AbCellera founder and CEO Carl Hansen (L) and Rallybio CEO Martin Mackay

Rally­bio, Ab­Cellera form new part­ner­ship around an­ti­bod­ies for rare dis­ease

Two biotechs that have been work­ing heav­i­ly on dif­fer­ent stages of an­ti­body can­di­date de­vel­op­ment over the past sev­er­al years are look­ing to work to­geth­er to find po­ten­tial can­di­dates for rare dis­eases.

Cana­di­an-based Ab­Cellera and Con­necti­cut-based Rally­bio have en­tered a strate­gic part­ner­ship to find, de­vel­op and com­mer­cial­ize an­ti­bod­ies pri­mar­i­ly for rare dis­eases. The mul­ti-year, mul­ti-tar­get deal will seek to com­bine Ab­Cellera’s an­ti­body “dis­cov­ery en­gine” with Rally­bio’s ex­per­tise in rare dis­eases. How­ev­er, the dol­lar amount for the deal was not dis­closed.

Un­der the terms of the agree­ment, both biotechs will co-de­vel­op drugs against up to five rare dis­ease tar­gets, which will even­tu­al­ly be cho­sen by both Ab­Cellera and Rally­bio. The col­lab­o­ra­tion will al­so al­low Rally­bio to add prod­uct can­di­dates to its ex­ist­ing pipeline. It al­so pro­vides the op­tion for Ab­Cellera to con­duct the de­vel­op­ment and clin­i­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing of the re­searched ther­a­pies. How­ev­er, the fi­nan­cial terms of the deal or a time­line for when both com­pa­nies plan to start mov­ing to­ward the clin­ic were not im­me­di­ate­ly avail­able to End­points News.

But Rally­bio CEO Mar­tin Mack­ay said in an email to End­points that for each pro­gram, both Ab­Cellera and Rally­bio each have the op­tion to make an ad­di­tion­al in­vest­ment at the “pro­gres­sive stages of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment” and main­tain up to a 50% own­er­ship stake in each pro­gram. Mack­ay added that the min­i­mum roy­al­ty, which is based on the stage of de­vel­op­ment that the opt-out oc­curred, can range from low dou­ble-dig­its to mid-dou­ble-dig­its.

The com­pa­nies will ini­tial­ly fo­cus on ad­dress­ing the ar­eas of hema­tol­ogy, im­muno-in­flam­ma­tion, ma­ter­nal-fe­tal health and meta­bol­ic dis­or­ders.

“Rally­bio’s team has decades of ex­pe­ri­ence in sourc­ing, iden­ti­fy­ing, and eval­u­at­ing ther­a­peu­tic tar­gets. By bring­ing to­geth­er Rally­bio’s deep ex­per­tise in rare dis­eases with Ab­Cellera’s in­te­grat­ed tech­nol­o­gy for de­liv­er­ing clin­i­cal leads with un­matched pre­ci­sion and speed, this part­ner­ship cre­ates a unique ad­van­tage that we be­lieve will de­liv­er new and trans­for­ma­tive med­i­cines to pa­tients,” Ab­Cellera founder and CEO Carl Hansen said in a state­ment.

Mack­ay said in his state­ment that Ab­Cellera’s dis­cov­ery en­gine will strength­en its ef­forts in iden­ti­fy­ing “nov­el rare dis­ease can­di­dates” to add to Rally­bio’s pipeline.

Ab­Cellera is no stranger to forg­ing deals. Last year, the com­pa­ny part­nered up with Mod­er­na on up to six undis­closed tar­gets for a range of mR­NA-en­cod­ed drugs that were har­vest­ed from Ab­Cellera’s dis­cov­ery plat­form. Ab­Cellera al­so rose to promi­nence for work­ing with Eli Lil­ly and pro­duc­ing the an­ti­body for its Covid-19 treat­ment.

Mean­while, Ab­Cellera has bro­ken ground on the first phase of its 380,000-square-foot cam­pus ex­pan­sion in Van­cou­ver, while it looks to boost its man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties as it al­so has bro­ken ground on a new site in the city.

Ear­li­er this year, Rally­bio had out-li­censed an as­set from Sanofi, which can help with se­vere ane­mia with in­ef­fec­tive ery­thro­poiesis and iron over­load, for $3 mil­lion in ad­di­tion to promis­ing de­vel­op­ment and com­mer­cial mile­stones and mid to high sin­gle-dig­it roy­al­ties on net sales.

Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News

How Pur­due's $272M ad­dic­tion pay­out fund­ed a new home for its dis­card­ed non-opi­oid re­search

Don Kyle spent more than 20 years working for Purdue Pharma, right through the US opioid epidemic that led to the company’s rise and eventual infamy. But contrary to Purdue’s focus on OxyContin, Kyle was researching non-opioid painkillers — that is, until the company shelved his research.

As the company’s legal troubles mounted, Kyle found an unlikely way to reboot the project. In 2019, he took his work to an Oklahoma State University center that’s slated to receive more than two-thirds of the state’s $272 million settlement with Purdue over claims that the drugmaker’s behavior ignited the epidemic of opioid use and abuse.

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President Joe Biden at the State of the Union address with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Patrick Semansky/AP Images)

The drug pric­ing pres­i­dent: Biden warns of ve­to for any IRA re­peal at­tempts

President Joe Biden made clear in his “finish the job” State of the Union address last night that one of those jobs to be finished is insulin prices.

Biden’s push again to tackle insulin prices, after Republicans rebuffed the idea last summer and just after Biden won Medicare drug price negotiations/caps via the Inflation Reduction Act, shows how heavily he’s leaning into this work.

Bill Haney, Dragonfly CEO (Dave Pedley/Getty Images for SXSW)

Drag­on­fly chief: Bris­tol My­ers shouldn’t blame IL-12’s clin­i­cal per­for­mance for de­ci­sion to scrap the deal — eco­nom­ics played a key role

Bristol Myers Squibb says the IL-12 drug they were developing out of Dragonfly Therapeutics was scrubbed from the pipeline for a simple reason: It didn’t measure up on clinical performance.

But Bill Haney, the CEO of Dragonfly, is taking issue with that.

The early-stage drug, still in Phase I development, has passed muster with Bristol Myers’ general clinical expectations, advancing successfully while still in Phase I, he says.

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Rupert Vessey, Bristol Myers Squibb head of research and early development

Up­dat­ed: R&D tur­bu­lence at Bris­tol My­ers now in­cludes the end of a $650M al­liance and the de­par­ture of a top re­search cham­pi­on

This morning biotech Dragonfly put out word that Bristol Myers Squibb has handed back all rights to its IL-12 clinical-stage drug after spending $650 million to advance it into the clinic.

The news arrives amid a turbulent R&D stage for the pharma giant, which late last week highlighted Rupert Vessey’s decision to depart this summer as head of early-stage R&D following a crucial three-year stretch after he jumped to Bristol Myers in the big Celgene buyout. During that time he struck a series of deals for Bristol Myers, and also shepherded a number of Celgene programs down the pipeline, playing a major role for a lineup of biotechs which depended on him to champion their drugs.

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Utpal Koppikar, new Verily CFO

Ex­clu­sive: Ver­i­ly wel­comes Atara Bio­ther­a­peu­tics vet­er­an as new CFO

Verily, Alphabet’s life sciences outfit, has plucked a new CFO from the ranks of Atara Biotherapeutics, the company announced on Wednesday.

Utpal Koppikar joins Verily after a nearly five-year stint as CFO and senior VP at Atara, though his résumé also boasts roles at Gilead and Amgen.

The news follows a major reshuffling at Verily, including several senior departures earlier this year and a round of layoffs.

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Singer Nick Jonas is back at work for Dexcom, this time for its new G7 glucose monitor.

Dex­com's spokescelebri­ty Nick Jonas re­turns to Su­per Bowl in new glu­cose mon­i­tor com­mer­cial

Dexcom is going back to the Super Bowl with its pop singer and patient spokesperson Nick Jonas. Jonas takes center stage as the lone figure in the 30-second commercial showcasing Dexcom’s next-generation G7 continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device.

Jonas’ sleight-of-hand tricks populate the commercial — he pinches his empty fingers together and pops them open to reveal the small CGM — even as he ends the ad, saying, “It’s not magic. It just feels that way.” Jonas then disappears in a puff of smoke.

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Richard Francis, newly-appointed Teva CEO (Novartis via Facebook)

New Te­va CEO Richard Fran­cis repri­or­i­tizes to 'get back to growth'

Six weeks into his new role at the helm of Teva Pharmaceutical, Richard Francis said it’s time to “get back to growth,” starting with a good look at the company’s priorities.

The chief executive has kicked off a strategic review, he announced during Teva’s quarterly call, which will continue over the next several months and produce results sometime in the middle of 2023. That means some pipeline cuts may be in store, he told Endpoints News, while declining to offer much more detail.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf on Capitol Hill, Feb. 8, 2023 (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

FDA com­mis­sion­er floats ideas on how to bet­ter han­dle the pan­dem­ic

FDA Commissioner Rob Califf joined the heads of the CDC and NIH in the hot seat today before a key House subcommittee, explaining that there needs to be a much faster, more coordinated way to oversee vaccine safety, and that foreign biopharma inspections, halted for years due to the pandemic, are slowly ramping up again.

Califf, who stressed to the House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health that the CDC also needs better data, made clear that the FDA’s ability to monitor the safety of vaccines “would also benefit greatly by a coordinated federal public health data reporting authority.”

Sanofi is renewing its #VaccinesForDreams campaign with more stories, such as Juan's in Argentina (Sanofi)

Sanofi re­news so­cial cam­paign to re­mind that vac­cines let peo­ple ‘Dream Big’

Sanofi is highlighting people’s dreams — both big and small — to make the point that vaccines make them possible.

The renewed “Dream Big” global social media campaign’s newest dreamer is Juan, a teacher in the Misiones rainforest in Argentina whose story is told through videos on Instagram and Sanofi’s website with the hashtag #VaccinesForDreams.

The campaign ties to Sanofi’s broader umbrella initiative “Vaccine Stories” to promote the value of vaccines and drive awareness of the need for improved vaccination coverage.

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