Medical

BioAgilytix to Purchase Australia-based 360biolabs®

BioAgilytix Labs,a leading global contract research laboratory focused on supporting its pharmaceutical and biotech partners in all stages of large molecule drug development, announced today that it signed a definitive agreement to purchase 360biolabs®, the most comprehensive contract research organization in Australia. The transaction will expand BioAgilytix's global footprint into a jurisdiction of choice to commence first-in-human trials (FIH) and early-phase clinical trials and adds further capacity by joining 360biolabs' internationally recognised Quality systems in Melbourne, Victoria with BioAgilytix's existing laboratories in Durham, North Carolina; Boston, Massachusetts; and Hamburg, Germany.

Located in Australia's biomedical and clinical research hub, 360biolabs offers world-class virology and immunology expertise, with BSL 2 and 3 laboratories, biomarker and immune monitoring capabilities with a state-of-the-art flow cytometry suite, molecular biology PCR suite and expansive bioanalytical LC-MS/MS small molecule capabilities.

"This planned acquisition is part of our strategic growth strategy to expand our capacity, expertise and agility to serve customers across all geographies, and we look forward to welcoming the 360biolabs team and integrating the business," said Jim Datin, President and CEO of BioAgilytix. "Joining forces makes sense for our two organizations, but most importantly for our combined clients and the patients they serve. BioAgilytix and 360biolabs are already culturally aligned in our focus on doing science right, on time, the first time. Together, we will not only create significant scientific synergies but also generate new innovations and help bring future life-changing therapeutics to patients more rapidly around the globe."  

"From the launch of 360biolabs in 2015, our strategic vision was to build a global speciality laboratory, providing support to enable future medicines for human health," said Angela Luttick, 360biolabs Cofounder and Executive Vice President, Business Development. Added 360biolabs Cofounder and CEO Alistair Draffan, "Finding a like-minded partner, driven by a team-focused culture of excellence with an international reputation, US and European presence, will drive our strategic expansion and support our clients' clinical development programs." Melinda Pryor, Cofounder and Executive Vice President, Clinical stated, "We're excited to join forces with the BioAgilytix team, a company that shares our strong scientific track record and commitment to quality and service. Together, we have the capabilities and capacity to meet all challenges, especially in this time of pandemic, and create enduring opportunities for a brighter future."

The Burnet Institute, a global medical research and public health organisation, is a Cofounder and majority shareholder of 360biolabs. Burnet Institute Director and CEO, Professor Brendan Crabb AC said, "Burnet Institute is proud of its involvement in the foundation of 360biolabs. It is the right time, with the growing need for high quality clinical trial support, for a company of the scale, capability, and reputation of 360biolabs to join with BioAgilytix and expand their capacity to service their customers and facilitate high quality translational medical research."

The acquisition is subject to Australian Foreign Investment Review Board ("FIRB") requirements and, subject to receipt of FIRB approval, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021. BioAgilytix selected White & Case as legal counsel to oversee the closing of the acquisition, with Lazard Australia and Allens representing 360biolabs.

About BioAgilytix
BioAgilytix is a leading bioanalytical testing laboratory specializing in large molecule bioanalysis. With laboratory locations in North Carolina's Research Triangle Park, the Cambridge area of Massachusetts, and Hamburg, Germany, BioAgilytix provides PK, immunogenicity, biomarkers, and cell-based assay services supporting the development and release testing of biologics across a number of industries and disease states. BioAgilytix offers assay development, validation, and sample analysis under non-GLP, GLP, and GCP, as well as GMP quality control testing (i.e., product release testing, stability testing, etc.). BioAgilytix also offers diagnostic testing services at its CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited Boston laboratory.

About 360biolabs®
360biolabs® is the leading and most comprehensive specialty laboratory in the Australia & New Zealand region. Our expert pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) assay services support small molecule, biologic, vaccine and other innovative therapeutic solutions to human health. A world class and industry experienced technical team, known for their ability to successfully deliver technically challenging assays, 360biolabs® supports global Pharmaceutical and biotech companies in a diverse and growing range of therapeutics areas.

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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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Biocytogen Enters into Bispecific Antibody Drug Conjugate Agreement with Radiance Biopharma

Biocytogen | January 15, 2024

Biocytogen Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. a global biotech company focusing on the discovery of novel antibody therapeutics, announces that it has entered into an Exclusive Option and License Agreement with Radiance Biopharma Inc. a biotechnology company specializing in developing next generation Antibody Drug Conjugates. The agreement grants Radiance an option to license from Biocytogen a first-in-class fully human anti-HER2/TROP2 bispecific antibody-drug conjugate (BsADC) for therapeutic product development, manufacturing and commercialization for all human indications worldwide. HER2 and TROP2 are two tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) that have been found to be commonly expressed and co-expressed by multiple tumor types, including breast, gastric, colorectal, bladder, pancreatic, and non-small-cell lung cancer. Under the terms of the agreement, upon the option exercised, Biocytogen will be entitled to receive an option fee, licensing fee, development and commercialization milestone payments, as well as single-digit royalties on net sales. In addition, Biocytogen has the right to collect the sharing of sublicensing fee, if any, between Radiance and third party. Dr. Yuelei Shen, President and CEO of Biocytogen, said: “We are excited to collaborate with Radiance, a strong team with extensive experience in drug development, to develop a leading proprietary fully human bispecfic antibody drug conjugate. We are optimistic that the combination of our strength in BsADC discovery and the extensive experience of Radiance’s team will help expedite the commercialization of this dual-targeting BsADC.” Marc Lippman, MD, Chairman of the Board of Radiance said: “We are excited to enter into this Exclusive Option and License Agreement with Biocytogen for a novel human anti- HER2 and Trop2 Bispecific Antibody Drug Conjugate. Preclinical data from in vitro and in vivo assays of this BsADC shows promising high potency of anti-tumor activities in leading tumor indications. We are eager to work with Biocytogen to move the product to the clinic to benefit patients.” About Biocytogen Biocytogen is a global biotechnology company that drives the research and development of novel antibody-based drugs with innovative technologies. Founded on gene editing technology, Biocytogen leverages genetically engineered proprietary RenMice® (RenMab™/RenLite®/RenNano®/RenTCR-mimic™) platforms for fully human monoclonal/bispecific/multispecific antibody discovery, bispecific antibody-drug conjugate discovery, nanobody discovery and TCR-mimic antibody discovery, and has established an off-the-shelf library of over 400,000 fully human antibody sequences against approximately 1000 targets for worldwide collaboration. As of June 30, 2023, 50 therapeutic antibody and multiple clinical asset co-development/out-licensing/transfer agreements and 42 target-nominated RenMice® licensing projects have been established around the globe, including several partnerships with multinational pharmaceutical companies (MNCs). Biocytogen pioneered the generation of drug target knock-in humanized models for preclinical research, and currently provides a few thousand off-the-shelf animal and cell models under the company’s sub-brand, BioMice™, along with preclinical pharmacology and gene-editing services for clients worldwide. Headquartered in Beijing, Biocytogen has branches in China (Haimen Jiangsu, Shanghai), USA (Boston, San Francisco), and Germany (Heidelberg). About Radiance Biopharma Radiance is focused on developing a pipeline of antibody-based cancer therapeutics including mono and bispecific Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs) for the treatment of cancer and to address other unmet medical needs. Marc Lippman, MD, a co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Radiance is a renowned oncologist and former founding board member of Seagen, a leader in the field of ADCs, recently acquired by Pfizer. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Radiance has a world class, proven leadership team that brings together the best of ADC engineering, clinical, managerial expertise and track record. Radiance is an affiliated company to Alphageneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing unique targeted cell and gene therapies for treating cancer and other unmet medical needs.

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Capricor Therapeutics Announces Collaboration with the National Institutes of Health for Clinical Trial of Novel Exosome-Based Multivalent Vaccine

Capricor Therapeutics | January 24, 2024

Capricor Therapeutics a biotechnology company developing transformative cell and exosome-based therapeutics for the treatment and prevention of rare diseases, today announced that Capricor’s proprietary StealthX™ exosome-based multivalent vaccine (StealthX™ vaccine) for the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 has been selected to be part of Project NextGen, an initiative by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to advance a pipeline of new, innovative vaccines providing broader and more durable protection for COVID-19. As part of Project NextGen, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, will conduct a Phase 1 clinical study with Capricor’s StealthX™ vaccine, subject to regulatory approval. NIAID's Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID) would oversee the study. “We are extremely pleased with the external support from the NIH, which highlights the clinical potential of our StealthX™ exosome platform technology and provides non-dilutive support for the advancement of our vaccine candidate,” said Linda Marbán, Ph.D., Capricor’s chief executive officer. “Our proprietary vaccine is multivalent, delivering both the highly mutagenic S protein (Spike) and the more stable N protein (Nucleocapsid) which potentially may offer broader and longer lasting immunity against SARS-CoV-2. We view the NIH SARS-CoV-2 project as the first clinical step towards development of a next generation vaccine platform that may be extended to other infectious diseases. Our platform is designed to combine the speed of response of an mRNA vaccine with the potential efficacy of a protein vaccine. Further, our StealthX™ vaccine is free of both adjuvant and lipid nanoparticles and in preclinical studies has generated a strong immune response at low doses. We believe our StealthX™ vaccine may offer a clinically meaningful alternative for highly mutating or novel infectious agents.” Dr. Marbán continued, “This is the opportunity we have been waiting for as it allows the exosome technology to be brought into the clinic as we continue to focus our resources on CAP-1002 for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Beyond SARS-CoV-2, we look forward to exploring the potential therapeutic utility of this platform, and more broadly, expanding our pipeline into therapeutics and future partnership opportunities.” About Capricor’s StealthX™ Vaccine The StealthX™ vaccine is a proprietary vaccine developed internally by Capricor utilizing exosomes that were engineered to express either spike or nucleocapsid proteins on the surface. Preclinical results from murine and rabbit models published in Microbiology Spectrum, showed the StealthX™ vaccine, resulted in robust antibody production, potent neutralizing antibodies, a strong T-cell response and a favorable safety profile. These effects were obtained with administration of only nanogram amounts of protein and without adjuvant or synthetic lipid nanoparticles (LNPs). Exosomes offer a new antigen delivery system that potentially could be utilized to rapidly generate multivalent protein-based vaccines. Exosomes, first identified as extracellular vesicles, are small vesicles enriched in specific subsets of proteins, RNAs and lipids and responsible for cell-to-cell communication. About Capricor Therapeutics Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on the development of transformative cell and exosome-based therapeutics for the treatment and prevention of rare diseases. Capricor’s lead candidate, CAP-1002, is an allogeneic cardiac-derived cell therapy currently in Phase 3 clinical development for treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Further, Capricor has entered into a partnership for the exclusive commercialization and distribution of CAP-1002 for DMD in the United States and Japan with Nippon Shinyaku Co., Ltd. (U.S. subsidiary: NS Pharma, Inc.), subject to regulatory approval. Capricor is also developing its exosome technology as a potential next-generation therapeutic platform. Our proprietary StealthX™ exosome platform has potential for a broad range of new therapeutic applications in the field of vaccinology as well as targeted oligonucleotide, protein and small molecule therapeutics to treat or prevent a variety of diseases.

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