Oncogeni Ltd, a company founded in 2019 by the British scientist and Nobel Laureate Martin Evans is to be acquired by Roquefort Therapeutics Plc in order to progress its preclinical assets for cancer. The all-share transaction, announced on 22 June, has been valued at around £4 million. Concurrently, the enlarged company will have two new investors: Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd and the venture capital investor CH Health.
Finance, Grants, Deals
F-star Therapeutics Inc is to be acquired by a subsidiary of a large Chinese pharma group giving it a new setting in which to develop its bispecific antibodies for cancer. The acquirer is invoX Pharma, a subsidiary of Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd which has a portfolio of small molecule drugs and biologics to treat cancer and other diseases.
Ipsen SA is to expand its oncology portfolio with the acquisition of Epizyme Inc, a US developer of epigenetic medicines. Epizyme’s lead product, Tazverik (tazemetostat) has been approved for two cancer indications in the US – diseases that are not covered by Ipsen’s current portfolio.
Bpifrance, the French national investment bank, has issued a grant valued at €10 million to Osivax SAS, a biotech company based in Lyon, to advance development of a broad-spectrum influenza vaccine candidate. The financing is part of a larger initiative by the French government to promote medical innovation and prepare for future pandemics and infectious diseases. Osivax will use the funds to prepare its vaccine, OVX836, for a Phase 2b field efficacy trial against a broad range of circulating influenza strains.
Galapagos NV is to acquire two companies with a presence in cell therapy as it takes steps to broaden its business under new leadership. The Dutch company has reached separate agreements to purchase CellPoint BV, a manufacturing company in the Netherlands, and AboundBio Inc, a US drug discovery company with an antibody library and antibody engineering capabilities.
A France-based company advancing a therapy for both solid tumours and haematologic malignancies has raised €96 million in a Series C financing round to establish clinical proof-of-concept for its lead antibody molecule. ImCheck Therapeutics SAS is located in Marseille and supported by a large group of investors including Andera Partners, Earlybird Venture and a philanthropy fund managed by the US Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Two French companies have joined forces to co-develop manufacturing technologies for AAV-based gene therapies. Coave Therapeutics is to contribute its expertise on viral vectors to the collaboration, while ABL, a contract development and manufacturing organisation, will provide production skills and laboratory space in Lyon.
The Vienna, Austria company Proxygen GmbH has entered into a multi-year research collaboration and licensing agreement with Merck KGaA to develop molecular glue degrader therapies. This is the second collaboration involving molecular glue agents to be negotiated in recent weeks. In May, Bristol Myers Squibb Co extended a drug discovery partnership with Evotec SE to include molecular glue degraders.
A spin-out of the Dutch medical centre, Amsterdam UMC, has raised €5 million in seed funding to take a new cancer vaccine from preclinical development into human trials. CimCure BV has developed a conjugate vaccine that directly targets the tumour endothelium in order to arrest cancer growth. This reportedly unique mechanism of action was highlighted in a paper published in Nature Communications on 23 May 2022.
A syndicate of international investors has raised $75 million for Code Biotherapeutics Inc, a US company developing genetic medicines using a synthetic DNA delivery platform. The delivery technology is different from the conventional viral vector and is described by its developer as versatile and unimpaired by concerns about immunogenicity.