News

UK immunotherapy company launched

Tuesday 7 December 2021
Country
United Kingdom

A new immunotherapy company has been launched in the UK, based on science conducted by Caetano Reis e Sousa and colleagues at the Francis Crick Institute in London. Adendra Therapeutics Ltd will research candidate drugs for the treatment of solid cancers and T cell-based autoimmune disorders by exploiting dendritic cell biology.

BenevolentAI merges with SPAC

Tuesday 7 December 2021
Country
United Kingdom

The UK artificial intelligence company BenevolentAI Ltd has decided to merge with a special purpose acquisition company in order to get access to more funding for its portfolio of drug candidates, discovered through the use of AI and machine learning. The merger is with Odyssey Acquisition SA of Luxembourg which raised €300 million for the transaction in July. Odyssey will raise an additional €135 million to complete the merger.

Celyad places share with Fortress Investment

Monday 6 December 2021
Country
Belgium

Celyad Oncology SA, a Belgian cell therapy developer, has made a private share placement with an affiliate of the Fortress Investment Group, raising $32.5 million to help support its operations into the first half of 2023. The placement involved 6.5 million ordinary shares and was arranged by SVB Leerink.

Sobi responds to bid withdrawal

Sunday 5 December 2021
Country
Sweden

The board of Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (Sobi) has said the withdrawal of a takeover bid by a private equity consortium won’t change the company’s strategic objective of becoming a global leader in rare diseases. The statement, issued on 3 December, follows an announcement by the consortium that it was cancelling its $8.1 billion tender offer for the Swedish company after only 87.3% of shareholders accepted it. The consortium was looking to buy more than 90% of Sobi’s outstanding shares.

UCB collaborates with Novartis in Parkinson’s disease

Saturday 4 December 2021
Country
Belgium

Belgium-based UCB SA has negotiated a partnership with Novartis to co-develop a small molecule treatment for Parkinson’s disease which it in-licenced in 2014 from Neuropore Therapeutics Inc. The candidate treatment, UCB0599, targets alpha-synuclein, a key protein involved in the disease’s pathology. The compound is currently in a Phase 2 study in patients with early-stage disease.

Cell therapy restores islet cell function

Friday 3 December 2021
Country
United States

A stem cell-derived therapy has restored the function of pancreatic islet cells in a patient with Type 1 diabetes in what is being described as the first demonstration of a potentially curative treatment for the disease. The therapy is being developed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc on the basis of research conducted by Douglas Melton, a professor at Harvard University and co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute in Cambridge, US.

Vifor Pharma expands nephrology portfolio

Tuesday 30 November 2021
Country
Switzerland

Vifor Pharma Group has expanded its presence in nephrology with the acquisition of two companies with therapies addressing specific aspects of vascular calcification. The companies are Sanifit Therapeutics SA of Spain and Inositec AG of Switzerland.

Molnupiravir efficacy downgraded

Tuesday 30 November 2021
Country
United States

Merck & Co Inc and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP published new efficacy data for their Covid-19 treatment on 26 November showing that the anti-viral drug reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death by 30%, compared with a placebo, instead of the earlier reported 50%. The updated efficacy figure is based on additional data presented to the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA’s Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee was scheduled to meet on 30 November to evaluate the latest information.

Quell Therapeutics raises $156 million

Tuesday 30 November 2021
Country
United Kingdom

A cell therapy company launched by Syncona Ltd in 2019 has completed an oversubscribed Series B financing round to start the clinical development of a compound to prevent organ rejection in liver transplant patients. Quell Therapeutics Ltd raised $156 million from a consortia co-led by Jeito Capital, Ridgeback Capital Investments, SV Health Investors and Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC. Syncona also participated in the round.

Quell is developing engineered T regulatory (Treg) cells as therapies.

Valo Therapeutics prepares for the clinic

Monday 29 November 2021
Country
Finland

Finland-based Valo Therapeutics Oy has raised €11 million in an over-subscribed financing round to support a first clinical trial of it lead cancer drug – an antigen-coated oncolytic virus. The financing, announced on 15 November, was led by the corporate advisory firm Ironside Capital. Existing investor Freeman Road Pty Ltd participated in the round as did new investor MMJ Group Holdings of Australia. The round is being described as a prelude to an initial public share offering.