Women's health biotech nabs new antimicrobial treatment; Ovid finds partner for neuroscience collaboration
Daré Bioscience is on the move.
The biotech put out word early Wednesday morning that it’s signed a licensing agreement with Hennepin Life Sciences. Daré now has exclusive global rights to develop and commercialize treatments delivering glycerol monolaurate, or GML. GML is a new antimicrobial for a variety of vaginal health conditions — including bacterial, fungal and viral infections.
The biotech claims that due to its mechanism of action, there is “little chance” of antibiotic resistance as a result of this drug.
In vitro testing, according to Daré, showed the drug to be effective at inhibiting the growth of major strains of Candida causing vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), as well as Gardnerella vaginalis, one of the bacteria associated with bacterial vaginosis.
Patents covering the licensed technology have been granted with terms through 2034, and additional patents pending would have terms through 2040. Financial details were not included in Daré’s release.
CEO Sabrina Johnson said in a statement that “we believe that an antimicrobial providing a broad spectrum of activity against bacteria and fungi, but with a low potential for developing resistance, represents a unique multi-target development candidate for our portfolio.” — Paul Schloesser
Ovid Therapeutics partners up with gene therapy startup
Ovid Therapeutics, which has had its share of stumbles in the past, is partnering up with a gene therapy startup for new brain drugs.
According to a press release, Ovid is partnering with Gensaic to develop up to three gene-based treatments for neurological conditions that Ovid is looking to go after. The deal will see Ovid receiving the rights to license any gene therapies that emerge from the deal, with Ovid also investing $5 million in the startup as well as investing in any future funding rounds from Gensaic.
Ovid needs a strong pick-me-up, as earlier this year the company announced it was chopping 20% of its workforce to extend its cash runway “past 2024.” In 2021, Ovid offloaded its first lead program for gaboxadol (OV101) after the trial foundered.
Ovid’s stock price $OVID has been down 41% since this time last year, and the company hopes to get back on track with this latest development.
Gensaic was seeded in 2021 as M13 Therapeutics and is currently based in the Cambridge, MA biotech startup incubator LabCentral. Over the past two years, the company has won awards in startup competitions for its research into gene therapy delivery. — Tyler Patchen
Apellis’ therapy effective in advanced AMD
Apellis Pharmaceuticals announced long-term data for its C3 therapy, intravitreal pegcetacoplan, for patients with geographic atrophy (GA), an advanced form of dry age-related macular degeneration.
The top-line data at 24 months from its Phase III DERBY and OAKS trials showed that the doses over time resulted in a clinically meaningful reduction in GA lesion growth from baseline compared to sham, where the doctor goes through the motions without actually performing the treatment.
“The vision loss caused by GA is devastating for patients, taking away their ability to perform critical daily tasks like driving, reading, and recognizing faces. It is very exciting to finally be on the brink of the first potential GA treatment with pegcetacoplan,” said Eleonara Lad, lead investigator for the OAKS study.
Between months 18-24, the efficacy of pegcetacoplan treatment efficacy accelerated compared to the previous six months, with reductions of GA lesion growth versus sham. The company noted in a news release that pegcetacoplan has the potential to become the first-ever treatment for GA, which is a leading cause of blindness. — Aayushi Pratap