Verona signs China deal for PhIII COPD drug; Teva continues legal battle with Eli Lilly, alleging new patent infringements on migraine drug
After a February Phase II win put Verona’s bad memories of a 2019 flop behind them, the company is now engaging in partnerships to ship out the experimental drug should it continue to produce positive results in Phase III.
Verona is teaming up with Nuance Pharma on a $219 million collaboration to commercialize ensifentrine in China, Macau Hong Kong and Taiwan, the companies announced Thursday. The deal includes $25 million in upfront cash and a $15 million equity stake in Nuance Biotech, the parent company of Nuance Pharma. Verona is eligible for up to $179 million in milestones.
Ensifentrine is an inhaled dual inhibitor of the enzymes phosphodiesterase 3 and 4, enabling it to combine both bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory effects in one compound, Verona said. The hope is to trigger symptom relief like breathlessness, cough and inflammation associated with COPD or triggered by viruses.
Founded in 2005, Verona has built its company solely around the compound, and said in 2018 that a Phase IIb study of 400 patients, the nebulizer form beat placebo at improving lung function. But the next year, it failed to significantly improve lung function in a three-day study when given on top of current COPD drugs.
February brought better tidings, however, when all four doses of an inhaler form of the compound significantly improved lung function in a 40-person Phase II trial of the chronic condition. — Max Gelman
Teva continues legal battle with Eli Lilly, alleging new patent infringements on migraine drug
The legal saga between Teva Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly continues, as Teva filed a new suit against Eli Lilly on Tuesday arguing its migraine prevention drug Emgality infringes upon two newly granted Ajovy patents.
Lilly got formal approval for its CGRP drug Emgality back in 2018, and Teva alleged the drug infringed on nine Ajovy patents. That case was expected to be tried in 2022, according to a Fierce Pharma report. Last year, the US Patent & Trademark office invalidated six of those patents, but upheld three.
Ajovy raked in $31 million in North America Q1, while Emgality netted $119.5 million in global sales. — Nicole DeFeudis
ITM keeps the cash pedal to the medal with another $30M
Germany’s ITM, or Isotopen Technologien München, is continuing to make its mark on the radiopharma field. Less than two months after scoring a nine-figure loan financing, the biotech has secured a new private equity raise.
ITM pulled in $30 million in the fundraise, the company announced Thursday, aiming to support ongoing global expansion of its pipeline, as well as the further advancement of existing candidates in oncology. The funds come on top of a $109 million round of loan financing unveiled in April.
The biotech has developed their own therapeutic radioisotope called Lutetium-177, CEO Steffen Schuster told Endpoints News in April, which emits a low amount of radioactive energy. Their lead program combines this molecule with an edotreotide component, which targets receptors in neuroendocrine cells that have gone awry as a result of the cancer.
It’s a similar concept to an antibody drug conjugate, but uses the radioactive isotope as the cargo. — Max Gelman