Take­da hops on­to $61M round for CRISPR play­er syn­the­siz­ing Cas9 al­ter­na­tives

Take­da Ven­tures and Or­biMed have helped pump $61 mil­lion in­to a New York biotech join­ing the rush to dra­mat­i­cal­ly ex­pand the CRISPR tool kit.

One cru­cial com­po­nent in the CRISPR gene edit­ing process is a nu­cle­ase that cuts the tar­get DNA once it’s led there by a guide RNA. Cas9 is the most well known and broad­ly used among them, al­though re­searchers have been com­ing up with a va­ri­ety of al­ter­na­tives. The one that Emen­do Bio­ther­a­peu­tics will be ad­vanc­ing with its new fund­ing is dubbed OM­NI.

Their class of “op­ti­mized” en­zymes, ac­cord­ing to Emen­do, opens a new lev­el of pre­ci­sion un­at­tain­able with old­er ap­proach­es.

“For ex­am­ple, to treat dom­i­nant in­di­ca­tions, one al­lele needs to be edit­ed while leav­ing the oth­er one in­tact. Cur­rent CRISPR nu­cle­as­es are not spe­cif­ic enough to do this,” the biotech wrote on its web­site. “Dom­i­nant in­di­ca­tions are the vast ma­jor­i­ty of ge­net­ic dis­eases, high­light­ing the need for a nov­el ap­proach.”

That plat­form tech has at­tract­ed Take­da to a part­ner­ship in which Emen­do will syn­the­size OM­NI nu­cle­as­es for two undis­closed tar­gets. In re­turn, the Japan­ese phar­ma gi­ant agreed to par­tic­i­pate in this new fi­nanc­ing along­side Or­biMed Ad­vi­sors, Or­biMed Is­rael Part­ners and AnGes.

Tokyo and Os­a­ka-based AnGes was re­spon­si­ble for $50 mil­lion of the raise, up­ping its stake in Emen­do to 32%, ac­cord­ing to a fil­ing last month.

“Mak­ing Emen­do an af­fil­i­at­ed com­pa­ny of AnGes will as­sist us in the de­vel­op­ment of bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals through genome edit­ing, mak­ing it pos­si­ble to fur­ther ex­pand our­de­vel­op­ment pipeline as the fourth pil­lar of our op­er­a­tions af­ter HGF gene ther­a­py,nu­cle­ic-acid med­i­cines, and DNA vac­cines,” AnGes wrote.

Emen­do, which has an R&D op­er­a­tion in Is­rael, is col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton and Seat­tle Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal on its lead pro­gram se­vere con­gen­i­tal neu­trope­nia. Oth­er pro­grams in pri­ma­ry im­mun­od­e­fi­cien­cy, bone mar­row fail­ure, in­her­it­ed eye dis­ease and can­cer are al­so at­tached to pres­ti­gious aca­d­e­m­ic part­ners.

So­cial im­age: Take­da

Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News

How Pur­due's $272M ad­dic­tion pay­out fund­ed a new home for its dis­card­ed non-opi­oid re­search

Don Kyle spent more than 20 years working for Purdue Pharma, right through the US opioid epidemic that led to the company’s rise and eventual infamy. But contrary to Purdue’s focus on OxyContin, Kyle was researching non-opioid painkillers — that is, until the company shelved his research.

As the company’s legal troubles mounted, Kyle found an unlikely way to reboot the project. In 2019, he took his work to an Oklahoma State University center that’s slated to receive more than two-thirds of the state’s $272 million settlement with Purdue over claims that the drugmaker’s behavior ignited the epidemic of opioid use and abuse.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

President Joe Biden at the State of the Union address with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Patrick Semansky/AP Images)

The drug pric­ing pres­i­dent: Biden warns of ve­to for any IRA re­peal at­tempts

President Joe Biden made clear in his “finish the job” State of the Union address last night that one of those jobs to be finished is insulin prices.

Biden’s push again to tackle insulin prices, after Republicans rebuffed the idea last summer and just after Biden won Medicare drug price negotiations/caps via the Inflation Reduction Act, shows how heavily he’s leaning into this work.

Rupert Vessey, Bristol Myers Squibb head of research and early development

Up­dat­ed: R&D tur­bu­lence at Bris­tol My­ers now in­cludes the end of a $650M al­liance and the de­par­ture of a top re­search cham­pi­on

This morning biotech Dragonfly put out word that Bristol Myers Squibb has handed back all rights to its IL-12 clinical-stage drug after spending $650 million to advance it into the clinic.

The news arrives amid a turbulent R&D stage for the pharma giant, which late last week highlighted Rupert Vessey’s decision to depart this summer as head of early-stage R&D following a crucial three-year stretch after he jumped to Bristol Myers in the big Celgene buyout. During that time he struck a series of deals for Bristol Myers, and also shepherded a number of Celgene programs down the pipeline, playing a major role for a lineup of biotechs which depended on him to champion their drugs.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Bill Haney, Dragonfly CEO (Dave Pedley/Getty Images for SXSW)

Drag­on­fly chief: Bris­tol My­ers shouldn’t blame IL-12’s clin­i­cal per­for­mance for de­ci­sion to scrap the deal — eco­nom­ics played a key role

Bristol Myers Squibb says the IL-12 drug they were developing out of Dragonfly Therapeutics was scrubbed from the pipeline for a simple reason: It didn’t measure up on clinical performance.

But Bill Haney, the CEO of Dragonfly, is taking issue with that.

The early-stage drug, still in Phase I development, has passed muster with Bristol Myers’ general clinical expectations, advancing successfully while still in Phase I, he says.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Utpal Koppikar, new Verily CFO

Ex­clu­sive: Ver­i­ly wel­comes Atara Bio­ther­a­peu­tics vet­er­an as new CFO

Verily, Alphabet’s life sciences outfit, has plucked a new CFO from the ranks of Atara Biotherapeutics, the company announced on Wednesday.

Utpal Koppikar joins Verily after a nearly five-year stint as CFO and senior VP at Atara, though his résumé also boasts roles at Gilead and Amgen.

The news follows a major reshuffling at Verily, including several senior departures earlier this year and a round of layoffs.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 159,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Singer Nick Jonas is back at work for Dexcom, this time for its new G7 glucose monitor.

Dex­com's spokescelebri­ty Nick Jonas re­turns to Su­per Bowl in new glu­cose mon­i­tor com­mer­cial

Dexcom is going back to the Super Bowl with its pop singer and patient spokesperson Nick Jonas. Jonas takes center stage as the lone figure in the 30-second commercial showcasing Dexcom’s next-generation G7 continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device.

Jonas’ sleight-of-hand tricks populate the commercial — he pinches his empty fingers together and pops them open to reveal the small CGM — even as he ends the ad, saying, “It’s not magic. It just feels that way.” Jonas then disappears in a puff of smoke.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 159,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Richard Francis, newly-appointed Teva CEO (Novartis via Facebook)

New Te­va CEO Richard Fran­cis repri­or­i­tizes to 'get back to growth'

Six weeks into his new role at the helm of Teva Pharmaceutical, Richard Francis said it’s time to “get back to growth,” starting with a good look at the company’s priorities.

The chief executive has kicked off a strategic review, he announced during Teva’s quarterly call, which will continue over the next several months and produce results sometime in the middle of 2023. That means some pipeline cuts may be in store, he told Endpoints News, while declining to offer much more detail.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf on Capitol Hill, Feb. 8, 2023 (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

FDA com­mis­sion­er floats ideas on how to bet­ter han­dle the pan­dem­ic

FDA Commissioner Rob Califf joined the heads of the CDC and NIH in the hot seat today before a key House subcommittee, explaining that there needs to be a much faster, more coordinated way to oversee vaccine safety, and that foreign biopharma inspections, halted for years due to the pandemic, are slowly ramping up again.

Califf, who stressed to the House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health that the CDC also needs better data, made clear that the FDA’s ability to monitor the safety of vaccines “would also benefit greatly by a coordinated federal public health data reporting authority.”

Sanofi is renewing its #VaccinesForDreams campaign with more stories, such as Juan's in Argentina (Sanofi)

Sanofi re­news so­cial cam­paign to re­mind that vac­cines let peo­ple ‘Dream Big’

Sanofi is highlighting people’s dreams — both big and small — to make the point that vaccines make them possible.

The renewed “Dream Big” global social media campaign’s newest dreamer is Juan, a teacher in the Misiones rainforest in Argentina whose story is told through videos on Instagram and Sanofi’s website with the hashtag #VaccinesForDreams.

The campaign ties to Sanofi’s broader umbrella initiative “Vaccine Stories” to promote the value of vaccines and drive awareness of the need for improved vaccination coverage.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 159,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.