For William Strohl, the new head of Janssen's Biotechnology Center of Excellence, the future of drug R&D involves novel targets, "fit-for-purpose" antibodies and lots of collaborations.
The Scripps Research Institute has landed a $13 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to advance antibodies toward the development of an HIV vaccine. Meanwhile, another team of researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has won nearly $2 million for its experimental HIV vaccine.
In a discovery that could put a vaccine for malaria closer in sight, scientists have linked a protein to an essential function in malaria-causing parasites that enables them to escape from inside red blood cells and infect the rest of the body.
Tesaro is making a move into the hot cancer immunotherapy field, paying $17 million upfront and offering milestones worth hundreds of millions more to work with AnaptysBio on a portfolio of antibodies that could be used in combination with its own pipeline drugs. And while one of the targets is PD-1, a popular subject in a field now dominated by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck, a pair of less familiar targets is also included in the package.
A team of U.S. and South African researchers has identified and cloned an antibody that targets one of the few unchanging regions of HIV.
For several years now, scientists working on an HIV vaccine have been focused on a small set of patients whose immune systems were able to generate rare antibodies able to vanquish most strains of the lethal virus. And over the weekend a team of scientists from South Africa and the U.S. say that one woman--dubbed CAP256-VRC26--may have offered a key to do just that.
The antibody upstart Igenica has rounded up $14 million in venture cash to move its lead drug into the clinic. The Column Group, 5AM Ventures, OrbiMed and Third Rock Ventures all participated in the round.
The British biotech has rounded up $28 million (£17.5 million) in first-round venture cash from a group of marquee investors willing to bet big that Crescendo's mouse platform can deliver the best in cutting-edge antibody fragment therapeutics.
Amgen, Celgene and Eli Lilly joined forces with some prominent venture players to back a $26 million round for Sutro Biopharma, a San Francisco-based biotech which has been garnering some careful scrutiny for its work on antibodies.
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.