch to catalyze high-dimensional computational single-cell analysis in academia and industry. Today we can see the composition of the immune system at a much higher resolution,” Greg Finak, CTO and co-founder, said in a statement. “This deeper level of insight is critical to developing effective disease treatments with fewer side effects and that is something everyone can feel good about.”
The seed round was led by Madrona Venture Group, with help from the Allen Institute and Vulcan Capital. — Nicole DeFeudis