Matt Barnes, Heptares Therapeutics president and head of UK R&D

So­sei Hep­tares part­ners with a UK-based can­cer re­search or­ga­ni­za­tion to bring its drug to tri­al

Can­cer re­search has been a fo­cus for So­sei Hep­tares for sev­er­al years, and their lat­est deal hopes to progress one of their new­er ther­a­pies.

On Fri­day, the Japan­ese com­pa­ny inked a deal with Can­cer Re­search UK to bring one of its can­cer drug can­di­dates in­to the clin­ic. Ac­cord­ing to So­sei, the agree­ment will have Can­cer Re­search UK run a Phase I/IIa tri­al of So­sei’s can­cer can­di­date HTL00397322, an EP4 an­tag­o­nist. The can­di­date will be eval­u­at­ed as both a com­bi­na­tion ther­a­py and a monother­a­py. While no ex­act fi­nan­cial de­tails were giv­en, So­sei will still hold the pro­gram’s li­cense af­ter the study reads out.

“We are ex­treme­ly pleased to col­lab­o­rate with Can­cer Re­search UK to ad­vance HTL0039732 in­to Phase I/IIa clin­i­cal tri­als and take a step to­wards bring­ing new treat­ments to can­cer pa­tients,” said Hep­tares Ther­a­peu­tics pres­i­dent Matt Barnes in a state­ment.

The can­di­date tar­gets a spe­cif­ic type of EP4 re­cep­tor, which is in­volved in can­cer cells evad­ing the im­mune sys­tem and af­fect­ing tu­mor cell growth. Block­ing this type of re­cep­tor may im­prove pa­tient sur­vival if used in com­bi­na­tion with oth­er im­munother­a­pies, So­sei says.

So­sei is shoot­ing for a range of can­cers, in­clud­ing col­orec­tal, gas­troe­sophageal, head and neck and cas­trate-re­sis­tant prostate can­cer.

Can­cer has long been on the minds of So­sei re­searchers. In 2017, the com­pa­ny of­fered Mi­NA Ther­a­peu­tics an ex­clu­sive op­tion to ac­quire the com­pa­ny for $45 mil­lion in cash. Mi­NA at that time was work­ing on RNA tech­nol­o­gy for a Phase I/IIa test in liv­er can­cer.

So­sei has al­so been seek­ing part­ner­ships for oth­er sec­tors of its busi­ness, as in Jan­u­ary the com­pa­ny start­ed to col­lab­o­rate with Al­pha­bet’s Ver­i­ly. The com­pa­nies are aim­ing to use Ver­i­ly’s im­mune pro­fil­ing and So­sei’s GPCR drug de­sign ca­pa­bil­i­ties to de­vel­op new drugs main­ly in the im­munol­o­gy, gas­troen­terol­o­gy and im­muno-on­col­o­gy spaces.

Has the mo­ment fi­nal­ly ar­rived for val­ue-based health­care?

RBC Capital Markets’ Healthcare Technology Analyst, Sean Dodge, spotlights a new breed of tech-enabled providers who are rapidly transforming the way clinicians deliver healthcare, and explores the key question: can this accelerating revolution overturn the US healthcare system?

Key points

Tech-enabled healthcare providers are poised to help the US transition to value, not volume, as the basis for reward.
The move to value-based care has policy momentum, but is risky and complex for clinicians.
Outsourced tech specialists are emerging to provide the required expertise, while healthcare and tech are also converging through M&A.
Value-based care remains in its early stages, but the transition is accelerating and represents a huge addressable market.

FDA ad­vi­sors unan­i­mous­ly rec­om­mend ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval for Bio­gen's ALS drug

A panel of outside advisors to the FDA unanimously recommended that the agency grant accelerated approval to Biogen’s ALS drug tofersen despite the drug failing the primary goal of its Phase III study, an endorsement that could pave a path forward for the treatment.

By a 9-0 vote, members of the Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee said there was sufficient evidence that tofersen’s effect on a certain protein associated with ALS is reasonably likely to predict a benefit for patients. But panelists stopped short of advocating for a full approval, voting 3-5 against (with one abstention) and largely citing the failed pivotal study.

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Chat­G­PT with phar­ma da­ta de­buts for med­ical meet­ings, be­gin­ning with AACR

What do you get when you combine ChatGPT generative AI technology with specific pharma and clinical datasets? A time-saving tool that can answer questions about medical conference abstracts and clinical findings in seconds in one new application from ZoomRx called FermaGPT.

ZoomRx is debuting a public version of its generative AI product specifically for medical conferences beginning this week for the upcoming American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting that runs April 14-19.

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Alaa Halawa, executive director at Mubadala’s US venture group

The ven­ture crew at Mubadala are up­ping their biotech cre­ation game, tak­ing care­ful aim at a new fron­tier in drug de­vel­op­ment

It started with a cup of coffee and a slow burning desire to go early and long in the biotech creation business.

Wrapping up a 15-year discovery stint at Genentech back in the summer of 2021, Rami Hannoush was treated to a caffeine-fueled review of the latest work UCSF’s Jim Wells had been doing on protein degradation — one of the hottest fields in drug development.

“Jim and I have known each other for the past 15 years through Genentech collaborations. We met over coffee, and he was telling me about this concept of the company that he was thinking of,” says Hannoush. “And I got immediately intrigued by it because I knew that this could open up a big space in terms of adding a new modality in drug discovery that is desperately needed in pharma.”

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Genen­tech to stop com­mer­cial man­u­fac­tur­ing at Cal­i­for­nia head­quar­ters

Genentech is halting commercial manufacturing at its California headquarters — and laying off several hundred employees.

The move is the result of a decision Genentech made in 2007 to relocate manufacturing operations from its South San Francisco headquarters location to other facilities or move the work to CDMOs, said Andi Goddard, Genentech’s SVP of quality and compliance for pharmaceutical technical operations, in an interview with Endpoints News. Genentech has made changes in capabilities and invested more in technology, so it doesn’t need as many large-scale manufacturing facilities as it did in the past, she said.

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In­cyte wins ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval for PD-1 in rare skin can­cer

Incyte touted an accelerated approval for its PD-1 retifanlimab in a rare skin cancer on Wednesday, roughly a year and a half after the drug suffered a rejection in squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal (SCAC).

Retifanlimab, marketed as Zynyz, was approved for metastatic or recurrent locally advanced Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), a fast-growing skin cancer typically characterized by a single, painless nodule. It’s roughly 40 times rarer than melanoma, according to the nonprofit Skin Cancer Foundation — but incidence is growing, particularly among older adults, Incyte said in its announcement.

A new study finds that many patient influencers are sharing prescription drug experiences along with health information.

So­cial me­dia pa­tient in­flu­encers ‘danc­ing in the gray’ of phar­ma mar­ket­ing, more clar­i­ty need­ed, re­searcher says

It’s no surprise that patient influencers are talking about their health conditions on social media. However, what’s less clear is what role pharma companies are playing, how big the patient influencer industry is, and just how is information about prescription drugs from influencers relayed — and received — on social media.

While University of Colorado associate professor Erin Willis can’t answer all those questions, she’s been researching the issue for several years and recently published new research digging into the communication styles, strategies and thinking of patient influencers, many of whom partner with pharma companies.

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Drug short­age so­lu­tions brought be­fore Sen­ate Home­land Se­cu­ri­ty com­mit­tee

With more than 300 active drug shortages, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs had its hands full on Wednesday with multiple experts testifying on drug shortages and possible solutions.

A picture of the shortage situation. presented by Erin Fox, an adjunct professor at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Utah, explained how some patients have died due to drug shortages, including with medication errors when substitutes were dosed incorrectly or when an emergency product was not available.

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FDA re­jects Ab­b­Vie's in­fu­sion ther­a­py for Parkin­son's, re­quests more in­fo on pump de­vice

The FDA rejected AbbVie’s 24-hour infusion therapy for Parkinson’s, saying it needs more information on a device used to administer the treatment before it can clear it.

The Chicago-area drugmaker said in a press release that the complete response letter from the agency didn’t include any requests for more efficacy or safety trials related to the drug, known as ABBV-951. The company said it aims to “resubmit the NDA as soon as possible.”

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