DIAGNOSTICS

RQ Bio Launches with Goal to Transform Treatment and Prevention of Viral Infectious Diseases Through Antibody Technologies

RQ Bio | May 17, 2022

RQ_Bio_Launches
RQ Bio today emerges from stealth mode announcing its launch as a new UK-based biotechnology company following the completion of a successful licensing deal with AstraZeneca for RQ Bio's existing mAbs against SARS-CoV-2. The Company, which is headquartered in London, is dedicated to developing treatments and preventative therapies based on potent broad-spectrum mAbs to provide instant and long-lasting immunity for vulnerable people at risk of severe disease or death from existing, emerging and new viral infections.

To maximise and accelerate patient impact, the company will continue to be supported by its collaborations with its scientific co-founders, the University of Oxford and leading UK medical research charity LifeArc. Professor Gavin Screaton, Head of the Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford, will continue to advise in his capacity as scientific and medical co-founder, as will Clare Terlouw, Head of LifeArc Ventures and UK BIA board member, as a member of the Board of Directors.

Our vision is to build on our successful debut with neutralising antibody therapy for SARS-CoV-2 and develop innovative medicines to address current and evolving unmet needs in other viral infectious diseases, By combining our expertise and innovative excellence in core areas we have created a smarter approach to antibody generation making us uniquely positioned to deliver fast patient impact."

Hugo Fry, CEO of RQ Bio.

LifeArc is committed to backing leading UK academics and scientists, and we were inspired to fund RQ Bio because of the exceptional group of founders who are so passionately dedicated to finding new treatments and preventative therapies in areas of high unmet patient need, LifeArc provided support from across the Charity, including the venture team, scientific labs and other in-house experts to help RQ Bio execute on its business plan, and we look forward to further supporting RQ Bio as it becomes a world-leading infectious disease company."

Clare Terlouw, Head of LifeArc Ventures.

About RQ Bio
RQ Bio's mission has been to develop medicines based on potent broad-spectrum mAbs to provide instant and long-lasting immunity for vulnerable people at risk of severe disease or death from current and future variants of viral infections. RQ Bio has achieved this by combining innovative excellence in core areas to create a smarter approach to antibody generation. RQ Bio has multiple sources of leads and a deep collaboration with the University of Oxford. RQ Bio was founded by scientific experts previously involved with the UK BIA Antibody Taskforce, which worked to build a community of infectious disease antibody experts focussed on the development of rapid and efficient delivery of highly potent neutralising antibodies to help support the UK COVID-19 response.

About AstraZeneca Licensing Deal
Under the terms of the agreement, RQ Bio has granted AstraZeneca an exclusive worldwide licence to develop, manufacture and commercialise RQ Bio's exisiting early stage mAbs against SARS-CoV-2 and a right of first refusal to take an exclusive licence in respect of any additional mAbs against SARS-CoV-2. RQ Bio will receive upfront and milestone payments of up to $157 million and will be eligible to receive single digit royalties on sales. The successful licensing deal was supported by Oxford University Innovation (OUI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the University of Oxford that manages the University's technology transfer and consulting activities, who worked efficiently and creatively with all parties on the corresponding technology licences and the filing of intellectual properties.

Spotlight

Moderna Therapeutics is a biotech company working to create new medicines through its revolutionary messenger RNA (mRNA) Therapeutics platform. It uses Microsoft Office 365 business productivity tools to build an agile, flexible, and collaborative ecosystem of Moderna teams and partners to accelerate innovation in mRNA research and development. Founded in 2010, Moderna Therapeutics has created a new in vivo medicine using messenger RNA (mRNA) to teach human cells to create proteins that target diseased tissue. Placing eighth on the CNBC 2014 Disruptor 50 list, Moderna is poised to deliver a radical treatment modality that’s fast, scalable, and inexpensive.


Other News
MEDICAL

Pancreatic Cancer Cells Harness Normal Tissue Turnover to Build Protective Barriers

NYU Langone Health | April 05, 2022

In the presence of pancreatic tumors, certain immune cells break down structural proteins into molecules that trigger the building of dense tissue, a known barrier to therapy, a new study finds. Led by researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the study revolves around the dense protein meshwork that supports organs and helps to rebuild damaged tissue. Collagen protein fibers, the major component of the mesh, are continually broken down and replaced to maintain tensile strength, and as part of the wound healing process. Past studies have shown that immune cells called macrophages contribute to a process called desmoplasia, which is caused by the abnormal turnover and excessive deposition of collagen that insulates pancreatic cancers. In this environment, macrophages are also known to engulf and break down collagen through the action of a protein called the mannose receptor (MRC1). Publishing online April 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, the current study found that the degraded collagen increased the amount of arginine, an amino acid that is used by the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) to produce compounds called reactive nitrogen species (RNS). This, in turn, caused neighboring, supportive stellate cells to build collagen-based meshes around tumors, say the study authors. Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, with a five-year survival rate of 10%. Pancreatic cancer remains difficult to treat in large part due to the extensive network of fibrotic tissue around tumors. This network not only blocks access by therapies, but also promotes aggressive growth. For the current study, experiments showed that macrophages grown in dishes of nutrients (cultures), and converted into their cancer-tolerant setting (M2), broke down far more collagen than macrophages that attack cancer cells (M1). Further, the team confirmed with a series of tests that M2 macrophages have higher levels of enzymes that generate RNS, such as iNOS. To confirm these findings in live mice, the team implanted stellate cells that were either "pre-fed" with collage, or maintained in an unfed state, into the flanks of the study animals along with pancreatic cancer cells. The team observed a 100 percent increase in the density of intra-tumoral collagen fibers in tumors derived from cancer cells co-implanted with stellate cells pre-treated with collagen. Importantly, the study showed for the first time that macrophages near pancreatic cancer cells, not only take in and break down more collagen as part of scavenging for proteins that feed abnormal growth, but also are changed by the scavenging, such that their energy processing system (metabolism) is rewired and signals for fibrotic buildup. Our team uncovered a mechanism that connects collagen turnover to the building of a treatment-resistant environment around pancreatic tumors, As this dense environment is a major reason why pancreatic cancer is so deadly, a better understanding of links between protein scavenging and the building of protective barriers will be needed to improve the treatment of this devastating malignancy." Bar-Sagi. Kimmelman has financial interests in Vescor Therapeutics, and is listed on patents pertaining to KRAS-regulated metabolic pathways, redox control pathways in pancreatic cancer, targeting GOT1 as a therapeutic approach, and the autophagy control of iron metabolism. Kimmelman is on the scientific advisory board for Rafael/Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals, and consults for Deciphera and Abbvie. Bar-Sagi is on the Scientific Advisory Board of Rafael/Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals and Samumed LLC, and is also on the board of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. These relationships are being managed in keeping with the policies of NYU Langone Health.

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MEDICAL

Emmaus Life Sciences Announces Launch of Full-Service Telehealth Solution

Emmaus Life Sciences, Inc. | April 12, 2022

Emmaus Life Sciences, Inc. (OTQXC: EMMA), a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company and leader in the treatment of sickle cell disease, today announced the launch of an innovative full-service telehealth solution with its strategic partners, including Asembia LLC, US Bioservices Corporation and UpScriptHealth. The telehealth program capitalizes on the expansion of telemedicine in the U.S. to afford patients and providers on-line access to Endari®, the company's prescription-grade L-glutamine oral powder, for the treatment of sickle cell disease. The launch of our full-service telehealth solution reflects our stated commitment to make Endari accessible to sickle cell patients in need and we are excited to be launching the program, Our solution will allow patients to see a doctor without leaving home, thereby eliminating unnecessary travel time and expense and the risk of infection that can occur with hospital visits. Eligible patients will be able to receive a same-day physician authorization and prescription for Endari and to have the prescription delivered to their homes within just a few days. As the telehealth solution grows, we are optimistic that it will help us to reach new patients and add meaningful revenue for Emmaus." Yutaka Niihara, M.D., M.P.H., Emmaus' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. According to a December 3, 2021 report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), available at the HHS website at https://www.hhs.gov, the share of Medicare visits conducted through telehealth in 2020 increased 63-fold, from approximately 840,000 in 2019 to 52.7 million. The report noted that telehealth was particularly helpful in offsetting potential foregone behavioral health care and that states with the highest use of telehealth in 2020 included Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. Other industry sources suggest that the trend toward telehealth accelerated in 2021 and is likely to be sustained. We believe that affording patients and telehealth prescribers access to Endari in a quick and convenient way will improve their experience and potentially increase adherence rates, We look forward to working with our strategic partners on this important project." George Sekulich, Senior Vice President of Global Commercialization of Emmaus. About Emmaus Life Sciences Emmaus Life Sciences, Inc. is a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company and leader in the treatment of sickle cell disease. The company currently markets U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Endari® (L-glutamine oral powder) indicated to reduce the acute complications of sickle cell disease in adults and children 5 years and older. The company is also engaged in the discovery and development of innovative treatments and therapies for certain rare and orphan diseases as well as those affecting larger populations, such as diverticulosis. About Sickle Cell Disease There are approximately 100,000 people living with sickle cell disease (SCD) in the United States and millions more globally. The sickle gene is found in every ethnic group, not just among those of African descent; and in the United States an estimated 1-in-365 African Americans and 1-in-16,300 Hispanic Americans are born with SCD.1 The genetic mutation responsible for SCD causes an individual's red blood cells to distort into a "C" or a sickle shape, reducing their ability to transport oxygen throughout the body. These sickled red blood cells break down rapidly, become very sticky, and develop a propensity to clump together, which causes them to become stuck and cause damage within blood vessels. The result is reduced blood flow to distal organs, which leads to physical symptoms of incapacitating pain, tissue and organ damage, and early death

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Harbour BioMed Announces Approval for Phase I Trial of B7H4x4-1BB Bispecific Antibody in Australia

Harbour BioMed | February 28, 2022

Harbour BioMed announced that, it has been approved by the Institutional Review Boards to commence phase I trial of its B7H4x4-1BB bispecific antibody in Australia. This study will evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and preliminary anti-tumor activity of HBM7008 in patients with solid tumors. HBM7008 is generated from our unique and innovative HBICE® platform. It targets Tumor Associated Antigen mediated crosslinking T cell activation through 4-1BB. B7H4 is overexpressed on a variety of solid malignancies, including breast, ovarian, endometrial and non-small cell lung cancers. With its crosslinking dependent specificity on tumors and potent immune modulation activity, HBM7008 has shown excellent safety profile with strong anti-tumor efficacy in the pre-clinical study, including completed response observed in mouse tumor model. "4-1BB is one of the most promising anti-tumor immune targets, providing new solutions for tumor treatment. Based on preclinical study data, we are highly confident in B7H4x4-1BB bispecific antibody. We will efficiently promote this clinical study to provide an novel, effective and safe treatment for patients, so that more tumor patients can benefit from the innovative therapeutic." Dr. Xiaoxiang Chen, Chief Development Officer of Harbour BioMed About HBM7008 HBM7008 is a bispecific antibody targeting Tumor Associated Antigen B7H4x4-1BB that not only displays high potency in the T cell co-stimulation and tumor growth inhibition, and potentially may also translate to better safety due to its strict dependency of TAA-mediated crosslinking T cell activation. HBM7008 is one of the fully human bispecific antibodies developed from the HBICE® platform of the Company. It is the only bispecific antibody against these two targets globally. Its unique specificity on tumors and immune modulation activity makes it a promising therapeutics in PD-L1 negative or PD-1/PD-L1 resistant patients. It also has the potential to avoid 4-1BB liver toxicity risk observed in other products with the benefit of its innovative biology mechanisms and bispecific design. About Harbour BioMed Harbour BioMed is a global biopharmaceutical company committed to the discovery, development and commercialization of novel antibody therapeutics focusing on immunology and oncology. The Company is building its robust portfolio and differentiated pipeline through internal R&D capability, collaborations with co-discovery and co-development partners and select acquisitions.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Chimeron Bio Expands Footprint in Philadelphia by Joining BioLabs at The Curtis

Chimeron Bio | January 25, 2022

Chimeron Bio, a biotechnology company pioneering a novel class of self-amplifying RNA-vaccines and therapeutics announced its plan to expand operations in the Philadelphia area and move to The Curtis, a landmark site in Center City Philadelphia under BioLabs, the leading developer and operator of life science co-working spaces in the U.S. and internationally. The move stems from Chimeron’s need for an expanded footprint to accommodate its growing R&D team and operations. The Curtis, a historical landmark has been reimagined to host first-class wet labs and is quickly becoming a hub for top-tier life science organizations in the Philadelphia area. Chimeron Bio’s move to The Curtis will solidify their position as emerging leaders in biotechnology as the company works to advance its pipeline to the clinic. “We are pleased to be joining BioLabs Philadelphia, a facility that offers unwavering support for success and growth. We expect this new facility to drive our next phase of growth by enabling our growing team to conduct cutting-edge research as we work to bring high-impact accessible RNA medicines to patients. At this new site, we look forward to continuing our trajectory of attracting premier talent and becoming a major player in Philly’s growing life science ecosystem,” Dr. Jolly Mazumdar, PhD, MBA, co-founder and CEO of Chimeron Bio About Chimeron Bio Chimeron Bio is a biotechnology company focused developing a pipeline of self-amplifying RNA medicines, both therapeutics and vaccines, designed on its proprietary ChaESAR™ delivery technology platform.

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Spotlight

Moderna Therapeutics is a biotech company working to create new medicines through its revolutionary messenger RNA (mRNA) Therapeutics platform. It uses Microsoft Office 365 business productivity tools to build an agile, flexible, and collaborative ecosystem of Moderna teams and partners to accelerate innovation in mRNA research and development. Founded in 2010, Moderna Therapeutics has created a new in vivo medicine using messenger RNA (mRNA) to teach human cells to create proteins that target diseased tissue. Placing eighth on the CNBC 2014 Disruptor 50 list, Moderna is poised to deliver a radical treatment modality that’s fast, scalable, and inexpensive.

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