ADC Therapeutics bumps up series E by $76M, prepares lead drug for 2020 filing

ADC Therapeutics has expanded its series E by $76 million, bringing the financing to $276 million and its total haul to $531 million. The cash will advance the company’s pipeline of pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD)-based antibody-drug conjugates, including an FDA submission for its lead program in 2020. The cash will carry the Swiss biotech through the end of 2020, CEO Chris Martin, Ph.D., told FierceBiotech. The company is wrapping up the pivotal phase 2 study for ADCT-402 (loncastuximab tesirine), its lead program, in relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and expects to unveil top-line data later this year. It plans to file for FDA approval as a single agent in that particular blood cancer by the end of next year. ADC is also studying ADCT-402 on its own in non-Hodgkin lymphoma and in combination with Johnson & Johnson and Pharmacyclics' BTK inhibitor Imbruvica for relapsed or refractory DLBCL and mantle cell lymphoma, as well as with the British pharma’s checkpoint inhibitor Imfinzi for follicular lymphoma in addition to DLBCL and mantle cell lymphoma.

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Jnana Therapeutics Announces Positive Clinical Proof of Concept Achieved with JNT-517, a Potential First-in-Class Oral Treatment for PKU

Jnana Therapeutics, Inc. | February 02, 2024

Jnana Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company leveraging its next-generation chemoproteomics platform to discover medicines for challenging-to-drug targets, today announced positive, statistically significant interim results from its ongoing clinical study of JNT-517 in individuals with phenylketonuria (PKU). JNT-517, a small molecule inhibitor of the phenylalanine (Phe) transporter SLC6A19, is being evaluated as a potential first-in-class oral treatment for PKU across all ages and genotypes. On the basis of these positive interim results, Jnana has adapted the Phase 1b trial design to support the potential for accelerated progression of JNT-517. “There is an urgent need for an oral, safe, and efficacious therapy for the more than 60% of individuals with PKU not currently on therapy. Across the spectrum of mild to severe disease, our results demonstrate a robust, sustained reduction in blood Phe levels, the registrational endpoint for PKU, giving us high confidence in the path forward for JNT-517,” said George Vratsanos, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D at Jnana Therapeutics. “We are also encouraged by this validation of the power of our RAPID platform to discover small molecules with compelling clinical benefit against challenging-to-drug targets.” JNT-517 is being studied in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in individuals with mild to severe PKU. Following a 28-day screening period focused predominantly on ensuring an average blood Phe level of >600µM, study participants were randomized with no run-in period to 75mg of JNT-517 twice daily (BID) or placebo. The planned interim analysis was based on 13 participants, eight dosed with JNT-517 and five dosed with placebo over 28 days, and demonstrated the following results JNT-517 led to a statistically significant (p=0.0019 vs. placebo) mean blood Phe reduction from baseline of 51%, measured per-protocol at day 28. A high response rate was seen where seven of eight (88%) treated participants achieved >30% reduction in blood Phe from baseline; five of eight (63%) achieved >45% reduction; and two of eight (25%) achieved >65% reduction. A robust response was seen across participants treated with JNT-517 irrespective of baseline blood Phe levels, which ranged from 593µM to 1,526µM with a mean of 1,124µM. A rapid onset of effect was observed with significant blood Phe reduction achieved within seven days after commencing dosing, which was sustained through the full 28 days of dosing. JNT-517 was safe and well tolerated with no serious adverse events and no clinically significant changes in laboratory parameters, consistent with the safety profile demonstrated in the Phase 1a healthy volunteer study. "JNT-517 represents a completely new therapeutic approach that could transform the current treatment paradigm in PKU, in particular for individuals with severe, or classical, PKU where there is the highest unmet medical need,” said Cary O. Harding, M.D., study investigator and Professor of Molecular and Medical Genetics at Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine. “I am encouraged by the clinical results to date and look forward to working with Jnana and the PKU community to continue to advance this program.” Based on these interim results, Jnana has adapted the protocol of the ongoing trial to include dose exploration. Jnana expects topline data from the second dose cohort in mid-2024 and plans to submit full data from the two dose cohorts for presentation at a scientific meeting in the second half of 2024. Jnana anticipates the company will engage regulators in the second half of 2024 and seek to advance JNT-517 directly into a pivotal Phase 3 study in the first half of 2025. JNT-517 Phase 1b Clinical Trial The ongoing clinical program includes a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluating the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and effect on blood and urinary Phe of JNT-517 dosed over a four-week period in individuals diagnosed with PKU. The study dosed its first participant with PKU in August 2023 and is enrolling individuals aged 18 to 65 at clinical sites in the United States and Australia. For more information about the study, please see clinicaltrials.gov (NCT05781399). About JNT-517 JNT-517 is a selective small molecule inhibitor of the Phe transporter SLC6A19 that has the potential to be a first-in-class oral therapy used to treat any person with PKU, regardless of age or genotype. JNT-517 acts at a novel, cryptic allosteric site to block kidney reabsorption of Phe and offers a promising new approach to reduce blood Phe levels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted JNT-517 Rare Pediatric Disease Designation in late 2022. About PKU PKU is a rare inherited metabolic disorder caused by a deficiency of the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH). This enzyme is required for the breakdown of phenylalanine (Phe), an amino acid found in all protein-containing foods. When PAH is deficient or defective, Phe accumulates to abnormally high levels in the blood. If left untreated, toxic levels of Phe in the blood can result in progressive and severe neurological impairment and neuropsychological complications. The SLC transporter SLC6A19 is responsible for kidney reabsorption of Phe back into the bloodstream, and the inhibition of SLC6A19 offers a novel, oral approach for the treatment of PKU by facilitating urinary excretion of excess Phe. About Jnana Therapeutics Jnana Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company leveraging its next-generation RAPID chemoproteomics platform to discover medicines for highly validated, challenging-to-drug targets to treat diseases with high unmet needs. Jnana is focused on developing first- and best-in-class therapies to treat a wide range of diseases, including rare diseases and immune-mediated diseases. Jnana’s wholly owned lead program, JNT-517, which targets an allosteric site on the phenylalanine transporter SLC6A19, is a potential first-in-class oral approach for the treatment of PKU, a rare genetic metabolic disease. Located in Boston, Jnana brings together scientific leaders in small molecule drug discovery and development, a highly experienced management team, and the backing of leading life science investors Bain Capital Life Sciences, RA Capital Management, Polaris Partners, Versant Ventures, Avalon Ventures, Pfizer Ventures, and AbbVie Ventures.

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Andelyn Biosciences and Armatus Bio Partner to Manufacture Suspension-Based AAV Gene Therapy for Rare Neurological Disease

Andelyn Biosciences, Inc. | January 16, 2024

Andelyn Biosciences, Inc., a pioneering and patient-focused cell and gene therapy Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO), has partnered with Armatus Bio to accelerate manufacturing of their gene therapy treatment for Charcot-Marie-Tooth Type 1A (CMT1A), a rare genetic neurological disease associated with independence-limiting disability and risk of fatal complications that has no approved therapies today. The partnership will seek to maximize program efficiency and speed to clinical studies of this novel, precision approach. As part of the agreement, Armatus will leverage Andelyn's extensive experience in adeno-associated virus (AAV) production and its proprietary suspension platform for development activities, plasmid manufacturing, and viral vector toxicology and GMP clinical manufacturing. The partnership strengthens the working relationship and offers great hope for patients suffering from neuromuscular disease. Both organizations, located in the well-established and growing biotech hub of Columbus, Ohio, are aligned in their belief that the rise of gene therapies will continue to advance human health. Matt Niloff, Chief Commercial Officer at Andelyn Biosciences said, "We are extremely moved by Armatus Bio's commitment to address the urgent unmet needs in CMT1A and are impressed by its innovative therapeutic technology for the disease. We look forward to scaling up the process in our program-specific, configurable suspension platform, and accelerating the therapy into the clinic with the highest degree of quality." "Andelyn has demonstrated its strong capabilities in manufacturing complex genetic medicines with high quality and consistency, which will be critical to accelerating our development efforts," said Brian Price, PhD, Chief Technical Officer of Armatus. "We look forward to collaborating with Andelyn on this program as we work toward supporting this population that urgently awaits innovative solutions." From its time-tested experience, Andelyn is proud to offer its clients exceptional development, plasmid production, and quality manufacturing at its three Columbus, Ohio facilities. Andelyn is advancing client discoveries and manufacturing life-altering cell and gene therapies for rare and prevalent diseases. About Andelyn Biosciences, Inc. Andelyn Biosciences is a full-service cell and gene therapy CDMO focused on the development, characterization and production of viral vectors for gene therapy. With more than 20 years of experience, Andelyn's deep scientific expertise has resulted in the production of cGMP material for more than 450 clinical batches and 75 global clinical trials. Operating out of three Columbus, Ohio facilities, Andelyn supports its clients in developing curative cell and gene therapies from concept through plasmid development and manufacturing, process development, and cGMP clinical and commercial manufacturing. Andelyn's versatile capabilities include cGMP manufacturing capacity for both adherent and suspension processes up to a 2,000-liter capacity. An advanced digital model, quality system, full regulatory support and supply chain vertical integration help Andelyn accelerate the development and manufacturing of its clients' innovative cell and gene therapies. About Armatus Bio Armatus Bio is a privately held late preclinical stage biotechnology innovator leveraging vectorized RNAi to address urgent unmet medical needs in genetically-driven neurological diseases. Based in Columbus, Ohio, the company is led by a seasoned team with expertise in drug development and delivery, and partnered with world renowned experts in vector biology, genomics, and neurology. The company's lead candidate for Charcot Marie Tooth Type 1A (CMT1A) has received Orphan Drug Designation and Rare Pediatric Drug Designation, and is advancing toward IND-enabling studies. The company is also developing a preclinical vectorized RNAi asset for the rare neuromuscular disease Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD).

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Personalis and ClearNote Health Announce Partnership to Advance Epigenomic Technology

Personalis, Inc. | February 05, 2024

Personalis, Inc. a leader in advanced genomics for cancer, and ClearNote Health, Inc., a pioneer in epigenomic technologies, today unveiled an alliance through which Personalis will expand its pharmaceutical service offerings by distributing ClearNote’s cutting-edge epigenomic 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) platform. “We have built a unique pharma channel based on our industry-leading tissue and MRD assays and ClearNote Health’s blood-based epigenomic approach is complementary to our offering as it helps our customers deepen their understanding of a patient’s response to immunotherapies,” said Chris Hall, CEO and President of Personalis. “Commercial partnerships such as this broaden our portfolio and are expected to appeal to a wide range of biopharma customers and accelerate our revenue growth.” Echoing this sentiment, Dave Mullarkey, CEO of ClearNote Health, remarked, “Partnering with Personalis presents an excellent opportunity to bring our 5hmC technology to the forefront of cancer research. This alliance is a testament to the synergy between our two companies, enabling us to expand our reach and significantly impact the biopharmaceutical industry. Together, we can accelerate the development of personalized therapies and make a real difference in the lives of patients.” ClearNote Health’s Epigenomics Platform represents a groundbreaking advance in cancer detection, offering real-time insights into disease-specific pathways. By tracking changes in 5hmC levels coupled with artificial intelligence-based analytical methods, the platform can detect cancer earlier, monitor disease progression, understand mechanisms of resistance, and identify promising drug targets and biomarkers. These insights are invaluable for optimizing drug development programs and delivering more effective treatments to patients. The Epigenomics Platform identifies changes in gene activation and gene regulation by labeling specific changes in the 5hmC landscape from plasma-derived cell-free DNA. This rich biological information, as part of clinical trials, enables the monitoring of cancer therapies in real time and contributes to an understanding of drug resistance mechanisms. The partnership marks a pivotal moment in cancer research, leveraging the strengths of both companies to offer unparalleled solutions in the biopharmaceutical industry. About ClearNote Heath, Inc. ClearNote Health is a cancer detection company focused on enabling people at risk for high-mortality cancers to live longer, healthier lives. Utilizing a standard blood draw, the company applies its proprietary epigenomic platform, combining biology and artificial intelligence, to identify DNA-based changes in biology as cancer develops. With lead programs in non-invasive early detection of pancreatic and ovarian cancers in patients at the highest risk for these diseases, ClearNote Health identifies cancers before they progress and when patients are most likely to benefit from treatment. ClearNote Health’s first commercially available test is the Avantect™ Pancreatic Cancer Test, which detects the presence of pancreatic cancer signals in patients at high risk of the disease, including those recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. ClearNote Health is headquartered in San Diego, with additional presence in the San Francisco Bay area and internationally. The company’s CLIA- and CAP-accredited laboratory is located in San Diego, Calif. About Personalis, Inc. At Personalis, we are transforming the active management of cancer through breakthrough personalized testing. We aim to drive a new paradigm for cancer management, guiding care from biopsy through the life of the patient. Our highly sensitive assays combine tumor-and-normal profiling with proprietary algorithms to deliver advanced insights even as cancer evolves over time. Our products are designed to detect minimal residual disease (MRD) and recurrence at the earliest time points, enable the selection of targeted therapies based on ultra-comprehensive genomic profiling, and enhance biomarker strategy for drug development. Personalis is based in Fremont, California.

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