Lea Hachigian, ImmuneID

Stephen Elledge's Har­vard lab takes $17M to birth Im­muneID, a high-through­put an­ti­body start­up

Stephen Elledge

Lea Hachi­gian, a prin­ci­pal at the Long­wood Fund, re­calls work­ing with Har­vard pro­fes­sor Stephen Elledge three years ago on the launch of TCR-fo­cused TScan Ther­a­peu­tics. Elledge ini­tial­ly set out to screen anti­gen-TCR match­es in a faster, more sys­tem­at­ic way and spent sev­en years putting to­geth­er the tech for a plat­form that could run mul­ti­ple T cell re­cep­tors against anti­gen epi­topes and pin­point the ex­act pairs that ap­pear to in­ter­act.

And last month, that project, TScan, land­ed a $100 mil­lion crossover round to con­tin­ue the work. The biotech is al­so sev­er­al months in­to a part­ner­ship with No­var­tis.

“As we were work­ing with him on TScan, we start­ed to get to know some of the oth­er work in his lab a lit­tle bit more deeply, and re­al­ly we kind of cen­tered on the Im­muneID tech­nol­o­gy,” Hachi­gian said.

This past spring, Long­wood ap­proached Elledge about form­ing a new biotech around the plat­form. And on Wednes­day, Im­muneID was born with $17 mil­lion in seed fund­ing to iden­ti­fy and tar­get the an­ti­body in­ter­ac­tions that dri­ve im­mune dis­eases. Hachi­gian, who al­so helped found TScan, is tak­ing the helm as CEO.

While TScan is fo­cused on T cell tar­gets, Im­muneID is look­ing at an­ti­body tar­gets. Its screen­ing plat­form, which uti­lizes AI tech­nol­o­gy, is de­signed to give a read­out of the tar­gets cho­sen by an­ti­bod­ies in a par­tic­u­lar pa­tient sam­ple. And every time they run the plat­form, a huge amount of da­ta is col­lect­ed on hun­dreds of thou­sands of an­ti­body in­ter­ac­tions.

“So you can imag­ine what you find are an­ti­bod­ies against virus­es if that’s what you’re in­ter­est­ed in, you find IgE an­ti­bod­ies against al­ler­gens that could cause ana­phy­lax­is, you find au­toan­ti­bod­ies that might be mark­ers of au­toim­mune dis­ease, can­cer, etc.,” Hachi­gian said.

In the case of al­ler­gies, which will be the com­pa­ny’s main fo­cus to start, a pa­tient might be mount­ing an im­prop­er an­ti­body re­sponse to a peanut. Once you know the an­ti­bod­ies and where they’re tar­get­ing on peanut pro­teins, you can in­ter­fere with that in­ter­ac­tion, Hachi­gian ex­plained.

Im­muneID’s oth­er fo­cus ar­eas will in­clude au­toim­mu­ni­ty, on­col­o­gy, and in­fec­tious dis­ease. By the end of this year, the CEO ex­pects the small five- or six-per­son com­pa­ny to grow to 10 or 12. Long­wood led the seed round, with help from Arch Ven­ture Part­ners, Pi­tan­go HealthTech, In-Q-Tel, Xfund, and oth­er undis­closed in­vestors.

“The tar­gets are al­ready there, they’re just wait­ing for us to es­sen­tial­ly… go through with our plat­form and pull them out,” Hachi­gian said.

 

The Big Phar­ma dis­card pile; Lay­offs all around while some biotechs bid farewell; New Roche CEO as­sem­bles top team; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

With earnings seasons in full swing, we’ve listened in on all the calls so you don’t have to. But news is popping up from all corners, so make sure you check out our other updates, too.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/Politico via AP Images)

In­fla­tion re­bates in­com­ing: Wyden calls on CMS to move quick­ly as No­var­tis CEO pledges re­ver­sal

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) this week sent a letter to the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeking an update on how and when new inflation-linked rebates will take effect for drugs that see major price spikes.

The newly signed Inflation Reduction Act requires manufacturers to pay a rebate to Medicare when they increase drug prices faster than the rate of inflation.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Raymond Stevens, Structure Therapeutics CEO

Be­hind Fri­day's $161M IPO: A star sci­en­tist, GPCR drug dis­cov­ery and a plan to chal­lenge phar­ma in di­a­betes

What does it take to pull off a $161 million biotech IPO these days?

In Structure Therapeutics’ case, it means having a star scientist co-founder paired with the computational drug discovery company Schrödinger, $198 million in private funding from blue-chip investors, almost six years of research work on G protein-coupled receptors and a slate of oral, small-molecule drugs, with an eye on the huge and growing diabetes and weight-loss market.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Trodelvy notch­es a win in most com­mon form of breast can­cer

Following a promise last year to go “big and fast in breast cancer,” Gilead has secured a win for Trodelvy in the most common form.

The drug was approved to treat HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer patients who’ve already received endocrine-based therapy and at least two other systemic therapies for metastatic cancer, Gilead announced on Friday.

Trodelvy won its first indication in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer back in 2020, and has since added urothelial cancer to the list. HR-positive HER2-negative breast cancer accounts for roughly 70% of new breast cancer cases worldwide per year, according to senior VP of oncology clinical development Bill Grossman, and many patients develop resistance to endocrine-based therapies or worsen on chemotherapy.

Af­ter 13 years, Ramy Mah­moud steps in­to CEO seat at Opti­nose; Ru­pert Vessey set to ex­it Bris­tol My­ers in Ju­ly

After 13 years as president and COO at Optinose, Ramy Mahmoud has stepped into a new role as its CEO. He is taking the place of Peter Miller, who stepped down earlier this week, though Miller is still staying with the company as a consultant.

In 2010, the two business partners joined Optinose to take it in a new direction, transforming it from a delivery platform to product company. They previously worked together at Johnson & Johnson, when Miller was president at Janssen and Mahmoud headed medical affairs. Miller said after he learned about Optinose, “I did what I always do, which is find people smarter than me to talk with about the idea. And the first person I called was Ramy … and I said, ‘Hey, Ramy, what do you think of this technology?’”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Te­va drops out of in­dus­try trade group PhRMA

Following in AbbVie’s footsteps, Teva confirmed on Friday that it’s dropping out of the industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Teva didn’t give a reason for its decision to leave, saying only in a statement to Endpoints News that it annually reviews “effectiveness and value of engagements, consultants and memberships to ensure our investments are properly seated.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Sanofi CFO Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon (L) and CEO Paul Hudson (Romuald Meigneux/Sipa via AP Images)

Sanofi sees downtick in flu sales as it preps for launch of RSV an­ti­body

Sanofi expects its RSV antibody jointly developed with AstraZeneca will be available next season, executive VP of vaccines Thomas Triomphe announced on the company’s quarterly call.

Beyfortus, also known as nirsevimab, was approved in the EU back in November and is currently under FDA review with an expected decision coming in the third quarter of this year. The news comes as the FDA plans to hold advisory committee meetings over the next couple months to review RSV vaccines from Pfizer and GSK.

Christophe Weber, Takeda CEO (Photographer: Shoko Takayasu/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Take­da fo­cus­es on ‘di­verse’ pipeline prospects on heels of two ac­qui­si­tions

After a whopping $4 billion asset buy from Nimbus Therapeutics, along with a $400 million deal with Hutchmed for a colorectal cancer drug, Takeda executives touted pipeline optimism on its latest earnings call this week.

That’s because the TYK2 inhibitor for psoriasis Takeda is getting from Nimbus, along with the Hutchmed fruquintinib commercialization outside of China, are just two of what it reports are 10 late-stage development programs of promising candidates.

Regeneron CSO George Yancopoulos (L) and CEO Len Schleifer at a groundbreaking for its new Tarrytown, NY facility, June 2022 (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In show­down with Roche, Re­gen­eron gears up for po­ten­tial Eylea ex­pan­sion amid Covid de­cline

Regeneron faced a substantial slump in overall revenue last year, but the focus still remains on some of its biggest blockbusters.

The pharma with several high-profile partnerships — Sanofi and Bayer among them — said Friday that Q4 revenue was down 31% for the quarter, and down 24% for the entire year. However, that won’t stop blockbuster expansion plans.

One of those is Eylea, the Bayer-partnered eye disease drug that has been in major competition with Roche’s Vabysmo. While Eylea is currently only approved in a 2 mg dose, the company recently filed for approval to give a 8 mg dose, in hopes of making a longer-lasting treatment.