Seattle and Daiichi Sankyo at each other's throats; UC Berkeley, UCSF and the University of Washington launch Weill Neurohub
→ Seattle Genetics and Daiichi Sankyo — once partners — are now bitter foes battling over intellectual property underpinning ADC technology. After going their separate ways, earlier this year Daiichi entered into a multi-billion dollar pact with AstraZeneca, which gave the British drugmaker the license to a HER2 antibody developed for use in gastric and breast cancers. Seattle Genetics has claimed that the drug in question has been engineered using an improved version of its technology, while Daiichi has categorically denied that claim, saying the drug has little to do with tech they worked on as partners. The two sides were locked in dispute resolution proceedings without the involvement of the courts, but Daiichi filed a lawsuit last week alleging that Seattle had made a “meritless” claim to the intellectual property. On Tuesday, Seattle said it had retaliated with an arbitration demand to the American Arbitration Association to resolve the situation.
→ A $106 million gift from the Weill Family Foundation has helped kick start the Weill Neurohub — a research network between neuroscientists and researchers working in disciplines including engineering, computer science, physics, chemistry and mathematics. The network was launched by the collaborative efforts of UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and the University of Washington. The goal of the collaboration is to speed up the development of new therapies for diseases and disorders that affect the brain and nervous system.
→ Aquestive Therapeutics, whose film version of the ALS drug riluzole is under FDA review, said it was handing Italian pharmaceutical company, Zambon, the EU rights to the product. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
→ Rare disease-focused data mining company Centogene has signed a collaboration agreement with Pfizer, which grants the large US drugmaker access to Centogene’s data repository. The data will be used to discover and validate genetic and biochemical targets for the potential development of new therapies for rare diseases. Financial details remained under wraps.
→ After securing $21.7 million in funding for a Phase I/II trial involving refractory blood cancers and solid tumors in May, Actuate Therapeutics has bagged an additional $6.5 million in a Series B-3 financing round. The round was led by Bios Partners, Kairos Ventures and DEFTA Partners, along with other existing investors. This round brings the company’s total Series B funding to over $28.2 million. The funding will be used toward initiating a Phase II clinical trial in myelofibrosis expanding an ongoing trial to include an arm testing a combination of 9-ING-41 with irinotecan.
→ Stone Capital and Biosyngen have teamed up to create a Biopharmaceutical Investment Fund in Singapore. The $50 million raised will be dedicated to investment targets for Biosyngen’s biopharmaceutical technology transfer platform and to incubate companies.
→ Health diagnostics company Sera Prognostics — focused on individualized prenatal care — has snagged $36 million in a Series D financing round. The round was led by Blue Ox Healthcare Partners along with two other healthcare companies. Existing investors Domain Associates, InterWest Partners, Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, Catalyst Health Ventures and Chione also participated.
→ The European Commission has granted orphan drug designation to LifeMax Laboratories‘ LM-030, an investigational therapy licensed from Novartis and ready to enter a pivotal clinical trial for the treatment of Netherton syndrome. The drug has already received orphan drug designation from the FDA in June, along with rare pediatric disease designation in July.