Mediar gets a spark from Pfizer's Ignite scheme as lead fibrosis programs progress

Mediar Therapeutics is tapping the business development well early, teaming up with Pfizer and WuXi Biologics as two assets near the clinic. 

The fibrosis-focused biotech will be lent Pfizer’s assistance on R&D work, test development and IND-enabling studies for its first two assets, MTX-463 and MTX-474, according to an announcement Wednesday. Though financial details weren’t disclosed, the biotech says it will retain full decision-making authority and rights to both programs. China's WuXi will assist with providing drug substance for the trials and bolstering manufacturing capabilities.

Both partnerships are a function of Mediar’s nearing clinical arrival, with the two assets expected to reach phase 1 trials next year. The first candidate, MTX-463, is a monoclonal antibody targeting WISP-1, a kind of protein that often operates in the extracellular matrix and regulates cell function. Elevated levels of the protein have been associated with fibrosis progression. MTX-474 targets EphrinB2, which similarly impacts disease progression. 

Mediar is not just bolstering external efforts to support its clinical progress, however. Jeffrey Bornstein, M.D., is joining as chief medical officer, moving across from Eledon Pharmaceuticals where he held the same role. Before that, he was a leader in Takeda’s gastroenterology unit, elevating from executive medical director to VP and head of clinical science over a four-year span. He also spent more than six years combined at Biogen and Gilead. 

With the latest partnerships and a clinical leader on board, all systems appear ready to go. Mediar previously took care of the necessary fundraising to afford this stage of development, inking $85 million from a series A back in March. Novartis’ venture fund and Soffinova co-led the round, with help from Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer.