New Targeted Cancer Therapies Prove Successful When Chemo Does Not

Biospace.com | January 08, 2019

Being diagnosed with cancer can be a life-changing event for any person, even more so in the case of a child. Sky-high medical bills, multiple hospital visits, and aggressive therapies can take their toll. In the past, chemotherapy was automatically considered as a first tier treatment for cancer patients, but a new era of innovative therapies may soon outperform the seemingly randomized successes of chemo. In a special report published by Reuters last month, Michele Gershberg describes the painstaking medical journey of her 4-year-old son. “It was March 2017. Over the previous year, the signs had mounted that something was wrong. First, Natan’s voice weakened. He repeatedly fell ill with lung infections. Each passing week seemed to bring a new warning. He choked when eating or drinking. His left foot dragged. He would trip and fall at play. His eyes moved rapidly from side-to-side. When we spoke to our bright boy, it was harder to connect, as if a heavy fog had settled between him and the world,” she described.
After years of illnesses and symptoms, Natan was diagnosed with a brain tumor. “Like many people facing a crisis, we called on every resource we had at our disposal. We were fortunate to have access to excellent doctors and world-renowned hospitals close to home. The health insurance provided through my employer covered nearly all our expenses,” Gershberg informed.

Spotlight

Bio-based products from forestry and agriculture have a long history of application, such as paper, board and various chemicals and materials. The last decades have seen the emergence of new bio-based products in the market. Some of the reasons for the increased interest lie in the bio-based products’ benefits in relation to the depletion of fossil resources and climate change. Bio-based products may also provide additional product functionalities. This has triggered a wave of innovation with the development of knowledge and technologies allowing new transformation processes and product development.

Spotlight

Bio-based products from forestry and agriculture have a long history of application, such as paper, board and various chemicals and materials. The last decades have seen the emergence of new bio-based products in the market. Some of the reasons for the increased interest lie in the bio-based products’ benefits in relation to the depletion of fossil resources and climate change. Bio-based products may also provide additional product functionalities. This has triggered a wave of innovation with the development of knowledge and technologies allowing new transformation processes and product development.

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RESEARCH

Celyad Oncology Announces Closing of $32.5 Million Private Placement with Fortress Investment Group Affiliate

Celyad Oncology SA | December 09, 2021

Celyad Oncology SA, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapies for cancer, announced the closing of its previously announced private placement with an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group. The Company issued 6,500,000 ordinary shares at a price of USD 5.00 for gross proceeds of USD 32.5 million. The Company intends to use net proceeds from the private placement to fund research and development expenses, including the clinical development of its allogeneic CAR T candidates CYAD-101 and CYAD-211, to advance the current pipeline of preclinical CAR T candidates, to discover and develop additional preclinical product candidates using its proprietary non-gene edited short hairpin RNA (shRNA) technology platform, as well as for working capital, other general corporate purposes, and the enhancement of the Company’s intellectual property. SVB Leerink acted as the exclusive placement agent for the private placement, Goodwin Procter LLP and Harvest acted as legal counsel to the Company. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Eubelius acted as legal counsel to Fortress. The securities issued in the private placement have not been registered under the Securities Act of 1933 or applicable state securities laws and may not be resold in the United States absent registration under the Securities Act or an applicable exemption from such registration requirements. The Company has agreed to customary registration rights covering the resale of the ordinary shares sold in the private placement. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy the securities, nor shall there be any sale of the securities in any state in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to the registration or qualification under the securities laws of such state. Any offering of the securities under the resale registration statement will only be by means of a prospectus. About Celyad Oncology SA Celyad Oncology SA is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapies for cancer. The Company is developing a pipeline of allogeneic and autologous CAR T cell therapy candidates for the treatment of both hematological malignancies and solid tumors. Celyad Oncology was founded in 2007 and is based in Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium and New York, NY. The Company has received funding from the Walloon Region to support the advancement of its CAR T cell therapy programs.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Quantum Genomics Signs an Exclusive License and Production Agreement with Gulf Pharmaceuticals Industries Julphar

Quantum Genomics | December 06, 2021

Quantum Genomics, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of first-in-class drugs directly targeting the brain to treat complex/resistant hypertension, has announced the signing of an exclusive license and production agreement with Julphar to market and produce firibastat in the Middle East, all African countries, Commonwealth of Independent States and Turkey. A pharmaceutical company based in the United Arab Emirates and leader in the MENA region, Julphar will receive exclusive rights to manufacture and market firibastat in the following geographic areas: the MENA1 region, CIS2, Turkey and all other countries on the African continent. With its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, making it possible to mass produce firibastat, Julphar will also be Quantum Genomics’ exclusive supplier for said regions. Quantum Genomics will receive up to $20M in upfront, development and sales milestone payments as well as royalties on future firibastat sales. Julphar has also pledged to invest $2M in Quantum Genomics through a private placement. Details of the transaction will be announced shortly. "Julphar, which was founded forty years ago, is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the MENA region. Its success has been built on its comprehensive portfolio including anti-infectives, dermatology and diabetes products and its presence in all key MENA markets. Its business is expanding fast, and cardiology is one of its key areas of investment. Julphar is also among the region’s largest producers and is the ideal partner to support firibastat’s future production needs. We’re already exploring how Julphar could meet some of those requirements for the United States and Europe," Jean-Philippe Milon, CEO of Quantum Genomics Commenting on the agreement, Dr. Essam Mohammed, Julphar’s CEO said: “Julphar is delighted to partner with Quantum Genomics to commercialize firibastat, a first in class molecule to treat resistant and difficult-to-treat hypertension, and to produce it in our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Ras Al Khaimah. We are confident that firibastat will add strong value to the treatment of this unmet medical need and to Julphar’s portfolio.” Dr. Essam Mohammed added: “The new landmark agreement brings together a stronger focus on innovative ways to address critical diseases in the MENA region through manufacturing high-quality medications locally.” About Julphar Julphar is one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers in the Middle East and Africa, and for more than four decades, the company has been delivering high quality, innovative and affordable healthcare solutions to families across the globe. Established under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Saqr Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi in 1980, Julphar employs 2,500 people and distributes pharmaceutical products to more than 50 countries across the globe. Julphar’s business is centered on three core business units – Julphar Diabetes Solutions, General Medicines and its consumer division, Julphar Life – which target major therapeutic segments including Gastrology, Pain Management, Wound Care, Antibiotics and Cardio-metabolism. Julphar has 13 internationally accredited facilities in the Middle East and Africa. In 2012, Julphar became one of the largest producers of Insulin with its UAE-based biotechnology production unit. About Quantum Genomics Quantum Genomics is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of a new class of cardiovascular drugs, based on the Brain Aminopeptidase A Inhibition (BAPAI) mechanism. It is the only company in the world to pursue this innovative approach directly targeting the brain, founded upon more than twenty years of research work by Paris-Descartes University and the INSERM/CNRS laboratory led by Dr. Catherine Llorens-Cortès at the Collège de France. Quantum Genomics thus aims to develop innovative treatments for complicated or even resistant hypertension and heart failure.

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MEDTECH

Flamingo Therapeutics Expands Alliance with Ionis Pharmaceuticals to Develop RNA-targeted Therapies for Oncology

Flamingo Therapeutics, Inc. | September 09, 2021

Flamingo Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company pioneering RNA-targeting therapies in oncology, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Ionis Pharmaceuticals to develop RNA-targeted therapies to treat various forms of cancer. This alliance is an expansion of an existing collaboration with Ionis on the FLAME™ discovery engine, following Flamingo's Series A financing in 2020. The agreement and discovery alliance will leverage Flamingo's deep expertise in oncology and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in combination with Ionis' expertise in RNA-targeted drug discovery and development to advance candidates against targets considered undruggable with traditional approaches. Flamingo's pipeline will include three clinical-stage programs from Ionis, inhibitors of STAT-3, Androgen Receptor (AR) and IRF4, and one preclinical-stage program that targets MALAT1, a well-characterized lncRNA target. Flamingo will also advance its proprietary discovery engine, FLAME (Flamingo LncRNA Antisense Mining Engine), that addresses lncRNAs, a large and untapped class of disease-causing targets within the dark matter of the human genome. "We're thrilled to strengthen our relationship with Ionis who has been at the forefront of RNA-targeted therapy for thirty years," said Michael Garrett, Chief Executive Officer of Flamingo. "We believe the combination of Ionis' leadership in RNA and our cutting-edge lncRNA discovery engine will expand the opportunities for applying RNA-targeted approaches to oncology." "We are pleased that Flamingo is leveraging their core strengths in developing novel cancer medicines to advance innovative Ionis-discovered oncology therapies where there is an unmet need," said Brett P. Monia, Ph.D., Ionis' chief executive officer. In connection with the alliance, Rob MacLeod, Ph.D., VP, Oncology Research & Development of Ionis, will serve as Chief Scientific Officer of Flamingo. Under the terms of the agreement, Ionis is eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties on future product sales of the STAT3, AR, IRF4 and MALAT1 programs. Flamingo retains full rights to its FLAME platform and all lncRNA programs outside of MALAT1. Flamingo Therapeutics was founded by VIB, Ghent University, KU Leuven, the University of Michigan, Kurma Partners and PMV, based on pioneering work led by Professor Jean-Christophe Marine (VIB-KU Leuven), Professor Pieter Mestdagh (Ghent University) and Professor Arul Chinnaiyan (University of Michigan). These scientific teams broke new ground on non-coding RNA genes in cancer and were among the first to show a role for lncRNAs as disease drivers in oncology. About Flamingo Therapeutics Flamingo is pioneering RNA-targeted therapies for oncology with state-of-the art chemistries. Flamingo has the most advanced antisense RNA-targeting oncology portfolio with three clinical programs targeting undruggable transcription factors and splice variants. To support and expand its pipeline, Flamingo has a proprietary discovery engine, FLAME™ (Flamingo LncRNA Antisense Mining Engine), that addresses lncRNAs, a large and untapped class of disease-causing targets within the "dark matter" of the human genome. The Company was founded in 2020 based on pioneering work in the field of lncRNAs in oncology with our academic partners at VIB, KU Leuven, Ghent University and the University of Michigan. Flamingo has a discovery alliance with Ionis Pharmaceuticals and is supported by well-known biotechnology investors Kurma Partners and PMV. The company is headquartered in Belgium with additional operations in San Diego, CA.

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