Biogen bets $45M on Ionis' phase 1 Alzheimer's med

Looks like Biogen is going all in on Alzheimer’s disease—the Big Biotech is picking up a tau-targeting treatment from Ionis Pharmaceuticals for $45 million upfront.  Currently in phase 1, the antisense treatment, IONIS-MAPTRx, is designed to cut down on the production of tau proteins in the central nervous system. Formally known as MAPT (microtubule-associated protein tau), these proteins can form tangles in the brain and are thought to cause neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and some types of dementia. However, Alzheimer’s research has focused on tau tangles and amyloid plaques but has not seen a new treatment approved in more than 15 years. Many treatments have shown promise through phase 2 before crashing and burning in phase 3.

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Stevanato Group Launches EZ-fill® Kit and Laboratory Fill and Finish Service to Support Small Batch Drug Development and Commercialization

Stevanato Group | January 25, 2024

Stevanato Group S.p.A. a leading global provider of drug containment and delivery solutions to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and life sciences industries, unveiled today two new offerings for efficient small batch pharmaceutical manufacturing: the EZ-fill® Kit and the non-GMP laboratory fill and finish service at its Technology Excellence Centers (TEC). In a context where reducing time-to-market is key, Stevanato Group’s new EZ-fill® Kit offers fast access to a customizable and versatile solution to pharma and biotech companies needing to efficiently fill small batches with high-quality injectable formulations during clinical trials or commercial phases. The surge the industry has seen in biopharmaceuticals treating various diseases in several therapeutical areas may signal a significant growth potential for pharmaceutical companies. Injectables, comprising more than 60% of the over 21,000 drugs currently in development, of which 44% are biopharmaceuticals, require high-performance primary packaging and delivery technologies for proper storage and administration. Stevanato Group’s EZ-fill® Kit builds on its existing ready-to-use platform of pre-sterilized containment solutions – vials, cartridges, and syringes – allowing customers to effectively screen different primary packaging in combination with drug products. The kit will be available as a modular box made up of glass ready-to-use drug containers and add-on components on request, shipped by courier. As a result, the platform can bring enhanced levels of quality and safety to patients across the entire drug life cycle and improve the rate at which new drugs enter the market. EZ-fill® Kit will be presented at Pharmapack and is expected to be available commercially beginning in the second quarter of 2024. Additionally, to better support customers, Stevanato Group has introduced a non-GMP laboratory filling and finishing service at its Technology Excellence Centers (TEC) in Boston, USA, and Piombino Dese, Italy. This new service allows customers to assess and identify the possible effects of the fill-and-finish process on their product performance as early as the container selection stage, thus de-risking processes and enhancing development and commercialization strategy. “In the race to bring new advanced biopharmaceutical products to market and to patients, Stevanato Group is tackling the challenge of supporting customers with flexible drug containment and filling solutions in a timely manner," says Fabio Bertacchini, Senior Director EZ-fill® Vials & Cartridges at Stevanato Group. "Stevanato Group remains focused on developing new offerings that can help raise pharmaceutical manufacturing standards. By leveraging the expertise provided by our global TEC Centers, we aim to support customers' innovation, helping them face tests and de-risking processes and making right-the-first-time choices throughout their drug development journey.” About Stevanato Group Founded in 1949, Stevanato Group is a leading global provider of drug containment, drug delivery and diagnostic solutions to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life sciences industries. The Group delivers an integrated, end-to-end portfolio of products, processes and services that address customer needs across the entire drug life cycle at each of the development, clinical and commercial stages. Stevanato Group’s core capabilities in scientific research and development, its commitment to technical innovation and its engineering excellence are central to its ability to offer value added solutions to clients.

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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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