Henrik Stage, ADCendo CEO

The biotech craze hits the Nordics, dri­ving a record-high $62M Se­ries A for a Copen­hagen-based ADC play­er

With the biotech boom in the US in full swing, more mon­ey than ever is flow­ing in­to the in­dus­try — but that gush­er hasn’t ful­ly trans­lat­ed across the pond. Now, a Dan­ish biotech with some big-name back­ers has scored a record-high ear­ly fundrais­ing round. Is it a one-off or a sign of things to come?

Copen­hagen-based AD­Cen­do has bagged a $62 mil­lion Se­ries A round — the largest ever of its kind for a Dan­ish biotech — to ad­vance its pipeline of an­ti­body-drug con­ju­gates tar­get­ing uP­ARAP, a col­la­gen scav­enger re­cep­tor on some tu­mor cells, the com­pa­ny said Thurs­day.

The round was co-led by No­vo Seeds, No­vo Hold­ings’ ear­ly stage in­vest­ment arm, and Ys­ios Cap­i­tal with par­tic­i­pa­tion from RA Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, Health­Cap and Gilde Health­care.

The biotech is look­ing to build a pipeline of AD­CS around uP­ARAP, which plays a role in tu­mor in­fil­tra­tion and could of­fer a nov­el path­way to tar­get hard-to-crack tu­mors. AD­Cen­do thinks AD­Cs could be used to tar­get uP­ARAP and dri­ve a “drug in­ter­nal­iza­tion pump” to pull the con­ju­gat­ed ther­a­pies in­to the tu­mor’s mi­croen­vi­ron­ment.

The pro­tein is high­ly ex­pressed in a range of tu­mor types, some with high un­met need, in­clud­ing soft tis­sue sar­co­ma, glioblas­toma mul­ti­forme, triple-neg­a­tive breast can­cers, leukemia and os­teosar­co­ma. It could al­so play a mean­ing­ful role in tar­get­ing stro­mal cells in sev­er­al high-preva­lence can­cers with sub­stan­tial stro­mal tis­sue con­tent, such as prostate, breast and pan­cre­at­ic can­cer.

Joël Jean-Mairet

“Ad­cen­do is tak­ing the ADC ap­proach to the next lev­el by fo­cus­ing on tar­gets that are pro­fes­sion­al in­ter­nal­iz­ers and have ex­quis­ite tu­mor se­lec­tiv­i­ty,” Joël Jean-Mairet, Ys­ios Cap­i­tal man­ag­ing part­ner, said in a state­ment.

No­vo Seeds has been an ear­ly backer for AD­Cen­do since 2017, and the com­pa­ny was in­cu­bat­ed in 2018 at the BioIn­no­va­tion In­sti­tute in Copen­hagen. As part of the fi­nanc­ing, No­vo Seeds prin­ci­pal Jeroen Bakker will join the com­pa­ny’s board.

“One of our am­bi­tions at No­vo Seeds is to lever­age and nur­ture the un­tapped in­no­va­tion in the Nordic re­gion,” Bakker said in a state­ment. “We are proud to have been in­volved with AD­Cen­do since its ear­ly days and are very im­pressed with the progress achieved to date.”

The Nordics are, of course, not a stranger to phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try, pro­vid­ing the fer­tile ground for both No­vo Nordisk and As­traZeneca. But as the biotech boom rolls at a fren­zied pace in the US, AD­Cen­do’s in­ter­na­tion­al syn­di­cate of in­vestors may in­di­cate that ven­ture funds are tak­ing a more glob­al ap­proach to find­ing the next big thing in ther­a­peu­tics.

Time will tell whether AD­Cen­do was worth that bet.

How Pa­tients with Epilep­sy Ben­e­fit from Re­al-World Da­ta

Amanda Shields, Principal Data Scientist, Scientific Data Steward

Keith Wenzel, Senior Business Operations Director

Andy Wilson, Scientific Lead

Real-world data (RWD) has the potential to transform the drug development industry’s efforts to predict and treat seizures for patients with epilepsy. Anticipating or controlling an impending seizure can significantly increase quality of life for patients with epilepsy. However, because RWD is secondary data originally collected for other purposes, the challenge is selecting, harmonizing, and analyzing the data from multiple sources in a way that helps support patients.

$DNA is once again on NYSE; FDA clears Soliris chal­lenger for the mar­ket; Flag­ship’s think­ing big again with eR­NA; 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.

I still remember the uncertainty in the air last year when nobody was sure whether ASCO would cancel their in-person meeting. But it’s now back again for the second virtual conference, and Endpoints News is here for it. Check out our 2-day event reviewing the landscape of cancer R&D and send news our way.

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Michael Dell (Richard Drew, AP Images)

'Dude, you're get­ting a Del­l' — as a new deep-pock­et biotech in­vestor

What happens when you marry longtime insiders in the global biotech VC game with the family fund of tech billionaire Michael Dell, a synthetic biology legend out of MIT and Harvard and the former director of the NCI?

Today, the answer is a newly financed, $200 million biotech SPAC now cruising the industry for a top player interested in finding a short cut to Nasdaq.

Orion Biotech Opportunities priced their blank check company today, raising $200 million with Dell’s multibillion-dollar MSD group’s commitment on investing another $20 million in a forward-purchase agreement.

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Gene ther­a­py from Bio­gen's $800M buy­out flops in mid-stage study, deal­ing blow to new am­bi­tions

The #2 candidate from Biogen’s $800 million ocular gene therapy buyout has failed in a mid-stage trial, dealing an early blow to the big biotech’s plans to revitalize its pipeline with new technologies.

Biogen announced that the candidate, an experimental treatment for a rare and progressive form of blindness called X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP), failed to sufficiently improve vision in patients’ treated eye — patients only received an injection in one eye — after a year, on a standard scale, compared to their untreated eye. The company said they saw “positive trends” on several secondary endpoints, including visual acuity, but declined to say whether the trial actually hit any of those endpoints.

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Vas Narasimhan (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

No­var­tis whiffs on En­tresto study af­ter heart at­tacks — but that does­n't mean it's go­ing down qui­et­ly

If Novartis learned one thing from its interaction with the FDA over its latest heart failure approval for Entresto, it was that missing a primary endpoint may not be the nail in the coffin. Now, Entresto has missed again on a late-stage study in high-risk heart patients, and it’s already sowing the seeds for a path forward regardless.

Novartis’ Entresto couldn’t best standard-of-care ramipril in staving off a composite of deaths and heart failure events in patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction and/or pulmonary congestion who have had a prior heart attack, according to topline data from the Phase III PARADISE-MI study revealed Saturday at the virtual American College of Cardiology meeting.

Jason Kelly (Photographer: Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Gink­go nabs $DNA, biotech's most sought af­ter tick­er, for free in sweet­en­er from NYSE

When Ginkgo went comparison shopping for a financial market to list their now $15 billion company, the New York Stock Exchange had a back-pocket sweetener the Nasdaq couldn’t offer: The most sought-after ticker in biotech, $DNA.

DNA — the most famous three letters in biology and the ticker for the world’s first biotech, Genentech, from 1999 until it was bought out by Roche for $48 billion in 2009 — will now be the ticker for Ginkgo, a 12-year-old synthetic biology startup with grand ambitions to change not only how drugs, but also everyday products like meat and perfumes, are made.

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Lark­spur Health Ac­qui­si­tion files to go pub­lic as this year's SPAC flood surges over $14B

Editor’s note: Interested in following biopharma’s fast-paced IPO market? You can bookmark our IPO Tracker here.

Another day, another SPAC vying for a spot on Nasdaq.

On Wednesday, OncoSec Medical CEO Daniel O’Connor filed the S-1 paperwork for a new blank-check company he’s leading called Larkspur Health Acquisition. The former Advaxis chief penciled in a $75 million raise, with plans to offer 7.5 million shares at $10 apiece.

BAR­DA slows its $9B en­gine for new Covid-19 ther­a­peu­tics

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority is cooling its jets in looking for new, potential Covid-19 treatments, at least in the near term.

An HHS spokesperson told Endpoints News via email, “to date, BARDA has obligated more than $9 billion for the development and/or purchase of 13 therapeutics, beginning in February 2020 with support to develop Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody therapeutic. Therapeutics are an important element of the COVID-19 response, and we are focused on the programs currently underway and/or in negotiation using the funds available to us.”

Bris­tol My­ers backs up its case for heart drug mava­camten as FDA weighs app in car­diomy­opa­thy

When Bristol Myers Squibb signed off on its $13 billion acquisition of MyoKardia back in October, it was making a big bet that lead drug mavacamten could prove a game changer in cardiac myopathy. Now, with the drug up for FDA review, Bristol Myers is backing up its case with new quality of life data.

Patients dosed with myosin inhibitor mavacamten posted a clinically significant increase in scores on the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire, a catch-all summary of symptoms and quality of life markers, over placebo at 30 weeks, according to data from the Phase III EXPLORER-HCM study presented Saturday at the virtual American College of Cardiology meeting.