Athersys, Inc. | September 26, 2022
Athersys, Inc. a regenerative medicine company developing MultiStem® for critical care indications, announced that it has entered into amended agreements to extend the exercise period of the warrants that were issued as part of a registered direct offering that closed on August 17, 2022, among other changes, and to issue additional warrants to the same warrant holder, a healthcare-focused U.S. institutional investor.
The Purchase Agreement contains certain restrictions that, subject to certain exceptions, prohibit the Company from issuing its common stock in certain variable rate transactions for a period of 180 days following the Closing Date. The Purchase Agreement also gives the Purchasers the right to participate in certain future offerings of the Company in an amount of up to 30 percent in the aggregate of any offered securities during the 12 months following the Closing Date.
On September 22, 2022, the Company entered into an amendment to the Purchase Agreement with the Purchasers to, among other things, (i) extend the exercise period of the Initial Warrants from five years to seven years after the six-month anniversary of the Closing Date (the “Warrant Amendment”), (ii) reduce the Standstill Period from 180 days to 150 days following the Closing Date, (iii) reduce the term and amount of the Participation Right from twelve months to six months following the Closing Date and from 30 percent to 20 percent in the aggregate of any offered securities, respectively, and (iv) require the Purchasers, subject to certain conditions, to participate in the event the Company proposes to offer and sell shares of offered securities during the six months following the Closing Date to investors primarily for capital raising purposes.
In return, Athersys issued to the same warrant holder additional warrants that are exercisable for an aggregate of 2,000,000 shares of common stock and have an exercise price of $6.3850 for a seven-year period after the six-month anniversary of the date of issuance.
A more detailed discussion of the amendments is contained in a Current Report that Athersys filed on September 22, 2022 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Form 8-K.
“We are pleased to have entered into this amendment with our new major investor which provides more financial flexibility going forward as well as a commitment for the investor that recently invested $12 million in Athersys to participate in future financings if requested. As Athersys continues to pursue licensing and other business development opportunities for our proprietary technology this amendment can help facilitate future transactions with financial and strategic investors. We are fortunate to have established a strong relationship with a prominent healthcare focused institutional investor that embraces the value of our MultiStem cell therapy and is responsive to our priorities,”
Dan Camardo, Chief Executive Officer of Athersys
“I am also pleased with progress we’ve made in our business transformation and I look forward to updating shareholders during a conference call to be held the week of October 3rd,” he added.
Athersys intends to issue a separate news release that will provide further information on the date and time of the call, as well as instructions regarding how to participate.
MultiStem® cell therapy is a patented regenerative medicine product in clinical development that has shown the ability to promote tissue repair and healing in a variety of ways, such as through the production of therapeutic factors in response to signals of inflammation and tissue damage. MultiStem therapy’s potential for multidimensional therapeutic impact distinguishes it from traditional biopharmaceutical therapies focused on a single mechanism of benefit. The therapy represents a unique “off-the-shelf” stem cell product that can be manufactured in a scalable manner, may be stored for years in frozen form, and is administered without tissue matching or the need for immune suppression. Based upon its efficacy profile, its novel mechanisms of action, and a favorable and consistent tolerability demonstrated in clinical studies, we believe that MultiStem therapy could provide a meaningful benefit to patients, including those suffering from serious diseases and conditions with unmet medical need.
Athersys is a biotechnology company engaged in the discovery and development of therapeutic product candidates designed to extend and enhance the quality of human life. The Company is developing its MultiStem® cell therapy product, a patented, adult-derived “off-the-shelf” stem cell product, initially for disease indications in the neurological, inflammatory and immune, and other critical care indications and has several ongoing clinical trials evaluating this potential regenerative medicine product. Athersys has forged strategic partnerships and a broad network of collaborations to further advance MultiStem cell therapy toward commercialization.
CELL AND GENE THERAPY
Genscript Biotech Corporation | September 23, 2022
GenScript USA Inc., the world's leading life-science research tools and services provider, is collaborating with researchers at the Gladstone-UCSF Institute of Genomic Immunology to advance the development of new, non-viral cell therapies that modify genomic sequences in the pursuit of more effective cell therapy products while limiting the cellular toxicity that is typically associated with previously available methods.
A new study, published in Nature Biotechnology, details methods for achieving highly efficient non-viral knock-in using GenScript's GenExact™ single-strand DNA modified with Cas9-target sequences. This method achieved up to ˜40% knock-in efficiency in primary immune cell types.
One powerful application of CRISPR/Cas genome editing technology involves the precise insertion of DNA sequences via the HDR pathway. Traditionally, researchers have relied on viral vectors to deliver DNA insertion templates used for gene therapy into cells. However, difficulties manufacturing large amounts of clinical-grade viral vectors have delayed getting cell therapies to patients. Additionally, viral vectors can insert genes at any location within the genome, leading to safety concerns.
Previous research by the group at Gladstone and UCSF has shown that synthetic DNA templates can be delivered without the use of viral vectors, but high levels of double-stranded DNA can be toxic to cells, resulting in low efficiency. Efficiency can be improved using a modified version of the DNA templates that can bind to the Cas9 enzyme. However, additional work was required to improve the yield of successfully engineered cells and to make the process compatible with the manufacturing of future cell therapies. Those goals motivated the team's current study.
In this study, the team tested modified GenExact ssDNA designed with Cas9-targeted sequences to determine if the gene-editing efficiency could be improved with lower toxicity. First, synthetic sgRNA was complexed with Cas9 protein to form a RNP complex. Then the RNP and ssDNA template were delivered into the cell via electroporation, enabling efficient gene editing.
The team discovered that this combination of GenExact ssDNA with Cas9-targeted sequence offers up to 40% knock-in editing efficiency with minimal cellular toxicity. This approach can accelerate the development and manufacture of novel, high-yield non-viral gene therapies — and at lower cost.
"We are very proud to have collaborated on this groundbreaking scale-up work by the talented team at Gladstone and UCSF. GenScript is excited for the opportunities that this high-yield cell-line engineering process will provide to our customers," said Ray Chen, Ph.D, president of GenScript Life Science Group.
"We were very happy to partner with Genscript on critical experiments demonstrating high efficiency and yield of CAR knock-in cells at clinical scale. The long ssDNA produced by Genscript exceeded our expectations and helped us clearly demonstrate the potential for future therapeutic applications using these methods.",
Brian Shy, MD, PhD, a former clinical fellow in the lab of Alex Marson, MD, PhD, director of the Gladstone-UCSF Institute of Genomic Immunology
About GenScript Biotech Corporation
GenScript Biotech Corporation is a global biotechnology group. Based on its leading gene synthesis technology, GenScript has developed four major platforms including the global cell therapy platform, the biologics contract development and manufacturing organization platform, the contract research organization platform, and the industrial synthesis product platform.
GenScript was founded in New Jersey, USA in 2002 and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2015. GenScript's business operation spans over 100 countries and regions worldwide, with legal entities located in the USA, mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Ireland. GenScript has provided premium, convenient, and reliable products and services for over 100,000 customers.
Synaffix | September 07, 2022
Synaffix B.V. and Emergence Therapeutics AG announce that the Companies have entered into a licensing agreement of up to $360 million, providing Emergence access on a target-specific basis to Synaffix's proprietary antibody drug conjugate technologies comprising GlycoConnect™, HydraSpace™ and SYNtecan E™ linker-payload.
Under the terms of the agreement, Synaffix will be eligible to receive up to $360 million in upfront and milestone payments plus royalties on commercial sales. The first program will commence at signature, with the option to expand the collaboration to additional targets. The agreement is the result of positive proof of concept data following a successful initial discovery research collaboration between the companies.
Emergence will be responsible for the research, development, manufacturing and commercialization of the ADCs. Synaffix will be responsible for the manufacturing of components that are specifically related to its proprietary technologies.
Jack Elands, Chief Executive Officer of Emergence Therapeutics, commented: "This transaction demonstrates our commitment to the development of our pipeline of first-in-class and/or best-in-class ADCs. Beyond our lead program ETx-22, a next generation Nectin-4 ADC, we are actively advancing further programs to develop treatments for high unmet-need cancers. We are impressed with the Synaffix technology and are pleased to select it as a key component to accelerate our pipeline of ADCs."
"This marks an important milestone for Synaffix as this is the 10th ADC developer who has licensed our innovative ADC technology to develop proprietary ADCs for their own pipeline. By consolidating all essential technologies within Synaffix, we have repeatedly enabled the development of best-in-class and first-in-class ADCs under a single technology license agreement. We are thrilled that Emergence has selected Synaffix as its long-term ADC technology partner and look forward to working closely with Emergence as they build out their portfolio of ADC candidates."
Peter van de Sande, Chief Executive Officer of Synaffix
About Synaffix B.V.
Synaffix B.V. is a biotechnology company that enables ADC product candidates using its clinical-stage, site-specific ADC technology platform. In addition to GlycoConnect™ and HydraSpace™ technology, the toxSYN™ linker-payload platform rounds out a fully complementary technology platform that enables any company with an antibody to develop proprietary best-in-class ADC products under a single license from Synaffix.
The Synaffix platform enables a rapid timeline to clinic due to the established supply chain of technology components. Granted patents covering Synaffix' technology provide end-to-end protection of the manufacturing technology as well as the resulting products through at least 2035. The business model of Synaffix is target-specific technology out-licensing, as exemplified through its existing deals with ADC Therapeutics, Mersana Therapeutics, Shanghai Miracogen, Innovent Biologics, ProfoundBio, Kyowa Kirin, Genmab and Macrogenics.
About Emergence Therapeutics AG
Emergence Therapeutics is a European biopharmaceutical company developing novel antibody drug conjugates (ADC) to treat high-need cancers. Its lead program combines a highly specific antibody with optimized linker and payload technology to target Nectin-4 – an important target for a broad range of cancers which has been clinically validated as an ADC target by enfortumab vedotin, now approved for the treatment of urothelial cancers by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Emergence Therapeutics is also actively developing a pipeline of further first- or best-in-class ADCs driven by therapeutic need. Emergence is supported by a network of world-leading experts in immuno-oncology and a leading international investor syndicate. Emergence Therapeutics AG is based in Duisburg, Germany with a subsidiary in Marseille, France. For more information, please visit:
About The Synaffix ADC Platform Technology
Synaffix' proprietary ADC technology platform consists of GlycoConnect™, HydraSpace™ and toxSYN™ technologies. Both GlycoConnect™ and HydraSpace™ are clinical-stage technologies that enable best-in-class ADCs with significantly enhanced efficacy and tolerability.
GlycoConnect™ is a conjugation technology that exploits the native antibody glycan for site-specific and stable payload attachment and is tunable to DAR1, DAR2 or DAR4 formats. HydraSpace™ is a compact and highly polar spacer technology that is designed to further enhance therapeutic index, particularly with hydrophobic payloads. toxSYN™ is a linker-payload platform that spans key, validated MOAs for ADC product development, including SYNtecan E™ and SYNeamicin G™, among other linker-payloads.