CinCor Pharma CEO Marc de Garidel (Eric Piermont/AFP via Getty Images)

Qui­et Cin­Cor Phar­ma makes some noise with $143M, new tri­al plans for blood pres­sure drug

Cin­Cor Phar­ma has been fair­ly qui­et since emerg­ing in the hy­per­ten­sion space a cou­ple of years ago with a for­mer Roche pro­gram in tow. Not any­more.

Jon Isaac­sohn

On Tues­day, the Cincin­nati-based biotech un­wrapped a $143 mil­lion Se­ries B round led by Gen­er­al At­lantic. And judg­ing by the size of the raise and the syn­di­cate of blue-chip in­vestors, it seems like­ly that CEO Marc de Garidel has the S-1 pa­pers ready to go.

Cin­Cor’s lead pro­gram is an oral al­dos­terone syn­thase in­hibitor called CIN-107, which founder Jon Isaac­sohn li­censed from Roche for an undis­closed amount back in 2019. Al­dos­terone, a hor­mone linked to in­creased blood pres­sure, has long been a tar­get of in­ter­est for the treat­ment of hy­per­ten­sion. Se­lec­tiv­i­ty, how­ev­er, has been a chal­lenge.

Oth­er com­pa­nies like Min­eralys and Phase­Bio have emerged with can­di­dates to in­hib­it CYP11B2, an en­zyme re­spon­si­ble for al­dos­terone syn­the­sis. But the dif­fi­cul­ty lies in do­ing so with­out al­so in­hibit­ing an­oth­er en­zyme in prox­im­i­ty called CYP11B1, which con­trols the syn­the­sis of cor­ti­sol. Re­duc­ing cor­ti­sol es­sen­tial­ly coun­ters the blood pres­sure low­er­ing ef­fect of al­dos­terone re­duc­tion.

Like the teams at Min­eralys and Phase­Bio, Cin­Cor claims CIN-107 is “high­ly se­lec­tive.” It’s cur­rent­ly in two Phase II tri­als for treat­ment-re­sis­tant hy­per­ten­sion and pri­ma­ry al­dos­tero­nism, the for­mer of which kicked off last Oc­to­ber. The Se­ries B cash will be used to com­plete those tri­als, and ini­ti­ate two new ones in pa­tients with un­con­trolled hy­per­ten­sion and chron­ic kid­ney dis­ease. The com­pa­ny de­clined an in­ter­view re­quest by End­points News. 

“De­spite the avail­abil­i­ty of mul­ti­ple an­ti-hy­per­ten­sive agents, of­ten used in com­bi­na­tion, a sub­stan­tial num­ber of ad­her­ent hy­per­ten­sive pa­tients are not able to re­duce their blood pres­sures to op­ti­mal lev­els,” Isaac­sohn said in a state­ment last year. The for­mer CEO hand­ed the reins to de Garidel back in Ju­ly. He’s stick­ing around, though, lead­ing CIN-107’s de­vel­op­ment as CSO.

Ja­son Pitts

It’s a close race so far, with Min­eralys ex­pect­ing to read out hy­per­ten­sion da­ta in 2022 they hope will pave the way for a piv­otal launch at the be­gin­ning of 2023. Phase­Bio is right be­hind Min­eralys and Cin­Cor, with a pro­gram ex­pect­ed to en­ter the clin­ic next year. An­gion al­so has a CYP11B2 in­hibitor in the works, which is still in pre­clin­i­cal stud­ies, ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

“There has been lit­tle in­no­va­tion in the treat­ment of hy­per­ten­sion in the past sev­er­al decades, along with a lack of in­cor­po­rat­ing tar­get­ed ap­proach­es seen in oth­er fields,” Ja­son Pitts, VP of Gen­er­al At­lantic, said in a state­ment.

In ad­di­tion to Gen­er­al At­lantic, a slate of new and old in­vestors chipped in on the Se­ries B, in­clud­ing Per­cep­tive Ad­vi­sors, BVF Part­ners, ven­Bio Part­ners, Adage Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, Omega Funds, Rock Springs Cap­i­tal, RTW In­vest­ments, Lil­ly Asia Ven­tures, Six­ty De­gree Cap­i­tal, Sofinno­va In­vest­ments, Sofinno­va Part­ners, 5AM Ven­tures and Cin­Rx.

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His­toric drug pric­ing re­forms pass; Pfiz­er ac­quires GBT; The long search for non-opi­oid pain drugs; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

The Endpoints Weekly has officially crossed the 60,000 mark on subscribers — thanks to all of your support. As the editorial team grows, we’ve been able to do a lot more, with many of those on display this week. Be sure to check out Lei Lei Wu’s deep dive on pain R&D. If you missed it, you may also rewatch her companion panel here.

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Gold for adults, sil­ver for in­fants: Pfiz­er's Pre­vnar 2.0 head­ed to FDA months af­ter Mer­ck­'s green light

Pfizer was first to the finish line for the next-gen pneumococcal vaccine in adults, but Merck beat its rival with a jab for children in June.

Now, two months after Merck’s 15-valent Vaxneuvance won the FDA stamp of approval for kids, Pfizer is out with some late-stage data on its 20-valent shot for infants.

Known as Prevnar 20 for adults, Pfizer’s 20vPnC will head to the FDA by the end of this year for an approval request in infants, the Big Pharma said Friday morning. Discussions with the FDA will occur first and more late-stage pediatric trials are expected to read out soon, informing the regulatory pathway in other countries and regions.

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Seagen interim CEO Roger Dansey and Daiichi Sankyo CEO Sunao Manabe

Paving the way for Mer­ck­'s buy­out, Seagen los­es ar­bi­tra­tion dis­pute with Dai­ichi over ADC tech

As Seagen awaits a final buyout offer from Merck that could be in the territory of $40 billion, Seagen revealed Friday afternoon that it lost an arbitration dispute with Daiichi Sankyo relating to the companies’ 2008 collaboration around the use of antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology.

But that loss likely won’t matter much when it comes to Merck’s deal.

After breaking off its pact with Daiichi in mid-2015, the two companies battled over “linker” tech — a chemical bridge between an ADC’s antibody component and the cytotoxic payload — that Seagen claims Daiichi would improve upon and implement in its current generation of ADCs.

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Tony Coles, Cerevel CEO

Cerev­el takes the pub­lic of­fer­ing route, with a twist — rais­ing big mon­ey thanks to ri­val da­ta

As public biotechs seek to climb out of the bear market, a popular strategy to raise cash has been through public offerings on the heels of positive data. But one proposed raise Wednesday appeared to take advantage not of a company’s own data, but those from a competitor.

Cerevel Therapeutics plans to raise $250 million in a public offering and another $250 million in debt, the biotech announced Wednesday afternoon, even though it did not report any news on its pipeline. However, the move comes days after rival Karuna Therapeutics touted positive Phase III data in schizophrenia, a field where Cerevel is pursuing a similar program.

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House pass­es his­toric drug pric­ing re­forms, lin­ing up decades-in-the-mak­ing win for Biden and De­moc­rats

The US House of Representatives today voted along party lines (all Dems voted for it), 220-207 to pass new, wide-ranging legislation that will allow Medicare drug price negotiations for the first time ever, and cap seniors’ drug expenses to $2,000 per year and seniors’ insulin costs at $35 per month.

Setting up a major victory for President Joe Biden, representatives returned from their summer recess to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, even as many noted the bill would only modestly reduce inflation.

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Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/POLITICO via AP Images)

Sen­ate Fi­nance chair con­tin­ues his in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to phar­ma tax­es with re­quests for Am­gen

Amgen is the latest pharma company to appear on the radar of Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR), who is investigating the way pharma companies are using subsidiaries in low- or zero-tax countries to lower their tax bills.

Like its peers Merck, AbbVie and Bristol Myers Squibb, Wyden notes how Amgen uses its Puerto Rico operations to consistently pay tax rates that are substantially lower than the U.S. corporate tax rate of 21%, with an effective tax rate of 10.7% in 2020 and 12.1% in 2021.

FDA ap­proves sec­ond in­di­ca­tion for As­traZeneca and Dai­ichi's En­her­tu in less than a week

AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo’s antibody-drug conjugate Enhertu scored its second approval in less than a week, this time for a subset of lung cancer patients.

Enhertu received accelerated approval on Thursday to treat adults with unresectable or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have activating HER2 (ERBB2) mutations, and who have already received a prior systemic therapy.

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J&J to re­move talc prod­ucts from shelves world­wide, re­plac­ing with corn­starch-based port­fo­lio

After controversially spinning out its talc liabilities and filing for bankruptcy in an attempt to settle 38,000 lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson is now changing up the formula for its baby powder products.

J&J is beginning the transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio, the pharma giant announced on Thursday — just months after a federal judge ruled in favor of its “Texas two-step” bankruptcy to settle allegations that its talc products contained asbestos and caused cancer. An appeals court has since agreed to revisit that case.