Rexahn inks Keytruda combo collaboration in breast cancer; Achillion hires uniQure's Steven Zelenkofske as new CMO
→ Rexahn Pharma has scored the latest spot on Merck’s ever expanding list of partners for its Keytruda franchise. The Rockville, MD-based biotech $RNN is paying for the Phase II trial, in which researchers will test Merck’s PD-1 star with their RX-5902 in patients with triple negative breast cancer. RX-5902 inhibits phosphorylated-p68, thereby — according to Rexahn — modulating the β-catenin/Wnt pathway. A separate PhII study of the drug as a monotherapy is ongoing.
→ Denmark’s MC2 Therapeutics has lined up some Phase III data for its psoriasis cream that it believes help make a good case at both the FDA and in the market. In a head-to-head with Taclonex — a Leo Pharma product first approved in the US 10 years ago — the MC2-01 cream met its primary endpoint of demonstrating non-inferiority based on the Physician Global Assessment, with p < 0.0001. In addition, the biotech reported superiority in a couple of secondary endpoints, including patient reported convenience. It now plans on submitting an NDA in the first half of 2019.
→ Achillion $ACHN is on a hiring spree under new CEO Joseph Truitt. Just a week after bringing Leerink banker Anthony Gibney on as chief business officer, the biotech has scooped Steven Zelenkofske from uniQure to be its chief medical officer. Switching his focus from gene therapies to complement inhibitors for rare diseases, Zelenkofske will lead a clinical development team alongside new VPs Laura Barrow and Marc Uknis. His regulatory experience will be key as Achillion hustles along its Phase II programs and prepare for registrational trials, Truitt said.