San Fran biotech gets another blow to lead drug; Swiss biotech raises $49 million in Series A — with help from big venture
In the wake of Calithera Biosciences axing a third of its workforce in January over a failed Phase II trial with lead drug telaglenastat in patients with renal cell carcinoma, they just got slammed with the second half of a double whammy.
The South San Francisco biotech announced this morning that it is terminating another Phase II trial involving the drug — this trial had the drug plus standard-of-care chemo being used in patients with NSCLC with either KEAP1 or NFR2 mutations.
The KEAPSAKE clinical trial was canned because there was no observable clinical benefit, according to an interim analysis.
While Calithera CEO Susan Molineaux was disappointed in the outcome of the trial, she maintained that the KEAPSAKE trial was a well-run study.
“We also want to express our sincere gratitude to the patients who participated in the trial and their families, as well as the physicians who served as investigators for the trial and their site staff,” said Molineaux in a prepared statement. “We remain committed to patients with difficult-to-treat cancers and will continue to advance our investigational targeted therapies for biomarker-specific patient populations.”
The randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study had 40 patients randomized — and available efficacy data led to the conclusion that there was a very low probability for the study to achieve a positive result. While the biotech has no plans to continue the development of telaglenastat at this time, the firm estimates the cost savings resulting from ending the trial will be $10-15 million.
Swiss biotech raises $49M Series A — co-led by 5AM, Roche and Sofinnova Partners
Swiss biotech GlycoEra AG announced this morning that the company closed a $49 million Series A round.
The round, co-led by 5AM Ventures, Roche Venture Fund and Sofinnova Partners, raised funds to expand the company and its platform technology in developing assets for several disease indications, according to a company statement.
But as part of the round, GlycoEra is bringing on a few new members to its board of directors: Mira Chaurushiya of 5AM, Monique Schiersing from Roche’s Venture Fund and Graziano Seghezzi with Sofinnova Partners. They will join GlycoEra’s co-founders, Veronica Gambillara Fonck and Amir Faridmoayer, as well as Innospark Ventures advisor Ganesh Kaundinya on the board.
“Backing teams is a core part of the Sofinnova strategy, so we are delighted to be working, once again, with a group of veterans who were instrumental in the success of another Sofinnova portfolio company, GlycoVaxyn,” Seghezzi said in a prepared statement. “We have enormous confidence in GlycoEra’s potential to carry its groundbreaking technology forward into multiple therapeutic areas.”