Roche adds $25M to Halozyme pact for fresh targets; FDA OKs cardio indication for J&J's Invokana
→ Building on a 12-year-old partnership, Roche has doled out $25 million to develop up to three more targets on Halozyme’s Enhanze drug delivery tech — a platform that played a role in the development of blockbusters Rituxan and Herceptin. The San Diego biotech $HALO stands to earn somewhere between $160 million and $165 million per target for each program pursued. Roche already has a clinical stage target in mind for one of them, while keeping the other two as options to be materialized within four years.
→ J&J now has the green light to market its SGLT2 diabetes drug Invokana in the US for reducing the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke or death due to a cardiovascular cause. The pharma giant previously reported a 14% reduction in risk for a composite score on CV mortality as well as nonfatal myocardial infarction and stroke, with each measure contributing to the positive score.
→ French cancer vaccine developer Invectys has secured €15 million ($17.05 million) to fund its upcoming Phase II chronic lymphocytic leukemia trial. The biotech, which was spun out of Institut Pasteur, is working with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to test if their DNA vaccine can indeed train immune cells to attack tumor cells — even those residing in the bone marrow.
→ J&J is rolling out 96-week data for Symtuza that it says “reinforce the long-term efficacy, high genetic barrier and safety” of the recently approved 4-in-1 pill. According to the company, the Phase III results show that 85% of antiretroviral treatment-naïve adults with HIV-1 in the study maintained virologic suppression.