OrbiMed leads $70M raise for Harpoon Therapeutics; Ziopharm inks combo deal with Regeneron's PD-1
→ OrbiMed has led the syndicate for a $70 million Series C round for Harpoon Therapeutics. The new money will be put to use on the South San Francisco biotech’s platform tech involving T cell engagers. New investors Cormorant, Ridgeback Capital Investments, Lilly Asia Ventures and NS Investment also jumped in alongside existing investors MPM Capital, Oncology Impact Fund, Arix Bioscience, New Leaf Venture Partners and Taiho Ventures
→ Regeneron has stacked up another experimental combination regime for its recently approved PD-1 agent Libtayo. Ziopharm Oncology is starting a Phase II in H2 2019 where its drug, Ad-RTS-hIL-12 plus veledimex, will be given to patients with recurrent glioblastoma alongside Libtayo supplied by Regeneron. The theory is that by conditionally stimulating local production of IL-12 through veledimex, the therapy can augment the cancer-fighting capability of the immune system unleashed by the checkpoint inhibitor.
→ A few months after rolling out Phase III data to back Lynparza’s blockbuster potential in BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer, AstraZeneca and Merck have scored a priority review for this use of their pioneering PARP inhibitor. The NDA — the fourth for Lynparza, which covers the first-line maintenance setting, following chemotherapy — is a “must succeed” catalyst as new PARPs pile on, Leerink previously remarked. The partners are expecting a decision in the first quarter of 2019, though the FDA could decide to act well before that.