Sarepta to collaborate with Genethon on DMD gene therapy; Chinese investors pull back on Pluristem investment
→ Cambridge, MA-based Sarepta $SRPT is doubling down on new work focused on developing a gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The biotech inked a deal to collaborate with the nonprofit Genethon, which has been working on animal models of the disease. “Our agreement with Genethon strengthens our ongoing commitment to patients and is aligned with our strategy of building the industry’s most comprehensive franchise in DMD,” stated Edward Kaye, Sarepta’s chief executive officer.
→ China’s Innovative Medical Management, a part of Zheshang Venture Capital, won’t be investing $30 million into Pluristem $PSTI after all. Pluristem noted that new government rules on outbound investments from China stopped the cash from coming through. Chinese investors have been making a growing number of outward-bound investments in biotech over the past year.
→ Merck KGaA is funding a spinout, iOnctura, which will focus on expanding the use checkpoint inhibitors in treating tumors with a focus on combination therapies. The company was formed with two assets from the Healthcare R&D portfolio of Merck KGaA, and three assets from Cancer Research Technology (CRT).
→ Novo Nordisk will be adding new data to the label on its diabetes drug, Victoza. The FDA voted that the results of the LEADER trial support the assertion that the drug reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, the number one killer of patients with type II diabetes.
→ SerImmune raised $8 million from Illumina, Merck, and some undisclosed investors to support its mission to map the human antibody response.