Biotech News

  • Incyte, Novartis to test repurposed cancer drug in COVID-19
    by Ned Pagliarulo on 3 Aprile, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    The drugmakers, which are partnered on Incyte's therapy Jakafi, plan to quickly start Phase 3 trials in patients with inflammatory responses tied to COVID-19.

  • UK-US Initiative to Screen Drugs Using AI for Coronavirus Treatments
    by David Kirk on 3 Aprile, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    The UK company Exscientia will use its AI-driven drug discovery platform to examine a collection of 15,000 potential coronavirus disease treatments in collaboration with the US research institute Calibr and the non-profit synchrotron company Diamond Light Source.  The team’s huge collection of drug molecules will be provided by Calibr, part of the US medical institute Scripps Research. Diamond Light Source will use its facilities to examine protein structure and replicate essential viral proteins for experimentation.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded the collection of these drug candidates, which includes nearly every known drug that has been approved or extensively tested for safety but not yet approved for therapeutic use. The collection will be shipped from Scripps Research in California to Oxford where Exscientia and Diamond Light Source can work together to screen and test the collection as well as modifications of the drug candidates against key viral proteins.  Diamond began studying the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 shortly after the outbreak, using its expertise in crystallography to identify the structure of viral protein targets and find potential therapeutic sites.  “We saw an opportunity to use our expertise in super high-throughput drug binding experiments,” David Owen, Doctoral Research Associate at Diamond, told me. “We were also able to solve the [protein] structure at a very high resolution. The post UK-US Initiative to Screen Drugs Using AI for Coronavirus Treatments appeared first on

  • Fate inks $100M J&J pact for 'off-the-shelf' cancer cell therapies
    by Ben Fidler on 3 Aprile, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    Several companies, including Fate, could soon provide meaningful data in support of allogeneic cell therapy, unless COVID-19 disrupts those plans.

  • Commercial and regulatory strategy considerations for biotech
    by Alberto Grignolo, Corporate Vice President, Parexel; Sheela Hegde, Partner and Managing Director in Parexel’s Health Advances subsidiary; and Leslie DeVos, VP, Regulatory Consulting, Parexel on 3 Aprile, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Discover ideas and insights for getting innovations in the biotech pipeline to patients sooner. 

  • GSK allies with Innovax for COVID-19 vaccine R&D project
    by Nick Paul on 3 Aprile, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    GlaxoSmithKline has teamed up with Xiamen Innovax Biotech to evaluate a vaccine against the novel coronavirus behind the COVID-19 pandemic. The agreement gives Innovax access to a GSK adjuvant to enhance the immune response triggered by its recombinant protein-based vaccine.

  • J&J inks Fate deal to move into allogeneic CAR therapies 
    by Nick Paul on 3 Aprile, 2020 at 9:54 am

    Johnson & Johnson is paying Fate Therapeutics $50 million upfront to collaborate on up to four CAR NK and CAR-T cell therapies. The deal, which features $3 billion in milestones, tasks Fate with using its induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) platform to develop drugs based on four targets picked out by J&J.

  • Lilly Partners UK Immunometabolism Biotech in Deal Worth €811M
    by Helen Albert on 3 Aprile, 2020 at 9:18 am

    Eli Lilly will partner Oxford-based Sitryx to develop up to four drug candidates to treat autoimmune disease in a deal worth €811M if development milestones are met. The UK biotech will receive an upfront payment of €46M from the US big pharma, which will also buy €10M of equity in the company. Sitryx can also expect up to €755M in developmental milestone payments for the collaborative programs. Sitryx will use the money to develop the treatments to the point that they can be tested in humans, which includes its two current lead candidates.  This new funding adds to a respectable €26M Series A round raised to launch the company in October 2018, and will be “transformational” for Sitryx according to CEO Neil Weir. Sitryx was formed in 2018 by six well-known researchers in the field of immunology including Paul Peter Tak, who was previously in charge of oncology and immuno-inflammation R&D at GSK. The biotech’s pipeline is still at the preclinical stage and it has a focus on developing treatments that regulate cell metabolism in the immune system. “The energetic status of cells has been shown to be pivotal in controlling the behavior of disease-associated cells in immuno-oncology and immuno-inflammation,” Weir told me. “Correcting immune cell function or inhibiting tumor cell growth through targeting metabolic pathways has the potential to deliver new approaches to treat a wide range of severe diseases.” The UK company has only shared minimal information about its technology and has not disclosed the specific diseases it will be targeting. The post Lilly Partners UK Immunometabolism Biotech in Deal Worth €811M appeared first on

  • BioNTech, CureVac tell regulators to lower clinical trial bar if they want a COVID-19 vaccine quickly
    by Ben Adams on 3 Aprile, 2020 at 8:05 am

    Two German biotech companies at the start of a race to create new vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic are warning the EMA and FDA they will need traditional clinical trial hurdles removed if governments want the inoculations as quickly as possible.

  • Cellex and Mayo Clinic Launch Tests to Determine COVID-19 Immunity from Previous Exposure
    on 3 Aprile, 2020 at 12:00 am

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first blood test that looks for the antibodies against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

  • Biopharma Update on the Novel Coronavirus: April 3
    on 3 Aprile, 2020 at 12:00 am

    Please check out the biopharma industry coronavirus (COVID-19) stories that are trending for April 3, 2020.

  • Novartis and Incyte to Test Cancer Drug Jakavi in COVID-19
    on 3 Aprile, 2020 at 12:00 am

    Novartis announced that, with Incyte, it is launching a Phase III clinical trial to determine if their cancer drug Jakavi (ruxolitinib) can be used to treat COVID-19.

  • BioSpace Movers & Shakers, April 3
    on 3 Aprile, 2020 at 12:00 am

    Companies strengthen their leadership teams and executive boards with this week's Movers & Shakers.

  • Experimental COVID-19 Vaccine Shows Promise in Producing Antibodies
    on 3 Aprile, 2020 at 12:00 am

    When tested in mice, the vaccine, which is delivered through a fingertip-sized patch, produced the antibodies specific to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

  • Research Roundup: Analysis of the 1st U.S. Community-Transmitted COVID-19 Case and More
    on 3 Aprile, 2020 at 12:00 am

    Every week there are numerous scientific studies published. Here’s a look at some of the more interesting ones.

  • Compare: 2003 SARS Pandemic Versus 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic
    on 3 Aprile, 2020 at 12:00 am

    SARS was called the first pandemic of the 21st century. It would not be the last. Nor would it be the most deadly.

  • Axon's Tau Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase II Alzheimer's Study
    on 3 Aprile, 2020 at 12:00 am

    During a presentation at the AAT-AD/PD 2020 conference, Axon said AADvac1 showed a disease-modifying effect on Alzheimer's disease.

  • Chutes & Ladders—Kewalramani officially takes over as Vertex CEO
    by Kyle Blankenship on 2 Aprile, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    Vertex moves Kewalramani into CEO post; Pfizer taps Gates Foundation head to board; Sera taps Moyes as CFO.

  • Emergent to produce Novavax's flu vaccine under CDMO deal
    by Kristin Jensen on 2 Aprile, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    Recent late-stage results showed Novavax's candidate the equal of Sanofi's Fluzone, setting the stage for the Maryland drugmaker to file for FDA approval.

  • Amgen, partnering with Seattle's Adaptive, begins coronavirus drug search
    by Ned Pagliarulo on 2 Aprile, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Like other drugmakers, the companies will screen antibodies from recovered COVID-19 patients to identify ones capable of neutralizing SARS-CoV-2. 

  • Compass Therapeutics' immuno-oncology prospect clears solid tumors in mice
    by Angus Liu on 2 Aprile, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    The expression of CD137 on immune cells has made the protein receptor an attractive target in the development of new cancer immunotherapy drugs. Now, Compass Therapeutics has preclinical data showing that its CD137 agonist, CTX-471, could work safely in solid tumors, and it's advancing the drug into phase 1 human trials.

  • Novartis gives up on planned $1B generic drug sale to Aurobindo
    by Kristin Jensen on 2 Aprile, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    The companies called off the deal, which was supposed to close last quarter, after failing to secure regulatory sign-off from the FTC.

  • iTeos Therapeutics’ Cancer Immunotherapy Boosted with €114M Funding
    by Laura Cowen on 2 Aprile, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    An oversubscribed Series B2 round has seen the biopharmaceutical company iTeos Therapeutics raise €114M, which will be used to advance the clinical development of its two lead cancer immunotherapies. The funds follow on from €65M raised by iTeos in Series B financing in 2018. Since then, the Belgian company has completed a phase I trial of its lead candidate, which showed clinical benefits in a number of patients with cancer. Additionally, iTeos launched a phase I/II study of its second key drug last month.  Michel Detheux, President and CEO at iTeos, explained to me that both of its immunotherapy candidates target key resistance mechanisms that tumors develop against anti-cancer drugs known as immune checkpoint inhibitors.  iTeos’ lead candidate drug does this by blocking a cell surface protein called A2A, which is normally activated by adenosine, a molecule thought to block the anti-cancer activity of immune T-cells in the tumor microenvironment. Blocking A2A could, in turn, prevent adenosine from inhibiting T-cell activity and the immune system’s anti-tumor response.  The company’s second candidate, meanwhile, acts against an immune cell surface protein called TIGIT, which, when bound to specific proteins on the surface of tumor cells, can prevent T-cells from recognizing and attacking the tumor. “iTeos is at the center of the excitement around A2A and TIGIT, The post iTeos Therapeutics’ Cancer Immunotherapy Boosted with €114M Funding appeared first on

  • Amgen teams up with Adaptive to both treat and prevent COVID-19
    by Ben Adams on 2 Aprile, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    After The Wall Street Journal first broke the news this week, Amgen and new partner Adaptive Biotechnologies have confirmed they are the latest pharma-biotech duo joining forces against the pandemic.

  • Giuliani-promoted COVID-19 therapy from Celularity nabs FDA speedy trial start
    by Ben Adams on 2 Aprile, 2020 at 11:15 am

    A new and unproved COVID-19 cell therapy from a New Jersey biotech has been given a quick trial approval by the FDA, coming just days after President Donald Trump’s personal attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani pushed for the med to be trialed ASAP.

  • COVID-19 vaccine packed into skin patch shows promise in mice
    by Arlene Weintraub on 2 Aprile, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine developed a COVID-19 vaccine that uses pieces of the virus' spike protein to create immunity and that can be delivered into the skin with a Band-Aid-like patch. They're planning to apply to the FDA for approval to start clinical trials soon.