As Visterra readies an influenza antibody for Phase I trials, the Gates-foundation-backed biotech announced today it's hired veterans of Mascoma and Concert Pharmaceuticals and licensed an antibody to treat the dengue virus out of the MIT lab of its co-founder, Dr. Ram Sasisekharan.
The Strüngmann brothers' expensive taste for biotech companies has helped generate another big venture round for Ganymed Pharmaceuticals, a German biotech with claims to some cutting-edge cancer drug technology.
The intense R&D focus in biopharma R&D circles on the therapeutic punch of cancer immunotherapies hasn't escaped the notice of top analysts, who are making some megablockbuster projections on the commercial impact these new drugs are likely to have.
Two years after Takeda acquired Nycomed, it's opted to punt a troubled partnership it inherited with Immunomedics on an anti-CD20 antibody pact struck 5 years ago for up to $620 million.
When Johnson & Johnson does an R&D event, they often like to make a flourish--walking the walk as they talk the talk. That high-impact style was on full display in London today as the pharma giant spearheaded a $42 million venture investment in an up-and-coming antibody developer, inked one collaboration pact on immune-mediated diseases and a second vaccine research partnership that will connect with a pair of biotechs and a research institute.
Merck KGaA R&D subsidiary Merck Serono will provide $35 million over four years to fund a dedicated unit that will apply the Belgian biotech's "Nanobody" approach to all of Merck's core disease areas, including oncology, immuno-oncology, immunology and neurology. The unit will work on new programs through in vivo proof of principle.
The money will be used, in part, to pay for a mid-stage study of MOR208, its anti-CD19 antibody for chronic lymphocytic leukemia as well as new studies of MOR202, an anti-CD38 antibody currently in a Phase I/IIa clinical trial in multiple myeloma.
Massachusetts-based biotech Visterra is preparing to move its universal influenza therapy into the clinic.
Cambridge, MA-based Visterra has finished assembling its preclinical puzzle for a universal influenza therapy, reviewing how its lead engineered antibody thwarted a pair of lethal viruses--still raising alarms around the world--in a mouse study.
Today the European Commission made healthcare history with its first approval of a biosimilar antibody--Inflectra (infliximab)--which was developed by Korea's Celltrion and will be sold by generics powerhouse Hospira. But the companies don't expect to file for U.S. approval until 2015 as they wait for the FDA to finalize its regulatory pathway.