PR Newswire | October 10, 2023
Immunic, Inc. a biotechnology company developing a clinical pipeline of orally administered, small molecule therapies for chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, today announced positive interim data from its phase 2 CALLIPER trial of nuclear receptor related 1 (Nurr1) activator, vidofludimus calcium (IMU-838), in patients with progressive multiple sclerosis (PMS). The Company believes that this data shows biomarker evidence that vidofludimus calcium's activity extends beyond the previously observed anti-inflammatory effects, thereby further reinforcing its neuroprotective potential.
Serum NfL responses were consistently observed for vidofludimus calcium across progressive MS disease and all subpopulations. In the overall PMS population at 24 weeks (N=203), vidofludimus calcium was associated with a 6.7% reduction from baseline in serum NfL, compared to a 15.8% increase over baseline in placebo (p=0.01, post hoc). At 48 weeks (N=79), vidofludimus calcium reduced serum NfL by 10.4% from baseline, compared to a 6.4% increase in placebo. Substantial reductions were also seen across all PMS subtypes, as well as in patients that show or do not show disease and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) activity.
Although early, interim GFAP data also showed a promising signal: at 24 weeks (N=203), GFAP increased by 3.7% for vidofludimus calcium, and 4.4% for placebo. At 48 weeks (N=79), the change was only 2.7% for vidofludimus calcium, with a 6.4% increase for placebo. Progression of GFAP response is generally thought to evolve more slowly than NfL, and the Company believes that a longer follow-up may further strengthen this signal.
"Serum NfL has been consistently shown to capture disease activity and to predict future disability in MS. Vidofludimus calcium shows a separation in serum NfL over placebo in this interim analysis, an effect also seen across different subgroups," stated Prof. Jens Kuhle, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Physician, Head of Neuroimmunology Unit and Multiple Sclerosis Centre, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland. "Particularly remarkable, the non-active progressive MS population, which represents the highest unmet medical need in MS, also showed differences in NfL levels over this relatively short observation period in favor of vidofludimus calcium. Meanwhile, although longer follow-up is needed, the GFAP data set also shows a potential promising early signal. Overall, the interim biomarker data further support vidofludimus calcium's possible activity beyond an anti-inflammatory effect, which may be related to its potent Nurr1 activation."
"The clear separation observed in serum NfL for vidofludimus calcium over placebo in the PMS patient population represents another major step forward for, what potentially could be, a first-in-class Nurr1 activator for MS," commented Daniel Vitt, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and President of Immunic. "Although no head-to-head data is available, it is encouraging to see that vidofludimus calcium's improvement in NfL over placebo appears at least as good as, and is in fact numerically higher than that observed with historical studies of other therapeutic approaches for PMS. We believe that, if the top-line CALLIPER data, expected in April of 2025, continue to show a neuroprotective effect, we may be able to position vidofludimus calcium as the first oral treatment option for non-active SPMS. Additionally, the drug's first-in-class ability to activate Nurr1, a known neuroprotective target, should also significantly benefit our ongoing phase 3 ENSURE program in relapsing MS where prevention of disability progression independent of relapse activity (PIRA), serves as a key outcome."
"We are very pleased to see such strong improvements in serum NfL for vidofludimus calcium over placebo in the overall PMS population of this interim analysis, as well as across all PMS subtypes and in patients with and without disease activity, and with and without MRI activity. We even saw evidence in non-active SPMS, a population where the medical need for new therapies is high as there is currently no relevant treatment available in the US," added Andreas Muehler, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Immunic. "Finally, we were also excited to see an encouraging early signal with GFAP. This is a newer biomarker which is thought to evolve more slowly and with lower amplitude than NfL, and longer follow-up will hopefully allow us to see even stronger results."
The Company believes that these results corroborate separate findings from its phase 2 EMPhASIS trial in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), where vidofludimus calcium was associated with a decrease in serum NfL at 24 weeks (-17.0% for 30 mg and -20.5% for 45 mg) as compared to baseline values, as contrasted with a 6.5% increase in serum NfL over baseline among placebo patients.
CALLIPER is a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2 trial which enrolled 467 patients with primary PMS or active or non-active secondary PMS at more than 70 sites throughout North America as well as Western, Central and Eastern Europe. Patients were randomized to either 45 mg daily doses of vidofludimus calcium or placebo, and the trial's primary endpoint is the annualized rate of percent brain volume change up to 120 weeks. Key secondary endpoints include the annualized rate of change in whole brain atrophy and time to 24-week confirmed disability progression based on the expanded disability status scale (EDSS).
Anticipated MS Clinical Milestones
Top-line data from the phase 2 CALLIPER trial of vidofludimus calcium in PMS is expected in April of 2025.
Data from the interim analysis of the phase 3 ENSURE program of vidofludimus calcium in relapsing MS is expected in late 2024, with the top-line readout of the first of the ENSURE trials at the end of 2025.
The interim data of the phase 2 CALLIPER trial of vidofludimus calcium in PMS will be filed on a Form 8-K and discussed during the management presentation to be held tomorrow at 8:00 am ET. The presentation will also be accessible on the "Events and Presentations" section of Immunic's website at: https://ir.imux.com/events-and-presentations.
About Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. In MS, myelin, the coating that protects the nerves, is attacked and damaged by the immune system. Thus, MS is considered an immune-mediated demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Progressive multiple sclerosis (PMS) includes both primary progressive MS (PPMS) and secondary progressive MS (SPMS). PPMS is characterized by steadily worsening neurologic function from the onset of symptoms without initial relapse or remissions. SPMS is identified following an initial relapsing-remitting course, after which the disease becomes more steadily progressive, with (active SPMS) or without (non-active SPMS) other disease activity present.
About Vidofludimus Calcium (IMU-838)
Vidofludimus calcium is a small molecule investigational drug in development as an oral next-generation treatment option for patients with multiple sclerosis and other chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The selective immune modulator activates the neuroprotective transcription factor nuclear receptor related 1 (Nurr1), which is associated with direct neuroprotective properties. Additionally, vidofludimus calcium is a known inhibitor of the enzyme dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), which is a key enzyme in the metabolism of overactive immune cells and virus-infected cells. This mechanism is associated with the anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects of vidofludimus calcium. Vidofludimus calcium has been observed to selectively act on hyperactive T and B cells while leaving other immune cells largely unaffected and enabling normal immune system function, e.g., in fighting infections. To date, vidofludimus calcium has been tested in more than 1,400 individuals and has shown an attractive pharmacokinetic, safety and tolerability profile. Vidofludimus calcium is not yet licensed or approved in any country.
About Immunic, Inc.
Immunic, Inc. is a biotechnology company developing a clinical pipeline of orally administered, small molecule therapies for chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The company's lead development program, vidofludimus calcium (IMU-838), is currently in phase 3 and phase 2 clinical trials for the treatment of relapsing and progressive multiple sclerosis, respectively, and has shown therapeutic activity in phase 2 clinical trials in patients suffering from relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis. Vidofludimus calcium combines neuroprotective effects, through its mechanism as a first-in-class nuclear receptor related 1 (Nurr1) activator, with additional anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects, by selectively inhibiting the enzyme dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH). IMU-856, which targets the protein Sirtuin 6 (SIRT6), is intended to restore intestinal barrier function and regenerate bowel epithelium, which could potentially be applicable in numerous gastrointestinal diseases, such as celiac disease, where it is currently in preparations for a phase 2 clinical trial. IMU-381, which currently is in preclinical testing, is a next generation molecule being developed to specifically address the needs of gastrointestinal diseases.
GlobeNewswire | October 03, 2023
Amicus Therapeutics a global, patient-dedicated biotechnology company focused on discovering, developing, and delivering novel medicines for rare diseases, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement for a $430 million financing collaboration with funds managed by Blackstone. As part of the collaboration, Blackstone Life Sciences and Blackstone Credit have agreed to provide Amicus with a $400 million senior secured term loan facilitating a refinancing of existing debt and a $30 million strategic investment in Amicus’s common stock. The financing collaboration allows Amicus to grow revenues and move toward profitability while delivering on its mission for patients and its vision of being one of the leading biotechnology companies focused on rare diseases.
Bradley Campbell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Amicus Therapeutics, stated: “This new financing with Blackstone strengthens our balance sheet and financial profile by reducing the interest rate versus our current debt, pushing out the amortization schedule and extending the amortization period. This strategic investment demonstrates Blackstone's commitment to Amicus’ future and belief in the strong growth potential of Galafold and Pombiliti™ + Opfolda™ as we continue on our mission to develop medicines for people living with rare diseases.”
Key features of this transaction include
$400M senior secured term loan facility; interest rate at adjusted Term SOFR plus 6.25%, subject to a 2.50% floor on Term SOFR
$30M investment in Amicus common stock
Requires interest-only payments until late 2026 and matures in October 2029
The full amount of the loan and equity purchase will be available and fully drawn at the initial funding
The proceeds will be used to refinance Amicus’s existing debt and fund ongoing operations
Commenting on the arrangement, Craig Shepherd, Senior Managing Director with Blackstone Life Sciences and Brad Colman, Senior Managing Director with Blackstone Credit said: "Blackstone aims to provide customized financing solutions for the world’s leading biotech and pharma companies across therapeutic areas to support mission critical scientific innovation. We are excited to collaborate with Amicus and provide capital to advance their mission of bringing important new medicines to people living with rare diseases around the world."
Simon Harford, Amicus Chief Financial Officer, added: “Securing this financing with Blackstone as we launch Pombiliti™ + Opfolda™ around the world, allows us to better align our borrowing with anticipated cash flows while at the same time enhancing our ability to maximize access to our therapies for people living with rare diseases.”
Subject to completion of customary conditions, the loan is expected to be funded and the equity investment is expected to close on October 5, 2023.
About Amicus Therapeutics
Amicus Therapeutics is a global, patient-dedicated biotechnology company focused on discovering, developing and delivering novel high-quality medicines for people living with rare diseases. With extraordinary patient focus, Amicus Therapeutics is committed to advancing and expanding a pipeline of cutting-edge, first- or best-in-class medicines for rare diseases.
About Blackstone Life Sciences
Blackstone Life Sciences is an industry-leading private investment platform with capabilities to invest across the life cycle of companies and products within the key life science sectors. By combining scale investments and hands-on operational leadership, Blackstone Life Sciences helps bring to market promising new medicines and medical technologies that improve patients’ lives and currently has more than $8 billion in assets under management.
PR Newswire | October 25, 2023
Flagship Pioneeringannounced the combination of Laronde and Senda Biosciences to launch Sail Biomedicines, a company pioneering the design and deployment of fully programmable medicines to transform patient care. Sail harnesses the power of first-in-category programmable payloads of Endless RNA™ (eRNA), first-in-category programmable nanoparticles, and emerging, proprietary AI technologies, to unlock the comprehensive programming of medicines for the first time. Guillaume Pfefer, Ph.D., MBA, who is also CEO-Partner at Flagship Pioneering, will become Sail's CEO and board member, while John Mendlein, Ph.D., who also serves as Executive Partner, Flagship Pioneering, will become the company's Executive Chairman.
Sail unites Laronde and Senda Biosciences, two companies that deliver more than eight years of combined data and multi-product platform building. Senda's platform was the first to leverage a universal chemical code of natural nanoparticles that enables directed and repeatable deployment of payloads, such as translatable RNA, directly to cells and tissues of choice. Laronde pioneered eRNA, a new class of synthetic, translatable RNA that can be programmed to express diverse proteins inside the body, with vast therapeutic potential.
"Endless RNA has the potential to create an entirely new class of programmable medicines across therapeutic areas that we will now be able to deliver directly to cells and tissues via deployment molecules with unique properties to confer specificity and greater tolerability," said Mendlein. "We believe these programmable medicines will be greatly enhanced via our proprietary generative AI technologies and rapid prototyping abilities to achieve breakthroughs currently beyond the grasp of the human mind. I look forward to working with the Sail Biomedicines team in this exciting new chapter."
"Our deployment platform utilizes natural nanoparticles to shuttle biomolecules into human cells, with unique tropism, potency, and redosability," said Pfefer. "I look forward to leading the integration of these two teams to accelerate the development of new product candidates, build strategic partnerships, and enable diverse value pools, with the goal of swiftly delivering life-changing vaccines and therapies for the people who need them."
"Sail Biomedicines builds on the progress made by two leading Flagship bioplatform companies and will enable integrative design for more effective programmable medicines," said Noubar Afeyan, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering. "I am confident the combined leadership team and board will carry forward this company to realize its bold ambitions and ultimately deliver maximum impact for patients."
In addition to Mendlein and Pfeffer, the Sail Biomedicines Board of Directors will comprise all current members of the Laronde and Senda Biosciences boards, as follows
Pablo Cagnoni, M.D., President and Head of Research & Development, Incyte
Jose "Pepe" Carmona, MBA, Chief Financial Officer, ADC Therapeutics
Paula Hammond, Ph.D., Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Head of Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Avak Kahvejian, Ph.D., General Partner, Flagship Pioneering
Ignacio Martinez, MBA, General Partner, Flagship Pioneering
Sheri McCoy, M.S., MBA, Former Vice Chairman, Johnson & Johnson
Mary Szela, MBA, CEO and President, TriSalus Life Sciences
About Sail Biomedicines
Sail Biomedicines is pioneering the integrative design and deployment of fully programmable medicines to transform patient care. Sail's platform combines first-in-class programmable circular RNA technology (Endless RNA™ or eRNA), and an industry-leading platform of programmable nanoparticles, utilizing natural components, to unlock comprehensive programming of medicines for the first time. By leveraging cutting-edge eRNA and nanoparticle deployment technology, Sail is building a wealth of data, enabling unparalleled use of generative AI techniques to identify and design fully programmable medicines that are potent, targeted, versatile, and tunable. Sail was founded by Flagship Pioneering.
About Flagship Pioneering
Flagship Pioneering is a biotechnology company that invents and builds platform companies, each with the potential for multiple products that transform human health or sustainability. Since its launch in 2000, Flagship has originated and fostered more than 100 scientific ventures, resulting in more than $90 billion in aggregate value. To date, Flagship has deployed over $3.4 billion in capital toward the founding and growth of its pioneering companies alongside more than $26 billion of follow-on investments from other institutions.
PR Newswire | October 05, 2023
Capsida Biotherapeutics Inc. and Kate Therapeutics announced a strategic partnership to leverage Capsida's expertise and adeno-associated virus (AAV) manufacturing capabilities to enable KateTx's initial internal portfolio of muscle and heart disease programs.
Under the terms of the agreement, Capsida will provide GMP manufacturing of KateTx's gene therapies as the medicines advance through preclinical and clinical development. In return, Capsida will receive undisclosed funding for the term of the agreement.
KateTx's publicly disclosed internal programs include myotonic dystrophy type 1 and facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, which are two of the leading causes of adult-onset muscular dystrophy.
"Capsida possesses end-to-end expertise – which includes AAV capsid engineering, preclinical, clinical, and state-of-the-art manufacturing," said Peter Anastasiou, chief executive officer (CEO) of Capsida Biotherapeutics. "We are thrilled to be able to leverage our established capabilities in AAV manufacturing and support a peer company to reach patients in a complementary space, while continuing to advance our own internal and partnered pipeline in CNS and ophthalmology."
"KateTx is leading the way in developing capsid and cargo combinations to address muscle and heart diseases in ways that have not been previously possible," said Kevin Forrest, Ph.D., president and CEO of Kate Therapeutics. "Capsida's exceptional AAV manufacturing capabilities allow us to build our pipeline, de-risk our programs, and advance them into the clinic in the most rapid manner possible, so we can bring much-needed therapies to patients quickly."
"This collaboration between Capsida and KateTx leverages complementary expertise and overlapping needs across both innovative companies to advance programs in a capital-efficient manner. Capsida has established first-in-class engineered AAV manufacturing capabilities applicable across broad therapeutic areas, and this partnership with KateTx aims to bring these next-generation gene therapies to patients sooner than with traditional approaches," said Beth Seidenberg, M.D., co-founding managing director at Westlake Village BioPartners, member of the board of Capsida, and chair of the board at KateTx.
About Capsida Biotherapeutics
Capsida Biotherapeutics is an integrated gene therapy company developing treatments for rare and common diseases across all ages. Capsida's new class of engineered adeno associated virus (AAV)-based delivery technologies enables a broad range of therapeutic modalities, including DNA, RNA, gene editors, vectorized antibodies and other genetic cargoes, to be systemically delivered to specific organ systems while simultaneously limiting exposure to non-targeted organs. Capsida's proprietary capsid engineering and broad IP estate allows for identification and development of capsids with tropism for any tissue or cell type. The company's initial focus has been delivering therapeutic cargoes intravenously to the central nervous system (CNS) with high transduction levels to the desired tissues and cells. The company is developing a pipeline of both wholly owned programs in CNS and partnered programs with AbbVie (CNS and broad range of ophthalmic disorders), Lilly (CNS), and CRISPR Therapeutics (CNS). Capsida was founded in 2019 by lead investors Versant Ventures and Westlake Village BioPartners and originated from groundbreaking research in the laboratory of Viviana Gradinaru, Ph.D., a neuroscience professor at Caltech.
About Kate Therapeutics
Kate Therapeutics (KateTx) is a patient-focused biotechnology company developing adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapies to treat genetically defined muscle and heart diseases. The company is applying novel technology platforms that directly address the key limitations of current gene therapies, including tissue-specific delivery and gene regulation. These breakthroughs have the potential to improve the efficacy and safety of gene therapies and enable the pursuit of a broader set of targets that are otherwise difficult to drug with current technologies.