Seer entices ex FDA commissioner McClellan to its board; Vanda tests tradipitant in motion sickness study
→ The revolving door between government and the biopharmaceutical industry is spinning. On Wednesday, life sciences and health data company Seer unveiled that it had lured former FDA commissioner and ex-CMS administrator Mark McClellan on to its board. “Mark’s deep understanding of the health care ecosystem and visionary insights on policy reform will be crucial in informing our thinking as we work to bring our liquid biopsy and life sciences products to market,” said Seer chief and founder Omid Farokhzad in a statement.
In addition to adding McClellan, the founding director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University, to its board, Seer has secured $17.5 million in a Series C round of financing. New investors Wing VC and Aju IB participated in the round, along with existing investors Maverick Ventures and Invus, and other institutional and private investors.
→ Motion sickness? Vanda Pharmaceuticals $VNDA is on the case. The company’s tradipitant — a neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist it in-licensed from Eli Lilly $LLY in 2012 — is being tested for use in atopic dermatitis, gastroparesis and motion sickness. The proof-of-concept Phase II study included 126 people with a prior history of motion sickness who were subjected to sea travel in the Pacific Ocean in over seven boat trips that took place between January and May of 2019 off the coast of Los Angeles. The main goals of the study were: percentage of participants vomiting, and Motion Sickness Severity Scale (MSSS) Worst score. Data showed a significantly higher percentage of participants experienced vomiting in the placebo arm as compared to the tradipitant arm, 39.7% versus 17.5% respectively. The MSSS Worst score endpoint also favored tradipitant, but the difference did not reach statistical significance, the company said.
→ London-listed PureTech Health — which is developing therapeutics to tackle dysfunctions in the brain-immune-gut axis — on Wednesday said it has acquired an early-stage drug designed to treat lymphatic and immunofibrotic diseases, including a chronic condition characterized by severe swelling of the limbs or other tissues, called lymphedema. The drug, LYT-100, was purchased for an undisclosed amount from an unnamed large pharmaceutical company where it was originally being developed in another indication, PureTech said, adding that it expects to begin a proof-of-concept study next year.
→ Cell therapy company Immusoft has managed to snag Amgen‘s $AMGN former head of biologics Robert Hayes as its chief scientific officer. The Seattle-based firm has developed a technology engineered to insert functional genes into immune cells using a non-viral vector. Its lead therapy is designed to help patients with a rare, lethal childhood genetic disease that affects the body’s ability to produce an essential enzyme that helps to break down long-chain sugars inside cells.